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Buying: What You Need

uying a house is a long, complicated process with lots of paperwork and steps. Whether you’re buying for the
first time or you’ve done it half a dozen times, the process can get overwhelming. But there are plenty of available
resources to enjoy you check all the boxes, ask the right questions and end up with a home you love and can afford.

U.S. News and World
Report released a Guide to
Buying a Home, which
walks homebuyers through
what they need to know
when beginning. Start with
people. You’ll need:
A real estate agent:
Especially for first-time
homebuyers, a real estate
agent is critical to making
homebuying more pleasant
and less stressful. Your
agent has a wealth of
knowledge about questions
you should ask, the timeline, what to look for as
you’re looking for houses
and more. He or she also
will be your negotiator with
the seller and handle all the
paperwork. You are hiring
this person, so look for recommendations from people
you trust and don’t be afraid
to interview a few agents to
find someone with whom
you trust.
A lender: You can start
with your own bank or talk
to your real estate agent
about good lenders in your
area. Find a lender early,
even before finding a house;
many sellers won’t entertain
an offer if it doesn’t include
pre-approval from the buyer’s lender. To get that,
you’ll need several documents and a credit check,

all of which can take time.
In the way of paperwork,
you’ll need bank statements
for all of your accounts,
including retirement
accounts, for all the people
whose names will be on the
loan. You’ll also need
income tax returns and pay

stubs, as well as documentation for any other income
or debt you have. Lenders
want to make sure you have
the means to make your
payments.
Finally, you need to know
what you want. Start with
your budget; figure out how

much you can afford to pay
each month, including
insurance, property taxes
and mortgage insurance
and determine how much
you can pay up front for a
down payment. From there,
consider your needs and
wants in a house: number

of bedrooms and bathrooms, whether you want a
garage or a big yard or
kitchen, what neighborhood
or school district you’d like
to live in, the commute to
work, and so on.

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