Guide for First-Time Home Buyers | Chester County Real Estate

You’ve been scoping out the housing market, and you’re finally ready to buy your first home in Chester County, PA. If you’re not sure where to start, we’re here to help.

Buying a home is usually the biggest financial purchase a person will make, so it’s natural to be a bit intimidated by the process. But with Penn Street Mortgage as your trusted mortgage broker, we can guide you through each step of the home buying and mortgage process so you’re not alone!

With two decades of experience, we’ve helped countless first time home buyers secure a great mortgage rate and purchase their first home.

If you’re a first time homebuyer, this guide is for you. Keep reading to discover Chester County real estate tips and tricks, and get an overview of how you’ll navigate the process.

Understand the Chester County Real Estate Market

Chester County’s real estate market is diverse with a mix of historic homes, townhouses, and spacious rural properties. Before starting your home search, take some time to get familiar with the market trends and where home prices currently stand. You’ll likely notice that prices can fluctuate a lot based on the property’s location and type, so having a good gauge of what’s available and what your monthly budget is can get you started on the right foot.

As of April 2024, the median home price in Chester County was around $575,000. Based on this median home price, you can see for yourself with our Mortgage Calculator how your mortgage payment might change based on the loan amount and terms of your home purchase.

Preparing for Your Home Purchase

The first step in the home-buying process is to take a close look at your finances and see how you’re positioned for a mortgage application. This means checking your credit score, determining your budget and how much you can afford for a down payment. Don’t forget to also factor in the long-term costs associated with owning a home, like property taxes, insurance, and maintenance costs.

At Penn Street Mortgage, we tell most first-time home buyers that before they even step foot into a home, they should start the pre-approval process. Pre-approval gives you a clear idea of how much you are approved to spend and shows sellers that you are a serious buyer.

When you’re ready to get started on the pre-approval process, reach out to one of our team members or start an application on our site. We’ll get you a fast pre-approval and walk you through what kind of monthly payment you can afford and how that correlates to your home purchase price.

Searching and Making an Offer on a Home

Who you work with matters when it comes to your real estate process. Just like finding a great mortgage broker you can trust, you should find a real estate agent who is familiar with the Chester County market and can walk you through the process as a first-time home buyer. A good agent will understand your needs, help you find homes within your budget, and provide invaluable insights into different neighborhoods.

Once you’ve found that perfect home that works for you and your budget, your real estate agent will help you write an offer. They’ll help you craft an offer that includes any contingencies and work with the seller to negotiate any terms to get the deal done.

Financial Assistance and Resources

Chester County offers several programs to support first-time buyers, from down payment assistance to favorable mortgage options. As we review your loan options with you, we’ll go over any first time home buyer programs that you could be eligible for. These can sometimes help decrease your closing costs or change the required down payment amount, depending on your individual application.

The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency has several programs that individuals and families can explore to make buying their first home more affordable, including:

  • The Keystone Home Loan: A loan option for first-time buyers with a good credit history. It unlocks competitive terms and conditions.
  • The Keystone Government Loan: Provides access to those looking to buy a house with a government-backed loan, such as a VA or FHA loan.

With so many options available to first-time homebuyers, we know it can feel overwhelming. Our team of local Chester County mortgage experts will make sure you understand all your options so you can make the best financial solutions for your specific budget and needs.

Getting to the Closing Table

After your offer is accepted, all that’s left is closing the deal! We’ll work with you to fully submit your mortgage application and ensure you’re getting the best rate available. At Penn Street Mortgage, we’re able to shop around and compare rates from multiple financial institutions and pass along the best interest rate available to you.

The period between your offer being accepted and getting to the closing table requires a lot of documentation and communication to stay on top of everything. This is when the home inspection is completed, and all of the loan underwriting process occurs. Our team works hard to clearly communicate and share all the required paperwork we need from you.

As soon as your application is cleared for closing, you’ll sign the final paperwork and pay any closing costs before receiving the keys to your new home in Chester County! Congratulations, you did it!

Work with Penn Street Mortgage | Buying your first home in Chester County

If you’re considering buying your first home in Chester, now is the time to take the next step. As spring buying season hits its peak, more properties are coming on the market. It’s the perfect time to take action and get approved for a mortgage.

Contact our team at Penn Street Mortgage to get your questions answered! You can submit a pre-approval application and start shopping with confidence for your first Chester County home.

Skip to content