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Learn the Entire Buying Process in

7 Steps

Explore the 7 steps it takes to purchase a home. We went into great detail to help buyers understand the process and know what to expect during the journey to get their next home!

Make sure to read all of our in-depth articles from our Ultimate Guide to Buying a Home at the bottom of this page. You'll learn tips to save thousands on your next purchase, tips to win offers in a super competitive market, and options to the common question, "how do I buy a house while selling another?"

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Step 1: Set Goals

Buyers often have many different reasons for wanting to buy. It is also easy to veer off the original goal that you had set out for yourself, leading to regrets later. We highly recommend writing down goals to remind yourself at a later date to confirm "why are we doing this?"

1

Define WHY

  • Need more or less space?

  • Want more leg room?

  • Want more land?

  • Shorten your drive to work?

  • Want better schools?

  • Downsizing for more adventures?

  • Fewer Stairs?

  • Relationship Changes?

2

Set a Budget

  • Define your MAX monthly payment threshold

  • Figure increased or decreased utility costs

  • Anticipate future purchases

  • Consider paying off high debt first

  • Leave yourself money in savings for unexpected repairs and updating

  • Consult with a mortgage pro (much more below..)

3

Set "Must Haves"

  • Minimum bedroom count

  • (x) minutes away from work

  • Master bedroom on the 1st floor

  • At least (x) garage spaces

  • Open concept

  • Neighborhood

  • School District

4

Collaborate

  • Agents can help...

  • Help you get pre-approved

  • Set financial expectations

  • Map out your timeline

  • Set up searches based on your goals & minimums

  • Forecast the current market

  • Creatively negotiate

  • Ensure a clean, streamlined experience

  • Prepare the transition & move

Signing a Contract

Step 2: Get Pre-Approved by a Mortgage Pro

Consulting with a Loan Officer early is a crucial step to streamline your buying experience, set financial goals, and know your options are moving forward. Shop and choose someone with a track record of excellent communication and honesty!

This process is often looked at as a daunting task, but it is actually quite simple for most! Unless you own multiple businesses, it usually only takes 20 minutes for the loan application and another 20 minutes to chase down necessary income documentation.

What a Pre-Approval Provides:

  • Set goals based on current interest rates & down paymnet increments

  • Anticipate total payments with taxes, insurance, HOAs, and PMI (if applicable)

  • Ability to check payments on a specific property on the fly in the future

  • Show proof to a seller that you are qualified to purchase their home

  • (New) Run through the 1st stages of underwriting to close really fast

  • Adds another partner in your corner to fight & win offers in a competitive market

What is required to get Pre-Approved:

  • Credit Pull (can shop and only dings your credit once)

  • 3% - 5% minimum down payment (some 0% available)

  • Last 30 days of paycheck stubs

  • Past 2 years of W2s

  • 60 Days of bank statements

  • Past 2 years of 1099s (if self-employed)

  • Past 2 Years of tax returns (if self-employed)

  • Profit and Loss statement (if self-employed)

  • Possible K-1 statements (if self-employed)

Get Pre-Approved

Ryan Ginther, Owner/Agent of NuHouz Realty is a licensed Loan Officer NMLS# 1147279

Learn about contingency options if you're buying AND selling  >

Step 3: Find the Perfect Home

Chances are, you have already been scoping the market for months. Now that you have consulted with a real estate agent and loan officer, it is time for the rubber to hit the road! (Literally)

Your Agent's Job:

  • Set up searches that both match your goals and qualification

  • Keep an eye out for off-market properties, FSBOs, & Pre-MLS listings

  • Ask around sphere and social media if any listings are coming soon

  • Provide total payment scenario estimates based on interested properties

  • Communicate with you about changes to the market

  • Watch for variable costs such as taxes, HOA costs

  • Research HOA restrictions based off goals (adding a shed, fencing, etc)

  • Coordinate showings

  • Spot major issues with homes on showings

  • Pull comps to gauge the seller's asking price

  • Help calculate remodeling costs or recommend contractors that can

  • Communicate with selling agents to retrieve valuable information

  • Create a friendly relationship with selling agents to position as someone they would want to co-op with, just in case a future offer is in play

Your Job:

  • Request showings

  • Ask social media if anyone knows of homes hitting the market soon

  • Keep an eye on variable costs such as taxes and HOAs

  • Drive through neighborhoods of interest to get a feel

  • Research schools prior

  • Avoid looking at homes out of budget

  • Continue to pay bills on time

  • Do not make any major purchases (car, etc)

  • Update agent on any goal adjustments

  • Update agent & loan officer on job or income changes

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Step 4: Write an Offer

Things are getting serious now! This is likely the most stressful part of the transaction, as the anticipation of whether or not the sellers will accept your offer will have you a bit anxious. No one has a magic pill for this, so it is essential to have a negotiation pro that knows how to win sellers' attention and find ways to stand out when there are multiple offers.

What is Typically Included in an Offer:

  • A Cover Letter to the homeowners written by the buyers (highly recommended)

  • The Buyer's Pre-Approval Letter from their lender

  • An Earnest Money Deposit Check (later goes towards the down payment)

  • The signed Seller's Disclosure

  • Residential Real Estate Contract

  • Purchase Price

  • Total "Amount Financed by Buyer" (based on previously determined pre-approval)

  • Total estimated Down Payment designation from buyer (via pre-approval)

  • Seller Paid Closing Costs request (to limit money needed at closing)

  • Home Warranty Plan

  • Closing and Possession Dates (when you will close and what day and time you will officially be able to enter your new home)

  • Appraisal Contingency

  • Inspection Period Dates and Contingencies

  • Sale Contingency (states whether you are contingent on selling another property)

  • Loan Type Designation (e.i. 30-year Conventional Loan w/5% down)

  • Many seller-agreed protections for the buyer

  • Agent Designations

  • Offer Expiration Time/Date

  • Additional Inclusions & Exclusions requests (i.e. "Leave the Kitchen Refrigerator")

    *Additional attached addendums may include an As-Is Addendum, Contingency for Sale Addendum, Escalation Clause, Septic Addendum, Cold Weather Addendum, State Broker Agency Addendum, Franchise Disclosures, Lead-Based Paint Addendum, & possibly more.

Sellers will review your signed, submitted offer. They will have the option to sign it as you presented it, or counter back (Counter Offer Addendum) with financial changes and/or adjustments to various parts of the contract. The decision would then be made by the buyer to also accept it or counter back once again.

Step 5: Perform a Home Inspection

A home inspection on a home is crucial. This will allow a buyer to investigate the home thoroughly for major issues, safety concerns and, overall, protect the buyers in giving them an "out." The inspection report can be used as a negotiation tool where both the buyers and sellers come to an agreement for repairs, price reductions, or credits for the buyer to fix said repairs at a later date. Our inspectors provide an in-depth, easy to digest PDF inspection report and an online version that allows buyers to quickly view categorized items.

It is common to add-on services to a basic inspection such as Radon Testing, Termite Inspections, Sewer Camera Inspections, Mold Inspections, Septic Inspections, and specific field professional inspections when recommended.

​*Contracts are contingent upon satisfactory inspection results!

Major Issues, Safety Concerns, & Deal-Breakers:
Most, if not all, major issues & safety concerns can be caught and negotiated prior to closing and
buyers have the ability to back out of the contract with no penalty if repairs and/or financial supplements cannot be agreed upon.

Calculate Future Costs:
With a list of items that are not up to code, working properly, and/or gauging the shelf life of components in the home, you can work within your goals and calculate what will keep you within the budget of time and money.

Protection & Peace of Mind:
Home Inspections provide a layer of protection to make sure buyers do not get into something that puts them over their limit and can expose aspects that may make the home more difficult to sell down the road.

Negotiation Tool:
Inspection Reports allow buyers to shed light on items that sellers are often not aware of. The inspection period allows time to present a list of items to be fixed, repaired, or replaced and gives "As-Is" buyers a chance to back out unless they are willing to make such improvements or price adjustments.

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Step 6: Preparing to Close

You have successfully negotiated terms, and now it is time to hit the home stretch of becoming a new homeowner! Below are steps that typically take place after the inspection period that you will need to execute to ensure a smooth, on-time closing.

To-Do List for You

  • Shop insurance and provide a quote to the lender

  • Provide your lender with any additional information requested to close

  • Setup new utility transfers based on closing dates (cancel old home's)

  • Arrange movers

  • Negotiate appraisal results if it comes at below purchase price

  • Set up mail forwarding with the Post Office, work, and billing

  • Continue to pay bills on time & avoid making major purchases

  • Do a final walk-through of the property to approve condition

Processing in the Background

  • The title is being pulled and cleared by the title company

  • The lender is working with underwriters to clear the close of the property

  • Your agent is following up on requested repairs and collecting receipts

  • Your agent is auditing your file to make sure everything is in order

  • Your agent is setting up closing times & dates

  • Your agent is reviewing settlement statements to make sure the numbers add up to agreed terms

Step 7: Close & Move In!!!

Yay! You did it! You jumped through the hoops, signed papers with the title company, and got the keys to your beautiful new home! It's time to celebrate and invite your friends and family over! You have officially successfully achieved homeownership!

So now what? (things to keep in mind)

Keep Saving

  • If you have owned a home before, you know that it can be expensive at times, although rewarding. The better you are prepared financially for unexpected repairs, the more flexible you can be on updating your home, taking those planned vacations, and you are more likely to avoid becoming "house poor."

Update & Enjoy!

  • Hopefully, you followed your original financial goals, and you left yourself some money to make this home your own. Most homeowners get busy and never get their homes to the level they originally dreamed or planned on. Please do it now! Or... Create some new goals and budgets to get to them ASAP.

Perform Regular Maintenance

  • Just like changing the oil in a car, it is important to continually maintain your property to avoid costly repairs, prolong life, and save time later when you go to sell. Such things as changing your air filter, having your HVAC serviced annually, keeping your gutters clean, making sure your foundation has a negative grade, inspecting your roof after a crazy storm, and down to pumping septic tanks can save you money in the long run. If you get bored, you can always reference your home inspection for ideas as well!

Are you ready to start your journey?

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Are you Selling a Home As Well?

Check out "The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Your Home" for 2021.  These methods will greatly increase the odds to increase the number of views, showings, offers, and help net sellers more of their equity!

Additional Must-Reads!

Meet the Home Buying Team

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Ryan Ginther

Owner/Agent, Top Producer at Brokerage of 200+ agents, 10 years of mortgage experience, & 15+ years of home construction experience.

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Colby Yoder

Buying & Selling agent, 15+ years owning an insurance company, very knowledgeable, organized, & extremely detailed.

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Dan Harris

View Profile >

15+ years of sales experience, customer service pro, marketing creator, personable, & easily a friend to anyone he comes across.

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Future You!

Receive the best training, skills, systems, & guides to help assist home buyers & sellers & show them love!

 
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20 Home Buying tips

to save thousands

Avoid lighting money on fire! There are some great ways to save time and money while buying. The process can be so complex while already living a busy life. Check these tips out to help stay make great financial decisions!

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8 Tips to

win offers

in a competitive market

The market is crazy HOT and buying a home right now usually means going toe to toe with other buyers. Discover 8 Powerful ways to get offers accepted over the other guys!

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First Time  Home Owner

FAQs

Buying a home can be a confusing time, especially if it's your first! With all of the moving parts, you can avoid asking questions after it is too late! Check out the most common questions new buyers have before and during the process.

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I Feel Ready to Shop for Homes.

I feel prepared and I am ready to buy!

Take Me to the Homes! >

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