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Buyers Guide

Buying a home is an intimidating process, whether it is your first time or third time. Below you'll find an overview of what to expect from purchasing a home and handy tips that should help streamline the experience.

Shopping for your dream home is the best part of buying a house, but before you can do that, you should get pre-approved by a qualified mortgage lender or broker. 

The majority of sellers will not even entertain your bid if you don't have a letter of pre-approval. 

What do you need to get pre-approved for a mortgage?

  • Proof of your income, usually with W-2 statements from the past two years. Alimony or additional bonuses also need documentation.
  • Documentation of your assets, including your debt-to-income ratio and credit score.
  • Lenders need to know that you have a stable income and are currently employed, so they might call your employer to verify employment. 
  • Government-issued IDs and your social security number

It's best to talk to a lender first and then start searching for your agent so you're aware of how much you can afford. Finding the right realtor includes looking for certified people, typically with their Accredited Buyer's Representative, Certified Residential Specialist, and potentially Seniors Real Estate Specialist. Familiarize yourself with the difference between a buyer's agent and a listing agent. Having the right real estate agent matters. You want someone who will protect you and your best interests while maintaining availability and providing guidance.

Another reason that hiring a skilled realtor is in your best interest is during the home search. A knowledgeable agent with extensive expertise in the local market will be able to streamline the search process and sometimes even point you toward homes that aren't listed on the market yet. They'll know the best neighborhoods, schools, restaurants, and more to help you in your search for your dream home.

Consult with your realtor to strategize on the right offer and contingencies. Then your agent will deliver your offer letter to the listing agent. The seller will either accept, reject, or request changes. Your agent will handle negotiations for you.

Consider hiring a real estate attorney to assist you with the legal transfer of property. A real estate attorney knows how to prepare and review documents related to purchasing a home. They might also be in charge of closing. Once the attorney review is completed, and the property is under contract, you'll send a copy of that contract to your mortgage lender.

Next, you will want to find a qualified third-party home inspector to inspect the property in question. Home inspections are crucial because they protect you and your interests. The inspector will check the property to ensure that the seller discloses everything you need to know about the house. If they find significant damages or issues, they'll include that in your report. Then the report is reviewed with your agent and attorney.

It will be up to you if you want to proceed with the sale at that point. Depending on the damage, the buyer can decide to walk away and get their money back, the seller can pay for the damages, or the seller might credit the buyer with money to go toward fixing it. Credits will be facilitated and handled by the attorney. After the home inspection report is completed and all parties have come to an agreement, you'll get a mortgage commitment from your lender and start the closing process.

Never skip out on the final walkthrough for closing. You want to know without a doubt that the house you are about to invest in is in good shape. Here is a brief checklist of things to check out during the final walkthrough:

  • Check for everything included in the sale
  • Open all the windows and doors to ensure the house is safe and secure
  • Inspect the bathrooms for water damage and mold
  • Review the condition of the kitchen 
  • Test the included appliances
  • Tour the property
  • Try the heating and air conditioning 
  • Turn all the lights on and off to make sure the electricity is working

Most likely, you won't find anything in the final walkthrough that is of concern because the inspector should check these problems, but it's best to take a last look anyway. That's the point of a final walkthrough. Finally, you'll work on the paperwork and finalize documents related to the sale. Congrats, you're now a proud new homeowner!


Start Your Home Search

When buying a home, start by making a wish list and setting a budget. We can help you choose a lender to get you pre-approved for a loan, and then you’re ready to start house hunting. Search for your dream home from any device on our website. You can even compare walk scores, school ratings, and neighborhood demographics for different listings.


Get Listing Alerts

When you save a search on our site, any new homes matching your wish list criteria will be delivered straight to your inbox the moment they go up for sale.


Making An Offer And Closing

When you find a home you love, your agent will help you submit an offer. We are skilled negotiators that know how to get you the best price and value possible. Once an offer has been accepted we’ll help you navigate through inspections, appraisals, and closing in a stress-free way. We do all of this at no cost to you, the buyer, as we are compensated by the sellers.

Then it’s time to get the keys, throw a housewarming party, and make lasting memories in your new home. We’re so happy that you trusted us to help you through this exciting process.

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