Ten Steps to Know   

Buying a new home is a fun and exciting adventure.  When starting to undertake the process, it may seem complex and somewhat intimidating.  We’ve broken it down into 10 simple steps in order to alleviate confusion and serve as a guide to buying your new home.

Here is a quick overview of the ten steps; small discussions on each follow:

  1. Set appropriate financial parameters
  2. Be aware of the rights to which you are entitled
  3. Research loan options
  4. Seek out services and programs to help purchase your home
  5. Find your perfect home!
  6. Make an offer
  7. Call the movers
  8. Schedule a home inspection
  9. Secure home owner’s insurance
  10. Make the commitment and sign the agreement
1.
  Setting financial parameter
  There are a few key variables that come into play when setting a price range for your new home.  Carefully consider your income, your monthly expenses, your credit rating, and a feasible down payment.  Be aware that different interest rates may affect these numbers.  If you need assistance, contact a local lender to review your financial information.
 
2.
  Your rights
  Educate yourself on the rights to which you are entitled, including Mortgage Borrowers' Rights and Predatory Lending.  Such information can be found online at business.gov or other government housing sites.  Key acts to be aware of include, but are not limited to, the Fair Housing Act and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA).
 
3.
  Research loan options
  Loans may be obtained from numerous venues; research several lenders to find the best fit for you.  Ask about interest rates, amortization options, and the cost of each loan.  Getting pre-approved is always a good idea.
 
4.
  Home buying programs
  Be sure to look up home buying programs in your state, as they do vary.  FHA homebuyer programs have low down payments, low closing costs, and easy credit qualifying, making them a good option for first time purchasers.  You can also look into the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which offers special programs that may be helpful. 
 
5.
  Find your new home
  A few helpful hints will help you find the right home.  Be sure to hire a real estate agent, make a list of the features and amenities you need, and use a checklist for easy comparison of different homes.  This link provides a concise checklist in pdf format http://www.hud.gov/buying/checklist.pdf
 
6.
  Making a purchase offer
  Discuss your initial offer with your real estate agent.  When using a real estate purchase contract form, keep in mind that they are not "standard”; look over them carefully and feel free to revise bits and pieces if necessary.  If the seller counter offers, make sure to include your real estate agent in the negotiation until a mutual price is decided.
 
7.
  Call the movers
  As with lenders, it pays to shop.  Call two or three moving companies to negotiate the best price.  Keep in mind that most movers require 3 to 4 weeks advance notice.
 
8.
  The home inspection
  Make sure to get a home inspection.  This ensures that the physical structure of the home is in good shape, and the findings may prevent you from buying a home that will need unforeseen reconstruction/repair.
 
9.
  Homeowner’s insurance
  Homeowner’s insurance is required when you purchase a new home.  Make sure to do your research to find the best provider as their rates and coverage vary considerably.  This website can help you find ways to reduce the cost: http://consumeraction.gov/caw_insurance_homeowner_renter.shtml
 
10.
  Make the commitment
  The final step is the closing.  Signing these papers is exciting as a new homeowner, but be sure to review everything thoroughly before you do, and only work with a reputable closer.
     
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