How To Buying A House: 15 Essential Steps

Buying a home is the most expensive purchase you’ll ever make. It’s also an emotional and potentially stressful experience for most people. There’s a lot of information you have to absorb to make wise home buying and financing decisions.

Be sure to read our how-to guide before getting started.

Step 1: Determine whether you are ready to buy a home

We aren’t going to pretend to tell you what you can and can’t afford when it comes to buying the home of your dreams. We are, however, asking you to take a careful look at your personal financial situation before you sign on the dotted line. 

As you have seen, all sorts of expenses are involved in buying a home, and you might be surprised at your total bill when all is said and done.

After you have purchased your home — and when you have your closing expenses behind you — you’ll be on the hook for a monthly house payment. This payment usually consists of three parts:

  • Mortgage payment: Included is a payment toward the loan principal and interest.
  • Property taxes: Many borrowers roll their annual property tax payments into their monthly mortgage payment, thus spreading the expense over an entire year instead of paying it all at once annually.
  • Insurance: All lenders require borrowers to obtain hazard insurance, which pays for the loss of your home if it were damaged or destroyed in a fire or other covered situation. You may also be required to pay for private mortgage insurance, which protects the lender in case you default on your mortgage.

If you are paying all three of these parts with your monthly payment, you are paying what is known, perhaps appropriately, as PITI, which stands for principal, interest, taxes, and insurance.

In the United States, a generally accepted affordability guideline can help you figure out whether you can really afford to buy that home of your dreams. According to the powers that be, you can afford to buy a particular home if your monthly housing expense does not exceed 30 percent of your gross monthly household income.

Consider an example. Let’s say you and your spouse both work and are taking home a total of $6,500 each month. You’ve got your eyes on a house that will require a monthly payment (including principal, interest, taxes, and insurance) of $2,500 each month. 

To determine whether you can afford this amount, divide your prospective monthly house payment of $2,500 by your monthly take-home pay of $6,500. You get a result of 38 percent, indicating that the house may be more than you can afford.

A number of factors may cause you to push the limits of housing affordability, including these:

Income changes: If you expect to experience an increase in household income sometime in the foreseeable future, you might decide to buy a home that exceeds the 30-percent affordability figure. Of course, if that expected raise or bonus doesn’t come through, you’ll be stuck in an unaffordable house with a monthly payment that might become increasingly hard to make — especially if your mortgage is an adjustable-rate one.

Location: Although the 30-percent figure might be relatively easy to achieve in more-affordable areas of the United States — such as the Midwest and the South — you will have a very hard time finding an affordable home in most large cities such as Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago, New York City, and Boston. Unfortunately, many people have been forced to buy unaffordable homes because they live in high-cost housing areas. If you live in a high-cost area, you may have little choice.

Equity growth: When times are good and housing prices are rising fast, the promise of building large amounts of equity (the difference between what your home is worth and what you owe for it) may be one reason to push the 30-percent affordability guideline. When times are bad, however, house prices can decline — sometimes dramatically — and you may find that you actually owe more for your home than it is worth (sometimes called being upside-down). Many home buyers are currently learning this lesson firsthand and are hurting because of it.

No one knows what the future will bring. You may be tempted to buy a home that costs more than you can afford, but any number of situations can turn your dream home into a nightmare. Many people are only a paycheck or two away from bankruptcy. It’s better to err on the side of buying a home that is just a bit too small, or one that’s a bit too old, or one that doesn’t have a pool or fancy kitchen than to buy a home that could put your finances in danger of collapse.

Step 2: Determine how much you can afford for a house

To buy a house, you need to figure out how much you can spend. There are many ways to start, but one of the best is to figure out your DTI ratio. Look at your debt and income and figure out how much money you can spend each month on a mortgage. Homeownership comes with a lot of costs that you do not have to think about when you are renting.

You will have to pay property taxes and purchase some type of insurance for your home. When you are figuring out how much money you can spend on a home, you should take these costs into consideration when figuring out how much you can afford.

Calculate Your PITI

To estimate how much you can expect to borrow, use the two basic guidelines that banks and mortgage companies follow. Their main guideline is that principal, interest, taxes, and insurance (PITI) shouldn’t exceed a set percent of your gross income (your pay before taxes), and they may set that as high as 30 to 40 percent. Let’s say that your gross income is $50,000 a year ($4,167 per month). 

Your principal, interest, property taxes, and insurance shouldn’t exceed $15,000 per year (with a 30 percent limit) or $1,250 per month using lender standards. However, you might want to consider how much of your net income (after taxes and deductions—your actual paycheck) you can afford to put toward housing. 

If your monthly after-tax income is $2,917 (70 percent of your gross income, for example), that mortgage payment takes up 43 percent of your net income every month. Property taxes can vary drastically between states and even between towns in the same state. You can call the town or city tax assessor and ask what the typical taxes would be on a house that’s in your approximate price range. 

Most states also offer online property tax estimators; find those by searching for “property tax estimator city-state,” with the area you’re looking into. The sales listing for a home you’re looking at may also yield some historical information —but that will change moving forward. Keep in mind that property taxes increase periodically, and that can increase your monthly mortgage payment, too, even if you have a fixed-rate loan.

The Debt-to-Income Ratio

The Debt-to-Income Ratio Your debt-to-income ratio, or DTI ratio, measures the percentage of your gross income that goes toward paying the debt. Most financial experts and lenders recommend keeping your DTI ratio under 36 percent of your gross income, but some lenders will let your DTI ratio be as high as 43 percent. You can calculate your DTI ratio by dividing your total monthly debt payments by your gross income.

What counts as debt here?

  • The new mortgage payment
  • Loan payments (including car, student, and personal loans)
  • Credit card payments
  • Alimony and child support
  • Any other monthly obligations (like back tax payments)

Total up your monthly debt payments, then divide that number by your monthly gross income. For example, if your total debt payments come to $2,600 and your monthly gross income is $6,250, your DTI ratio would be 41.6 percent.

20 Percent Down Payment

Saving up for a full 20 percent down payment helps your finances in several ways. You’ll get a better deal on your mortgage, you’ll have a big chunk of equity from the start, and you won’t be bothered with PMI, to name just a few of the financial benefits.

Check the Mortgage Calculator

Play around with an online mortgage calculator that will help you determine how much you can afford to pay for a house. Mortgage Calculator has an excellent calculator for this.

Step 3: Save for a down payment and closing costs

There are many ways to save for your new homes, such as through investments and savings accounts. In some cases, you can also use money from relatives to make your down payment (in this case, you will need to provide your lender with a deed of gift). What do you need to do before you buy a home? At this point, we will look at some of the big costs you’ll face and how much you should save for them.

Down Payment

Your down payment is a large, one-time payment that helps you buy a house. When someone can not pay their mortgage, many lenders require a down payment. This reduces the amount of money they would lose if someone does not pay. 

Many people think they have to make a 20% down payment to buy a home. They do not. Also, for many first-time home buyers, it is not possible to make a down payment of that amount. Fortunately, there are many options for people who can not afford to pay 20% for a home. A conventional loan can be had for as little as 3% of the home’s value. 

People who get a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan must put down at least 3.5%. Veterans Affairs (VA) loans and USDA loans even require you to make no down payment at all if you qualify. 

For one thing, this usually means that you have more mortgage options if you have a lot of money. It also usually means you pay less each month and have a lower interest rate. Also, if you have at least a 20% down payment on a conventional loan, you will not have to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI).

Closing costs

You also save on closing costs, which are the fees you pay to take out the loan. Closing costs can depend on many factors, but it’s usually a good idea to budget 3-6% of the property value. If you buy a home worth $200,000, you could pay $6,000 to $12,000 in closing costs. 

This depends on the type of loan you have, your lender, and where you live. Most people who buy a home have to pay for things like title insurance and the cost of an appraisal. If you get a government-backed loan, you usually have to pay an insurance fee or a finance charge upfront. 

Your lender will give you a document called a Closing Disclosure before you close on your loan. This document lists all the closing costs you will have to pay and how much you will have to pay at the end of the loan process. If your Closing Disclosure contains errors, you should review it carefully before closing so you know what to expect and can catch those errors in time.

Other Expenses Depending on Loan Type

The type of loan you have may also need special consideration. For example, before you can get a VA loan, you may need to have a pest inspection. 

Most lenders will schedule this for you and pass the cost on to you at the end of the loan. Buying a home comes with many costs that may seem small compared to the other costs. Make sure you have a reasonable budget.

Step 4: Decide which type of mortgage is best for you

A mortgage is a legal contract that describes the terms of the loan obtained to buy a piece of real property. Paying your mortgage will become an important goal for you; when it’s paid in full, you’ll own your property outright.

Mortgage payments are divided between the principal (the amount you borrowed) and interest (the cost of borrowing the money). Each month a little bit more gets applied to the principal balance. On a traditional thirty-year mortgage, the payments for the first twenty years or so will be more interest than principal. 

For example, on a thirty-year $100,000 mortgage at 4 percent interest, your payments in the first year would total $5,729, of which $3,968 would be for interest and only $1,761 for the principal. At the end of the year, you would still owe a balance of $98,239. Over the life of the thirty-year mortgage, you’d repay the $100,000 you borrowed plus $71,747 in interest, for a total of $171,747.

Private Mortgage Insurance

If it weren’t for private mortgage insurance (PMI), which protects the lender in case you’re unable to make the payments on your loan, you might not be able to buy a house for many years. 

Most lenders require a 20 percent down payment, so on a $100,000 loan, you’d be required to come up with approximately $20,000 for the down payment plus another $5,000 (or more) for closing costs. 

PMI, which ranges between 0.05 and 2.25 percent of your loan balance annually, helps you buy a house with as little as 5 to 10 percent down and is folded into your loan payments. Under federal law, your lender is required to automatically terminate PMI when your equity reaches 22 percent of the original appraised value of your home. 

To calculate what percent equity you have in your home, divide your loan balance by the appraised value and deduct this number from 100. If you bought your home after 1999, your lender must terminate your PMI when you reach 20 percent equity if you request it in writing. If you have an FHA or VA loan, PMI isn’t required because the federal government has already agreed to protect the lender if you default on your loan.

Mortgage Terms

Most mortgages are for fifteen, twenty, or thirty years with an interest rate that’s fixed over the life of the loan. Payments on fifteen- and twenty-year loans are somewhat higher than those on traditional thirty-year loans; you need a higher income to qualify for the shorter terms. The benefit of a shorter-term mortgage is that you build equity faster, pay off your mortgage years sooner, and save many tens of thousands of dollars.

If you can swing the payments comfortably, the shorter mortgage loan terms are definitely worthwhile. Not only will your house be paid off much more quickly; you’ll save tens of thousands of dollars in interest over the life of your loan.

To illustrate the difference between a thirty-year and a fifteen-year mortgage, take the example of a mortgage for $150,000 at 6 percent. The payment on a fifteen-year loan would be $1,266 per month, and the total interest paid over the life of the loan would be $77,359. 

The payment on a thirty-year mortgage for the same amount at the same interest rate would be $899 per month (a decrease of $367), and the total interest paid over the life of the loan would be $173,415 (an increase of $95,916). 

Moreover, interest rates on shorter-term mortgages are almost always lower than those on longer-term mortgages, so the difference between the total interest paid on the two loans in the example would actually be even greater.

Adjustable-Rate Mortgages

The interest rates on adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) vary over time. They often start out as much as 1.5 to 2 percentage points lower than the prevailing market rates and increase (or decrease) at predetermined intervals once the introductory rate period expires. 

The amount of increase (or decrease) depends on the index they’re tied to. The most commonly used indexes include one-year Treasury bills, LIBOR (London Interbank Offered Rate), or the CMT (Constant Maturity Treasury). 

The rate is fixed for a certain period (usually between six months and five years) and then adjusted periodically, such as every six months or once a year. The amount the rate can increase at each interval is usually capped, most often at 2 percent; for example, if your rate was 3 percent, it could increase to 5 percent. 

In addition, most ARM loans include a lifetime rate cap, which is typically 6 percentage points. In a time of rising interest rates, it can be disturbing to know that your rate—and therefore your monthly payment—can increase every year. 

Before taking out an ARM, be sure that you can afford the highest payment possible under the terms of the loan. ARMs might be a good option if you know you’ll only be in the house for a few years, but if you use one because you can’t qualify for a conventional mortgage, you’re risking the possible loss of your house.

Learn more about the difference between fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages.

Government-Backed Mortgages

Government loans such as FHA (Federal Housing Administration) and VA (Veterans Affairs) loans make homeownership possible for people who might not otherwise qualify for a mortgage. The federal government insures the loan, which is issued by a regular lender. 

FHA loans allow a smaller down payment than regular mortgages (3.5 percent rather than 10 or 20 percent), allow a higher debt percentage, and allow you to borrow the down payment and closing costs from a family member, which you can’t do legally with a regular mortgage. 

These loans also come with mortgage insurance premiums, including an up-front fee and regular monthly payments. You’ll need a credit score of at least 580 to qualify for an FHA loan. You can learn more on the FHA website at www.hud.gov.

VA loans are for active-duty military, veterans, and honorably discharged service members. Unlike other mortgage loans, these don’t require any down payment (though that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to put some money down if you can). 

They have even less stringent requirements on the income-to-debt ratio than FHA loans. Before you can apply for a VA home loan, you’ll need to get a VA loan Certificate of Eligibility, which you can do on the VA website at www.va.gov

Even though they’re insured by the government, FHA and VA loans are not always your best bet. If you have good credit, you should take a look at conventional loans from a bank or mortgage broker for comparison.

As you can see, there are many mortgage options, so it’s important to understand how each of the basic types would impact your payments. Don’t underestimate the impact of interest rates on your monthly payments. A $100,000 loan at 7 percent interest for thirty years would cost $665 per month.

The same loan at 8 percent interest would cost $734 per month, a difference of $24,840 over the life of a thirty-year mortgage. For most people, a standard thirty-year mortgage is a good choice. You’ll know what to expect each month, and you’re not taking any wild risks. If you really want to save on interest costs, you can go for the fifteen-year mortgage.

Step 5: Get Preapproved For A Mortgage

Before you start looking at houses, arm yourself with a mortgage preapproval letter from your lender. Sellers love preapproved buyers. 

That written thumbs-up from the lender shows the seller that you’re serious about buying their house, that you’ve already figured out how much house you can afford and how much money you can realistically borrow. Plus, it benefits you as much by speeding everything up once you’re ready to make an offer.

You’ll need to present a heap of paperwork to the mortgage company during the application process, which may include:

  • W-2 forms or other proof of income for the prior two years
  • Federal tax returns for the prior two years
  • Documentation for any other income you’re claiming, such as overtime, bonuses, child support, or alimony
  • A list of all your debts and financial obligations, such as credit cards, student loans, car loans, child support, or alimony, including the name of the creditor, balance owed, and minimum monthly payment
  • Copies of bank statements
  • Copies of investment account statements
  • Information showing the source of your down payment

Step 6: Locate the ideal real estate agent for you

There are many people who play a role in getting a mortgage and buying a house. Your real estate agent is there for you when you buy a house. He or she will help you find the right house for you, set up viewing appointments, help you write an offer, and negotiate. 

To work with a real estate agent for free, you usually have to pay him or her. In most cases, the seller pays the buyer’s real estate agent’s fee. The buyer’s agent usually receives 3% of the purchase price of the property. 

A real estate agent is there to help you learn how to buy a home. He will show you properties, write an offer letter on your behalf, and help you negotiate – these are just some of the things your agent will do for you. 

Real estate agents know the local market and can also help you figure out how much you should bid on each home. It is possible to buy a home without the help of a real estate agent. This is not a good idea, especially for first-time homebuyers. There are a lot of things to consider when buying a home. 

With a real estate agent on your side, you can learn about the real estate market, make a legally sound offer, and avoid paying too much for your home. 

How can you find a real estate agent that’s right for you? Start by getting advice from family and friends. The best way to get unbiased information about real estate agents in your area is to get it from people who know them.

Step 8: Begin looking for a house

Your real estate agent will help you find a home that fits your budget. It is a good idea to write down the things that are most important to you before you start looking for a house. Some of these things might depend on whether you are looking for a starter home or a home you will live in for a long time.

Here are some things to think about when looking for a home:

  • Price
  • The square footage
  • The condition of the home and whether or not it needs to be fixed.
  • There is a lot of public transportation.
  • The number of rooms
  • Swimming pool/backyard
  • Entertainment options in the area
  • Ranking of the local school district
  • Trends in property values
  • Taxes on the property or real estate

Make a list of your priorities, ordered from most important to least important, and show it to your realtor. Your realtor will then show you homes that meet your needs. Do not give up if the search for a new home takes longer than you thought. 

You are the only one who can decide which house is best for you. You can not decide for yourself. Look at a lot of houses before you make an offer. Most of the home buying process can be done online. This way, you can take care of a large part of your home search. Once you find a home that fits your needs and budget, it’s time to make an offer.

Step 9: Making and negotiating the purchase

Once you’ve found the house you want to buy, the next step is to make a bid. The bid will include the amount you are willing to pay for the house, the amount you will need to finance, and the time frame needed for the purchase. 

It would be wise to prequalify for the mortgage amount you feel you will need for the purchase so the seller knows you will most likely get the financing you require. Should the seller agree to the terms of the bid, the formal contract process will begin. It is common practice at this point for the prospective buyer to arrange for a home inspection of the premises from a qualified home engineer. 

This way you can determine if the “guts of the place” are sound (the heating, electrical, and plumbing systems, the foundation, roofs, walls, ceilings, etc.). It would be wise to accompany the home engineer on the inspection so you can ask whether certain problems are due to normal wear and tear or are serious problems that the seller must address in the contract of sale. 

The real estate contract should contain a few standard clauses, such as a list of whether certain items (window treatments, lighting fixtures, air conditioning units) are to remain on the premises after closing. In addition, the contract should contain confirmation that the heating, electrical, and plumbing systems, as well as all appliances, will be in working order for closing. 

All contracts should be conditioned upon two things: your ability to secure a specific amount of financing within a predetermined time period and the seller’s ability to deliver a clean title.

There is also the matter of the earnest money (which can range from $1,000 to 10 percent of the home price) that must be paid to the seller’s escrow company when the seller accepts the contract. Such an amount will be held in an escrow account until the closing and after the title is delivered to the homebuyer. 

If something goes wrong with the transaction (like the home inspection reveals severe flaws), then the earnest money should be returned to you unless it was nonrefundable (which can happen in a competitive buying market). 

The amount of the earnest money can be negotiated. At closing, that earnest money goes toward your down payment. 

Once all parties have executed the terms of the contract, you must obtain a mortgage commitment from a financial institution (your bank) and hire a title company or attorney to perform a title search. A title search makes sure there are no claims on the property, and confirms that the seller has full ownership of the property they’re selling you.

Step 10: Hire a Home Inspector

Lenders do not usually require a home inspection to get a loan, but you should still have one done before you buy a home. During a home inspection, an inspector goes through the house looking for things that need to be fixed. He or she will check electrical systems, make sure roofs are secure, appliances are working, and more. 

They will also do much more. After the inspection is complete, you will receive a list of things that need to be repaired. When you get the results of the inspection, go through each item line by line and look for the major deficiencies in each item. 

Before you buy a home, the seller should remove any defects that are hazardous to your health, such as lead paint or mold. If you can not come to an agreement, you may want to move on and consider other options. Tour the home with your realtor and ask if they have noticed any abnormalities. 

Remember that you will have to pay for any major repairs that need to be done after the sale. A toilet that will not flush or a sink that will not drain are not major problems. However, if your home inspection shows that the house has a major problem, such as cracks in the foundation or poorly installed windows, you might want to think about not buying it. 

Buying a home is a big deal, and many buyers include a home inspection clause in their offer. Such a clause gives buyers the opportunity to back out of the deal (or make repairs) without losing their down payment if the home inspection reveals major problems with the home.

Step 11: Get a Home Appraisal

A home appraisal is like a report on how much your house is worth now. The first thing you need to do before buying a home with a mortgage loan is to get an appraisal. Since lenders can not loan more money than a home is worth, an appraisal is necessary. 

It can be difficult to get money to buy your home if the appraised value is less than your offer. Be careful with your offer and consider disputing the appraisal results if you think the value is too low. However, you cannot be sure that an appraiser will agree with you. 

Buyers should also be careful to include a condition on the appraisal in their offer. Appraisal contingencies are often included in the contract so buyers can back out of the deal (or lower the price) without losing their deposit if the home is appraised at a lower value than the offer. 

That way, they do not lose the money they put down. As with inspection terms, appraisal terms can vary. So make sure you know what you are getting into before you sign.

Step 12: Request Repairs or Credits

Your inspection results might make it possible for us to ask the seller for help with a few of the things we found. We can do this after we look at them. Do this one of three ways:

  • Ask for a lower price because of the results.
  • Ask the seller to give you money to pay for some of your closing costs.

Finally, ask that the problems be fixed before you buy the house. Your real estate agent will tell the seller’s agent what you want. As long as you are buying a home listed for sale by the owner (FSBO), your agent will work directly with the seller. 

You may or may not get what you want from the seller. If the seller does not give you what you want, you’ll have to decide what to do next. A caveat in your offer letter means you can back out of the deal and keep your deposit.

Step 13: Final walkthrough

Even if you are 100% sure that you want to buy your new house, you should make a final inspection before buying. This is an opportunity to make sure that the seller has everything in order. Look around the house to make sure the seller has not forgotten anything. 

Check your repair areas if you asked for them. Be on the lookout for pests. Finally, double-check your home’s systems to make sure everything is in order. If everything is in order, you can confidently approach closing on the sale.

Step 14: Closing the deal

After your bank gives you a mortgage commitment and you have worked out all of the title issues present on your title report, you will be ready to schedule the closing. Just prior to the scheduled closing date, though, it is important to walk through the house to ensure that all of the seller’s commitments have been fulfilled. 

You must bring a paid homeowners insurance policy, enough money to cover the down payment and closing costs, as well as photo identification to the closing. The seller will prefer payment in the form of a cashier’s check or a certified check. 

These forms of payment are guaranteed by the bank or credit union on which the check is drawn. Once you receive an executed deed, you’ll get the keys to your new home.

Understanding Closing Costs

Closing costs are all of the costs associated with the transfer of the property, the processing of your mortgage, and the fees charged by those who make it all happen. Closing costs include:

  • Attorney’s fees (both your attorney and the lender’s attorney)
  • Title insurance policies for you and the lender
  • Property taxes and homeowners insurance that is placed in the lender’s escrow account (so that they’re available to pay when due)
  • Real estate commissions
  • Lender fees such as appraisal, processing fees, points, origination fees, land surveys, and interest from the settlement date until your first payment is due 
  • Deed and mortgage recording fees and mortgage tax

Closing costs vary by location but are typically 2 to 5 percent of your loan, so if you’re buying a $100,000 house, you can expect closing costs to be between $2,000 and $5,000. 

Like the down payment, closing costs must be paid at the time of purchase. Federal law requires lenders to provide you with a good faith estimate of your closing costs before you go to settlement.

Step 15: Be prepared for other expenses

Mortgage payments aren’t the only expense to consider when evaluating whether you can afford to buy a house and how much you can afford to spend. There are also:

  • Property taxes
  • Homeowners insurance
  • Repairs and maintenance
  • Utilities
  • Sewer and water bills
  • Major appliances
  • Landscaping and yard maintenance costs

Utilities can be very expensive if you live in a region of the country with extreme temperatures, such as the Northeast, where bone-chilling winters drive up heating costs, or in the South, where hot, humid summers run-up air conditioning bills. 

If you’ve been renting and are considering buying a house, try to think of all the things you’ll need to buy that you didn’t need when you had a landlord. You may need a lawnmower, weed whacker, chipper/shredder, leaf blower, rototiller, or other lawn and garden equipment; a washer and dryer, a new stove or refrigerator, or other household appliances; a snowblower or snowplow. 

Then there are the items that aren’t absolutely necessary but that you’ll want to have as soon as possible, such as window coverings (blinds, shades, or curtains) and new or additional furniture. If you’re buying a fixer-upper, you’ll need money for materials even if you intend to do most of the work yourself.  Learn more about the complete costs of buying a house.

FAQs about Purchasing a Home

How long would it take to buy a house from start to finish? 

On average, it takes about 5 to 6 months to buy a house from the start of the process to when you move in. This process may be shorter if you do a lot of the work ahead of time, if you’re selling another home at the same time, and if you’re paying with cash or getting a loan.

How much money should you have saved up before purchasing a home?

Before you buy a house, you should have enough money set aside in case of an emergency. These funds should be enough to cover at least two months’ worth of mortgage payments. You may have to make more payments to your lender based on the type of loan you’re applying for and how well you do.

Final Words

Before you can buy a house, a lot of things have to happen. There are a lot of things you need to do before you can become a homeowner and set a budget. The next step is to work with a lender to get pre-approved for a loan. Then, you’ll start looking for a home. It is best to have a good real estate agent on your side. 

Once you find a house, your agent will help you make an offer and negotiate with the seller. Once you reach an agreement, you will receive an appraisal and an inspection. Inspection: if it turns out there’s a big problem, you may want to ask for money or repairs from them. 

They will also inspect the house again before you buy it. As long as everything looks good, you can finally move on to the next step and enjoy your new role as a homeowner!

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