Marc Gerber Homes
Nicolette Shkreli, Marc Gerber HomesPhone: (914) 364-3114
Email: [email protected]

Checklist for buying a house: First steps for would-be homeowners

by Nicolette Shkreli 05/15/2024

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of home buying, it can be helpful to create a checklist for buying a house. Using a checklist can help you right from the beginning, since there are several important steps to take before you even begin your home search, like securing a mortgage lender.

To help get you started, here is a checklist for preparing to buy your first home:

Determine your debt to income ratio (DTI)

Knowing your own financial situation is crucial to a successful buying experience. Mortgage lenders offer different loan options affecting your ongoing mortgage payments, and it’s easier to compare the choices when you know how much you can comfortably afford.

You may also find new opportunities when examining your finances, like if you qualify for a lower interest rate because of a high credit score.

The best first step in this direction is to find out your debt to income ratio, or DTI. This will help you determine how much you can afford to pay monthly for your mortgage and other property-related expenses.

A simple formula for DTI is: gross monthly income / monthly expenses = DTI

Save for a down payment

The down payment is one of the major expenses you’ll encounter when buying a home. The down payment for your mortgage loan helps determine how much money you end up borrowing and paying back, including the interest rates.

While larger down payments have advantages, some mortgage lenders allow as low as 2% of the purchase price.

Hire a real estate agent

Real estate agents can help you navigate the real estate market and guide you through the home buying process. It’s helpful to find a buyer’s agent who specializes in representing clients wanting to buy rather than sell.

Not only can they help you with house hunting and finding your dream home, they can assist you with all the paperwork involved in the home buying process.

Get mortgage preapproval

By getting a preapproval letter from your mortgage lender, you can show sellers you’re a qualified and motivated buyer. It also secures your loan amount based on a detailed examination of your current financial situation, including credit score and report, investment account statements and income.

Taking care of these important tasks before you begin searching for a new home will help make the rest of the process smoother and quicker. Keep these steps in mind if you want to take the next step towards becoming a homeowner.

About the Author

Nicolette Shkreli


Nicolette is a full-time licensed real estate agent working with residential and commercial buyers, sellers, and renters. Growing up in Eastchester, graduating from Marist College and branching out to Manhattan before returning to her roots has created deep ties to Westchester while understanding what a NYC buyer wants when relocating to the suburbs. 

Bringing nearly a decade of extensive experience in sales, interior design, marketing, and customer service from her Manhattan career while working with esteemed companies such as Elle Décor Magazine and various companies under the Herman Miller brand, Nicolette encompasses an effective fusion of suburban warmth and city tenacity. Her enthusiasm for helping others combined with her determination to close deals helps her simultaneously connect her with clients on a personal level while conducting business in the most professional of ways. It’s this connection that leads to a seamless and successful Real Estate transaction.  

When not working, Nicolette enjoys spending time with her family, friends, and puppy. Professionally, she prides herself using those same personal values of loyalty, honesty, attentiveness, and being detail-oriented. She values all client relationships and makes it her goal to provide exceptional service and guaranteed satisfaction. Her intimate knowledge of the area, having lived in Westchester all her life, gives her enthusiasm and a desire to make her home, your home. 

In July 2015, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services (BHHS) acquired Tri-Crest Realty and Prudential Centennial Realty and has been one of the most successful offices in lower Westchester County since 2000. With over 1,800 Realtors in 55 offices in the Northeast and 51,600 agents in 1,600 offices in 47 states nationally, BHHS is the #2 company in Barron’s ranking of the world’s most respected companies; ranking #3 in Fortune Magazine’s 50 Most Admired Companies survey.