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Most people desire to own a home but lack the courage to do so. No blame – numerous concerns come with buying a house, especially if it’s your first time; the high mortgage rates, rising home prices, bad purchases, fear of commitment, filing tax returns, and many more.

But, whether as a first-time buyer or a repeat investor, if you can muster the grit, you can confidently buy a house. Our buying-a-house checklist will help make the challenging home-buying process even more fun. 

Buying a House Checklist

Follow these easy steps when buying your home as a first-time buyer:

1.  Know Your Financial Standing

Before you set out to buy a home, it is of utmost importance that you know your financial standing. This will help you to ascertain:

  • Your disposable income 
  • Whether you need a loan or not,
  • The type of housing that fits your budget

The kind of housing that is right for you is largely dependent on your financial standing and your savings for buying a house. 

It is advisable to get a budget and to also speak with a real estate agent. A good house agent will help you get a clearer picture of the kind of house you need for your budget. When you get a clearer picture, you can make smart financial decisions.

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2. Find the Right Agent

Buying a house can either be easy or frustrating. It depends on the real estate agent you hire. Yes! The right agent makes the process easy, while the wrong agent makes it tough.

Here are some ways working with the right agent can benefit you:

  • Provides you with quality and adequate information on market conditions.
  • Provides you with various available listings in the best neighborhoods. Variety is the spice of life you know?
  • You’ll have an experienced individual and in some cases, an attorney to guide you through the buying process.
  • Allows you to compare different prices to determine whether a house is worth the asking price.

3. Get a Down Payment

A down payment allows you to pay part of the purchase cost in advance. Please ensure that you pay more of this down payment to reduce your mortgage payment in the long run. Also, look out for mortgages with low interest rates that are not rigid.

You can get down payment funds from savings, sold-off assets, a loan from a 401(k) retirement plan, or down payment assistance programs.

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4. Speak With Mortgage Lenders and Get Mortgage Pre-Approval

If you have insufficient funds to buy a house, it’s okay to get a loan. However, before you venture into it, seek advice from your mortgage lender to know which loan is right for you and if you’re pre-approved. 

For pre-approval, you’ll submit some financial documents to your lender. Also, they will check your creditworthiness to get you approved for a mortgage. 

Here are the documents you are required to provide:

  • Your tax returns 
  • Proof of employment
  • Paycheck stubs 
  • 1099-MISC forms  for employers, and W-2 forms for employees
  • Your bank account statements (including statements of your investment account, if any)
  • Proof of funds for down payment 

If your mortgage lender checks and discovers that you have a low credit score, then you won’t be eligible for a mortgage. However, if you have a good credit score, your lender will approve your mortgage.

To increase your creditworthiness, ensure that you pay off any high-interest credit card debt before applying for a mortgage. High-interest debts include payday loans, personal loans, or student loans.

These debts are usually expensive to repay, and if not well-managed can lead to a debt pile.

5. Shop for Your Home 

The buying a house checklist follows after making a detailed plan for your budget to know the amount you need to buy a house. This is the most exciting part of buying a house, trust me, you wouldn’t want to miss it. Who would know your desired kind of home better than you? 

When shopping for your home, consider the interiors and exteriors, the neighborhood, styling, location, and everything in between. Also, consider its convenience and lifestyle needs, as you’ll be spending your life there.

6. Get a Real Estate Attorney

Buying a house requires you to hire an attorney during the decision-making stage and before signing any documents. This is to ensure that the buying process is safe and legal. A real estate attorney reviews and advises you on the legal processes, purchase agreement, documentation, and closing.

7. Make an Offer and Negotiate

After shopping for your dream house, the next item on the checklist is to make an offer and negotiate with the seller. Your proposed offer depends on factors like your budget. 

Notwithstanding, gather information on the house prices before you negotiate. This ensures that you buy your dream home at the most affordable price. 

After negotiations, make an initial deposit to show your commitment to the deal. This deposit is called “earnest money” and often depends on local custom.

8. Inspect the House and Get an Appraisal

After the negotiation phase, next on the buying a house checklist is to properly inspect and get an appraisal for the house. For whatever reason, do not make payment or sign any contract without proper inspection. 

This is crucial to avoid the “what you ordered versus what you got” situation. A good agent will provide you with good inspectors who can carry out thorough inspections. 

After completing this stage, make your payment and clear the necessary paperwork. Afterward, you’ll receive your home key. Congratulations! You are now a proud homeowner.


Buying a house is a beautiful experience that demands quality reviews and recommendations from experienced agents in the field. Thankfully, the buying a house checklist makes your purchase less frustrating.

Additionally, if you’re purchasing your home, especially in Chicago, it’s highly recommended to seek assistance from a real estate professional. WeBuyHouse is dedicated to offering top-notch agency services, ensuring that buying a house becomes an effortless and stress-free experience.

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