1) Get Ready for Home Ownership
Build a good credit history
Get mortgage pre-approval
Find out what type of mortgages you quality for
Save up for a down payment (typically 10-20% of property’s value; if FHA-qualified, then possibly less)
Consider closing costs which can include taxes, loan fees, escrow fees and transfer fees
Consider utilities and monthly bills, such as homeowner’s assessments

2) Find a Real Estate Professional
Get a referral from friends, family, and work colleagues, or search online for a Realtor with good client reviews
Ask the real estate professionals you interview about buyer’s representation contracts and agreements; make sure you understand the terms
Explain your needs and expectations to the real estate professional you choose to work with

3) Find the Right Property
Determine what is important to you, such as particular schools, neighborhood amenities, monthly mortgage payment, walkability, etc.
Make sure you include homeowner’s assessments, utilities, and taxes when calculating the monthly mortgage payment

4) Finance the Property
Contact your mortgage broker or lender
The escrow company will run a title search to ensure there are no clouds on the title
Make sure you understand the financing terms—ask the lender for clarification, if needed

5) Make an Offer
Ensure the property is inspected by a licensed home inspector
Read all contracts before signing—make sure you understand all of the terms, ask questions
Place a competitive bid and be prepared to make a counter-offer
Keep your credit score stable and in-check by waiting to purchase any big-ticket items until long after the closing
Only one offer will result in a sale, so be prepared to move on if your offer is not accepted

6) Closing and Life After the Big Purchase
Protect your new asset by obtaining insurance such as homeowner’s, flood, disaster, and fire
Weatherproof your new home
Maintain files—digital or print—for all warranties, insurance documents, contracts, etc.
Keep original closing documents in a safe place, preferably outside the home (such as a safety deposit box)
Set up utilities bills in your name
Implement desired aesthetic changes such as painting, minor construction, and re-flooring
Set a move date and hire movers or plan a move party with your friends
Get to know your neighbors and explore your new neighborhood
If you’re happy with the work of your real estate professional, be sure to recommend her/him to friends and family