Getting Pre-qualified - This first step is the most important.
Take the time to meet with a qualified mortgage lender and
allow them to determine how much of a monthly payment you
can afford based on your income and current obligations. Once
you know the payment and combined with your initial investment
(down payment), you will know how much of a home you can purchase.
When you find a home and it is in the price range that you
qualified for, it is a good feeling knowing that you can have
it. Also this process will put you in a stronger negotiating
position with the seller. You even might go so far as to get
pre-approved for that loan and that could influence
the seller on your offer over another's.
Finding the perfect home - Select a Realtor that you are
comfortable working with and confide in them what your must-haves
are and what you would like in your home. Be realistic. Start
your search with an open mind and disregard items such as
color of carpet in your search. You will probably find your
best choice of a home among the first five or ten homes you
view. Tell your Realtor your likes and dislikes so that they
can begin to narrow the search down to the home of your dreams.
Purchasing the Home - Here you will prepare an offer to
purchase the home. Have your Realtor prepare a comparative
market analysis of the neighborhood to justify fair market
value. Offer a realistic price based on that analysis. Remember,
there are no dumb sellers, just as there are no dumb buyers.
Closing Escrow - The sale is turned over to an escrow
officer who coordinates and packages the sellers, buyers,
property and lender data for a successful closing.