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8 things to know about buying a home today

Use mortgage preapproval to your advantage

The home-sale market is showing signs of life. More buyers are confident now than they were a year ago that now might be a good time to buy. Interest rates are near all-time lows and home prices in some areas are back to 2002-2003 levels. Some analysts are finally suggesting that we may be headed for recovery. If you have a secure job, plan to stay put and feel this is the right time for you to buy a home, consider the following. In most places in the country, home prices are still declining. It has only been recently that the market picked up and it's too soon to know if this will result in a sustainable increase in prices. The recent home sales in areas around California's Silicon Valley defy the norm. Significant job growth in the area combined with a low inventory of good homes for sale has resulted in multiple offers with buyers bidding the price up sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars over the asking price. In other high-demand, low-inventory areas, you may fin...