But eventually necessity (and by necessity, I mean a string of abuses by the worst landlord on the planet) dictated that I move, and recent experiences that I did not want to repeat told me that I should really consider buying a house instead of hoping for a better rental situation somewhere else. So I decided to learn as much as possible about buying a house and getting a good deal on a mortgage.
While I recommend taking the time to read some good books on the subject to really get acquainted with the details of the homebuying process, I've written a couple of articles recently that will help you get started.
The first addresses the common misconception that the most important thing to look at when you're shopping for a mortgage is the interest rate. Check out my Financial Edge article for Investopedia, 7 Ways To Avoid Low-Rate Mortgage Shams. For further reading, see Carolyn Warren's book, Mortgage Rip-Offs and Money Savers. It was a great help to me in becoming informed about the truth behind mortgage interest rates.
For an overview of the entire homebuying process (and if you have a few minutes), read How to Buy Your First Home: A Step-By-Step Tutorial. This article discusses choosing a location, determining what kind of home suits your needs, calculating how much you can afford, getting preapproved for a loan, finding a real estate agent, finding a property, writing an offer, dealing with the escrow process, purchasing the necessary insurance, and closing.
I also recommend these articles:
• 10 Tips For Getting A Fair Price On A Home - Don't let buying a home bust your budget. Make sure the house you choose is worth the price you pay.
• The Hidden Costs Of Home Ownership - Mortgage lenders don't factor the extra costs into your loan amount. Make sure you save for the "little" things.
• Understanding Mortgage Impound Accounts - Home buyers with low down payments may get stuck with higher mortgage payments. Find out what you get for the extra money.
• 7 Smart Steps Every New Homeowner Should Take - Don't let the excitement of owning your own home lead you to make bad financial decisions.