Home Buying Checklist

what's on this page
The checklist summarizes in quick bullets the home buying process. Use the checklist to quickly reference information you need about buying, financing and closing on your home.


Page Topics :

  1. is ownership right for you
  2. analyze your numbers
  3. get pre-qualified for a mortgage
  4. what kind of house to buy
  5. search for homes
  6. get a home market valuation
  7. find and work with an agent
  8. visit the home
  9. make the offer to buy
  10. arrange financing
  11. closing and settlement
  12. moving into your home
  13. download this home buying checklist
  14. home buying step map

Click a topic heading to toggle the display of its contents | hide all | show all

Is Ownership Right for You?

Home ownership comes with responsibilities and financial commitments. Are you ready to take them on?

Responsibilities like mowing the lawn, repairing and maintaining the interior and exterior sections of the home, paying property tax, keeping your equity value up, and paying off each month your mortgage loan.

These responsibilities may matter if you have other commitments such as attending school or traveling for your career.

Calculate the benefits of rent vs. home ownership:
from dinkytown : click here for mortgage vs. rent calculator

top of page

Analyze Your Numbers

Buying a home starts with some big numbers such as:

  1. down payment
  2. points
  3. closing costs

    not to mention the costs after you close on your home:

  4. financing
  5. escrow payments
  6. maintenance and upkeep

    Understand the numbers before you begin:
    view home buying numbers

    Review the true costs of a mortgage:
    true costs of a mortgage

top of page

Get Pre-Qualified for a Mortgage

A mortgage loan pre-qualification will strengthen your negotiating position with the seller

Ask at least one lender to pre-qualify you for a mortgage. There is no obligation on you to obtain a loan from that lender, nor does it obligate the lender to provide a mortgage loan.

The lender will analyze your credit position, current income, and outstanding debts to give you a reasonable estimate of your borrowing amount.

You may begin your pre-qualification application through our national network of lenders and brokers:

apply: click for mortgage lending center

Note: before you begin your lender search, have on hand the mortgage comparison sheet to keep track of your mortgage information: open and print the mortgage comparison sheet

top of page

What Kind of House to Buy

Know the type and price of your home will help in your home search and selection

We have collected resource information to help:

  • Select Home Style:
    Two-story or split-level. English Tudor or Southern Colonial.
    view home style types

  • Select Your Price Range:
    Know what kind of home you can afford based on your financial income:
    calculate the number

  • Get Yourself Pre-approved:
    It is always best to get yourself pre-approved for financing prior to searching your home. You will know what price range you can work with plus you will be able to move fast in the event you find the right house:
    start your pre-approval with our network of nationwide lenders

    Note: pre-approval does not qualify you for a mortgage loan. It simply calculates your financing power given your current input and credit numbers.

top of page

Search for Homes

The Internet is great starting point for researching home styles, location and market values

Start your search using the Internet. It will give you a good idea on location, price range, and type. If you find something you like, make an online inquiry.

Search Home Listings by State: click here


Also understand the important location issues surrounding a home:

  1. good schools
  2. good neighborhoods
  3. low crime
  4. convenient access
  5. protected boundaries
  6. more

    view topic: location-location-location

top of page

Get a Home Market Valuation

Estimating the home value

What's it worth?

order your personal
home and neighborhood valuation report

sample property reports:

  • complete property valuation
  • recent sales report
  • comparable sales
  • subject property report

    view sample reports:
    enter address-zip

top of page

Find and Work with an Agent

Find and work with an agent who have access to the MLS - a proprietary network shared among all agents for listing available homes.

Using a real estate agent can help find the right home and location.

They know the neighborhood, the schools, the access points, and market values of similar homes:

search real estate agents

Understand how to work with your agent:
view selecting and working with an agent


Many home owners sell their homes without an agent.

These home sales are referred as "For Sale By Owner", or FSBO.

There are advantages and disadvantages with FSBO. If you find a home and/or location you like, make sure your agent gives you a market-value assessment.

Find information about market valuations:
view our quick market valuations

top of page

Visit the Home

Be prepared to make a visual inspection when you visit the home. Don't be shy to ask questions.

What to look for:

  1. complete a visual inspection of the home:
    more information on home inspections

  2. check the neighborhood and the surrounding area:
    more information on location and neighborhood

  3. have a market valuation completed for similar neighborhoods and homes in the area:
    more information at our quick review: market valuations

  4. be prepared to move fast, if needed. The ideal home can go fast in the right market:
    more information on market timing

top of page

Make the Offer to Buy

Get to know the surrounding market and neighborhood before making the offer

Once you find the perfect house, you will make an offer to buy. Understand how the offering process works:

negotiating the offer

The offer will be contingent on the home passing inspection. Review the home inspection process:

home inspection


The final steps to home ownership:

  1. finalize the contract
  2. complete a home inspection
  3. get financing
  4. do a final walk through
  5. go to closing and settlement

    (these points are discussed below)

top of page

Arrange Financing

Arranging the best financing option requires some understanding of the financial process

You will need to arrange financing once your offer has been accepted. Search for the best product and rate through our network of nationwide lenders:

view mortgage financing information

See what is needed when you submit a full mortgage application:
view application items


When you are ready to make an application, get a FREE online quote from our network of nationwide lender:
click to start your application

Download this mortgage shopping sheet to compare mortgage rates and terms among lenders:
download mortgage sheet


It is important that you understand the true cost of a mortgage loan.

It can make or break a deal. This will include:

  1. monthly financing payment
  2. residential taxes
  3. hazardous insurance
  4. other

Use our model to calculate true cost:
understanding the true cost of a mortgage

top of page

Go to Closing and Settlement

The closing process will require legal representation in most states to protect the party's interest

The final step to home ownership is closing the offer and settling the title transfer and ownership.

Notes on Home Closing and Settlement:
closing and settlement

Estimate closing costs:
estimating closing costs

top of page

Moving Into Your New Home

Now Let's Move In

What's Needed:


Have You Sold Your Existing Home:

complete home selling guide with FREE tools and forms

go to our home selling center


Your decorating budget may be tight, so shop wisely for best ideas and plans

Furniture, electronics, pictures, etc. — and that is just for the interior.

For the exterior, you have flowers, yard furniture, cooking grills, etc.

View ideas:
go to our home fixup gallery

top of page

What's in the News
Search Foreclosures
FREE For 7-Days!

Free access for 7 days, try it out!

  • No strings,
  • no contracts,
  • no hassles
  • and you can cancel at any time.

Foreclosures sell fast. Visit RealtyTrac.com. With virtually every Bank, Government and Institutional property you'll find your next home waiting for you.

Calculate How Much to Borrow
Enter monthly payment: $
Enter months to repay: months
Enter your estimated APR: %
Total Borrowing Amount: $
* Calculations are based upon the assumptions you entered. Please note that rounding errors can make a small difference in calculations.