1. Figure out how much house you can afford

  • Calculate your monthly income and debt.

  • Check your credit report and FICO score.

  • Figure out your down payment.

2. Get pre-approved for a mortgage

  • Choose a type of mortgage program that works best for you.

3. Find a realtor

  • If you aren’t currently working with a realtor, click on the Partners tab at the top of the page to request a real estate concierge.

4. Determine what you want and need in a home

  • Choose a location (downtown, suburban, rural, etc.).

  • Choose a home type (single family, two-story, townhouse, condo, tiny home, or loft).

  • Choose your price range.

  • Choose a size for your property.

  • Determine your target neighborhoods.

  • What to consider when searching for a home

  • Look online for information on schools, crime rate, traffic and zoning.

  • Determine your work commute.

  • Scout local amenities, such as parks, shops and restaurants.

5. Learn more about your desired neighborhood

  • Get referrals.

  • Browse listings online.

  • Ask your agent to set up tours of homes that fit your criteria.

  • Check local newspapers.

  • Pick up flyers and attend open houses.

  • Research each home you want to buy.

6. When you find that perfect home that you can afford, have your realtor put in an offer

  • Determine the purchase price.

  • Include contingencies, such as financial, inspection or purchase.

  • 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 Purchase and Sale Agreement.

7. 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 insurance company.

  • Complete the loan process with the lender.

  • Do a walk-through inspection prior to closing.

  • Set aside cash for the closing costs and down payment.

8. Close the deal and get ready to move in!


Note: Get a cashier's check for the amount you need to bring to closing, including the down payment and closing costs.