Ready to be a Homeowner?

Buying a home, especially your first home, is a big decision and it can take a lot of work. But it can be easier if you’re prepared and know what you need to do.

Here are seven steps to help you buy a home:

Get your finances in order: Buying a home is an expensive proposition. And it can be more expensive if you don’t know what’s on your credit report. Our “What’s Your Score?”:/resources/CreditTool tool helps you understand your credit report and score and learn how to improve or maintain your score, which can mean big savings when buying a home. Other financial issues to consider include saving money for a down payment, the size of your emergency fund, factoring in other household expenses and learning about the mortgage industry.

Get pre-approved for a mortgage: It may seem a little out of order to apply for a mortgage before you shop for a home, but being pre-approved for a mortgage helps you know how much home you can afford and gives you an advantage when you make an offer on a home.

Decide what you need/want in a home: Single-family or condo? Existing home or new construction? Two, three or more bedrooms and how many bathrooms? And, of course, location.

Shop for a house and make an offer: A real estate agent can find you homes to visit, and you probably will find more than a few homes online that you want to see. Visit them, take notes and make comparisons. Once you’ve found a house that feels like it could be your home, your agent can help you write up an offer.

Inspection: Getting a home inspection is a critical step. The inspector assesses the structural condition of the property, including the foundation, roof, basement, electrical, plumbing and heating and cooling systems.

Close: To be ready for closing, you’ll need title insurance, homeowner’s insurance on the new house and finalize the mortgage you were pre approved for in Step 2. Then do a final walkthrough just before closing, sign the papers and you’re ready for the big final step.

Move in: And make it your home.