Buyers usually do not understand the complex steps in buying a property.  They rely on their real estate agent to explain all the steps necessary in completing the purchase.  Purchasing a home is probably the largest single investment that one will ever make.  Understanding the process and your legal rights is essential.  With just a little effort, the buyer can understand their legal rights, the process and assure themselves that they have made an intelligent decision.

1. Understanding the process: Most real-estate offices and mortgage companies have easy to read pamphlets explaining the buying and closing process, legal rights of the buyer and what to expect in terms of cost.
2. Choose your real estate agent as carefully as you chose your new home.  It's a good idea to talk with several agents.  Then choose the one that you feel the most knowledgeable about your needs. 
3.  Ask the real estate agent whom they will be working for.  If the seller is paying the sales commission then the agent is usually working for the seller unless the agent tells you different.
4. Get legal advice.  Hire an attorney prior to the home buying and loan borrowing process.  Don't hesitate to ask questions.  Always ask up front
what the costs are going to be.  Never sign a contract without having your attorney look over the contract and give you legal advice. 
5. Never rely on a verbal commitment from anyone in buying property.  Get it in writing, consider having it a part of the contract.
6. Contact a mortgage lender in advance.  Find out what mortgage amount you can qualify for.  Check with other mortgage companies.  Remember that the decisions you make in purchasing property can have a financial effect for years to come.
7. Never hesitate to ask what you might consider to be dumb or stupid questions.  It's dumb and stupid not to ask these questions.
8. Ask if you have the right to select the inspector of your choice.  Most mortgage companies now require an inspection by a licensed inspector and usually the buyer pays for this.  Meet with the inspector prior to his inspection.  Point out and discuss any areas of concern that you might have with the property such as the electrical system, the roof, drainage and so forth.  Ask that you be present at the inspection.
9. Research the neighborhood.  Check with county records for crime, school ratings, and other pertinent information.
10. Remember that you always have the right to negotiate the price.  Be aware of the real estate market in the area.  Negotiate from a position of knowledge that can be critical in contracting strategies and techniques.

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