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Preparation: Buying

Shopping for a home can be overwhelming, but if you use these tips, finding a home can be less stressful.

Starting Points

  • Research homes and neighborhoods.
  • Find a reputable real estate agent.
  • Stay within your budget.
  • Remember no house is perfect.
  • Do your own inspection.

Personal Inspection

While you're shopping for a home, you can do a personal inspection on the homes you see.

  • Plumbing: Test for water pressure and leaks.
  • Outside: Look for broken windows and siding; foundation cracks; sagging porches/decks, roofs, and gutters.
  • Inside: Check for water spots on walls and ceilings, cracks and holes in walls, mold and mildew.

Ask your real estate agent for suggestions on a professional inspector.

Costs of Home Ownership

When you own a home, costs can add up. Keep these costs in mind when you're shopping for a home.

  • Utilities
  • Insurance
  • HOA or condominium dues
  • Maintenance/Repairs
  • Moving expenses
  • Appliances (if not included)
  • Furnishings


You’ll also have to pay property taxes each year. If you are buying from someone who has had taxes frozen, but you don’t qualify for that, you will see a change in taxes in the following year. Check with your local county tax assessor’s office for more information.