Now that I have found a home I would like to bid on, what do I do?

  1. Get prequalified with a lender. You need to know your housing budget, and most sellers won't accept a contract unless a copy of the prequalification letter is attached.
  2. Talk to your lender about the types of mortgages available to you. The lowest rate mortgage may not be the best mortgage for you. You need to fully understand the loan program you're being offered. Ask the lender to carefully review the terms and conditions of the loan.
  3. Ask your realtor for Comparative Market Analysis in your area (covering at least the last 120 days) to determine the appropriate offer amount.
  4. Work with your realtor to negotiate the best price. The current real estate market is a buyer's market in just about every geographical region in the US.
  5. If you are in a full-disclosure state then you can look at neighborhood property values online using sites such as www.ziprealty.com, www.zillow.com, or the local appraisal district.
  6. Get a home inspection (including a pest report) before closing the deal—the inspection will provide you with important information about the condition of the house, and, if you have any areas of particular concern, they need to be negotiated with the seller.
  7. Arrange for home insurance. Determine if you are in a special classified zone, such as flood zone. Start obtaining quotes for insurance coverage. If you are purchasing a condo, you'll need a different kind of policy and not all insurance carriers provide this coverage, so start your search right away. There are many providers to choose from ranging from Allstate, Farmers, Geico, Allied, AAA, and more. Obtain quotes from as many as six different insurance companies, so you'll be able to compare before you make a decision. This has to be done prior to closing, all lenders will require a policy quote prior to closing and a one-year policy paid at closing.
  8. Start packing and looking into moving companies, if you'll need help moving all your belongings.