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  Four Steps to Purchasing a Home

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

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