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Your first steps to buying a house: Get schooled!

By Liz Keuler

April 2019

According to the National Association of REALTORS® 2018 profile of homebuyers and sellers, 34 percent of first-time homebuyers say that understanding the steps to buying a house is the most difficult part of the process.

That’s probably no surprise to you – you found your way to Readynest because you want to understand what you’re in for as you search for a home and get a mortgage. Good for you: Knowing that there’s something you don’t know is half the battle!

A little research goes a long way

These days almost everyone starts any kind of research right here – by that I mean online. It’s a low-pressure way to dip your toe into the homebuying waters, but it can be overwhelming to sift through all that information.

If you started right here (and now I’m talking about Readynest): Come on in, the water’s fine! We built Readynest to help you feel more confident in your ability to buy a home. In addition to stories like the one you’re reading right now, you can: 

Other resources: Both the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offer a lot of information for would-be homebuyers. 

Homebuyer Education with a capital H and a capital E

You can read about the steps to buying a house in literally millions of places on the internet, and pick the brains of your family and friends, but how do you know if you really have a good handle on what you’ve learned?

There are plenty of “official” homebuyer education programs out there – in fact, you may be required to complete a program as a condition of your financing. Shameless plug: You can study for and take a free test here on Readynest. The test is designed to fulfill homebuyer education requirements for certain types of loans, but you can use it to see how much you’ve learned.

If self-directed research still leaves you feeling a little unprepared, search for homebuying seminars in your area. Community groups, real estate agents and lenders offer these in-person sessions to help folks in their community get ready to buy a home – and they’re often free. You’ll have a chance to ask questions and get clarification on anything you might not understand. 

Your state housing finance authority will also have good information about programs and resources specific to your area. 

Find professionals you trust

Many professionals will be involved in helping you buy a home, and they’ll be your best resources for understanding the process and your options. Your real estate agent and loan officer will help guide you and provide valuable advice as you search for a home and get a mortgage, so it’s important to find people you trust. Ask friends and family for recommendations, and don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions. A good loan officer or real estate agent will be responsive, patient and happy to take the time to coach you through the process.  

Kevin Irick

It depends. Renting mean you will never own.

Ebony Goss

Very helpful

Deb South

I have read the article

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Liz Keuler is the editor of Readynest. She spent a decade meandering through radio, nonprofits and the corporate world before convincing MGIC to hire her based on her staunch grammatical convictions. She lives in a charming 100-year-old bungalow on Milwaukee’s East Side. Her interests include old Ernst Lubitsch films, new action movies, 60s girl pop, Regency romance novels, word games, sewing and shallots.