Navigating House Hunting: Lender Answers First-Time Buyer's Questions

The journey of home buying can be simultaneously thrilling & overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time. We asked a potential first time home buyer to share some of their concerns when looking into this process. Our guest writer is a well-respected local mortgage loan originator, her name is Shelby Parkhill and she is here to help. 

First, an intro to Shelby:

Growing up in a mortgage family, Shelby Parkhill’s mortgage roots run deep! After watching her mom run a successful mortgage business for over 40 years in Denver, it was a clear career path after graduating from the University of Oregon's Business School. Shelby has been recognized as a 'Top 1% of Mortgage Loan Originators Nationwide' since 2020 by Scotsman Guide. Her success can be attributed to her genuine passion of helping friends and clients build wealth through Colorado real estate, one property at a time. Through personally ‘House Hacking’, Shelby turned her first, 800 square foot home into a multi-property real estate portfolio. She is particularly passionate about helping first-time homebuyers achieve the same results and regularly teaches classes on First-Time Home buying and House Hacking strategies! When she is not working, Shelby spends her time hiking, skiing, gardening, and hanging out with her golden retrievers, Moose and Luna, and her house-flipping husband, Joey!

Now, let's see what Shelby had to say: 

1. First time home buyer: "I've been told it's too hard to own a home and be self-employed. Is it possible and if so, what should I do to prepare? "

Shelby: "Being self employed can add a few layers to the home buying process, but it is certainly not impossible! As a rule of thumb, lenders prefer to see two full years of self-employment history as well as two years of filed tax returns. Typically, the lender will review the most recent two years of tax returns and average the net income from both years as an estimate for what the buyer’s annual income will be moving forward."

2. First time home buyer: "What is net income?"

Shelby: "It is important to understand that lenders refer to net income, which is the income that is reported after all write offs and expenses are deducted, not gross income. That said, if home buying is a goal for you in the near future, limiting your business write offs and expenses may be advantageous. If you are self-employed, it is never too early to speak to a mortgage lender to understand how to prepare for a home purchase given your specific situation and make sure you have a great CPA you trust to help aid you in the process!"

3.  First time home buyer: "Where do I start if I've never owned a home and I want to explore options?"

Shelby: "If you have never owned a home, it can feel very daunting and confusing to know where to start. The very first step someone should take when they want to buy a home in the future, is speak to a local mortgage lender. It is never too early to speak to a lender, I typically suggest connecting with a lender no later than 4 months from when you want to be in a home, but 6 months to a year is best! The lender will be able to walk you through the home buying process and gather information on your income, credit and assets to help identify the best loan options for your personal situation! It is very important to work with a lender that is local to where you plan to buy as there are often specific programs to that city/county that you may want to take advantage of! After connecting with a local lender and obtaining a mortgage pre-approval, the fun part begins! This is when you can connect with a real estate agent and start your home search."

4.  First time home buyer: "How do I find a good lender?"

Shelby: "There is no better way to find a lender than from a referral from a real estate agent, friend or family member. Always check out the lender’s reviews to make sure they have a great reputation and happy clients!"


Shelby's website | View her reviews | Phone: 303-916-2051 | Email: [email protected] 


The information presented here is for general knowledge purposes only and should not be considered as financial advice. Before making any financial decisions, consult a certified financial advisor to tailor advice to your specific situation.

If you would like to stay in the know on home ownership classes, email [email protected]

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