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Explaining the home-buying process

Dear Readers: Lots of folks are buying homes right now. Whether it’s because of quarantine and we are realizing how small or ill-suited our current homes are, or if it’s because interest rates are low, now is a good time to consider home ownership.

Let’s start a series on the 411 of buying a home. What are the steps toward buying a home? Let’s take a look:

— Get pre-qualified for a mortgage loan to figure out how much home you can afford. Pre-qualification determines the top limit of a loan you can qualify for. You’ll supply a look at your financial history to the lender. This will include your income, assets, debts and credit score. (A pre-approval is kind of the same, but it requires documentation and verification.)

— Meet with a Realtor and search for the perfect home.

— Make an offer on a property you like, negotiate and sign a purchase agreement.

— Next? Here comes the home inspection and appraisal.

— Now your home goes into underwriting; its progress is monitored by your loan officer.

— Finally? Your loan is approved; the deal is done. Sign on the dotted line, transfer the dollars, and move in. Whoop.

Next week, we’ll look at the do’s and don’ts of tightening up and cleaning up your credit before you go home shopping. — Heloise

COVID COUTURE

Dear Heloise: My hint is to make it easy on yourself when getting your COVID vaccine, clothing-wise. Loose, breezy sleeves, tank tops and even those “cold shoulder” style tops provide easy access for health-care providers to administer the shot. — Becky F. in Ohio

Fellas, short sleeves or tank tops for you. Rolled-up long sleeves are too bulky. — Heloise

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