5 Steps for Buying a Home

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Here are five essential steps for a smooth process:


1. Get finances lined up.

Obtain copies of your credit report. Make sure the facts are correct, and fix any problems you find. Find a suitable lender or loan broker to get pre-approved for a loan, essential for a serious offer.

2. Find a property you can afford.

One rule of thumb is two-and-a-half times your annual income. Besides the principle and interest, estimate property taxes, energy and maintenance costs.

3. Hire an agent.

The Internet gives buyers unprecedented access to home listings and resources but there is no substitute for expertise in market changes, negotiating and managing the process to get you closed..

4. Get to know the market.

Before making a bid, do some research to determine the state of the market at large. Is it more favorable for sellers or buyers? Next, look at sales trends of similar homes in the area or neighborhood. Look at prices for the last few months. Come up with an asking price that’s competitive, but also realistic. Otherwise, you may end up ticking off your seller.

5. Choose for the long term.

Obviously, you shouldn’t buy unless you’re sure you’ll be staying put for at least a few years. Beyond that, you should buy in a neighborhood with good schools. Whether you have children or not, this will have an impact on your new home’s resale value down the line. When it comes to the house itself, you should hire your own home inspector, who can point out potential problems that could require costly repairs in the future.