how to: buy a home

Ready for a new nest? Whether you’re looking for your very first place, or it’s time for an upgrade, we’ve got guides on renting or buying a home that will help ease you through the process. Start with the basics -- condo, co-op, or house? Our home buying help will give you the pros and cons of every option. After deciding what you want, you’ll need to settle on where to live. Our tips on how to find a home will help you pick the right neighborhood and even tell you how to give it a test drive! If you’ve already narrowed in on a neighborhood, you’ll want a real estate agent, and we’ve got the questions you must ask before you hire one. Once you’re on the house hunt, our Q&A can help you through every step of buying a home. From dealing with agent fees, how much to bid, managing mortgages -- even when it’s smarter to rent. You’ll find home buying help for every sticky situation. In addition to tips on buying a house, we’ve also got advice on selling your old one. Take a peek at our advice on organizing an open house, the dos and don’ts of selling it yourself, and our handy selling your home checklist. Our tips on buying a house will take you right through to the end, from dealing with inspections to making an offer. Once you’re ready to make your move, check out our moving checklist and the first things you should do in your new space. Welcome home!

More about buying a home Less about buying a home

toolmortgage calculator

Mortgage Amount $
Mortgage Term years
Interest Rate % per year
Monthly Payments $

Hot Topics -- Join the Discussion!

"How do you deal with pushy in-laws."

"Do you have a cleaning schedule?"

"Has marriage changed your relationship?"
Married Life

“What are your financial goals?"
Money Matters

Real Estate Q&A: New Home Developments?



When you’re deciding what type of home you want to buy, it can be appealing to bypass older homes and apartments and go for a brand-spanking new place. Buying a new house or apartment from a developer definitely has some upsides. For one, if you can get into the process early enough, you can get mucho customization (read: bells and whistles, like wine-fridges and custom sinks), but every detail you specify may cost you extra. Another plus: New construction adheres to the latest safety standards and uses the most technologically advanced materials.

However, the downside is that you may wind up with a cookie-cutter style or a problem with durability (think sheetrock instead of solid plaster walls, which is why they came up with the saying “they don’t make 'em like they used to"). There’s a reason that original details like carved banisters in an old house raise the selling price; new ones -- chic as they may be -- can’t compete.

Building your own home can be an exhilarating experience as well; it could possibly turn out to be less expensive than buying an existing house, depending on the housing market in your area. If you’re intrepid enough, you can purchase an empty lot at a low price and build a big property on it, which will add a lot of value. You can build exactly the house you want, customized in every way possible. But this isn't a task for the uninitiated. You have to be very careful about hiring a contractor, and you have to keep excellent track of all the work going on in your new place, because there are millions of ways for costs to add up and for major mistakes to happen.

-- The Nest Editors

See More: Buying a Home