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Top 5 Things to Do
There are many checklists out there on buying a home—and most likely, as you start on this journey, you’ll find yourself creating one of your own. But we’ve boiled it down into a list of five key points to keep you on the right track during the home buying process.
1. Make basic decisions.
Decide where you want to live and how long you want to stay in your home. That means narrowing down which neighborhood you want to live in, the school district in which you are zoned and whether you want a single-family house, a condo or a brand new home. You don’t have to have a detailed plan before you start looking, but have some idea of where you’re headed. This will help you choose the domicile that will best suit your needs.
2. Start smart.
Get pre-approved for a mortgage before you begin looking at any homes. Your pre-approval lets you know how much money a bank or mortgage company will lend you. If you start looking for homes before you have a pre-approval, you’re setting yourself up for potential disappointment if you discover that you simply cannot afford a home with which you’ve fallen in love.
3. Assemble your team.
After you know where you want to live and you have your pre-approval, you’re ready to start looking. Make the most of this process by finding a good agent who knows the area—someone whom you like and trust and who really listens to what you’re saying.
4. Know your dealbreakers.
Unless you have an unlimited budget, you’re most likely going to need to compromise on certain things. Together with your spouse or partner, decide which things are the most important—from the number of bedrooms to the school district—and which things you can live without—like a gourmet kitchen or two-car garage.
5. Do your homework.
In real estate, knowledge is power. Ask questions, research and read. Hit the library, local bookstore or online book retailer to load up on homebuying information. Start reading the real estate section of your local paper, and make use of the real estate listings the internet has to offer.