An Overview of the Home Buying Process

Buying a house can feel like a daunting process, especially as a first time homeowner. But it doesn’t need to be! By understanding the entire process before you start, you’ll have a better idea of what to expect along the way. 

1. Planning
Make a list of everything you’re looking for in your new home and develop a time frame for when you’d like to move. It generally takes 60-90 days to complete the process. Find a real estate agent you can trust, and meet with your mortgage lender to discuss your options. They can help you estimate your closing costs and get pre-approved for a loan.

2. Home Search
Work with your agent to find and view homes that meet your criteria. Explore neighborhoods and research schools in the area.

3. Submit an Offer
When you find your perfect home, your agent will complete the offer paperwork with you and present your offer to the seller’s agent, who will in turn present it to the seller. Your agent will negotiate on your behalf until an agreement is reached.

4. Inspections
Once your offer has been accepted, you can schedule a home inspection. This is your opportunity to get a detailed look at the property with a qualified inspector prior to purchase. Plan to be at the inspection for about 3 hours.

5. Contract of Sale
When the inspection is complete and you are satisfied with the report, the seller’s attorney will prepare the contract of sale and send it to your attorney. Your attorney will review the contract with you and ask you to submit a down payment, which will be held by the seller’s attorney in an escrow account. Once both parties have signed, the property is considered “under contract.”

6. Appraisal and Title Search
Next, your attorney will send the contract to your mortgage lender so they can schedule the appraisal. Your attorney will also order a title search to ensure that there are no liens on the property. When your lender is satisfied with the appraisal and all documents are in order, they will schedule a closing date.

7. Closing
Your agent will perform a final walk through of the property with you the day before closing. On closing day, you’ll sign a number of documents with your lawyer and submit the rest of your down payment. Congratulations, you are officially a home owner!