Navigating the Home-Buying Process

Buying a house can be complex and intimidating, especially when the market is tight.

A home buyer’s checklist can help you navigate the process in an organized fashion, assures you are prepared, and makes you feel more confident that you are getting the best home for your money.

Please review these basic guidelines for buying a house:

  • Remember, this house will be a home for you and your loved ones, a place to live, to feel safe and secure. Your home-buying decisions should always reflect this primary goal.
  • Learn the ABCs: Your home should be Affordable, Built well, and Comfortable.
  • Figure out how much house you can afford. Your debt-to-income ratio will help you determine what you can buy.
  • Create a budget so you know how much you can afford on a monthly basis. Your budget should include HOA fees (if any), property taxes, and the cost of utilities.
  • Know your credit score: with a higher score you may qualify for a lower interest rate.
  • Work with a real estate agent. An agent will go over the things you want and don’t want in a home, then try to match you with available homes in the area. He or she will also help you negotiate the price when you are ready to sign a contract.
  • Be informed. Ask lots of questions of your real estate agent, your lender, banker, and others involved in the process.
  • Know what you are buying; a home inspection is critical to determine what needs to be fixed or repaired prior to the sale.
  • Understand the property taxes and insurance requirements.
  • Choose a lender with a good reputation for stability and a passion for customer service.
  • Understand the loan you are getting. Read the fine print. There are fixed rates, loans with adjustable rates for different number of years, and several different government-guaranteed loans that may work for you.
  • Plan ahead for the expense, time and work of maintaining a home.

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