You've found the right home in the right location and now you're ready to make an offer. Learn what steps to take to make the home yours.
Step 1: Choose a real estate agent Select a real estate agent who is willing to accommodate your needs and specializes in brokering the type of property you're looking for.
Step 2: Get prequalified Get pre-approved for a loan so you'll know exactly what you can afford.
TIP: Be prepared to put down between 5 and 20 percent as a down payment, depending on the type of loan and your credit rating.
Step 3: Research available homes Use your city's Multiple Listing Service to find and tour available homes.
Step 4: Select home Choose the home you want to bid on. Your agent will find comparable sales in the area to determine a good starting bid.
Step 5: Make bid Determine your bid price. Include your move-in timeline; the deposit, or earnest money amount, you'll pay; inspection and financial contingencies; and items, such as appliances, that you'll want included in the purchase price.
Step 6: Respond to the counteroffer Accept or decline any counteroffer the sellers submit. Once the haggling is finished and the contract is signed, a closing date will be set. Get ready to move in!
FACT: In 2009, one study about 20 percent of American homeowners – about 20 million residences – owed more than their homes were worth.