Buying a home usually represents your single biggest investment – and debt.

Buying a home is one of the most exciting, and frequently stressful, experiences you’ll ever go through. This holds true whether you’ve bought many homes or you’re looking to buy your first, whether you’re in the market for a new primary residence, an investment property or that perfect vacation getaway. Today’s real estate market can offer more opportunities, yet can be filled with more risks than ever before.

There are a multitude of factors to consider and decisions to make when buying a home. It’s crucial to have all the available resources necessary to make a well-informed decision, together with the time required to make use of these decisions. It’s also important (and FREE) to enlist the help of a trusted real estate professional who’ll be able to provide expert guidance at each step when buying a home. Finding and purchasing a home includes the following steps, which we’ll examine in more detail throughout this booklet:

1.) Define Your Goals, Research Your Options, Make Your Plans

Given that buying a home is such a big step, it’s very important to educate and prepare yourself as much as possible. This means clearly determining the reasons you’re buying and what kind of home you’re looking for. Since buying a home and financing a home are so closely related, it also means examining your current financial situation and projecting how much you can afford. Once you’ve answered these questions, even tentatively, you’ll be in a better position to research housing and mortgage options. This will also allow you to create an action plan and timelines for moving forward. Although it is possible to do some of this yourself, you will greatly benefit by consulting an experienced real estate professional right from the start.

2.) Give Me a Call!

Buying a home is a complex matter with many factors to consider, since no two homes, or transactions are alike. Moreover, with all the unique opportunities and potential pitfalls of the current market, it’s more important than ever to contact a real estate professional once you’ve decided you are buying a home. When choosing a real estate professional to guide you through the property search, financing, negotiation and transaction processes, you should consider their local market knowledge, experience, and track record.

I have been a licensed Realtor since 2004 and am licensed in two states. Over the years I have helped hundreds of people with buying a home and I would love to help you too! It is super important to have an agent that has been through many different experiences so when (not if) something comes up, I can help you through it.

A lot of people buying a home have tons of questions. I’ve created this blog that contains the top questions of home buyers.

3.) Get Pre-approved for a Loan

I recommend that you get pre-approved for a loan before you start viewing homes. The pre-approval process involves meeting with a lender and authorizing them to examine your current financial situation and credit history. On the basis of this examination, the lender may provide you with a document detailing the amount you can borrow when buying a home. Consider looking online to see what different lenders offer, or contacting your local bank or credit union. If you are looking for something specific like a lender that works with “iffy credit,” I can help with that too.

The benefits of pre-approval include:

You’ll know what you are eligible to receive in financing and be able to plan accordingly. As a qualified, motivated buyer you’ll be taken more seriously when you make an offer. In fact, most Realtors require buyers to submit their pre-approval letter when submitting an offer with the intention of buying a home.

Lenders can tell you if you qualify for special programs that will help you afford a better home (particularly if you’re a first-time buyer). Real estate financing is available from many sources, and as mentioned before, I can suggest lenders with a history of offering excellent mortgage products and services. 

4.) View Homes and Select THE ONE

Simply put, the key to the home search process is knowing what you’re looking for. Among other things, that means distinguishing between “must-haves” and “like-to-haves”. To help you to target your search and define your preferences and priorities of buying a home, the guide below in the link, includes a Home Search Worksheet on page 23. That said, here are a few recent facts about the search process that might put your experience in perspective:

92% of buyers use the internet or mobile apps to search for homes.

The typical buyer searches for 12 weeks and views an average of 12 homes.

97% of buyers view real estate agents as important in the home search process.

There are many benefits to starting the search process at a real estate website like realtor.com®. You can view many homes and their details, take video tours and access neighborhood info. However, it’s also important to view homes in person. While the property details may seem similar online, homes can be very different in terms of layout, design, workmanship and other aspects. Ideally, when buying a home, you should view them with the help of an experienced real estate professional who’ll notice things you might miss, provide expert analysis, and act as an impartial sounding board.

5.) Make an Offer and Negotiate With the Seller

Once you’ve found the home you’d like to buy, it’s time to make an offer. I will write up an offer for you that will include a specific sales price and also include clauses specifying various terms of purchase. These clauses will be things like the closing and possession dates, your deposit amounts, and other conditions that we will go over that are specific to you buying a home.

In addition to drawing up the contract, I will be happy to address all of your questions about the offer process. Once I’ve written the offer, I will present it to the seller’s representative. At that point, the negotiation period begins.

Generally speaking, the seller can accept your offer, reject it, or counter which initiates the negotiation process. When buying a home, successive counter-offers with deadlines for responding and meeting conditions, may be exchanged between you and the seller until a mutual pending agreement is reached. Or, the negotiations could breakdown.

Negotiations involve many factors specifically relating to different market conditions, homes and sellers, some of which are examined in – Successfully Negotiating The Deal – on page 18.

6.) Secure Your Financing

Once you have a pending agreement, it’s time to return to your chosen lender and finalize the mortgage details, in order to close the deal. This means finalizing your down payment, interest rate, regular payment schedule and all other financial conditions associated with the closing.

As the saying goes, ‘let the buyer beware’. Unfortunately, too many people buying a home suffer negative consequences from not fully understanding their financing decisions. Thus, it’s crucial for you to work with people you trust. As your real estate professional and helping you with buying a home, I will become a true friend for life. For more information on the loan process, see – The Loan Process – Financing Your Home Purchase, on page 14.

If you’ve efficiently taken care of everything connected with purchasing your new home, taking ownership should be a positive joy with no surprises. Key steps to the closing, also referred to as the “escrow” or “settlement”, include: Getting a title search – you will need a historical review of all legal documents relating to ownership of the property – to ensure that there are no claims against the title of the property. It’s also necessary to purchase Title Insurance for protection in the event of errors in the records or mistakes in the review process.

The final walkthrough – you will be given the chance to look at the home one last time to make sure it’s in the same condition as when you signed the Purchase Agreement.

The settlement – typically, on the Closing Date you’ll meet with the escrow agent that we’ve been working with, along with myself, to verify and sign all the paperwork required to complete you buying a home. The settlement will include paying your closing costs, legal fees, property adjustments and transfer taxes. At this point, you’ll receive the property title and copies of all documentation pertaining to the purchase.

Oh, and one more thing – you’ll get the keys! In most cases, the possession date will fall within a few days, and you will be able to move into your new home.  

Provided courtesy of Realtor.com Click here to download the entire guide.  

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