A Checklist for Home Buyers

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For most Americans, buying a house is the most complicated financial transaction they’ll ever be part of. There are literally dozens of issues to keep in mind when embarking on a home purchase, and keeping them in mind as the process moves ahead can make the difference between being satisfied with the home or developing a serious case of buyer’s remorse.

Buyers are in fact buying two things: a home and a mortgage. Shopping for a mortgage can be a complicated process in itself, but our focus here is on getting the home you want.

Real estate specialists at Trulia have developed a checklist of items to keep in mind as you go through dance that is buying a house.

The process begins with finding a real estate agent you want to work with. Then you need to think about the location of the house and what you want to include on your features list.

At the same time that you’re making these decisions, it’s a good idea to begin collecting the paperwork you’ll need to get a mortgage, begin shopping for a mortgage and, ultimately, get pre-approved for a loan.

Then comes finding a home inspector, either with the help of your real estate agent or on your own. Now is also the time to get a copy of any homeowner’s association rules, if you are considering buying into a condo or other neighborhood that imposes limits on what you can keep on or do with the property. Make sure to accompany the inspector when he or she visits the home you want so that you can ask detailed questions.

Now is the time to lock in your mortgage rate if you have chosen to do that, as well as to negotiate with the seller over any repairs that need to be made.

The lender will require an appraisal, and you’ll also have to line up homeowner’s insurance. With luck, your pre-approval will be at or below your negotiated price. If that works out, the mortgage loan is sent to the underwriter, who verifies everything and essentially approves the loan.

Then the closing and you get the keys. Congratulations!

For more details and a printable copy of Trulia’s checklist, along with more information about each of these steps, visit the Trulia website.