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Buying a home: step by step process explanation

Updated: Jul 16, 2018

For many people buying a house seems like a very long, scary, complicated and sometimes even intimidating process. A process that involves tons of papers, documents, contracts… Unfortunately, I can’t argue with the amount of needed papers, but I can make it simple, quick and very organized. I also can easily explain you all the long pages of contracts and save you hours of sleep that you would otherwise spend googling the terms.

Often, I get questions about the whole process as well as its certain stages. That’s why I decided to publish a small scheme describing each step of the process together with a short explanation of each stage. I hope this information will be helpful for some of you and will put some light on the “complicated” parts of it.

The home-buying process

Below you will find an explanation of the main and most important stages of the home-buying process.

Financial pre-qualification or pre-approval

  • Application and interview

  • Buyer provides pertinent documentation including verification of employment

  • Credit report is requested

  • Appraisal scheduled for current home owned, if any


  • Loan package is submitted to underwriter for approval

Loan approval

  • Parties are notified of approval

  • Loan documents are completed and sent to title

Title company

  • Title exam, insurance and title survey conducted

  • Borrowers come in for final signatures


  • Lender reviews the loan package

  • Funds are transferred by wire

Why pre-qualify?

I always recommend my buyers get pre-qualified before beginning their home search. Knowing exactly how much you can comfortably spend on a home reduces the potential frustration of looking at homes beyond your means.

Once we have found the property you want, we will write a purchase agreement. While much of the agreement is standard, there are a few areas that we can negotiate:

The Price

What you offer on a property depends on a number of factors including its condition, length of time on the market, buyer activity, and the urgency of the seller. While some buyers want to make a low offer just to see if the seller accepts, this often isn't a smart choice, because the seller may be insulted and decide not to negotiate at all.

The Move-in Date

If you can be flexible on the possession date, the seller will be more apt to choose your offer over others.

Additional Property

Often, the seller plans on leaving major appliances in the home; however, which items stay or go is often a matter of negotiation. Typically, you will not be present at the offer presentation - we will present it to the listing agent and/or seller. The seller will then do one of the following:

  • Accept the offer

  • Reject the offer

  • Counter the offer with changes

By far the most common is the counteroffer. In these cases, my experience and negotiating skills become powerful in representing your best interests. When a counteroffer is presented, you and I will work together to review each specific area of it, making sure that we move forward with your goals in mind and ensuring that we negotiate the best possible price and terms on your behalf.

Unless buying a brand new home, inspection will always be terrifying. 99% of the time you will be provided a lengthy, very detailed list of issues that may require items to be replaced or repaired, all of which are negotiable during the inspection objection period, which is structured into all of my contracts to buy. What’s important to understand that all resold homes will yield issues once professionally inspected, but this is obviously the reason for the inspection . You have to decide what you can live with and what should be negotiated.

Here are two good articles on about the appraisal and inspection processes.

Closing day marks the end of your home-buying process and the beginning of your life in your new home! To make sure your closing goes smoothly, all you need to bring to the closing table are the following:

  • A certified/cashiers check for closing costs and down payment, the exact amount of which will be provided to you by your lender prior to closing.

  • Current Photo IDs

Own It

Transfer of title moves ownership of the property from the seller to you. The two events

that make this happen are:

  • Delivery of the buyer's funds - this is the check or wire funds provided by your lender in the amount of the loan.

  • Delivery of the deed - a deed is the document that transfers ownership of real estate.The deed names the seller and buyer, gives a legal description of the property, and contains the notarized signatures of the seller and witnesses. At the end of closing, the deed will be taken and recorded at the county clerk's office. It will be sent to you after processing.

I love helping buyers find their dream home. That's why I work with each client individually, taking the time to understand their unique lifestyles, needs and wishes. This is about more than a certain number of bedrooms or a particular ZIP code. I am available 24/7 for all my clients, ready to answer any question, assist in every step and make the complicated process simple and memorable.

Because it's about your life, and it's important to me.

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