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You're Only 11 Steps Away From Buying a Home

A Step By Step Look at Home Buying

The specific way you progress through a home buying transaction varies depending on the real estate laws and customs where you live, but there are many home buying steps that are standard, even though they might not be accomplished in the same order in every location.

You'll feel more confident about your home buying journey when you understand what is required of you and every other person who is involved in the transaction. This guide takes you through it, and shows you that you're only 11 steps away from buying a home.

Step 1, Get Your Finances in Order

Your credit reports are an ongoing look at how you manage your finances. You must know exactly what your credit reports say about your financial history before you apply for a mortgage, because the reports play an important role in the mortgage approval process and in determining the interest rate and other loan terms that a lender offers you.

If you haven't looked at your credit reports, you might be surprised at their contents, because errors are common.

Background Reading

  1. What's on Your Credit Report and How Did it Get There?
  2. How To Check Your Credit Report
  3. Clean Up Your Credit Report
  4. Understanding Your Credit Scores
  5. How to Improve Your Credit Scores

Step 2, Get Familiar with the Mortgage Industry

Finding the right loan and lender is crucial to your home buying success. It's up to you to determine which lender is best for your needs, and it's always a good idea to have at least a bit of background about the loan process before you talk to a lender.

Background Reading

  1. What's the Difference Between a Mortgage Broker and a Bank Loan Officer?
  2. Understanding Your Debt to Income Ratio
  3. Should You Choose an Adjustable Rate Mortgage?
  4. FHA Loan Basics
  5. VA Home Loan Facts
  6. Bi-Weekly Mortgage Payment Plans
  7. Should You Really Buy Discount Points?
  8. Facts About Private Mortgage Insurance
  9. Will You Have a Mortgage or a Deed of Trust? Why Does it Matter?

  10. Watch Out for Loan Fraud

Step 3, Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

Do you know how much house you can afford? Probably not, unless you've talked with a lender.

Pre-approval helps you in other ways. Consider this scenario. A home seller gets two similar offers. One is accompanied by a letter from the buyer's bank that states she is pre-approved for a mortgage in the amount of the offer. The other has no supporting documents. Which offer do you think the seller will consider first?

Background Reading

  1. Pre-Qualification vs. Pre-Approval, Which Do You Need?
  2. Using Online Mortgage Calculators to Analyze Your Loan Possibilities

Step 4, Determine Your Wants and Needs

Buying a home isn't as difficult as you might think, even if you're short on funds, but the process will go a lot smoother if you get familiar with your real estate market and narrow down your wants and needs before you start looking at houses.

Background Reading

  1. Sort Out Your Wants and You Needs
  2. Considering Resale Potential
  3. When You Need Help with Downpayment Funds

Step 5, Learn to Work with Real Estate Agents

Real estate agents represent buyers, sellers, or both--and in some states they can work as neutral facilitators for either party. It's essential to understand agent duties and loyalties before you make that first phone call.

Background Reading

  1. Does Your Agent Work for You?
  2. How To Work with a Seller's Agent
  3. What You Should Expect from a Buyer's Agent
  4. How To Hire a Buyer's Agent
  5. How a Buyer's Agent Becomes a Dual Agent
  6. Common Myths About Working with Real Estate Agents
  7. Your Duties to Your Agent

  8. Dealing with Incompetent and Unethical People

On to page 2 to start searching, to formulate your offer, and to close on your new home.

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