With 1st Advantage, you will find more than the perfectly customized loan for your unique situation. Our mortgage specialist will help you determine which loan is right for you and how much you can afford. 

Consider your price range and options

When determining the best home for you, you want to first decide the price point that’s best for your budget and how much you want to put into your home in sweat equity or paying for improvements. 


You want to take a look at your current and projected finances to determine your house budget. Within your budget, include both your income, monthly debt payment, and mortgage information. You can use our mortgage calculator to estimate how much house you can afford based on the information. 

Fixer-upper or move-in-ready

Next, consider whether you want to purchase a lower-priced fixer-upper or a move-in-ready home with a higher purchase price. With a fixer-upper, you can put in some sweat equity with DIY projects, or hire a team to help you complete the projects. When going this route, consider how much additional money you’ll be putting into your home. 

You can also choose a home that falls between a fixer-upper and move-in-ready property, requiring a few projects to turn it into your dream home. 

Separate your needs from your wants

You want to create a must-haves and want to have list for your home. You might need 3 bedrooms, but want 4 to have a guest room. You might need a driveway with space for 2 cars but want a 2 car garage. You might need a yard but want an inground pool. 

Be realistic about which items on your list are wants and which are needs. Differentiating between the two can help you make the best choice while on your home search. 

Determine your home ownership costs

There are apparent homeownership costs like your mortgage payment and hidden costs like private mortgage insurance and HOA and condo fees. When determining the right home for you, consider all of the costs associated with purchasing your property. 

Projected monthly costs

You can use our mortgage payment calculator to help you estimate what your monthly mortgage payment will be. Input your loan amount, mortgage term, interest rate, closing costs, and other information to get an estimated monthly payment. 

Estimate your down payment

Your down payment amount can impact the type of mortgage you get, how much home you qualify for, and whether you’ll need to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI). Estimate how much of a down payment you will have saved to purchase your home. You can also use the calculators listed above to help you strategize the best down payment amount to help you achieve your monthly target payment. 

Hidden home ownership costs

When considering the costs of buying a home, don’t forget these common ones. Including all of the potential costs associated with being a homeowner better prepares you for this journey.

  • Closing costs which are typically 3-5% of the value of your loan

  • Property taxes

  • Homeowners Association (HOA) fees

  • Condo fees

  • Homeowner’s insurance

  • Home warranty 

  • Home maintenance costs and repairs which are typically 1-2% of your home’s value annually

There are many variables associated with homeownership and the costs associated with taking this step. 

No matter your budget or where you are in the purchasing process, having the right mortgage lender and choosing the right mortgage will help you take the necessary steps to thrive as a homeowner and stay within a comfortable budget. 

Learn More About Mortgage Options With 1st Advantage


Our friendly mortgage professionals are here to help. Apply Online or contact them today at 757-877-2444.

alicia bowen
Alicia Bowen
Mortgage Specialist
NMLS #305735