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1. Start Conducting Research Early
Get started by researching the home buying process and perusing property listings. This will help you get an idea of what types of property you’d like to buy, and what king of financial goals you need to set.

2. Determine How Much House You Can Afford
Use an online mortgage calculator to figure out how much you can afford to spend on a property. Consider purchase price, down payment and monthly mortgage payments.

3. Get Pre-Qualified and Pre-Approved
Sit down with a loan officer or loan originator to determine how much the bank would likely lend you, based on your income, credit history and debt to income ratio. Use this opportunity to get pre-qualified and pre-approved for your mortgage loan.

4. Interview Real Estate Agents
Meet with at least three real estate agents to see who would best serve your needs. A good real estate agent should advise you of the home buying process, provide local market insights and help negotiate your offer.

5. Attend Open Houses
By now you should have a list of criteria that has helped you refine your property searches. Start attending open houses based on your agent’s search results.

6. Let’s Make An Offer
Once you find a property that best matches your criteria, work with your real estate agent to make an offer to the seller. There may be some negotiation required before the offer is accepted.

7. Schedule Your Property Inspection
Once you enter escrow, arrange for a property inspection to identify any issues that need to be addressed and set a contingency pertaining to the inspection. That way, you are protected under the contingency in case anything problematic is identified in the inspection report.

8. Work With Your Lender
Sit down with your lender to secure your interest rate and finalize the mortgage loan option that works best for your financial goals. Your lender will work with the title company to manage the paperwork, as well as arrange for the independent home appraisal.

9. Close The Deal
Once the seller receives a check from your lender, the deal is closed and the house is officially yours! Get your keys and revel in the fact that you have just become a homeowner.

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