It’s not abnormal to place homeownership on par with the tooth fairy or the return of the dinosaurs when it comes to plausibility. Phrases like “mortgage loan” and “debt-to-income ratio” can be enough to reassure you that you’re more than happy to rent forever. But here’s the thing: Buying a home doesn't have to be as intimidating as it sounds. It’s simply a matter of knowing where to begin.
Whether you’re finding a mortgage plan, saving for a down payment, negotiating a contract, or just shopping around, it’s all more manageable than you think, so long as you have the right resources on your side. Lucky for you, we've already done the work. We tapped Priya Malani, founder of financial planning firm Stash Wealth, for some expert advice on shopping for real estate, navigating cryptic mortgage jargon, and saving time with financial tools like Mint and Turbo from Intuit. Read ahead to find out everything you need to do before you gear up to make your big purchase.