7 steps to buying a house

Check these items off your list as you go through the home-buying process.
 
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1. Decide if you’re ready to buy.
How long will you be in your current location? Do you want the responsibility of maintenance that owning your own home brings?
 
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2. Hire a real estate agent.
They can help you understand the process, provide you with invaluable information and help negotiate your deal.
 
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3. Determine your down payment.
You don’t have to put 20% down, but a higher down payment usually means a lower monthly payment.
 
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4. Figure out your budget.
How much can you afford to spend on non-mortgage costs, such as utilities, insurance and lawn care?
 
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5. Consider getting prequalified and then later preapproved for a mortgage.
These steps allow you to understand how large a mortgage you can obtain and can make your offer more attractive to sellers. Don’t forget to shop around to find the most competitive mortgage rates.
 
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6. Re-evaluate.
If your numbers weren’t as good as you were hoping for, would you be better suited to save for a while and then see if you’re in better shape?
 
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7. Get a home inspection.
Once you’ve made an offer that’s been accepted, have a professional make sure the house is still in good shape. You may be able to negotiate major repairs with the seller or pull out of the contract.
 
 
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