People buy homes for many reasons, whether it's a fulfillment
of a dream or a calculated investment. Whatever the motivation,
buying a home is generally the largest single financial transaction
most people ever conduct.
Because it's such a big step, you really need to know what
you're getting into when you buy a house. In this section,
MsMoney.com explains the financial elements of purchasing
a home and clarifies the entire process to facilitate each
step along the way. To assist you in this giant financial undertaking, the Internet offers many financial tools and calculators, including the Buy vs. Rent Tool.
While it's easy to get overwhelmed, buying a house doesn't
have to be a painful ordeal. If you know all the details and
understand what you're getting into, the process can be both
enjoyable and educational. MsMoney.com will take you through
the steps of preparing to buy a house, from figuring what's
motivating your decision to finding out what kind of home
you can afford. Then we'll take you step by step through the
actual buying process, from getting prequalified to moving
How much money can you spend on a home? That depends on several
factors, including your income, credit rating, and the size
of your down payment. But the length of the loan and the interest
rate also have an effect. Use our home affordability tool
to estimate realistically how much you can spend. Let MsMoney.com
show you what's involved in the total cost of your home--not
just the initial buying costs, but the mortgage payments,
insurance, and maintenance that you'll be paying for years
down the road.
It's usually smarter in the long run to buy a home than to
rent one, but there are situations where the opposite is true.
Learn the advantages and disadvantages of both buying and
renting. You can also use Buy
vs. Rent Tool to compare the cost and benefits of each
Although it's getting easier to find a home online, it may
be smarter to deal with an actual human being. Real estate
agents have many advantages over their virtual counterparts,
including experience and local knowledge. MsMoney.com tells
you what to look for in a real estate agent and how to find
one in your area.
The Web has made financing a home much easier than it used
to be. But you still need to know the basics: how to check
your credit, get prequalified, shop for loans, and get preapproved.
In this section, we'll give you the names of the resources
you need and show you how best to go about accomplishing these
Once you've completed all of the above steps, the home buying
process may still only be half over. Inspecting and appraising
the property and closing the deal can take a great deal of
time and energy. MsMoney.com guides you through each stage,
giving you detailed information and names of Web sites that
can help you complete the process and finally move into your