Home buyers' guide: Nine steps to having the keys in your hand

The homebuying process can seem complicated, but if home-buyers take things step by step, you will soon be holding the keys to your own home!

These are the nine steps to buying a home:

- Figure out how much you can afford

- Know your rights

- Shop for a loan

- Learn about homebuying programs

- Shop for a home

- Make an offer

- Get a home inspection

- Shop for homeowners insurance

- Sign papers

Step 1: Figure out how much you can afford

What you can afford depends on your income, credit rating, current monthly expenses, downpayment and the interest rate. It is best to visit a lender to find out for sure.

Need help with your downpayment and/or closing costs? Look for assistance programs, such as through the State of Nevada Housing Division, at nvhousing

.state.nv.us/. Or visit the Nevada Rural Housing Program at nvrural.org/learning.html.

Step 2: Know your rights

Research the following: Fair Housing, Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, learn about borrower's rights and predatory lending to make sure you are treated fairly.

Step 3: Shop for a loan

Save money by doing your homework. Talk to several lenders, compare costs and interest rates, negotiate to get a better deal. Consider getting pre-approved for a loan. Also don't forget about federal programs when shopping for a loan.

Step 4: Learn about

homebuying programs

FHA loan programs offer lower downpayments and are a good option for first-time homebuyers. Many programs also are available in Nevada to help with downpayments.

Step 5: Shop for a home

After a large part of the paperwork is done, next it is time to find the perfect home for you and your family. First choose a real estate agent, then create a wish list of sorts " what features are you looking for on your dream home. Visit www.hud.gov/buying/wishlist.pdf for some ideas. Create a checklist and take this list with you when comparing homes. Visit hud.gov/buying/checklist.pdf for a prepared checklist.

Step 6: Make an offer

Discuss the process with your real estate agent. If the seller counters your offer, you may need to negotiate until you both agree to the terms of the sale.

Step 7: Get a home


Make your offer contingent on a home inspection. An inspection will tell you about the condition of the home, and can help you avoid buying a home that needs major repairs.

Step 8: Shop for

homeowners insurance

Lenders require that you have homeowners insurance. Be sure to shop around.

Step 9: Sign papers

You're finally ready to go to "settlement" or "closing." Be sure to read everything before you sign.


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