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First-time Homebuying 101

Close the deal

If you can sign your name 50 times without your hand cramping up, you're good to go for the closing. This is where you sign all the paperwork -- after reading it. Don't just assume it's all legit, because there are unscrupulous people in the real-estate industry just like in any other. You'll turn over your money (into an escrow account) and walk out with your keys. Or, if you haven't arranged to take possession at closing, at least with the promise of keys.

At this point, your home-buying work is done, and the work of moving out of your old home and into your new one begins.

In a month or so, you'll barely remember the agony.