What should homebuyers know about buying a House?

Before you start looking for a house:

1. Find a lender and get a loan pre-approval letter.

2. Choose a real estate agent. This is crucial. Look for someone with experience, who will work with you to find what you want. Do not assume that a friend or relative is a good choice. Take your time, and interview prospective agents. (Agents work on commission, and are paid by the seller, not the buyer.)

3. Ask your agent to brief you on the prices and market conditions in your area.

While looking at houses:

4. For each house, think about your feelings and verbalize them. (This should be easy if you are a man.) As you learn more about your needs, tell your agent.

5. Recognize that choosing a house is both an emotional decision and a business decision. As you look for a house that feels right, remember to consider future resale value.

After finding a house you like:

6. Make sure you get proper inspections, even with new construction, and pay attention to the reports.

7. Read the purchase contract carefully. If you don't understand something, ask your agent for help. This is particularly important with respect to contingencies (conditions that must be met) and inspections.

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