Home buying process: Buyer’s road map

Home buying process: The buyer’s road map

The home buying process is likely completely new to you if this is your first time buying a home or you have not purchased a home in awhile. There are several reasons why you should work with a buyer’s agent, and one of them is to help you through this road map!

Let’s discuss each of the steps in the road map:

Step 1: Meet with a real estate professional

Schedule a buyer’s consultation with me so that we can go over everything you are looking for in a home. This is important, instead of your just calling us when you want to see a property. By learning more about you, we can help you look for properties on the MLS but also off MLS properties. At this meeting, we can also determine what you need help with, such as credit repair or a pre-approval. At this meeting, we will also get you set up on a search tied directly to the MLS that updates every 15-minutes and can notify you instantly, daily, bi-weekly or weekly.

Step 2: Get pre-approved

I will show one or two properties without a pre-approval so that we can get to know one another, but you need to be working on one in the meantime. Otherwise, when you find a property you want, you will not be able to put in an offer because pre-approvals are required nowadays in order for your offer to be taken seriously. I have a list of several lenders that I give to clients, and knowing what I learned during our meeting from step one I know which two or three lenders will be the best fit for you. Also, don’t let this pre-approval step scare you — it’s necessary so that we know your budget, what kind of down payment you need to do and what properties we need to limit your search to so we aren’t looking at homes you cannot buy.

Step 3: Search for homes

This might be the most fun step in the home buying process for many buyers! We are happy to show you homes that fit your criteria and pre-approval terms. Most of our clients find a home after seeing between 3 and 6 properties. This is because we are zeroing in on your needs and wants, then taking you to see those homes. You will receive instant or daily search notifications with a button to easily request a showing. We receive that request, and then cross-check the property against your priorities to let you know whether it fits what you are looking for in a home. From there, you decide whether to see the home, and we schedule a showing.

If you are in Central Ohio or the Firelands/Lake Erie area, search for homes here.

Step 4: Make an offer

This is where the pre-approval and the offer on the property have to match. In today’s market, homes are selling for 97-105% of the listing price, so don’t plan on being able to low-ball on your initial offer. Especially in multiple offer situations, your first offer has to be sensible and strong. There are various terms in the purchase contract that we can establish, and we will walk through these requirements together.

Step 5: Negotiation and contract

Your first offer isn’t always accepted, although you should structure it for acceptance if it is a multiple offer scenario. Counter offers can come from both sides until everything is agreed to and signed.

Step 6: Under contract

The home is held for you at this point — it’s as if you’re putting an item “on hold” at a store until you come back and pay for it. Through the purchase contract, the process that gets you through payment (closing) is spelled out and agreed to by the buyer and seller. While the property is under contract, you are applying officially for the loan, completing the home inspection, having the home appraised by the lender, and finalizing your financing.

Step 7: Final details

We are working here to get to the closing — getting all of the contingencies (home inspection, financing, etc.) cleared so you can actually buy the property. I work to manage this entire process for you, don’t worry. It can be cumbersome!

Step 8: Home Buying Process Comes to a Close at the Closing

This is the point in the home buying process when everything comes to a close — literally. The closing is scheduled, and I’m usually there to help you walk through the process. A few days before, you will have the final numbers to review, you will know where to wire the funds, and you will have all the documents you need ready to go. I’m also here to answer questions, just as I am through the entire process. For a conventional loan, it typically takes around 30 days to close. An FHA loan could take 30-45 days and a VA loan takes 45-60 days. If you are a cash buyer, you may be able to close in 5-10 days.


For more information on the buying process, contact Sara Marie Brenner.


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