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Home Buying Process

The home buying process consists of several steps that begins with something as simple as checking your credit, and ends with signing a mortgage and moving into a new home. Consumers should do due diligence and be aware of their rights when it comes to mortgage-shopping, and should utilize home-buying checklists to prioritize the amenities and features of the home they'd like to purchase.

Steps in the Homebuying Process

The basic outline of the home buying process is: find a house, find a broker office, arrange for financing, have the house inspected and appraised, draw up the contracts, and close

Homebuying programs (in your state)

The U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development has a section for local home buying programs sponsored by state or local governments.

Know your rights

  • Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act: this policy is responsible for making sure U.S. consumers are given all necessary information with regards to mortgage settlements
  • Under regulations upheld by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, mortgage borrowers have the right to certain things, such as shopping for the best loan, be informed of the entire cost of the loan, ask for a Good Faith Estimate, and to know how much the mortgage broker is getting paid
  • HomeLoan Learning Center's "Borrowers Bill of Rights": developed by the Mortgage Banker's Association and upheld to protect the rights of mortgage and home loan borrowers
  • Better Business Bureau's article titled, "Your Rights as a Borrower"
  • The Nest presents Borrower's Rights, including Foreclosure rights, Truth in Lending, and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act

Shop for a loan

Shop for a home

Average Time Spent to Build Privately Owned One-unit Residential Buildings

Purpose of Construction

Year Average # of Months Required to Build Average # of Months Required for Contractors Average # of Months Required for Owners
2000 5.6 6.5 9.2
2001 5.6 7.0 9.2
2002 5.5 6.6 9.6
2003 5.5 6.8 9.9
2004 5.7 7.0 9.1
2005 5.9 7.6 9.8
2006 6.3 7.8 10.7
2007 6.5 7.9 10.2
2008 6.8 8.5 11.1
2009 6.9 8.7 11.9
Source: United States Census Bureau, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2012

New Manufactured Homes for Residential Use & Their Sales Price

2000 to 2010

Year Average Sales Price (Dollars) Units Placed (In Thousands)
2000 46,400 280.9
2001 48,900 196.2
2002 51,300 174.3
2003 54,900 139.8
2004 58,200 124.4
2005 62,600 122.9
2006 64,300 112.4
2007 65,400 94.8
2008 64,700 79.3
2009 63,100 52.5
2010 62,700 49.5
Source: United States Census Bureau, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2012

Number of New Privately Owned One-family Houses Sold

1980 to 2010

Year Units Sold (in Thousands)
1980 545.00
1985 688.00
1990 534.00
1995 667.00
2000 877.00
2003 1,086.00
2004 1,203.00
2005 1,283.00
2006 1,051.00
2007 776.00
2008 485.00
2009 375.00
2010 321.00
Source: United States Census Bureau, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2012

Once you figure out what features you want, such as how many bedrooms, what amenities, etc. it's time to start looking for homes for sale.

  • The HUD advertises single-family as well as multiple-family homes for sale
  • Century 21 details how to shop for a home, including tracking properties that have been seen and keeping a spreadsheet of the attractive features of each
  • RealEstate.com includes things that should be included on a home-buying checklist, such as storage space, age of water heater and furnace, and which appliances are included in the sale
  • ForSaleByOwner.com offers a printable checklist for areas that might be important to you, such as proximity to school or work, number of stories, wood versus brick and estimated utility bills, among many others
  • Search engine Zillow allows consumers to search homes for sale within their area

Make an offer

Existing Apartment, Condos and Co-ops Mediam Sales Price

2000 to 2010

Year Median Sales Price (Dollars) Units Sold (In Thousands)
2000 86,900 272
2001 89,000 333
2002 114,000 571
2003 168,500 732
2004 197,100 820
2005 223,900 896
2006 221,900 801
2007 226,300 713
2008 209,800 563
2009 175,600 590
2010 171,700 599
Source: United States Census Bureau, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2012

Home inspection

Homeowners insurance

Homeowners are wise to purchase homeowners insurance once they've purchased a home, to prevent financial ruin from events like earthquakes, floods, fires and theft.

Sign papers

Closing on a house is a process, and is not as simple as just signing one piece of paper and receiving the keys to one's new house.