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10 Steps to Successful Home Ownership


If you are thinking of buying a home, there are steps you can follow to make home ownership a success.  Following these steps will guide you through process. 


Step 1: Are You Ready? - You are ready to buy a house when you have a stable income or job history of at least two years and money in your bank account.  Make sure that your bills don’t take more than about 30 per cent of your income. 


Step 2: Hire a Realtor – Just as you’d shop for a lender with the best financing option, it’s good to talk to more than one realtor.  A realtor commission is negotiable, and this comission might make a difference at negotiation time.  Choose the realtor that will represent your interests best, and will be available to answer your questions and guide you throughout the process.   


Step 3: Get Loan Pre-approval – Some sellers may want to know that you qualify for a house before accepting your offer and taking their house off the market. A loan pre-approval may be obtained from your loan officer.  A pre-approval is not the same as loan approval, and you still need to go through the loan process as well as lock in an interest rate to get final approval. 


Step 4: Search for Homes – Now the fun part begins!  Your realtor can help you find homes that fall within your price range through a multiple listing service or from her own listings, and even help you find for-sale-by-owner properties.  Be sure that you are looking at homes from a variety of sources, and not just one realtor’s listings, so you can identify the market. Your realtor will set up appointments to view houses and negotiate the best deal for you.  


Step 5: Choose a Home – Maybe the first house you looked at was the perfect one, or maybe you’ve found a dozen. Be sure to choose one that you qualify for and can comfortably afford. If you shop for a house that is just out of range, you may end up with a bad credit mortgage in order to qualify. Your realtor can negotiate to bring the sales price down or consider a different house. 


Step 6: Get Funding – Once you have chosen a house and know the asking price, talk to your loan officer and begin the loan application.  Since you’ve been prequalified, your loan officer has probably asked you most of the questions he needs to complete the application.  He may ask you for income and credit information so he can provide you with the best loan options. 


 Step 7: Make an Offer - Take the emotion out of home buying, and maintain objectivity so that you aren’t strapped with a house payment that is a struggle to make. Your realtor will write up the contract and present your offer to the sellers.  Hopefully your offer will be accepted, but if not you can choose to make a counter offer. 


Step 8: Get Insurance - Now that you have decided on a house and a loan program, it’s time to shop insurance.  Some insurance agents work with more than one company making shopping premium amounts easier.  When choosing coverage, get the amount that covers the replacement value of your house, not the entire property value.  Your property value includes the lot or land, and you don’t need insurance for the dirt!  


Step 9: Close the Deal – When closing your real estate transaction, you will  go to a title company or lawyer’s office.  Even most mortgage refinance closings take place at a title company.  The title agent will walk you through all of the papers you need to sign, and your agent will be there with you too, to help answer any questions you may have. 


Step 10: Avoid Foreclosure – Even though a mortgage refinancing may help you lower your payment later on, it’s better to start out with a payment you can afford.  By making your house payments on time, you can avoid foreclosure. 


Following these 10 steps can help you toward successful home ownership. 


  10 Steps to Home Ownership:

Step 1: Are You Ready?

Step 2: Hire a Realtor

Step 3: Get Loan Pre-approval

Step 4: Search for Homes

Step 5: Choose a Home

Step 6: Obtain a mortgage

Step 7: Make an Offer

Step 8: Insure Your Home

Step 9: Close the Deal

Step 10: Avoid Foreclosure


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