Buying a home, whether it is your first or fifth, can be an emotional process, and includes many steps. Here is a step by step guide to help you anticipate what comes with purchasing your next home. 

Step 1: Start Your Search
Start looking to see whats available, start with Make a note of home styles, locations and amenities that you are interested in.

Step 2: Get Prequalified and Preapproved
Before you start looking for a home, you will need to know your price range. The best way to accomplish this is to get prequalified for a mortgage. To get prequalified, you will need to provide financial, employment and debt information to your lender, such as your income and the amount of investments and savings you have. Your lender will be able to give you a price range for your mortgage. Later, you can get preapproved, which involves providing your financial documents (W-2 statements, paycheck stubs, bank account statements, etc.) so your lender can verify your information.

Contact Ernest Rispoli with Envoy Mortgage

Step 3: Find the Right Real Estate Agent
Real estate agents are valuable partners when you’re buying or selling a home. Real estate agents can provide you with CMA’s (Comparable Market Analysis) and other helpful information on homes and neighborhoods that isn’t easily accessible to the public. Their knowledge of the home buying process, negotiating skills, and familiarity with the area you want to live in can be extremely valuable. And best of all, it doesn’t cost you anything to use an agent in the buying process – they’re compensated from the commission paid by the seller of the house at closing.

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Step 4: Look for Your Home
Start touring homes in your price range. It is always helpful to take notes. You will see a lot of houses! It can be hard to remember everything about them, so you might want to also take pictures or video to help you remember each home. Please be sure to ask your agent if the seller allows pictures and video.

Step 5: Second Look and Offer to Purchase
After finding a home that you like, go back for a second look, especially if you saw the home at night. A few things you can look for on the second showing:

  • Make sure the house has running water
  • Try turning switches on and off
  • Open and close the windows and doors to see if they work properly
  • It’s also important to evaluate the neighborhood:
    (1) Are the other homes on the block well maintained?
    (2) How much traffic does the street get?
    (3) Is there enough parking for your family and visitors?
    (4) Is it conveniently located near places of interest to you: schools, shopping transportation, restaurants, parks, your place of employment?

Take as much time as you need to find the right home for you. Buying a home is most likely going to be the biggest purchase you make so make sure it’s right for you. Then, work with your real estate agent to negotiate a fair offer based on the value of comparable homes in the same neighborhood. Once you and the seller have reached an agreement on a price and a your offer is accepted, it’s time for a home inspection.

Step 6: Get a Home Inspection
Typically, purchase offers are contingent on a home inspection of the property to check for things that need repair, signs of structural or water damage, mold or any other potential safety hazards. Your real estate agent can help you arrange to have this inspection conducted within a few days of your offer being accepted by the seller. This contingency gives you the chance to decide if you want to ask the seller to fix anything on the property before closing, renegotiate your offer, or withdraw it, if the inspection reveals significant repairs are needed or there is structural damage. 

Step 7: Contracts
After a satisfactory inspection report, the sellers attorney will draft up a purchase contract and forward it to your attorney. You will then review the contract and riders with your attorney, sign the contracts and leave your contract down payment. Contracts and the down payment will be sent back to the seller’s attorney for the sellers to sign. After the sellers sign, the contract they are considered fully executed. Now they can be forwarded to your lender to begin the loan process and to order the appraisal.

Step 8: Time for the Appraisal
Lenders will arrange for an appraiser to provide an independent estimate of the value of the house you are buying. The appraiser is a member of a third party company and is not directly associated with the lender. The appraisal will let all the parties involved know that you are paying a fair price for the home.

Step 9: Loan Process
Your lender will then look over all the documents, send the file to underwriting for a commitment letter, and ultimately the clear for the loan to close.

After receiving the clear to close from your lender, the attorneys will schedule a closing date and time that suites all parties involved.

Step 10: Final Walk Through
Before the sale closes, you will have a walk-through of the house, which gives you the chance to make sure the house is in the same condition as the day you made the offer and to confirm that any agreed-upon repairs have been made.

Step 11: The Closing
In attendance will be the seller’s and buyer’s attorneys as well as an attorney for the bank and a representative from the title company. You will sign all of the paperwork required to complete the purchase, including your loan documents (if its not an all cash deal). Be sure to bring your ID, pertinent paperwork or checks and anything else your attorney instructs you to bring to the closing.

Step 12: After the Closing                                       

Make sure to put all your documentation in a safe place. It is recommended to change the locks to your new home and don’t forget to contact the local utility companies for change in service.

Now Enjoy Your New Home!!


This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORS®, and may not reflect NAR's viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.