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Closing the Deal

After getting financing and finding a place you really like, the home buying process may only be half over. The home must still be inspected and appraised, and once that happens, you can start negotiating the price and closing the deal.

Inspecting Your Home

Before buying a home, it is vital to have it inspected by a qualified, independent house inspector. A house inspector will check over the physical condition of the home to make sure you are not buying something that will need expensive repairs in the near future. For information on how to do your own preliminary inspection, what inspectors look for, and how to find a home inspector in your area, go to:

Home Inspection Super Site or American Society of Home Inspectors.

Closing the Sale

Another critical precaution to take before buying a home is to have an attorney who specializes in real estate law check the papers. You are about to sign a contract that will last for up to 30 years, so you want to make sure there are no mistakes, omissions, or costly details that you have overlooked. It will be a few hundred dollars well spent.

If you are trying to reduce your closing costs, there are several tactics. The most effective would be to find a no-points loan. Though you'll probably have to pay a higher interest rate, it will save you money upfront. If the house inspector reveals any unfinished repairs or potential problems, these are good reasons to lower the price of the home. Look over your final settlement sheet for any questionable fees — ask for an explanation of each.

Getting Preapproved

Getting preapproved is a firm commitment from a lender to loan you up to a maximum amount without a specific property being identified.

Preapproval is a useful step because you go through the financing process before making an offer on a home, so the time required for the process itself won't jeopardize your offer. And once you are preapproved, closing the loan is quick, depending only on a satisfactory appraisal and title report of the home.

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