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Home Buyer Checklist

  1. Decide Whether You’re Ready to Buy - If you’re a first-time buyer, weigh the pros and cons of homeownership versus renting and consider any future changes that may impact your financial situation.
  2. Find a Real Estate Agent - Interview a few agents and select someone you are comfortable with who has experience in the area you’re looking in.
  3. Get Prequalified and Pre-Approved - These steps help you determine a feasible price range and establish the mortgage amount you are qualified for.
  4. Get Your Credit in Order - Pre-approval will show how your credit score sizes up. If you need to improve it, speak with a financial consultant for the best ways to do so.
  5. Establish Your Price Range - Set a price window that won’t strain your budget but isn’t too conservative that you overlook opportunities you really can afford.
  6. Select a Mortgage Type - Review the several different home loan options and evaluate which works best with your financial situation and lifestyle.
  7. Choose Locations Where You Want to Look - Research neighborhoods beforehand to see what areas you like. Narrowing the scope can help your home search go quicker.
  8. Learn the Language - By familiarizing yourself with some of the acronyms and words used in real estate you’ll have an easier time deciphering listings. (Glossaries are available online)
  9. Assess Your Needs and Wants - Evaluate your preferences, such as what type of property and how many bedrooms you want. Decide what you can live without and what you really need.
  10. Conduct Listings Searches - Review listings that match your search criteria and weed out homes you’re not interested in seeing.
  11. Visit Homes with Potential - Have your agent schedule tours and bring a notepad and digital camera to record what you like/don’t like about each property.
  12. Make an Offer - If an offer is accepted it is set in stone, so only bid on a home you want and only offer what you are willing to pay.
  13. Have a Legal Review - Once an offer is accepted it becomes a legal contract. Have an attorney look it over to ensure everything is in order. Usually done within a few days of acceptance.
  14. Get a Home Inspection - Have a licensed home inspector go through the property. If its condition is unsatisfactory, you can withdraw from the contract or negotiate price/repairs with the seller.
  15. Get a Home Appraisal - You’ll need to have the home appraised to show your lender the value of the property is at least as much as your loan amount.
  16. Secure Homeowner’s Insurance - Apply far enough in advance to have proof of insurance at the time of closing.
  17. Schedule a Walk-Through - Do a walk-through right before closing to make sure the home is move-in ready and that any repairs needed after the home inspection were completed.
  18. Hire a Moving Company - Once you know the closing date, book your movers.
  19. Transfer Utilities - Call the various utility companies, Internet and phone providers, etc. to switch your services to the new address.
  20. Prepare for Closing - Find out what form of payment you need (cash, cashier’s check, etc.) and the exact amounts you need for fees, insurance, taxes, and down payment.

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