Home Buying Checklist

FINDING YOUR DREAM HOME     Meet with your agent to discuss your needs, desired locations, timeline to buy, and the types of home repair you feel comfortable with. Broadly discuss your financing requirements so that your agent can recommend several loan officers and mortgage companies that can best meet your needs. Ask questions and learn about the buying process. Discuss how to best receive information when homes become available.

FINANCIAL PREPARATION      Select a long officer based on reputation and their ability to meet your mortgage needs. Meet with your selected loan officer to discuss your loan options and your "loan comfort level." Fill out and submit the necessary paperwork to be pre-approved. Deposit the necessary funds for an earnest money deposit in achecking account. Accumulate funds for a down payment/closing costs.

STUDY THE MARKET      Give your agent the maximum sales price that you and your loan officer determined is best for you. Have your agent e-mail listings to you daily that match your criteria. (While you may look elsewhere online, the listings sent from your agent will be the most timely and accurate.) Study the listings to develop a feel for market prices. Identify characteristics of neighborhoods that you would like to live in. Look at area traffic patterns during morning and evening commute. Ask your agent for average days-on-the-market and the difference between listed and sales prices for homes in your price range.

LOOKING IN EARNEST     Tour homes in your price range with your agent. Give feedback on your likes and dislikes so that you and your agent can narrow the search. Carry your checkbook and a loan qualification letter so you can act quickly when you find the home that you want to purchase. Carry your agent's business card to pass out in case you chance upon an open house or builder's model that you want to see. (By presenting the business card, you won't lose your agent's services and the representation if you decide to purchase.) Ask your agent to provide selling information for similar properties in the neighborhood so you can effectively price the offer. Consider making an offer if the home meets your top few criteria—there is no perfect house.