Tips for First-Time Home Buyers

Model House and Set of Colorful Keys

Buying a House in 2023

Buying a home for the first time can be complicated. There are lots of steps, tasks, and requirements to follow, and you don’t want to make a costly mistake.

Here’s a rundown of what you should think about before you buy to help you get the most out of your purchase.

Improve Your Credit Score

Improving your credit score takes time and effort, but it is possible. Here are some tips to get you started:

  1. Check your credit report for mistakes – It’s important to regularly check your credit reports for any errors or incorrect information that could be damaging your score.
  2. Pay your bills on time – Paying your bills on time is one of the most important factors for maintaining a good credit score.
  3. Keep credit card balances low – Keeping your credit card balances low will help improve your credit score. Try to keep your balances below 30% of your available credit.
  4. Limit applying for new accounts – Opening too many new accounts at once can have a negative impact on your credit score.
  5. Use different types of credit – Having a mix of different types of credit, such as installment loans and credit cards, can help improve your credit score.


A minimum down payment will most likely be required, depending on the loan. Expect to pay at least 3% of the property’s purchase price.

How much you’ll put down on your home depends on the type of mortgage you receive. The typical mortgage down payment ranges from 3.5% to 20% of the property’s purchase price.

If you put down less than 20%, you may be required to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI) or other fees.

Things To Know About Down payments

  • The size of your down payment has a direct impact on the interest rate your mortgage lender will set for your loan. The larger the down payment you offer your lender, the lower your interest rate may be.
  • A larger down payment generally means you’re a less risky borrower, and a less risky borrower means a lower interest rate.
  • It’s now possible to get a mortgage for as little as 3% down, although some loans (like Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) loans and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) loans require no money down.


Real estate agents are home-buying experts who know the local market and can take you to houses that meet your needs in your target area. They make finding the perfect home much easier and faster.

Now is the time to start researching lenders. Ask for recommendations from friends and family and conduct online research to find someone who will work well with you and your needs.


Mortgage pre-approval is a critical step in the home-buying process that you should not overlook in 2023. Getting a mortgage preapproval accelerates the lending process. If you find a home you like and need a loan quickly to buy it before another prospective homebuyer does, being preapproved will allow you to secure the purchase sooner.

A preapproval letter shows you have earnest money to put down on a property and will help you in your house hunting in any real estate market.


What kind of home do you want in terms of square footage, features, and so on? Make a list of your non-negotiables.

Are you ready for your dream home? Let Shawn Realty help you find that perfect home for you and your family.

Home Inspection: Radon (Part 2)

Home Inspection: Radon

Radon level affects home indoor air quality significantly.  More and more we spend time indoor, it’s the one test you can do for you and your family.  The level is affected by geological locations, so check out 1. EPA Map, 2. Find Testing kit and  find mitigation professionals. if needed.

Radon level is directly linked to possibility of getting lung cancer.


EPA Radon Zones:

Find a Radon Test Kit or Measurement and Mitigation Professional

Oregon Radon Awareness Program Indoor Radon Test Results Summary (by Zipcode in Oregon Metro Areas)




Why is Radon Testing Important?

If you’re planning to buy a property any time soon, you might want to order a home inspection to get to know that home inside and out. The basic home inspection is usually just the visual inspection of the walls, doors, windows, roof, piping, foundation, etc. of the home. The odor of a home can also be included in the inspection report that we get. However, there are those things that our five senses just can’t detect such as radon levels. Radon testing is usually an additional service of home inspectors.

So, why do we need to know a home’s radon levels and is the additional inspection cost worth it? Let’s find out why it’s important to test for radon prior to your home purchase.

Know Thy Enemy

What exactly is radon? According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), radon is an odorless, invisible, radioactive gas that comes naturally from the ground (source: It can enter any building, such as homes, and become trapped inside these structures without any warning. Radon is harmful to one’s health and it poses a significant risk to any household. Exposure to high levels of radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. This is why radon is often called an “invisible killer”. Not to fret, though. There are ways to test for radon and if an elevated level is found, mitigation is easy enough to ensure the health and safety of future occupants in the home.

Here are some more facts about radon from the American Lung Association:

  • High levels can be found throughout the United States, making testing critically important
  • Second leading cause of lung cancer and leading cause among never-smokers, accounting for 21,000 deaths annually
  • Unsafe at any level but mitigation should be done when levels are 4.0 pCi/L (picoCuries per liter) or higher

How Do I Know The Radon Levels?

A lot of home inspection companies offer radon testing for an additional fee. Before testing, the home inspector usually instructs sellers and their agents to have the home in closed conditions — windows and doors should be shut most of the time, if not all the time. A radon testing machine is then placed inside the home and it remains there for two to three days. The machine reads the radon levels throughout those days. Once that’s done, the home inspector will send buyers and their agents a radon report. You’ll know from the test results the radon levels as well as the inspector recommendations.

We also know of a Free Radon Testing Kit! Click HERE for more information.

Will I Still be Able To Buy if radon levels Are high?

So you’re in the middle of a home purchase and you decided to do the radon testing. The radon report came out and it turns out that there is an elevated level of radon in the home. The question now is, will you need to back out of the home purchase? Well, you can, but you don’t have to! If the radon levels are found to be high, it does not necessarily mean that the house is unlivable in perpetuity or that you won’t be able to continue purchasing the home.

In order to reduce radon levels in the home, you will need a professional to mitigate the issue. This will cost money to get this done, so make sure your broker has the negotiating skills to get the best price for the home.

Now that you know more about the dangers of radon, do you think the additional cost for radon testing is worth it?