What are mortgage rates likely to do as we close out 2023 and start 2024? Check out our latest Two-Month Mortgage Rate Forecast.

What are mortgage rates likely to do as we close out 2023 and start 2024? Check out our latest Two-Month Mortgage Rate Forecast.

First time home buyer help


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 renting to homeownership, one of the first questions you need to answer is, "How much house can I afford?"


This mortgage calculator shows how much your monthly mortgage payment is, handles prepayments and can produce a full loan amortization schedule.


More down payment or less? Learn the cost break points for PMI and how to keep or save the most money when buying a home.


HSH.com's closing cost calculator shows you the best way to pay mortgage costs - out of pocket, in the loan amount or with a 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

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