I got an e-mail today that was very similiar to many that I've received in the past. It read, "My husband, Peter, and I are thinking about buying a house in the near future as we are quickly outgrowing our apartment (we have 2 young children). We have so many questions, and have no idea where to start. Do you have any advice?"
I referred them to a blog that clients of mine did several years ago whereby they documented each step of their journey to buy their first home. It's very entertaining yet educational. Of course, because it is in blog format, the end of the story is on top. To follow their story, you must start at the end of the blog, which is their first post. To check it out, go to http://prinzihouse.blogspot.com/.
In much less detail, the basic steps for buying a home follow:
1. Get pre-qualified for financing. I can recommend someone that will review your credit and income to advise what type of financing (FHA, Conventional and/or SONYMA) is best for you as well as how much you can/should spend for a home.
2. Meet with a realtor to go over the process, paperwork and to discuss what are priorities are for a home.
3. Look for property on the internet, do drive-bys and schedule appointments through your realtor.
4. Find the house of your dreams and submit a purchase offer.
5. Once the offer is accepted, you usually have a week or so to complete inspections and shop for a mortgage.
6. Closing is generally 45 to 60 days after the offer is accepted.
7. Live happy ever after.