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NeighborWorks America Working Together for Strong Communities Keys to My Home

Homebuying Overview – Seven Steps

Step 1: Decide what kind of home you want and need. Determine your housing needs and wants according to your affordability before you go shopping.

Step 2: Shop for a home. You may choose to work with a real estate agent to help you
more easily find a home that fits your needs and your budget. Take your time, take notes and ask questions and narrow your search by looking carefully at property conditions, neighborhood qualities, and community services.

Step 3: Make an offer. When you finally find a house in your price range and decide what you are willing to pay for it, you will make an offer, or a written purchase proposal. An offer is usually accompanied by earnest money to show your intention to complete the sale.

Step 4: Get a professional home inspection. Once your offer is accepted, hire a professional home inspector to check the structural soundness of your property. If you made your purchase contract contingent on a satisfactory home inspection, you have options to address any problems with the house before you have to live with them. If the inspection shows major problems, you can cancel the sale and get your earnest money back. Or you can ask the seller to either make the repairs or give you a credit for the amount it would cost you to make them.

Step 5: Apply for a mortgage loan. Once you choose a lender and a loan program, you will complete a formal application at the lender’s office. For more information, review Finance Your Home.

Step 6: Obtain insurance and have additional inspections. You will have to shop for and buy homeowner's insurance to protect against losses that result from damage to your home or liability.

Step 7: Close the loan. The final step in the home purchase process is called the closing, or settlement. This is when the closing documents are signed, closing costs are paid, and the house keys are given to the new owner. It’s time to move in!