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Home Buyer's Guide

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS AS A HOMEBUYER
There are many laws that protect you from scams, unnecessary expenses, and discrimination in the process of home buying. Know your rights!

CREATE YOUR "WISH LIST"
Make your wish list. Focus on the features you want in a home: 2 bedrooms or 3? 1 bath or 2? Garage or no garage? Knowing what you’re looking for will help you focus your search.

REAL ESTATE AGENTS
If you decide you want to use a real estate broker you should start looking as soon as you decide to buy a home. Talk to several and find someone you think you’ll be comfortable working closely with. Many of your friends and relatives have probably bought their homes through brokers. Ask them who they used and what their experiences were. You can find out which brokers specialize in the kind of home or the area you want by looking in the Yellow Pages or your local newspaper’s classified real estate ads. Or drive through neighborhoods and note the names of brokers on "for sale" signs. When you talk to prospective brokers, ask questions about the areas and types of homes in which you’re interested. Do they seem knowledgeable? Most important, is their personal style a good fit with your own?

SHOPPING FOR A HOME
So now you really begin house-hunting. Your real estate broker will be able to find listings for you, based on your wish list. But don’t stop there! You can do your own looking, and then ask your broker to show you the house. Start with the internet. Pick up real estate flyers at local grocery stores and convenience stores. Read the real estate sections of your local newspaper. Drive around neighborhoods that interest you and write down addresses where there are "for sale" signs. Go to open houses. Try everything! And use our convenient home-shopping check list to help you compare the houses you see.

HOME INSPECTIONS
When you make an offer on a home, it’s a good idea to make your offer contingent on a home inspection, conducted by an independent authorized inspector. You will have to pay for this inspection yourself, but it could keep you from buying a house that will cost you far more in repairs, down the road. If you are satisfied with the results of the inspection, then your offer can proceed. If you aren’t, you may want to negotiate, asking the seller to pay for certain repairs or asking for a lower price.

SETTLEMENT OR CLOSING
Finally, you’ve gone through the whole process, and you’re ready to go to "settlement" or "closing." We know you’ll be excited, but be sure to read everything you sign! And before you go, read this important information about your rights.

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