* Get a copy of your credit report and correct any errors.
* Reduce your consumer debt - pay down credit card balances.
* Assemble a cash down payment.
* Determine how much you can afford to pay for a home.
* Decide how much you are willing to spend for a home (different from how much you can afford).
* Get familiar with basic mortgage terms.
* Shop for a mortgage loan on the Internet.
* Get pre-approved or at least pre-qualified for a mortgage loan.
* Investigate neighborhoods where you want to look for a house.
* Consider neighborhood school quality and crime rates.
* Select two or three neighborhoods that meet your requirements.
When ready to shop:
* Find a real estate agent who specializes in the neighborhoods where you want to live.
* Work with your agent but also shop for a home at Internet sites such as HomeAdvisor and Realtor.com.
* Visit homes for sale and make notes.
* Get your agent's help in evaluating the asking price of homes you like.
* With the help of your real estate agent, write an Offer to Purchase.
* Complete all mortgage loan application requirements
Once you find a home:
* Hire an inspector to examine your prospective home.
* Accompany your inspector during the inspection.
* Get agreement on repairs to be made by the Seller
* Inspect repairs and handle other details prior to closing day.
* Hand over a certified check for the down payment and pick up the deed for your home.
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