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There comes a time in most people’s lives that they are ready to make a huge step and purchase a home. As this requires a lot of time and effort, you want to make sure that you’re ready to take that step and, if you are, that you have the information necessary to do so.

Do your research early on in this process and thoroughly. Start by combing through real estate websites, newspapers, and magazines that contain listings.  Mark the homes that immediately peak your interest and look at how long they’ve been on the market. Another thing to note is the listing price of a property. This can help provide you with an idea of the trends in whichever area you’re looking in.

This is perhaps the biggest part of purchasing a home. When approached, lenders generally recommend that buyers look for homes that are no more than three to five times the buyer’s annual income. Most real estate sales include putting down at least a 20% down payment on a house so you’ll want to make sure that you have at least that available. Take a look at your credit score and health to determine if there are areas that need to be improved upon before approaching lenders. One thing you can do is get a preapproval letter or become prequalified for a mortgage through a lender and build on that relationship.

This is the stage where you’ll start to actively look at houses. Make sure that if you’re looking at many properties that you take notes during showings. Ask questions about the property in regards to the plumbing and electrical system. You’ll want to know if there are any repairs that need to be made immediately or that could help you figure out how much you will offer on the house. A home inspection is almost always recommended to ensure you make the proper offer. Having a real estate agent that is experienced will help in this step.

Once you’ve found the home for you, select a lender and secure the funding for the purchase of the home. When that has gone through, make your offer! Hopefully, the seller will accept the offer and the sale can then enter into escrow and the journey of the paperwork will begin.

Buying a house is a huge thing to undertake but with a basic understanding of the process, you can seamlessly make your way through this journey and end up with a great home for a great price.