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First, make sure your credit record is good enough for lenders to consider giving you a loan. Get a copy of your credit report in advance. (You can do this online for free at www.annualcreditreport.com). If your credit history is not so great, you still may be able to get a loan. FHA loans are easier to qualify for than conventional loans. If your credit is really poor, you probably won't be able to buy a home until you improve your credit scores and credit.
Figuring out what you want. Make two lists: those things that you want and those things that you need. There is a difference between the two. Decide what you must have and those things that would be nice to have. Below are a couple of examples:
What can you Afford? You will need to find out how much you can afford to pay monthly for your house payment. Talk to two or three different lenders. Your house payment will include the principle (the actual loan), the interest on the loan, and most of the time it will also include the property taxes that are due each year (divided by 12 months) and your homeowner's insurance.
The most important step - Get your financing taken care of before you start looking in earnest. Few sellers will even consider an offer without a pre-approval letter from the buyer's lender. You may also have to show what is called "proof of funds" or proof that you have the cash necessary for closing the transaction (closing costs and down payment).
Starting the house hunt. Now that you have an idea of what you can afford, you can decide what type of home you would like - a condo or townhouse or a detached single family home. If you haven't found one yet, now is the time to find a good Realtor. You need the best Realtor - Call Pedersen Real Estate. We will help you to know what to look for and what to avoid, provide reliable references for other experts you'll need along the line and will represent you in negotiations and throughout the entire transaction.
The fees associated with the buying or selling of a home are called closing costs. Certain fees are automatically assigned to either the buyer or the seller or both; other costs are either negotiable or dictated by local custom. Both the buyer and the seller have closing costs.
Buyer closing costs
When a buyer applies for a loan, lenders are required to provide them with a good-faith estimate of the closing costs. The fees vary according to several factors, including the type of loan they applied for and the terms of the purchase agreement. Some of the closing costs, especially those associated with the loan application, are actually paid in advance. There are other costs that buyers will have that are not associated with their loan. Some typical buyer closing costs include:
Loan fees (points, application fee, credit report)
Mortgage insurance (typically 1 years premium plus an escrow of 2 months)
Hazard insurance (typically 1 years premium plus an escrow of 2 months)
Title insurance (required by your lender) - not required if you are paying all cash
Transfer taxes (County and City)
Typically the buyer has to pay for lender title insurance. This is not required if you are an all cash buyer. Here's a video to explain title insurance and why you need it.
Read our blog post about why buyers should use a buyers agent instead of the listing agent