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Checklist for buying home sweet home

By Janet Reusch ·
Friday, October 4, 2013
Posted: 12 pm ET

Buying a home isn’t easy, so we hosted a hangout with real estate experts to help you along on your hunt for a house and a mortgage.

Joining us were Greg McBride, CFA, and Senior Financial Analyst for, and Herman Chan, a housing and lifestyle expert at He has appeared on all kinds of shows, including HGTV’s "House Hunters."

These are the topics we tackled:

  • How the government shutdown affects closings.
  • Getting preapproved.
  • Using tools like our mortgage app to determine your budget.
  • How to vet agents.
  • Price-shopping your mortgage.
  • Hidden costs to be aware of.

Here are some of my favorite tips from the hangout:

  • The Bankrate reader already knows that one of the first steps in the homebuying process is to get preapproved. But did you know that having two preapproval letters from different lenders can really help you stand out to sellers as a serious, qualified buyer? Just don’t go too crazy getting more preapproval letters than you need, or your credit could take a hit from unnecessary inquiries.
  • Would-be buyers who were frustrated this year from being outbid or beaten to the punch should consider trying again. The numbers and anecdotal reports show that the hot frenzy this summer has simmered to a more normal market. Twenty offers on a house may have been the norm in some markets a couple months ago, but that number has cooled down to a healthy four or five bids per house.

Have you bought a house recently, or did you give up trying?

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