11 Tips for First-Time Homebuyers

What You Should (and Shouldn’t) Do When Buying a House

Key Takeaways

  • Start prepping your finances well in advance of applying for a home mortgage.
  • Compare multiple offers from lenders to find the best deal.
  • Take advantage of first-time homebuyer programs for low rates and down payment assistance.
  • A real estate agent can be an invaluable ally who can walk you through the many steps of the homebuying process.


11 Ways To Save For A House: Tips And Tricks To Fund Your Down Payment

How To Save Money For A House

  1. Build a Better Budget
    2. Consider Downsizing
    3. Reduce or Cut Out a Bad Habit
    4. Ask For a Raise
    5. See What Other Employment Options Are Out There
    6. Skip a Vacation
    7. Pick Up A Side Hustle
    8. Chop Down Your Debt
    9. Rent Out Your Spare Room Or Parking Space
    10. Ask for Help
    11. Automate Your Savings

Financing Basics for First-Time Homebuyers


  • Obtaining a mortgage is a crucial step in purchasing your first home, and there are several factors for choosing the best one.
  • Lenders will evaluate your creditworthiness and your ability to repay based on your income, assets, debts, and credit history.
  • As you choose a mortgage, you’ll have to decide between a fixed or floating rate, the number of years to pay off your mortgage, and the size of your down payment.
  • Conventional loans are mortgages that the government does not insure.
  • Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible for more favorable terms through a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan, a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) loan, or another type of government-guaranteed loan.
  • As a first-time homebuyer, you may be eligible for special programs that allow you to access deeply discounted homes and put low or no money down.

Ralene Nelson, REALTOR®

OPEN HOUSE – Saturday 11:00 – 2:00pm
& Sunday 1:30 – 3:30pm

JUST LISTED – 404 Riverwood Ln. Rio Vista, 2bd/2bth/1391sf

$455,000 – Big Sur model & no rear neighbors!! Located in the Active Adult Community, Trilogy. Relax in this lovely backyard & watch the wild life. 2 bedrooms/2 full baths and den with double doors. Both master bedroom and den have bay windows that provides a more open feeling. Master bath has walk in shower & closet, double sinks, white tile counters, Dark kitchen cabinets, Corian counters w/tile backsplash, black appliances & tile floor. Stove is electric, however, is plumbed for natural gas. The dining area overlooks the backyard. Patio with all weather cover, great for BBQ in the rain. Garage has storage cabinets. Just bring your furniture and enjoy the activities, tennis, bocce, new gym, 2 pools & spas. READ MORE

OPEN HOUSE Saturday 11:00 – 2:00pm
FOR SALE – 718 Allender Wy. Rio Vista, 3 bd/2 bth/1346sf

718 Allender Way Rio Vista
718 Allender Way
Rio Vista

$540,000 – Gorgeous home, shows pride of ownership and has been renovated since purchased. 3 bedrooms & 2 baths with all new flooring/baseboards, interior paint, light fixtures, etc. Kitchen has new painted cabinets with quartz counter tops with island. Auxillary electric heaters in 3rd bedroom & livingroom. Whole house water filter with under the sink reverse osmosis. Front yard has been totally relandscaped with new walkway to front door, with drought resistant landscaping, drip system & timer. Driveway extended as well as sidewalk to the backyard. Backyard has sprinkler sytem as well & patio. Just bring your furniture and enjoy!! Rio Vista is a quaint town located on the Sacramento River, close to SF, Sacramento & bay area. READ MORE

OPEN HOUSE – Saturday 1:30 – 3:30pm
FOR SALE – 829 Waterwood Dr, Rio Vista, 2bds/3.5bths/2,486sf

Price Change $649,900 – This Soraya model located in Trilogy, provides a relaxing mood. Tiled floors with carpet in bedrooms, quartz counters & lighter cabinets in kitchen. The kitchen has a bar and room for stools, this feature makes a great entertaining/casual dining spot. The built-in entertainment space in the great room also provides the chef access to the activities. The dining area has a slider to the covered patio area. The larger master bedroom and bath have double sinks & walk-in closet. The 2nd bedroom is to the front of the home with a bath next to the bedroom. Den can be utilized as an office or even 3rd bedroom. Larger lot with low maintenance gardens with drip system. Don’t miss the opportunity to own this home. Solar home, prepaid by the builder for 20 yrs, 14 yrs remaining. Trilogy offers so many amenities with a low monthly HOA fee. 2 swimming pools/spas, tennis & bocce ball courts, billiards, & a gym, and a playground for grandchildren. Cafe/restaurant are in the development so just drive your golf cart & never leave the site.

JUST LISTED – 147 Gardiner Way, Rio Vista

$550,000 – Custom Craftsman Cottage, w/detached carport, 70 ft driveway, workshop & studio on a shy 1/4 acre lot. 3 bedroom, possibly 4, with 2 baths, painted in vibrant colors. Laminate floors & white blinds brings out the artsy homeowner. Kitchen has painted cabinets & bead board walls/backsplash, Corian counters with added cabinetry. Main bath has a stall tile shower & separate tub, quartz counters with white cabinets. 2 bedrooms have built-in cabinets & new laminate floors/fans. The family room can be the 4th bedroom/bath also has a tiled shower. FM also has a wood burning stove w/built-ins. Sunroom can be a great entertaining spot along with the large patio that has room for a built in kitchen/BBQ. The workshop has wall air conditioner, dark room with grey water sink. The She craft/studio room can be utilized for crafting or potting area. Homeowner has built numerous planter boxes for the gardener. YES, room for your RV/toys, carport with garage door. Don’t pass up this home!! READ MORE

FOR SALE – 125 Sequoia Ct. Rio Vista, 4 bds/2 bths/1,422sf

125 SEQUOIA CT, Rio Vista
125 SEQUOIA CT, Rio Vista

Asking $485,000. Are you looking to move to a little country town? Well look no further, Rio Vista, located on the Sacramento River, offers the old fashion town with parades and is even known for the Bass Derby. This 4 bedroom & 2 bath home located in a cul-de-sac provides that country feel. This home was renovated in 2019 with cabinetry, granite counters, laminate floors, and HVAC. Bring your water toys!! READ MORE

FOR SALE – 514 Montezuma St. Rio Vista

514 Montezuma St, Rio Vista
514 Montezuma St, Rio Vista

$305,000. Don’t miss this opportunity to purchase a fixer to flip. 2 bedrooms/2baths and single car garage with alley access. Kitchen has had a remodeled, oak cabinets, dishwasher, disposal, & gas stove. Home has all new double pane windows. Refrigerator, washer/dryer convey. READ MORE

FOR SALE – 30 S 2nd St. Rio Vista
Residence and Commercial Building

30 S 2nd St. Rio Vista
30 S 2nd St. Rio Vista

Price Change $655,000 – Are you looking for a home and in need of a business space? Or perhaps a home with a possibility of in-law quarters? This home might meet those requirements. Victorian style home with partial wrap-around porch provides a cozy place for morning coffee or afternoon beverage. 2 bedrooms up with 1.5 baths on the main floor. The possible room upstairs to add at a minimum 1/2 bath. Laminate flooring on the main floor with carpeted stairway & in bedrooms. HVAC & tankless water heater with inside laundry. 2nd building has been used as a commercial, however, could be added onto & remodeled to be ADU/2nd unit. READ MORE

Events in Northern California this Week-End

Haggin Museum Free Admission Day
Sat, Jul 23, 12 – 5 PM
1201 N Pershing Ave, Stockton, CA

There is so much to explore at the Haggin Museum! You can explore Stockton’s regional history, walk the beautiful grounds, or see the current art exhibition. And you can do all of this for FREE every first Saturday of the month! Visit the Haggin Museum website for more information. READ MORE

“Christmas in July with Annie”

Gallo Center in Modesto

Saturday, July 23, 2022, Sunday, July 24, 2022

Extend the magical experience of the performance with an exclusive onstage opportunity after select performances of Annie!

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Sunday, July 24, 2022

This $10.00 VIP event includes:

  • Entry to the event for one child and one adult. All children (16 years of age or younger) must have a ticket and all children must be accompanied by an adult. Adults attending without a child must each have their own ticket.
  • A meet and greet and photo opportunity with select cast members.
  • A gift bag including a sweet surprise and exclusive opportunities for additional Gallo Center Arts Education events.


2022 Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music

Jul 24, 7 PM – Aug 7, 9 PM
Civic Auditorium, 307 Church St, Santa Cruz, CA

“Cabrillo’s music reflects our times—our personal and universal challenges, desires, strivings and experiences… It speaks to the urgent issues of now, inspiring, awakening and stretching us.” —Monterey County Herald

Music Of Our Time, For Our Time – Back to Live!

Cabrillo Festival celebrates its 60th anniversary with a return to a live, in-person season and a program of timely, topical, and thought-provoking new works. Join us in Santa Cruz July 24 – August 7 for two weeks of concerts, talks, rehearsals and more! Led by Grammy Award-winning Music Director and Conductor Cristian Măcelaru, the 60th anniversary season includes works by twelve American composers, a stunning roster of soloists, three world premiere commissions, seven West Coast premieres and YOU, our audience! READ MORE ~ Purchase Tickets

Dinkelspiel Auditorium, 471 Lagunita Dr, Stanford, CA

Celebrating SJW’s 50th Anniversary

The Stanford Jazz Festival is back! Tickets are on sale for Eliane Elias, Anat Cohen, Wycliffe Gordon, Dianne Reeves, Bobby McFerrin, Charles McPherson, Kenny Barron, Ben Goldberg, Shemekia Copeland, and dozens more great jazz artists. Be sure to join us for opening night on June 18 with the Eliane Elias Quartet in Bing Concert Hall! Tickets on sale now. On-line sales only. No phone orders. No in-person sales at ticket office. Current Inner Circle Members can order tickets now Become a member and get benefits. READ MORE

Concert in the Pines, Twain Harte

Saturday 07/23/2022, 6:00 pm
Eproson Park 22901 Meadow Drive, Twain Harte

Twain Harte’s Concerts in the Pines- Presented by the Twain Harte Area Chamber of Commerce says this year a portion of the proceeds will go to Twain Harte elementary music program. “We couldn’t do this without the support of our wonderful community & are also appreciative of anyone who would like to volunteer to help make these events a success for all. READ MORE

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