Spring home-buying guide: 6 ways to do it right

It's peak home-buying season. Even though buyers have a greater advantage than they've had in awhile, it's still easy to take a wrong, frustrating and costly turn. Here are six ways to make sure you don't.

Find a good buyer's agent
What buyer's agents do: When you go to an open house and meet a real estate agent showing the property, that agent represents the seller's interests. So you might be better off using a buyer's agent whose job is to represent your interests. In addition to showing you homes that meet your criteria, a buyer's agent can help you negotiate a contract and may help you get a better deal on title insurance.

Ensure your interests come first: A buyer's agent typically shares the sales commission with the seller's agent. So keep in mind your agent may want to push some houses over others if they offer a higher commission or bonus on top of the commission to get a deal done. That's why Tom Early, spokesman for the National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents, told Money Magazine that buyers should ask their agents to sign a contract before looking at houses that stipulates that any bonus being paid by a seller be used to pay closing costs. (Here are other ways to make sure you get the best house for the best price.)

Where to find one: To find a buyer's agent in your area, check with the National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents.

Loan pre-approval

Buyer's agent

Real estate attorney

Written offer

House inspection

House appraisal
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