Home buying checklist: forms, milestones, steps and payments

Home buying can be confusing so it is best to go into it with as much knowledge about the Real Estate world as possible.

Home buying can be a fun and exciting time but it also can be a pain if you go into it blind. There are things that you should know beforehand that the average Real estate sales agent won't disclose to you upfront.

In most states, Real estate offices require the potential buyer to apply for

Pre-approval at a mortgage broker before even allowing the buyer to view a home. This basically prevents the Real estate agent from wasting their time showing the buyer homes only to find out that they don't qualify for a mortgage. This solely benefits the salesperson.

Once you locate a mortgage broker, there will be several things you are required to bring with you to the application procedure:

~A driver's license or State ID

~your social security card

~current bank statements for the past 3 to 4 months

~cancelled checks from rent for at least a year

~Your landlord's name and address

~current paycheck stubs for proof of employment

~Addresses and phone numbers for present and past jobs

~a divorce decree if you had been married before

~401k statements if you have one

~Your tax returns including the W-2's and 1099


There will be fees that you end up paying upfront and some that you should not be required to pay upfront. It is best to know the difference so you don't waste money finding out you don't have the mortgage on a particular home. You may be required to pay an appraisal fee at the time of the loan application but it is reflected on your closing statement as already having been paid. You may also be required to pay a survey if the current owner of the home does not have a recent survey done on the property.

One thing that is highly recommended but entirely your choice is a having a home inspection. This home inspection can save you a lot of money in the long run just in case things happen to be wrong with the house such as the foundation is crumbling or the roof is damaged. Most Real estate offices recommend certain home inspectors but don't be wary of this because even though they come recommended the home inspector is not partial.

More than likely an earnest fee will be charged upfront by the Real estate office. This earnest fee is like a promise on your intention to purchase the seller's home. It gives the seller compensation for taking the property off the market for the buyer. The earnest money will be held by the broker in an escrow account for the seller. If the seller should happen to refuse your offer, this money will be returned to you.

The loan origination fee is charged by lenders to cover the basic expenses of the office such as the loan officer's salary and paperwork. The average fee is 1 percent of the loan amount but it can vary from 1 to 3 points. In turn after you apply for your loan, the mortgage loan officer will give you a Good Faith Estimate, which you should receive no later than 3 days after you applied for the loan. This details what settlement costs you will accumulate by closing.


Between the Real Estate sales agent and the mortgage loan officer you will be signing off on quite a few disclosures. At the mortgage broker you will receive a special informational HUD booklet. This booklet basically provides the potential borrower information on what closing costs you will run into. You will also be provided with a Uniform Settlement Statement or HUD-1 Form. This includes every charge that will be collected at closing that are required by your lender or another party.

The agent has a duty to keep you informed of information or facts that can affect the transaction. It is the agent's obligation to discover things that a reasonable person would feel are important to know. The Real estate agent must keep you informed on such things as any defects of a property and how long the property has been on the market. There could be several reasons why the seller is selling but it is a good idea to find out a general reason why. Some houses, for instance, may have substantial damage to them, such as the foundation is starting to fall apart or the home may even be in a flood plain area and have water damage to them. It is the Real estate agents obligation to keep you informed to prevent them from being liable.

Get to Know the Neighborhood

In general, it would be an ideal world to be able to trust the Real estate agent to completely keep you informed about everything but in the Real Estate world, there are always cases where there are things they just don't know about. In general, they know what schools are located in the area you intend to move into but it wouldn't hurt if you personally research the area yourself.

It is recommended to do as much research about the neighborhood and school systems. You are entitled to information on crime statistics so you may even call your local police department to find out. If you wonder what kind of neighborhood you are moving into there is absolutely nothing wrong with asking the people who live around the home you intend to buy. They may have more insight about what kind of crime that occurs in that particular area. Also don't forget to find out what kind of taxes that area is subjected to along with any possible Home Owner's Association fees. More than likely your Real estate agent will inform you on that one but it wouldn't hurt to ask them upfront.

The best idea when looking into buying a home is to do as much research about Real Estate transactions as possible. Don't be afraid to read up because the only stupid question is the unasked question. You have to remember that buying a home affects your life and not the Real estate agent so it is best to go into this process with as much knowledge as possible.

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