buyingFor many people, buying a home is the biggest financial transaction they’ll ever make. Doing it right the first time is very important. However, with the right knowledge, know- how and persistence, you can dream it, plan it, live it!

Step 1. Strengthen your credit. The higher your FICO score, which ranges from 300 to 850, the higher your score, the better interest rate you’ll qualify for.

Step 2. Get a free copy of your Credit Report so you can see what the lenders see on your credit history. Pay off credit cards and resolve any credit disputes or delinquencies.

Step 3. Get pre-approved to get the actual amount you can afford before contacting a Real Estate Agent apply to several lenders within a two week period so that the inquiries do not damage your credit report. Don’t accidentally get pre-qualified instead of pre-approved. There is a difference.

Step 4. Check if you qualify for first-time buyers’ programs. These are offered by various states and local governments, and/or you may have access to up to $10,000 from your 401(k) or Roth IRA without penalty.

Step 5. Talk to and retain an Attorney (optional). If you expect buying to be simple, & straightforward, then you’ll probably only need a realtor. But, if the home you are buying is either in foreclosure or in probate, your state may require an attorney at the closing.

Step 6: Find a good Real Estate Agent to represent you in your home search and negotiation process. Choose a real estate agent who is: amiable, open, interested, relaxed, confident, and qualified.

Step 7: Shop for your Home Start looking for houses within your price range. Allow your realtor to start working for you. The general rule is you can afford a house that is 2.5 times your annual salary.

Step 8: Start to think about what features you really want in your home. There are probably some particular details that you and your family should give good thought to.

Step 9: Visit a few Open Houses, gauge what’s on the market and get a feel for what you want. i.e. layout, # of bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen, amenities, storage etc.

Step 10: Look at comparable houses, as this will give you an idea about prices in the neighborhood you are considering.

Step 11: Make an Offer if you absolutely fall in love with a home, talk to your realtor whom can formally submit an offer to purchase for you. Include an earnest money deposit. Once the offer is signed, you are officially in escrow, which means you are committed to buying, Depending upon your mortgage loan approval.

Step 12: Schedule a home inspection completely and ensured that the contract is contingent on the outcome. You may use the home inspection report to negotiate your final agreed upon purchase price.

Step 13: Close escrow. This is usually conducted in an attorney’s office and involves signing documents related to the purchasing of the property.