Buying a home is one of the biggest investments of your life. Understandably, it may be a cause for concern. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Our step-by-step checklist will make your home-buying experience smoother and more enjoyable:

• Get a free copy of your credit report ( Then, reduce consumer debt by paying down credit card balances.

• Assemble a cash downpayment. Then research mortgage companies. Be sure to get pre-approved by a lender. Then, figure out how much you can afford.


• Think of features that are important to you. Create a checklist to serve as your road map for buying a home. Be sure to narrow down the area you want to live in. Check out the schools and neighborhoods.

• Seek out a real estate agent to help with buying a home. Compare the services of different agents and look for good chemistry.

• Shop for homes. Check comparable sales and ask the seller about a home warranty.

• Sign the purchase contract. Then, complete all mortgage loan application requirements.


• Apply for homeowner’s insurance and order a home inspection. Then, set a closing date and know what the closing cost will be.

• Do a final walk-through of the home before signing escrow closing documents and mortgage documents. Provide any additional deposits necessary to close, and receive your keys upon recordation to your new home.

Following these tips will make buying the house of your dreams easier than you think.

Karen Nakamura is executive vice president/CEO of the Building Industry Association of Hawaii.