Contact your REALTOR®. He or she will be able to help you with all the important decisions that come with buying a home, like figuring out how much you can afford to spend or which neighborhood suits you best. Your REALTOR® can also walk you through closing procedures and answer any other questions you may have.
Research neighborhoods before you look at homes. If you have kids, schools are important, and if youíre relocating to a new area, youíll want to take the local job market into consideration. Your REALTOR® can tell you about area schools, property taxes and community amenities that you might not be aware of.
Decide which features you can't live without. No home is perfect, and by figuring out what matters most to you, youíll have an easier time narrowing down your choices.
Let the decision be yours and yours alone. While it can be helpful to ask the opinions of friends and family members, too many differing voices can confuse you. Be sure that the house you are buying is the house you want Ė after all, you are the one who will be living in it.
Get approved for a mortgage loan before you make an offer. By having the funds ready, youíll be more attractive to sellers. Your REALTOR® can explain different financing options to you and help you select the plan that best suits your needs.
Find out in advance what documents your lender will need. Being prepared to obtain a mortgage loan will save you time. Common documents include W-2 forms, bank statements and information on all outstanding balances (like credit cards and student loans). Your REALTOR® can provide you with a more in-depth list.
Get the house inspected. Be sure the seller has taken care of all the agreed-upon the repairs before you move in. Your REALTOR® can monitor these activities, so you can concentrate on moving into your new home.
Ask questions of your home inspector. You'll want to know what his or her qualifications are, whether he or she has a license, what the inspection will cover and how long it will take. Donít worry about seeming pushy; your main concern at this point is making sure the property you are about to buy is safe, secure and worth your money.
Make sure you understand all paperwork before signing it. It sounds obvious, but you can get yourself into a mess if you agree to something you didnít mean to. Your REALTOR® will able to explain the necessary paperwork to you if you have any questions.
Educate yourself on homeowners insurance. Some policies exclude damage caused by certain disasters, such as floods. If you live in an area where these disasters occur frequently, you may need supplemental coverage. Be familiar with terms like "liability," "replacement cost" and "actual cash value." The last thing you want in the wake of a tragedy is to find that you misunderstood your policy.