Home Buying 101 – Checklist for Beginners

October 20, 2008

Often as a Phoenix AZ Real estate agent, I take the home buying process for granted. However, many buyers are first-time home owners and have yet to experience the joy and the sometimes trials and tribulations of the complex process.

The home buying process starts with some personal consultation with significant others about personal wants, needs and financial condition and doesn’t end when they keys to your home are handed to you at the close of escrow.

There are some differences if your home is new construction versus a resale purchase. However, for the purpose of this Home buying list for dummies (my apologies for any copyright infringement), I will use a more general outline that applies to real estate for both purchases.

After you call a Wexzilla realtor (ok, I couldn’t help shameless self-promotion) ,  follow this step-by-step home buying checklist.

Answer these Questions to determine if home buying is right for you.

  1. Will you be in your current job for at least 3-5 years?
  2. Do you see any major family changes children are a large expense and selling a home through a divorce or separation is not an ideal scenario for best results.
  3. Will a new mortgage test your financial limits? – there is no reason to work so hard to barely pay a mortgage on a home you cannot enjoy.
  4. Do you have at least 6 months of emergency savings in case of unforeseen financial hardships?
  5. Do you have 10% (20% is better) down payment?

If Yes to the above,  follow the tracking list below.

Determine your wants and needs: style of home, size, price, location

  1. Get pre-approved for a mortgage, shop for rates, and get a fixed-rate mortgage
  2. Consult a Realtor who can help you find and show you homes within your parameters
  3. Go to PolicyMap.com to check out neighborhood demographics, schools, crime, zoning, etc…
  4. Research homes on Zillow, Roost, Trulia, Move, Wexzilla and Coldwell Banker.com to name a few
  5. Do a comparative Market Analysis of the subject home you fall in love with
  6. Prepare an offer with the help of  your real estate agent based upon the CMA and your financial situation
  7. Make sure the agent goes over the Phoenix AZ Real Estate purchase contract line by line so that you understand the contract, contingencies, important dates and buyer and seller responsibilities.
  8. After your contract is accepted (the power of positive thinking),
  9. Open escrow at a Title Company who will provide Title Insurance and a Title report
  10. Read the Title report with you Real estate agent to make sure there are no liens or encumbrances


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This article by James Wexler appeared on Wexzilla on October 20. 2008.