Home Buying Checklists for 2011

We have published a fresh batch of home-buying checklists for 2011. You'll find some our featured checklists below. You can also use the search tool in the upper-right corner to search the rest of our article library (with more than 500 articles).

The Ultimate Checklist for Buying a House
This three-part tutorial explains all of the steps you'll go through when buying a home. For many first-time buyers, the process is like a long and dark tunnel. They know there's a light at the other end, but they just can't see their way through it. Not to worry. Once you finish reading this tutorial, you'll understand all of the steps to buying a house.

This home-buying checklist includes the following:

  1. Determine a maximum monthly spending limit
  2. Save up for the various housing expenses
  3. Check your credit reports and scores
  4. Consider the different mortgage options
  5. Get pre-approved by a lender
  6. Start the house-hunting process
  7. Make an offer to buy the house
  8. Inspections, appraisal and closing

If this is your first time visiting our website, I recommend starting with this particular checklist. If you're familiar with the basic process of buying a house, you might want to skip ahead and read one of the advanced lessons below.

Checklist for Looking at Houses
This article is intended for people who are house hunting in a market where there are many homes for sale. But anyone can benefit from reading it. In this checklist, you'll learn how to take a large number of potential homes and narrow them down to a handful of contenders.

This home-buying checklist explains how to:

  1. Identify your financial comfort zone
  2. Get pre-approved by a lender
  3. Find an experienced agent to help you
  4. Identify the neighborhoods / areas where you want to live
  5. Make a list of needs versus wants (and understand the difference)
  6. View houses online first to weed them out
  7. Make a short list of homes that meet your needs
  8. Conduct a first visit of each home
  9. Focus on the things you can't change, like the location
  10. Evaluate the asking price by using recent sales data

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The most important lesson from this checklist is to put the budgeting before the house hunting. There's no point looking at houses until you know what you can afford to pay each month. The same goes for mortgage pre-approval. If you spend hours looking at homes each week, but you haven't been pre-approved by a lender yet, you might be wasting your time. There's a logical sequence of steps you need to follow.

Checklist for Negotiating the Price of a House
You've spent weeks shopping for the right house, and you've finally found it. Now you're ready to make an offer to buy it. This article teaches you how to evaluate the seller's asking price by using recent sales data, and how to make an offer based on that research.

This home-buying checklist covers the following steps:

  1. Start by looking at comparable sales
  2. Compare the features of the comps to the target house
  3. Add or subtract value as needed
  4. Present your offer to the seller, including comps
  5. Have a plan for the three possible outcomes
  6. Keep your maximum spending limit in mind
  7. Don't lose a home over nickels and dimes
  8. Negotiate based on the type of market you are in
  9. Don't let your ego get in the way of business
  10. Know when to walk away from a hard-headed seller

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This is one of the most exciting steps in the home-buying process. It's also where a lot of first-time buyers make costly mistakes. That's what makes this checklist so useful. It walks you through the process of making a smart offer, based on data and research.

Your real estate agent will help you with this step. But you shouldn't rely entirely on your agent. You need to be actively engaged in the negotiations, because it's your potential home on the line.

Checklist for Selling a House
We haven't forgotten about you, homeowners. Though most of this website caters to home buyers, we do have quite a bit of information for sellers. This checklist is a prime example. In this two-part tutorial, you'll learn about the three P's of selling a house (pricing, preparation and promotion). If you take these three concepts seriously, you'll probably sell your home faster and for a higher price. And that's what every seller wants.

This checklist covers the following steps:

  1. Consider your equity situation
  2. Set your asking price based on comps
  3. Hire an agent or an FSBO listing service
  4. Stage the home so it appeals to the majority
  5. Put your home on the MLS at a minimum
  6. List your house on Realtor.com, Trulia.com, etc.
  7. Give buyers plenty of space when they visit
  8. Review offers and negotiate as needed
  9. Make necessary repairs based on the home inspection

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These are just a few of the most popular home-buying checklists on our website. In total, our research library contains more than 500 articles. If you have a specific question, or would like to research a certain topic, try using the search box provided at the top of this page.