How to Buy a Home: 8 Steps
So, you’re ready to buy a home. That’s great! Now, how do you do it?!
If you’re a first-time homebuyer—or second, or third—the process may feel confusing and overwhelming. I promise, it’s not! I’ve helped many people—some with less experience than you—choose a home, make a successful offer, and claim the keys to their castle. We’re on this journey together!
Here are the typical steps to follow when buying a home.
1. Bank Letter
First, you’ll want to obtain a letter from your bank stating that you are in good financial standing. All this means is that they can trust you to pay back any money they might lend to help you buy a home.
If you’re uncertain about your ability to get a mortgage or you’re looking in a very competitive market, sometimes it can help to go the extra step and get pre-qualified for a loan, too.
2. Finding Your Home
Next, we find the home for you. (I can help with this.) Once we’ve found the home that matches your needs, desired location, and budget, it’s time to…
3. Make an Offer
There is where we discuss market conditions again and go over numbers, terms and conditions. When you confirm the details (remember, the final decision is always yours!), I’ll prepare an Offer to Purchase to submit to the seller’s agent, who in turn presents it to the seller, along with their feedback and recommendations.
4. Offer is Accepted
We set a deadline in the offer paperwork (usually 24 hours or so) for the seller to respond to the offer. Your offer will either be accepted (hooray!), or the seller may counter the offer or even decline.
5. Home Inspection
Assuming our offer is accepted, next, we’ll hire an inspector to visit and examine the home for any damages or repairs that you may not already know about. If the sale does not proceed past this point, your deposit will be returned, however, you’re still responsible for the cost of the home inspection, which usually starts around $500 and can go upwards depending on the size of the home.
6. Purchase and Sale
You may have seen or heard this step referred to as “P&S.” At this stage, both buyer and seller (most often with the help of attorneys), will finalize the Purchase and Sale document. This new document replaces the original Offer to Purchase and contains details and contingencies.
7. Mortgage Application
Next–if you’re not a cash buyer–you’ll apply for a mortgage.
A mortgage is a loan from a bank that helps you buy real estate. After you submit your application the bank will appraise your home (assign it a value) and evaluate if you are a good candidate for a loan. If everything looks good, your bank will okay the mortgage. This is called confirming a mortgage commitment.
8. The Closing
Your closing date will be set for a few weeks later. During this time, you’ll gather the materials you need for a successful closing. Your buyer’s agent can guide you and make sure you are prepared.
The day of closing, you meet your attorney, who brings a thick stack of papers for you to sign. Don’t worry – they usually explain and help you get through it with 1-1.5 hours. Once the signatures happen, your attorney will transfer payment to the seller.
The deed to your new home gets recorded (usually electronically). When this step is complete, the attorney’s office notifies both buyer and seller. At this time, the home is legally and officially yours and you get the keys to YOUR OWN home! YAY – you are now a proud homeowner! ?