October 26th, 2010

10 Steps To Buying Your Dream Home

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dream house

**Welcome to Top Ten Tuesdays here at Credit Karma Bootcamp: Your 31-Day Credit Health Plan.**

**Today’s guest post is contributed by LearnVest**.

With the housing market on crutches, a national foreclosure fiasco, and credit still tighter than a drum, your dream home may feel like its at an impossible reach. Think again.

Our friends at LearnVest break down 10 key steps to attaining your dream home. A solid credit score, good credit history, and the right home are just some of the factors involved in this exciting process, but there is more for you to explore and negotiate. After these steps, you can start laying out your dream furniture too.

  1. Understand The Costs Of Homebuying.

    Be realistic when calculating what you could afford to buy now. You need to figure in your income, savings, fixed expenses, and debts. If you’re not using a budget, start NOW. (Really, right now.)

  2. Get In Shape To Buy A House.

    Pay off/down as many outstanding balances as possible. Doing so will help improve your debt-to-income ratio. You’ll need a credit score of 700+ for the best rates. Check your credit reports for inaccuracies and negative items and use a credit repair company such as Lexington Law Firm to dispute them.

  3. Educate Yourself On Mortgages.

    There are two types of mortgages: fixed and adjustable. Armed with the facts, you can decide which one is right for you. Read more about your options here.

  4. Check Out The Area.

    Have home prices risen in the past few years? Are the other houses abandoned or is this a neighborhood on the rise? Is this town for you? Are the schools good? Are public services up to par? How close are you to your office? Consider these questions and more about the home’s surrounding area–after all, it’s where you’ll be living for a number of years.

  5. Go House Hunting.

    Once you know what kind of neighborhood and what kind of place is right for you, you’re ready for the next step: house hunting!

  6. Find A Mortgage Lender And Know What To Ask Them.

    You want to find the lender who’s got the type of mortgage you want and who will charge you the least amount for it. Call a few lenders to compare rates. You can start with the Yellow Pages or Bankrate.com, look up mortgage lenders in your area, or ask your realtor and friends for recommendations.

  7. Be Mindful Of Home Inspection Red Flags.

    Evaluate whether it’s in a safe place, whether the apartment gets leaks, is the area noisy, and are there sacked or cracked foundations.

  8. Know How To Negotiate.

    It pays to know how to negotiate. This is a big part of how business is done in that industry. Even if you are using an agent you should know the keys to negotiating.

  9. Figure out Your Total Monthly Payment.

    Before you decide exactly how much to offer for the home, you want to get the most accurate estimate possible of what your total monthly payment could be. That includes not only the mortgage but also your homeowner’s insurance payment, private mortgage insurance, property taxes, and common charges or maintenance fees.

  10. Keep The Big Picture In Mind.

    This shouldn’t be a property to flip. This is your home. If you strap yourself in for the long term you will be better equipped to weather dips in the market. Chances are the house will be worth more than you’re paying for it.

To learn more about buying your dream home check out LearnVest’s Mortgage Basics.

CK Bootcamp Tip: If you want your dream home bad enough, start with these 10 steps now and figure out what you need to do to get the ball rolling. No one said buying a home would be easy–but it is doable and absolutely worth it.



Credit Karma Bootcamp: Your 31-Day Credit Health Plan

Throughout October, Credit Karma Bootcamp gives you daily information on what you need to make wise, credit-savvy decisions when it comes to credit cards, mortgages, insurance, loans, and most importantly, ALL THINGS CREDIT.

Follow along to get financially fit and credit healthy.


Disclaimer: All information posted to this site was accurate at the time of its initial publication. Efforts have been made to keep the content up to date and accurate. However, Credit Karma does not make any guarantees about the accuracy or completeness of the information provided. For complete details of any products mentioned, visit bank or issuer website.


  1. Great post! Lots of tips! Once you are ready to move, enjoy this checklist to make an easy move! http://www.fandfhomes.com/blog/index.php/2010/09/before-you-move-into-your-new-home-%e2%80%9cthe-final-checklist%e2%80%9d/. Good luck!

    Whitney at 1:42 pm on October 29, 2010
  2. Great tips on homebuying. I almost got screwed on a house purchase as I almost overlooked some hidden damages that would have cost me a fortune to fix. Its really important to do your research and ask questions.

    Anonymous at 10:23 am on September 19, 2011
  3. It’s a priority to do research and then chose a property for purchase. You need to gather all the necessary information.

    property investment london at 2:10 am on October 8, 2011
  4. I know all that and have done it all and have the down payment money to buy the home. Due to getting injured in U.S. Army active duty and being unable to work for 6 years, now my credit rating is trash and I can not buy a home as a result of that! My dreams of buying a home are in the toilet! Sometime I feel I would have just been better of dead in active duty at least then people would have gave a darn! Still homeless after over 11 years now! NO HOME!

    Debra An at 5:42 am on February 3, 2012
  5. Great article! My husband and I have purchased two houses during our marriage and we have been lucky to find that real estate agent that helped us to search for properties around the areas and features we were looking for. I highly recommend to find the right real estate agent that help you accomplish your housing goals.

    Roxana at 6:50 am on November 6, 2013

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