First time home buyer help

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Buying your first home can be the biggest and most important purchase of your life, but it doesn’t have to be painful. Knowing the process and being prepared for each step can prevent many headaches -- and save you money. To help, we’ve gathered expert commentary, relevant data and even our personal home-buying experiences to guide you from the initial search to the closing table. Learn where to start, how to get pre-approved for a mortgage, how much home you can actually afford and how to get the best mortgage rates. And just so you’re sure, a first time home buyer is someone who has never owned a home, or someone who has not owned a home within the last three years.

6 Steps to buying a home

Home buyer assistance by state.

Select your state to find out what type of assistance is available in your area.

Home Buying Calculators

If you're thinking of making the move from renter to homeowner, one of the first questions you need to answer is, "how much house can I afford?"

This mortgage calculator will show how much your monthly mortgage payment would be, and produce a full amortization schedule for your loan. See how much you could save by prepaying some of the principal. Find out...

You might not know that the size of your down payment has a direct effect on the cost of your mortgage insurance and when it can be canceled.HSH.com’s Down Payment Decisioner Calculator shows you how both a...

HSH.com's closing cost calculator lets you see the best way to pay mortgage closing costs, whether out of pocket, built into the loan amount or via a slightly higher interest rate.

Learn more about buying your first home

  • Preapproval
  • Affordability
  • Choosing/Picking
  • Documents and forms
  • Mortgage Rates
  • Preparing for closing
  • Mortgage Choices
  • Realtor & Agent Issues
  • Shopping for homes
  • Advice
  • Mortgage Concerns
  • Real Estate Issues
  • More help for first-timers
  • Ask the Expert
  • Preparing to buy
  • FHA
  • Credit Concerns

Common home buyer questions

Unfortunately, the answer is no, but states have their own first-time homebuyer programs.

If a homebuyer has signed a purchase contract, does that mean they have to buy the home? Unfortunately, the answer is that “it depends.”

The largest set of fees associated with any mortgage are what's known as points, which can -- and do -- affect the interest rate on your loan.

The questions are simple enough: What's going on with mortgage rates?

What makes them rise, or fall? Is it the Fed? The economy? Inflation? The banks? The President? Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac? Is it a secret conspiracy?

Search for more answers here