HOME BUYING BASICS
A great place to start—tools, tips and what to expect.
Before you get too far into the process, it's a great idea to know what's involved and what it will mean for you. These calculators will give you an idea what to expect financially and the blog is packed with articles about how to prepare for home buying. For information about the process itself, keep reading.
One Step at a Time
Walk through the steps of the process, beginning even before you start to look for a home or real estate agent. From pre-approval to inspections, making an offer to moving in, and everything in between.
The Basics of Borrowing
If you've never taken out a mortgage before, it can seem overly complicated and intimidating. Here is a breakdown of the nitty gritty financial details for you. Learn about loan types, the difference between pre-approved and pre-qualified and the meaning behind everything from APR to rate lock and closing costs.
What Kind of Payments to Expect
If you've found the property you want and have price in mind, get an idea of what kind of monthly payment to expect. Just plug in the home price, down payment and interest rate.
AFFORDING A HOME
Find your dream home within your (realistic) budget.
Buying a home is a huge investment, which means some risk as well. That doesn't mean you should settle for anything less than the home you've been dreaming about. Get an honest picture of what you can afford so you can feel confident and excited when making your offer.
Budgeting beyond your mortgage
Even if you think you've worked out what you can pay each month, there may be other factors you might be forgetting—like the cost of maintenance, utilities and more. This article may help you ensure you're not missing anything when considering how much house you may be able to afford.
Advantages of homeownership
Here's an overview of the reasons you may want to consider owning a home, if you're at that stage in life.
Checking and assessing your credit ahead of your mortgage
Here is some information on how to check and assess your credit score. Learn how your credit score may affect buying a home.
Maximize your home-buying power with a pre-approval.
You don't have to be pre-approved to start looking for a home, but it may be a useful tool that gives you an edge and makes the process smoother. This section will help you understand the benefits of pre-approval, the difference between pre-approval and pre-qualification and what information you need to provide.
Pre-approval vs. pre-qualification
You should understand the difference between pre-approval and pre-qualification. Essentially, a pre-qualification is just an estimate, whereas a pre-approval means you've received a conditional promise from a lender that they'll back your offer (sellers like that.)
Finding the right loan
Finding the home you want is the fun part, but you'll need to find the right loan to help you get there. You'll have important decisions to make, so here are some tips to help make finding the right home loan as easy as possible.
Home loan application checklist
Yes there's going to be some paperwork when you apply for a home loan, but it's not that tricky with a little help. Here's a simple checklist of the things you might be expected to provide.
MAKING A PURCHASE
Get familiar with your home financing options.
Even when you've just started looking at houses, you may want to keep your financing options in mind. This page may help you understand the process overall and some of the details you may want to know.
It helps to know what to expect—from before you start looking to move in. Here is a friendly, interactive timeline that walks you through all the stages of home financing and the possible length of each step in the process. It's like a virtual tour of the experience.
Closing costs to expect
Closing costs include all of the expenses and fees associated with buying a home. They may be charged by the lender or for services from third parties. Here is a list of different kinds of closing costs that may apply when buying a house.
How to get a solid appraisal
If it's your first time through the appraisal process, you probably have some questions. Here's a list of common questions and answers about home appraisals to help you prepare.