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The 7 Steps to Buying a Home

I work with many first-time home buyers. Most, if not all, don't know a thing about buying a house or what they need to be doing before they start.


I looked onine for something I could share with these cients, but I couldn't find anything I liked. There were some that were very basic and had pictures and visual flowcharts, but they left out so many important items.


Since there was nothing available that I liked, I created one myself! This outline gives buyers a great overview of all the steps to buying a home, from start to finish. Click the icon below to download a PDF of the document. Looking to sell?

Step 1: Before you start looking

  • Get pre-approved for a mortgage.

  • Determine your budget.

  • Make sure finances are in order to make down payment and any closing costs.

  • Come up with a wish list of Needs, Wants / Don’t Needs, Don’t Wants.

  • Determine possible neighborhoods or areas you want to live.


Step 2: During the looking process

  • Have fun house hunting!

  • Utilize search emails/portal and narrow down homes to see in person.

  • Pay attention to the "bones" of the house, not the current furnishings.

  • Paint and wallpaper can easily be changed.

  • Compare your options against each other and your wish list.


Step 3: Making an offer

  • Review comparable market activity in the area to determine value.

  • You will need to know roughly how much of a down payment you will make.

  • Consider asking for a home warranty from the seller to cover appliances/mechanicals.

  • Decide if you want an inspection and/or a property survey.

  • Determine if you want to ask for the seller to pay for any of your closing costs.

  • With an accepted agreement you will need to pay earnest money - typically 1%.

  • Get a pre-approval letter from your mortgage lender to send with the offer.

  • Make a fair offer based on the condition of the house and the market.

  • Negotiate with counter offers as needed.


Step 4: Directly following accepted offer

  • Deliver earnest money check to the seller's agent.

  • Schedule an inspection and/or survey for the house, if applicable.

  • Start the mortgage approval process with your mortgage lender.

  • Order homeowner's insurance on the property.

  • Determine the desired closing date.


Step 5: Before closing

  • Negotiate with the seller for any repairs needed from inspection report.

  • Determine what warranty company/coverage you want, if applicable.

  • Order home appraisal through lender to verify value, if applicable.

  • Verify your new homeowner's insurance coverage and warranty, if applicable.

  • Schedule the time and location of the closing.

  • Call the utility companies to put the utilities in your name effective the closing date.

  • Make sure finances are in order to make down payment and any closing costs.

  • Secure certified check or money wire for total amount needed to close.

  • Do a final walk through the day/week before the closing to verify repairs.

  • Verify the closing documents for the correct charges/credits for closing.


Step 6: At closing

  • Bring all funds needed for closing, if applicable.

  • Bring a valid driver’s license or legal ID.

  • Be prepared to sign a lot of documents.


Step 7: After closing

  • Celebrate! You have a new home!

  • Change the locks on the home for extra security (optional).

  • File and/or verify mortgage & homestead exemption for tax credit.

  • Move in to your new home and enjoy.

Out-of-pocket costs to consider

  • Mortgage closing costs. Every company and mortgage product is different but the average is roughly around $1,000-$1,500.

  • Credit report. Typically $30 required for mortgage qualification.

  • Home appraisal. This is required from the mortgage company. Around $450.

  • Home inspection. Price depends on the size of the property but normally around $350-$450. Additional inspections – termites, mold, radon – are additional.

  • Title closing costs. This varies by transaction but often times will be split equally between buyer and seller or paid for if seller is paying buyer’s closing costs.

  • Survey. Price varies but can be up to $450.

  • Homeowner’s insurance. $500-$2,000 per year. Can be put in escrow account but the mortgage company may require to pre-pay 3-12 months up front.

  • Property tax. This varies by county, home size, and filed exemptions. Can be put in escrow account but the mortgage company may require you to pay 2-3 months up front.

  • Pre-paid interest. You will pay a prorated interest amount that will pay for the interest accumulated between the closing date and your first payment.

  • Home owner association fees. If your home has HOA fees, this could range from $100 per year up to a few hundred dollars per month based on amenities and coverage.

  • Moving costs, new furniture, repairs or upgrades, home maintenance.



Thank you for the opportunity to work with you and represent you as your agent! I look forward to working together to help find your new home. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call, text, or email any time.


If you know anyone else who is looking to buy, sell, or build a home I would love to have an opportunity to work with them as well.



Dan O'Brien

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