5. Keep Closing Costs Down
Buying a house is a lot like planning a wedding or having a baby: You can easily get nickel-and-dimed at every turn. Inspectors, appraisers, lawyers, lenders -- they all tend to pile on the charges once they see that you've got your checkbook out.
Happily, you have more power to rein in these costs than in the past. New federal regulations require lenders to provide a detailed Good Faith Estimate of closing expenses when you apply for a loan -- and stick to it. Inquire about "junk" fees (such as copying and processing charges) and get them removed from Day 1. And if you think your bill is being padded, log on to closing.com to find comparable closing costs in your area. Then go back and renegotiate line by line.