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Very few events in your life are going to be as exciting as purchasing a home, but first-time buyers need to remember that this process can be very complicated. Well before you make an offer on a home, you’ll need to carry out a few important tasks:

Narrow Down the Location
Finding a great neighborhood can be quite challenging, and you don’t want to bid on a beautiful home in the wrong location. After you’ve narrowed your search to a few specific neighborhoods, you should try to visit those areas during different times of the day. You also need to speak with some of the homeowners and neighbors about the pros and cons of those areas.

Get Pre-Approved
Just about any lender that offers conventional mortgage services can pre-approve you for a mortgage loan. Once you’ve been pre-approved, you’ll know exactly how much money you can offer and which price range you should be looking at. Many sellers are also very eager to work with buyers who have been pre-approved because closing will take just a fraction of the time. This can also help you avoid looking at homes you know you can’t afford.

Write Out a List of Necessities
It might be tempting to look at luxurious homes with incredible upgrades, but the necessities should always come first. Some of the variables that you’ll need to consider include the location of the home and the total number of bedrooms. Make a list of must-have features to ensure you find a home that’ll meet your needs and your budget. After buying a house, you might be able to gradually add amenities and make other desired upgrades.

Establish a Moving Plan
Every step of your move doesn’t need to be planned out before you make an offer, but there are a few considerations that you and your family will need to discuss. Some buyers decide to take one or more weeks off work, while others prefer to hire professionals who can do most of the hard labor. You must contact all of the utility companies, as well, to see if they offer any moving packages that allow you to quickly switch from one address to another.

Your real estate agent can help you throughout the home-buying process and offer more tips to help ensure you find the best home and are well prepared to close a deal.

Source: Meghan Belnap/RISMedia’s Housecall

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