Get prequalified - Your lender will look at your income, credit scores, revolving debts, obligations such as child support as well as the type of loan you choose. Other factors that impact how much home you can buy is the down payment; smaller down payments mean higher monthly payments. Last, the interest rate and terms (15-30 year, fixed or adjustable rate) will determine what you can afford in monthly payments.
Make your wish list - Decide where you want to live and how many bedrooms and baths you'll need. Consider lifestyle - condominiums offer shared amenities, with little responsibility. Single-family homes offer more space and privacy, but much more exterior and yard maintenance.
Hire a real estate professional - Your real estate professional should be expert in the area where you want to live and familiar with the type of home you want to buy. Your agent has house-by-house experience in your neighborhood and can offer the best advice on homes in your range.
Select your home - No home is perfect, so don't let minor flaws influence you. Think long-term. Which home best suits the activities and needs of your household now and in the years ahead? Don't buy more than you need or can comfortably afford.
Make an offer - Your offer depends on the current market. If a home has been on the market a long time, you can ask the seller for a price reduction, but if it's new on the market, the seller is unlikely to accept a low offer. Ask your real estate professional for advice.
Get an inspection - A home inspection is a professional third-party opinion of the home's condition. The inspector will point out the age of systems, and large and small repairs that are needed, so you'll know what you're facing as the next owner.
Get an appraisal - The bank appraisal determines market value. If the home doesn't appraise for the purchase price, the bank will refuse to make the loan unless you renegotiate with the seller. If it appraises, the lender will move toward closing.
Go to closing - Once final negotiations are complete, the parties to the transaction meet at the escrow office. This could be a title company, real estate attorney, or whatever is customary in your area. All paperwork is signed by both parties. The lender pays the seller, minus any liens against the home such as the seller's mortgage. Once all the disbursements have been made, you get the keys to your new home, according to your agreement. Congratulations! You're ready to move into your new home