Congratulations! You have decided to buy a new home. This booklet will help you take this big financial step by describing the home buying, home financing, and settlement process. Lenders and mortgage brokers are required by federal law, the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act ("RESPA"), to give you this booklet. You should receive it when applying for a loan, or within three business days afterwards. Real estate brokers frequently hand out this booklet as well.

You probably started the home buying process in one of two ways: you saw a home you were interested in buying or you consulted a lender to figure out how much money you could borrow before you found a home (sometimes called pre-qualifying). The next step is to sign an agreement of sale with the seller, followed by applying for a loan to purchase your new home. The final step is called "settlement" or "closing," where the legal title to the property is transferred to you.

At each of these steps you often have the opportunity to negotiate the terms, conditions and costs to your advantage. This booklet will highlight such opportunities. You will also need to shop carefully to get the best value for your money. There is no standard home buying process used in all localities. Your actual experience may vary from those described here. This booklet takes you through the general steps to buying a home, to eliminate, as much as possible, the mysteries of the settlement process.

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