Home ownership is an appropriate goal for almost anyone. Achieving it begins with the reconciliation of your needs and your ability to pay for the features you want. Very few home buyers can afford to pay cash for a home, so it is a good idea to become familiar with your personal credit reports, which affect your ability to borrow money from commercial lenders.

As of late 2004 Americans are entitled once every 12 months to a free copy of their personal credit reports from each of the three nationwide consumer credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

Information compiled by consumer credit reporting agencies is collected from many sources, many of which are unattributed, and may contain errors that cast suspicion on your likelihood of repaying a loan. It is a good idea to monitor your credit worthiness several times a year, typically getting one report every quarter or so, rotating among the three major agencies, because the information contained is usually similar (if not identical) from one to the next. With "identity theft" and its consequences reported daily in the news, many consumers are increasingly cautious about their financial reputations.

One factor to consider as you contemplate buying a home is how long you intend to live in it. If it is likely that you will relocate in less than a year from your community, it may not make sense to make an investment that will bind you to one place, tying up your money until you are able to sell. Sometimes it is reasonable to rent, when you know you are likely to be transferred, change jobs, or move on after college.

  • Search Homes Right Now: Use the search tool to browse the wide variety of single-family homes, duplexes and condominiums on the local real estate market.

  • Register for the Home Finder and let your dream home come to you. Members can also create saved searches, collect their favorites and sign up for instant email alerts when new homes that fit their criteria come on the market.

  • First-Time Buyer? Read about some things you need to be aware of, if you're new to this process.

  • Learn About the Community and homes in the surrounding area before you invest. Refer to the Featured Areas section for community information.

  • Buy Your Home with a REALTOR®: Read our buyer's guarantee and find out why working with a REALTOR® takes the guesswork out of buying a home.

  • Use the Mortgage Calculator to figure out what your mortgage payments will be on the home you want.

  • Connect to a Professional: Contact us anytime you need to know more about the area or any property that interests you. When you're ready to take the next step toward purchasing a home, we're here to help.

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