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Life 101: Buying a Home

Here's your guide to finding your perfect house, taking on a mortgage and putting down roots.


To get started, you need:

  • Money for a down payment. Most loans require 20 percent down.
  • Clean credit history. Pull your credit reports from all three bureaus and check for inaccuracies.
  • Mortgage pre-approval. Find a mortgage lender to help.

To-Do:

  • Choose your desired location.
  • Find a real estate agent to help you.
  • Set your price range.
  • Determine "nice-to-haves" and "non-negotiables" for your home.
  • Shop: Research available homes online, have your agent set up private appointments, and visit open houses.
  • Make an offer (and possibly negotiate, if there's a counter-offer).

Important questions to consider:

  • What are the property taxes?
  • How are the local schools?
  • What amenities are nearby—and how close do you want to be to the grocery store, restaurants, public transportation, etc.?
  • How do you define "move-in ready"?
  • Does your budget allow for immediate fixes?

Additional (potential) costs to think about:

  • Closing costs—up to 5 percent of the purchase price
  • Immediate repairs or cosmetic work
  • Larger renovations (right away or in the future)
  • Maintenance items (like a lawn mower and/or sprinkler for your new yard)

CLOSING THE SALE

  • Before you can officially make the house your home, you need to:
  • Make a "good faith" deposit, which takes the property off the market while the sale is being finalized.
  • Get a home inspection. If the inspector finds serious issues, negotiate for repairs or a lower price.
  • Have the bank schedule an appraisal to ensure a current property value.
  • Sign the paperwork.
  • Pay closing costs, such as loan-origination fees, title insurance, surveys, taxes, and credit report charges, and other costs, such as utility hook-ups and lock changes.

How State Farm can help this go right: Talk to your agent today about your new insurance needs and how to get your new home protected.


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