Before making this important purchase, take the time to determine what you can afford, the ideal neighborhood you’d like to live in, and what features you need or want in a home. You should drive–and walk–around prospective neighborhoods to get a feel for whether you want to spend many years of your life there. (Or, if this is an investment property, whether prospective tenants will want to.)
A qualified mortgage broker or bank representative can help you determine how much home you can afford to buy. You’ll also need to have the cash necessary for a down payment available, so if you find a property quickly you’ll be able to act.
A real estate agent who has experience in the geographic areas you’re considering is a crucial aspect to getting the right house at the right price.
Once you’ve found the ideal home, the real estate agent can help you negotiate the price and any other conditions of the sale.
At this point, it’s imperative that you have an experienced real estate attorney look at the contract before you sign it, to explain confusing clauses in the contract and point and things you might want to change. There is no such thing as a “standard contract.” Each deal is individual. Remember that once a contract is signed by both parties, no changes can be made. At the time you sign the contract, you’ll give your Realtor your deposit check, which is then held in “escrow” until the closing.