Life 101: Buying a Home Here's your guide to finding your perfect house, taking on a mortgage and putting down roots. Read the full description of the infographic 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.