Preparing to shop

Build a network of advisors

Buying a home and choosing a mortgage can be complicated. It helps to have people you can talk things over with. People tend to do best when they rely on a network of trusted advisors – not just one person – to help them through the process.

Your friends, relatives, and co-workers can all serve as advisors in this process – they don’t have to be professionals.

What to do now

Make a list of friends, family, co-workers, or other people you trust who have bought a home or refinanced a mortgage recently

Identify at least three people you feel comfortable talking to about the home buying and mortgage shopping process.

The people you choose should be knowledgeable and trustworthy, but they don’t all have to be the people you are closest to.

  • You should be able to talk frankly about money issues with at least two people. Also include people that you’d feel comfortable talking to about their own home buying experience, and people you can ask for recommendations on lenders or real estate agents.

Talk with the people on your list

Ask the people you choose if they will share their recent experiences and if you can come back to them from time to time as you move through the process. Here are a few questions you might ask to get the conversation started:

  • Were there things during the process of buying a home and finding a mortgage that surprised you or that you were not expecting?
  • What did you learn during the process that you wish you knew at the beginning?
  • If you were buying and financing a house again, what would you do differently?

Consider meeting with a housing counselor

Especially if this is your first time buying a home, a housing counselor can be a very helpful advisor throughout this process. You can find a HUD-certified housing counselor online or by calling 1-800-569-4287. Ask for the pre-purchase counseling services.

Start to gather names of recommended professionals

Throughout this process, you need to work with many professionals, including real estate agents and loan officers.


What to know

Real estate agents and mortgage loan officers are important sources of information in this process – but they are not the only people you should consult

These professionals make money based on your decisions. Their interests may not always be aligned with your interests. Always ask yourself, “does what I’m hearing make sense?” Having a network of advisors helps you evaluate what you’re hearing and help you think through major decisions.

Building a network of advisors is not just for first-time homebuyers

Everyone can benefit from an outside perspective when making big financial decisions. The market changes rapidly, so the experience may be very different from your last home purchase or refinance.

Active duty servicemembers may want to contact their installation’s personal financial manager (PFM)


How to avoid pitfalls

Don't rely on just one person for advice

Get a second – or a third – opinion throughout the process and before making key decisions. Then make the best choice for yourself.

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Visit our sources page to learn more about the facts and numbers we reference.

The process and forms described on this page reflect mortgage regulations that apply to most mortgages.