How to buy a house (told in under 350 words)

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By Deborah Kearns

If you’ve been thinking about joining the homeownership club but you have no clue where to start, this crash course in Home Buying 101 is for you.

1. Figure out what you can afford

Sit down with a mortgage calculator to get a baseline idea of how much house you can afford. Keep in mind: Even if a calculator or your lender indicates you can afford a $300,000 mortgage, that doesn’t mean you can afford the monthly payment in addition to other routine expenses.

2. Hire the right people

Ask friends, neighbors and family for recommendations of real estate agents and lenders they’ve used, then research those people online. Meet with them, feel them out and decide if you can entrust them with the largest financial transaction you’ll ever make in your life.

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