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Home Buying Checklist

Here's a step-by-step checklist to help you go through the home buying process & avoid the most common problems

Getting ready to buy a home? Or already started the homebuying process and looking for guidance?

The best advice when you start house hunting is to have a plan. As you look at homes your priorities can certainly change, but you should start with a list to keep you on track. You can use the simple home buying checklist below to guide you step-by-step through the entire process. Then you can relax and focus on the important details!

(If you would like to print a copy of this checklist, here is a printer-friendly version).

1) Create your "dream home" wish list

___________size of house

___________number of bedrooms


___________location (neighborhood or secluded, city or rural, etc)

___________house style(s)

___________price range

___________other important factors



2) Pay off as much debt as possible

___________student loans

___________credit cards

___________other loans/debt

3) Get a free copy of your credit report from all 3 credit agencies

___________get a free copy of your credit report




Do you want to get the lowest rate
on a home loan or refinance?

Most people just call their local bank and get their mortgage there. But that usually won't get you the lowest rate. Your best option is to shop around & compare your options online:

  • You can compare up to 5 different quotes.
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4) Clean up your credit report as much as possible

___________remove errors

___________remove negative items

5) Hire a real estate agent

___________meet & interview

___________compare several agents

___________sign agreement to represent you as a home buyer

6) Get pre-qualified for a mortgage

___________apply online or at your local bank

___________compare interest rates

___________compare fees

___________get letter of "pre-qualification"

7) Start house hunting

___________MLS listings from your realtor


___________online listings

___________drive through town

___________supermarket "freebies" (real estate listings magazines)

8) Make an offer to buy the home you want

___________compare house values (

___________make an offer you can afford & is reasonable (not necessarily the maximum you can borrow)

9) Get a home inspection

___________hire a professional (preferably an engineer if you can afford)

___________observe the inspector during the inspection and ask questions

___________read the report very carefully

___________negotiate any problems the sellers may need to fix

10) Get homeowners insurance

___________get several quotes & compare premiums

___________discuss your needs with insurance agent to get the right coverage

11) Hire an attorney

___________contact several real estate attorneys and compare fees and services

12) Do a final walk through

___________"walk through" the house before closing

___________make sure any problems negotiated after the inspection are fixed

___________make sure nothing has changed, nothing is missing that should stay, etc.

13) Get ready for closing

___________set the closing date

___________contact your attorney to complete any paperwork

___________attend closing (with realtor), sign all paperwork & obtain the keys to the house

14) Start packing

___________pack your belongings

___________compare movers or prepare to move yourself

___________consider that your new house may need some work before unpacking (cleaning, painting, etc.)

15) Enjoy your new home!

___________call your inspector if something important was missed during inspection

___________enjoy your home!

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