Hire a real estate professional.
An important first step is selecting a home buying professional to help you find  your dream home and fine-tune your financial expectations. Working with a buyer  agent is worth consideration because he or she is legally responsible for  representing the buyer's interest in a real estate transaction. Before making a  decision, however, have a REALTOR® explain the pros and cons of using a buyer  agent versus a dual agent. Jason Spade can guide you through every step of  home buying.

Shop for mortgage rates and terms.
A difference of even half a percentage point can mean a considerable savings  over the life of a loan. For example, the difference in the monthly payment on a  $100,000 mortgage at 8 percent vs. 7.5 percent is about $35 per month. Over 30  years, that's $12,600.

Prequalify for a loan.
Also early on, you'll want to get prequalified for a mortgage loan, which  determines how much you can afford. It allows you to move swiftly when you find  the right home, especially when there are other interested buyers. It also  indicates to the seller that you are serious about home buying and can afford to  buy the property.

Outline what you want.
The next step in home buying is to create a realistic idea of the property you'd  like to buy. What features are most important to you? Make two lists: one of the  items you can't live without and one of the features you would enjoy. Refine the  lists as you house-hunt. It is also helpful to search online to see what is  currently available on the market. Jason Spade can then show  you houses that meet your expectations.

Visit properties.
Now you're ready to visit houses. Ask Jason Spade to help in your home buying  process by arranging showings. Be sure to keep track of the properties you've  seen. Each time you venture out to see more properties, revisit your notes to  immediately eliminate any that clearly do not meet your standards.

Know the features that help or hurt resale.
In some areas, a swimming pool actually detracts from a home's value and makes  it harder to sell. In neighborhoods with two-car, attached garages, a single-car  or detached garage may affect the home buying prospects and future value. Jason  can point out features that hurt or help resale value.

Rate the houses you tour.
After touring each home, write down what you liked and didn't like. Develop a  rating system that will help narrow the home buying field. For example, pick the  house you like best on day one and compare all other houses to it. When you find  a better one, use the new favorite as the standard. Avoid trying to track more  than four top choices at any given time since this can quickly become  overwhelming.

Make an offer.
Once you've pinpointed your dream house, it's time to get serious about the  financial and contractual side of the purchase. Let Jason guide you  through this sensitive home buying process. Because you and the seller have  different goals, rely on Jason's  experience and expertise to bring order  and calm to the process - and help both parties reach a favorable outcome.

Arrange for a home inspection.
After your offer is accepted, set up a home inspection. It's common to find  problems, including leaky roofs, cracked walls, insect infestations and  foundation problems. Jason  can help find a reputable  inspector, and will negotiate to get you the most for your money once the  inspector's report is final. If you negotiate repairs as part of the purchase,  ask for a "walk through" before finalizing the home buying paperwork. Ask Jason  about home protection plans, which may save you money in the  near future.

Before your closing date, make sure you've made all necessary deposits and  completed the paperwork - including mortgage, title, homeowner's insurance and  any other paperwork required by local or state governments when home buying.  Jason  will be there to help you complete that closing checklist and  avoid any last-minute snags. You deserve to enjoy every moment of the home  buying process.

Prepare for life in your new home.
Before rolling out the welcome mat, consider some moving basics: arranging for  an alarm company, turning on utilities, re-painting, and notifying your local post office of your new address. The best  time for renovations is often before you move in. 

Why work with a REALTOR® with the ABR