When you’re looking to buy a home, you’ll have some help in the form of your real estate agent, attorney and other people involved in the sale. Since you’re not the only client the real estate professionals are working with, you’ll need to know what the home buying process entails before you find yourself in a sticky situation because of a missed detail.

Find a Mortgage

Looking for a home loan before you’ve found a home will save you a lot of trouble and give you a clear picture of what houses you can afford. If you look at houses out of your price range, you’ll waste time and may miss the right house for you because your search is too broad.

You’ll want to find the best loan available to you, so make sure you compare quotes from different lenders. If you go through the pre-approval process, you’ll have proof of financing, which is leverage you can use when negotiating with sellers. You don’t have to take a mortgage out with the lender that pre-approved you if you find the best loan is with another lender.

Get a Lawyer

Ask friends and family members for names of lawyers they used for real estate deals. You can also check the directory for real estate lawyers maintained by your state bar association to find a lawyer in your area. Talk to more than one attorney before deciding which one to go with and make sure you compare the fees. Real estate lawyers usually charge a fixed fee to represent you in a deal

Compare Selling Prices and Asking Prices

Look at the prices the homes are selling for in the area you want to buy. You can contact a real estate agency for area sales sheets.

Once you have an idea of what homes sell for in the area you want to live in, look at the homes being offered. Make a list of homes that meet your budget and your needs but are not priced too much above the average selling price.

Get the Down Payment

You’ll need to have the down payment handy and the figure may be steep. Down payments average from 15 to 20 percent of the home’s sale price. While you may qualify for a loan with a lower down payment, try to have the funds ready just in case.

Find a Real Estate Agent

You’ll probably need a real estate agent, even if one isn’t technically required. Agents have access to listings you may not have and usually arrange home showings. Since both agents are paid by the seller, the agent’s main motivation is to sell the home. Find an agent who is honest, open and responsive to your questions and concerns.


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