Buying Your First Home

If you’re thinking of buying your first home, you’re likely feeling some mix of excitement and overwhelm. It can be hard to know what you should be doing to properly prepare for buying your first home. Fortunately, there are five key steps you can take as a first-time home buyer to make the borrowing process as smooth as possible.

Check Your Credit Score

To help your lender find the right program for you, it’s important to be aware of your credit situation. Looking to boost your credit score? Here is a list of ways you can increase your score. Remember, raising your credit score requires you to be consistent and patient since it takes time to build up your score.

Save Your Money

While there are plenty of great programs to assist you when buying your first home, all of them are going to want to see that you have some money saved in advance. A solid goal is to have funds saved for a down-payment and closing costs, and a little bit of money to fund any necessary repairs the home may need.


Create a Budget

Make sure you know how much you typically spend in a month, and weigh that against your monthly earnings. This will help you find what you can comfortably afford for a mortgage payment. Don’t forget to add in some room for repairs, utilities, and taxes so your budget is as accurate as possible. A poorly constructed budget will only set you up for failure, while an accurate budget will be the key to your success.

“A budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.”

List Out Your Wants and Needs

It’s most effective to sit down and write this list out so that you have a clear picture of what you’re looking for. Decide what location(s) you’d like to consider, which home features are essential for you, and how much remodeling you’re willing to do after purchasing. This list is essential to finding the home you’ll love! Below is an example of this type of list.


Sample List:


  • Within budget
  • 3 bedrooms
  • 2 bathrooms
  • Fenced in backyard
  • Child-friendly neighborhood


  • 2 car garage
  • Close to the golf course
  • Lots of natural light
  • Screened-in porch
  • Brick exterior

Our Team is Here to Help

Following the steps above will help you get off to a great start when buying your first home. However, partnering with the right lender is monumental in making the experience one you’ll remember fondly. Our Mortgage Loan Officers at Sauk Valley Bank are dedicated to helping you find the best solution for you and making sure you’re taken care of each step of the way.

Our Mortgage Team

Douglas Noble
VP of Mortgage Lending
NMLS # 418458
Brenda S Gratz
VP Mortgage Loan Officer
NMLS # 485160
Dawn L Harrielle
Mortgage Loan Officer
NMLS # 1382445
Angela Rivera
Mortgage Loan Officer
NMLS # 1312051
Jenifer M Peppers
Mortgage Loan Officer
NMLS # 1835056

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