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How to Buy a House

If you find trusted advisors and investigate your choice thoroughly, you’ll be thrilled with the first house you buy.


  • Step 1: Acquire your credit record Acquire your credit record and clean up anything you can, paying off loans if possible.
  • Step 2: Get pre-qualified Get pre-qualified by a mortgage company through an application process with a loan officer. Good candidates may be approved for a home price three times their yearly income.
  • TIP: Don't look for a house if you have not been in a job for at least two years and established a credit record
  • Step 3: Network to find a realtor Find a realtor you trust who knows the area you have chosen to look for a house.
  • Step 4: Get a disclosure Get a disclosure or list of problems from the seller of the home you have chosen. Consult your realtor’s list of comparable values in the area to determine what your offer will be.
  • Step 5: Make an offer Make an offer stipulating a satisfactory inspection of the home and an appraised value equal to or more than the purchase price. Have an inspection done, and expect the owner to fix any problems, or negotiates a new price.
  • Step 6: Search for insurance Search for insurance coverage once all purchase agreement contingencies have been removed. Before closing, review the final closing papers with your real estate agent and attorney.
  • TIP: Lenders can vary on origination fees and other loan costs so shop around for the best way to lower your monthly payment.
  • Step 7: Close it Close the deal at a title company chosen by the seller to finish the paperwork. Then pay the down payment, along with closing costs.
  • FACT: As of 2009, a tax credit of up to $8,000 is available for qualified first-time home buyers purchasing a principal residence before year’s end.

You Will Need

  • Your credit report
  • A mortgage company
  • A bank
  • A trusted real estate agent
  • A home inspector
  • Home insurance
  • An attorney

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