Find Your Home Sweet Home

Are you searching for your perfect home?

The following tips can reveal your home needs to help you focus your search on the right property.

Water color house and sun
STEP 1: What Can You Afford?
  • Check Your Credit Report
    • Get copies of your credit reports before you begin loan shopping.
    • Get any mistakes you find corrected. You will work with the credit reporting agency(ies) that list the incorrect information.
  • Understand Your Finances
    • How much you make, how much you owe, how much you have, how much you spend each month.
    • Make your plan for the down payment and closing costs.

Federal law entitles you to one free copy of your credit report, every 12 months, from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies. Click the button above to get started. It will take a bit of your time but you will see what the credit bureaus have about your credit history.

STEP 2: Build Your Team
  • Find a Real Estate Agent
    • Your real estate agent is a partner in this process—find someone you are comfortable with.
    • Ask friends, family, and colleagues for references.
  • Find a Lender
    • Your lender is the other partner in this process—find someone you trust.
    • Shop lenders’ terms so you will know who is competitive.
STEP 3: What’s Right for You
  • What type of home fits your lifestyle and budget?
    • Single-Family Home
    • Manufactured Home
    • Condominium or Townhouse
      • Do you care if you pay HOA fees?
    • How much home maintenance do you want to do?
    • It may sound fun but—do you have the time and money for a fixer-upper?
  • Where do you want to live? It’s an important factor when looking for the right home.
    • In town, near schools and shopping.
    • On acreage where you can have a garden or animals.
    • How much time can you spend commuting each week or driving to visit family and friends?
STEP 4: Fund Your Purchase
  • Get Pre-approved—know what you can spend before you choose a home.
    • Complete your lender’s loan application, which requires details about your credit history, debt, work history, down payment, residential history.
    • Once approved, your lender will give you a pre-approval letter that states how much you are able to borrow.
      • Be sure to ask your lender how long the pre-approval is valid.
STEP 5: The Offer
  • Make Your Offer
    • Using their experience and comparing homes recently sold in the neighborhood, your real estate agent will help you determine a fair offer amount.
    • An offer letter is submitted to the seller’s agent, which includes a deadline to respond.
  • Negotiate Your Offer
    • The seller may counter your initial offer. Counter offers typically ask for more money or to adjust the closing date.
    • With your input, your agent will negotiate for the most favorable terms.
  • Sign the Purchase Agreement
    • Once the purchase price and other terms are agreed to, all parties sign the purchase agreement.
    • You are now in a binding contract with the seller.
  • Secure Funding
    • Provide your lender a copy of the signed purchase agreement.
    • Work with your lender to finalize the loan process and obtain final mortgage approval.
STEP 6: Appraisal and Inspections
  • Home Appraisal
    • A professional appraiser will determine the home’s value.
      • The value is based on the home’s condition and comparable homes in the neighborhood.
    • The home’s appraised value and the loan amount should be the same.
    • It’s recommended the home purchase be contingent on the appraisal.
  • Home Inspection
    • A certified home inspector will:
      • examine the home’s major systems and components.
      • report on the condition of the structure and recommend repairs or maintenance.
    • With your real estate agent, you decide what you want the seller to fix and what you can accept.
    • It’s recommended the home purchase be contingent on the home inspection.
STEP 7: Closing
  • After your loan is approved, your lender will schedule closing.
    • This is the final step to homeownership:
      • all parties sign the final documents,
      • transfer money,
      • legally transfer the property, and keys, to you.
    • Congratulations! You are the proud owner of your own home.
STEP 8: Move In
  • Before closing, transfer the utilities to your new home.
  • Have your mail forwarded.
  • Arrange a place for pets to stay during the confusion of moving and unpacking.
    • Your real estate agent can provide contact information.
STEP 9: Love Your Place
  • Explore and introduce yourself to neighbors.
  • Seek out groups and organizations that share your interests.
  • Check the area’s calendar of events to plan an outing.
  • Find local hiking trails and dog parks.
  • Frequent the locally owned eateries.
  • Visit the farmers’ market or weekend swap meet.