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Steps to Buying a House

Elke Peeters
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Steps to Buying a House


The process of purchasing a home can be both rewarding and emotional for any first-time home buyer. However, before signing any paperwork it’s best to understand the process as a whole to ensure you are making the best decisions. Although there are many steps that need to take place, each one is crucial and should be examined for accuracy. Below are the essential factors for any home buyer to consider before moving forward.


What type of credit score do I need to buy a house? 

According to, the minimum FICO credit score for an FHA loan is 500 or higher. However, depending on what type of loan you are looking to obtain, the minimum score may be different. Check out websites such as that allow you to easily check your credit score for free. Credit Karma will also provide resources and tips on how to increase your score.


How do I know if I’m ready to buy a house? 

There are many factors to consider before even meeting with a realtor, however, the main question that you need to ask is “are my finances in order”? Make note of any debt such as credit card, student loans, auto, etc. and work on paying off as much debt as possible before saving for a down payment. Working with a lender to get preapproved for a mortgage is an important step in determining your budget. It will also show home sellers that you are a serious and valid buyer and give you a more competitive edge if you find a home you’re interested in.


Can you buy a house with no money down? 

You can buy a home for as little as 3.5% down. However, you must also take into consideration closing costs, insurance, taxes, and savings for any repairs that may occur after moving in. Veterans qualify for a VA loan which does not require down payments from the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs. However, to qualify for the loan, you will need good credit, be within a certain range of income, and obtain a Certificate of Eligibility from the VA. Another option is for a minimum down payment is a USDA loan. These are offered with low-interest rates and are designed to help low or moderately-income people with decent credit buy a home in more rural areas.


Is buying a house a good investment?  

This answer relies on a case-by-case bases, however, by definition a good investment is something that will pay you more than you paid it. Traditionally, it’s best to meet with a financial advisor to discuss your options, and make sure to hire a reputable realtor to give you the best advice.


How long does it usually take to buy a house? 

On average, a homebuyer will spend 30-60 days shopping and looking for a home. However, depending on the market and the area you are looking to purchase, these amounts could change drastically. For instance, in heavily populated and desirable areas, finding the right home can take months or even years. Once you find the perfect home, the timeline averages 14-16 days from contract to close.


The last and final step is preparing for the move. If you’re moving out of state, consider shopping around for cheap storage units for a secure option for personal belongings. Other options include climate controlled storage for cars that may need to be transported at a different time. If you are located in the Pittsburgh area, some storage companies even offer free truck rentals.  Or, if you are moving from one home to another and don’t need to store belonging, take advantage of moving companies that offer packing and supply services. STORExpress has a great blog on moving tips here that will help you with budgeting, packing, and starting the process of organizing your home.

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