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8 steps to buying a home

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’s a basic look at 8 steps to buying a home, especially your first home:

1. 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. Educators Credit Union’s “What’s Your Score?” 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: saving money for a down payment, the size of your emergency fund, factoring in other household expenses and learning about the mortgage industry.

2. 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. If this is your first time buying a home, Educators has launched a new program just for you. Check out Educators first-time homebuyers’ program to find out more.

3. 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, the big one — location. There are many decisions that go into finding the right house. It’s good to have an idea of what you’re looking for before you start.

4. Find professionals to help in the process: If you’re a first-time homebuyer, you’re likely going to want to find a real estate agent. Having a real estate agent looking out for you can save you money in the long run. You also may want find a real estate attorney to review or prepare the offer or contract to purchase.

5. Shop for a house and make an offer: Your agent will 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. Educators Home Buying Guide has a house-hunting checklist and a worksheet that can help you make a decision. Once you’ve found a house that feels like it could be your home, your agent can help you write up an offer.

6. 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. Not getting a home inspection is asking for trouble. Talk to your agent about finding a qualified inspector.

7. Close: To be ready for closing, you’ll need title insurance, homeowner’s insurance on the new home and finalize the mortgage you were pre-approved for in Step 2. Then do a final walk-through just before closing, sign the papers (typically a LOT of papers) and you’re ready for the big final step.

8. Move in: And make it your home.

Check out Educators’ resource guides on Understanding Your Credit Score, Home Buying and Mortgages for more helpful information.

Call Educators’ at (262) 886-5900 or (414) 325-2500 and speak to a Mortgage representative.

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