Refer to this handy list to get you through the home buying process

1. Figure out how much house you can afford.

  • Calculate your monthly income and debt.
  • Check your credit report and FICO score.
  • Use a mortgage calculator to estimate your monthly payments.
  • Figure out your down payment.

2. Get pre-approved for a mortgage.

  • Choose a type of mortgage.
  • Search for lenders and mortgage brokers.
  • Shop for the best interest rates and programs.

3. Determine what you want and need in a home.

  • Location (downtown, urban, suburban, rural).
  • Type (single family, townhouse, condo, loft).
  • Determine your price range.

4. Research your target neighborhoods.

  • Search information on schools, taxes, etc.
  • Determine your work commute.
  • Scout local amenities, such as parks, shops and restaurants.

5. Work with your Sanford Alderfer Real Estate agent to search for available homes.

  • Browse listings online.
  • Ask your agent to set up tours of homes that fit your criteria.
  • Check local newspapers.

6. Research each home you want to buy.

  • Ask your agent for comps to estimate the property’s fair market value.
  • Ask the seller’s reason for selling.
  • Review all property disclosures.
  • Find out about liens, easements or other restrictions.

7. Make an offer and negotiate.

  • Determine the purchase price.
  • Include contingencies, such as financial or inspection.
  • Spell out any special requests and repairs you want included in the sale.
  • Determine an earnest money amount.Define a move-in date.
  • Once both parties agree to the terms, sign the Agreement of Sale.

8. Finalize the deal.

  • Get the house appraised.
  • Get a professional home inspection.
  • Consider getting specific inspections for structural engineering, roof and termites.
  • Use the appraisal and inspection reports to re-negotiate if necessary.
  • Choose a home company.
  • Complete the loan process with the lender.
  • Set aside cash for the closing costs and down payment.

9. Close the purchase.

  • Review the settlement document at least 2 days before closing to see how funds will be collected and distributed.
  • Do a walk-through inspection prior to closing.
  • Get a cashier’s check for the amount you need to bring to closing, including the down payment and closing costs.