Avoid Common First-Time Homebuyer Mistakes With These Tips

by Jacqui Zuzgo 07/18/2021

Photo by William Fortunato from Pexels

Buying a home is a big decision made up of dozens of smaller decisions. With so many moving parts in the process it's difficult to know you’re making the best choices. Some of the most important choices in buying a home have to do with finances. Here we will go over some tips to avoid common financial mistakes when buying a home.

Talk to More Than One Lender

One of the biggest mistakes first-time homebuyers can make is talking to only one lender. It’s extremely beneficial to shop around for mortgage quotes and carefully weigh the different term options. Getting quotes from multiple lenders will help you find the best interest rate, down payments and closing costs for your situation. Talking to multiple lenders also means you can negotiate for a better deal by leveraging another lender’s offer. It might feel like a lot of back-and-forth, but the more you prepare and educate yourself about a mortgage decision, the happier you’ll be.

Look Into Other Loan Programs

Don’t forget that there are other mortgage options than banks and lending firms. Look into other options like FHA, VA or USDA loans, especially if you want a low down payment. There are also first-time homebuyer programs run by state governments that are available to help you afford a mortgage. Research these options and see if you qualify, otherwise you might miss out on a big savings opportunity.

Keep Your Credit Stable

The home buying process can take a long time. Even after the seller approves your offer, it can be weeks or more until the transaction fully closes. Many homebuyers use this period to plan for things like appliances or other moving costs, which is always a good idea. However, avoid opening up a new line of credit or applying for any sort of short-term loan before you close. It might feel like the process is stagnated, but mortgage lenders will pay attention to the stability of your credit score. If your score changes due to applying for credit, your lender may even change the terms of the mortgage—typically by increasing the interest rate. Avoid the temptation to borrow more money until after the closing date, and you’ll avoid the risk.

Don’t Forget the Ongoing Expenses

Planning for all the upfront costs of buying a home is important but so is planning for the ongoing expenses. Along with your mortgage payments, you'll also have several other regular costs to plan for. These include homeowners’ insurance, property taxes, utility bills and maintenance costs. You might also have mortgage insurance or homeowners’ association fees to factor in. Budgeting for the ongoing expenses will help you stay afloat financially without getting overwhelmed in the early stages of home ownership.

This is only basic advice and may work better for some potential homebuyers than others. Always consult a professional financial advisor or accountant for more specific guidance. This is the best way to make sure your first-time home purchase is a success.

About the Author

Jacqui Zuzgo

I have been a REALTOR® in Massachusetts since 1984 and hold both a salesman and broker license. I am currently affiliated with Five College REALTORS® located at 190 University Drive, Amherst, MA. Over my career, I have consistently been a Top Producer in the Pioneer Valley and have gained a reputation for being a strong-minded, no-nonsense negotiator in the industry. I also frequently rank highly on Boston’s Top 20 for sales in Western Massachusetts. Some of my best qualities include my listening and communication skills. I have time and again proven to work well under pressure with exceptional attention to detail. My commitment to my clients and professionalism is obvious in every transaction.

Representing both buyers and sellers in Hampshire and Franklin Counties, as well as assisting in relocations throughout the United States and globally has helped me embrace the need for quality performance and develop an acute and sincere sensitivity to people's needs. Honing in on what matters most is almost a sixth sense. Communication and awareness of the situation at hand produce a final result that has undoubtedly led to the large referral business I maintain.

Education has been a theme throughout my 30 years of experience. Well versed in technology and holding key designations have proven to be assets to my performance and dedication to the Real Estate field. My never-ending enthusiasm, availability, knowledge and drive make for a seamless transaction every client, every time.

I am a native of the Pioneer Valley. I am committed to sharing all the area has to offer in making your transition, whether long distance or short, a satisfying experience.


  • University of Massachusetts, Amherst - Bachelor of Science 1983
  • Top Individual Seller for Residential Sales in the Pioneer Valley since 2006.
  • #1#1 Realtor in the entire Franklin/Hampshire Counties for Millions Sold since 1999.
  • Highest producer in sales since 2004 in Franklin/Hampshire Counties.
  • ABR®– Accredited Buyer's Representative
  • CRS – Certified Residential Specialist (only 3% of REALTORS® hold a CRS)
  • e-PRO – Digital Marketing, Certified e-PRO Realtor®
  • GRI – Graduate, Realtors® Institute
  • SRES– Seniors Real Estate Specialist®

Biographical Highlights:

Life long, active member of the community, born & raised in the Pioneer Valley. Graduate of University of Massachusetts, Amherst, BS 1983.

Current Committee Involvement:

Member of the local Chamber of Commerce - Post Board of Director's member Volunteer for the Road to Recovery.

Greenfield Community College Foundation Board Member 

Greenfield Savings Bank Corporator

MLS Professional Standards Committee Member

Have a question for Jacqui? Jacqui's email: [email protected]