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Buying Your Dream Home: A Step by Step Guide

Submitting an offer to buy a home begins with your Rhoads Real Estate agent telling you how much the owner wants for their house. A good realtor will have up-to-date information on property values and rate of home sales in the neighborhood so they can give you accurate advice regarding the legitimacy of the price. Your realtor may also suggest reducing your offer slightly or leaving it as is, depending on information gained by their insight into local market trends.

When Should You Start the Process of Buying a House?

Three to four months before your desired closing date, schedule an appointment with a real estate agent to learn about how to buy a home, steps to take for qualifying for a loan, and what to expect before, during and even after you buy your dream home.

What Do You Need to Buy a House?

An approved mortgage loan is the biggest thing you will need to purchase real estate property. Lenders require several pieces of information from you, including your previous year’s taxes, employment verification forms and bank statements. Have these documents ready before you make an appointment with a lender to expedite the filing of your loan request.

Finding the Right Mortgage Lender

Depending on your credit score, length of time at your current employer and other factors, certain lenders may be more likely to approve your loan. Your Rhoads Real Estate agent can help you find a mortgage lender who can give you the best interest rates, closing cost estimates and reduced mortgage payments. Also be aware you will be communicating with your lender frequently throughout the process of buying a home. Finding a lender who you feel comfortable with will significantly de-stress the home-buying experience.

Present Yourself as a Serious Buyer

Obtain a pre-approved letter from your lender to submit with offers to sellers of the home in which you are interested in buying. Rhoads Real Estate recommends you go past pre-approval and ask your lender what desktop underwriting or express approval products they offer. This type of approval gets your loan completely underwritten. While there will be more involved in the process initially, advantages to underwriting a loan significantly outweigh the extra work required.

When your loan is already underwritten, a closing date could be moved up one to two weeks, something that is attractive to sellers wanting to sell their home and move into their new home. In fact, being fully underwritten gives you leverage to negotiate and is the closest thing to offering cash to sellers without actually offering them cash.

Shopping for a Home

A professional, experienced real estate agent can make the process of purchasing a home seamless and stress-free. Not only do agents ensure serious buyers have access to specific homes they are interested in, but agents also offer valuable information about buying a house and remain available for consultation whenever buyers have a question about the process. Real estate agents represent invaluable points of reference for both first-time and seasoned home buyers.

Writing a winning offer

One you’ve found the perfect home, your Realtor will guide you through crafting the right offer. He or she will help you determine what price to offer as well as discuss with you the right strategies to implement to ensure you get the home. Each home, area, and sale is unique. For more info on writing a winning offer, check out or blog Making the Hottest offer in a Hot Market.

The Contract and You

Earnest money

Most contracts contain an earnest money amount and deadline. Earnest money amounts are usually between 1 percent and 3 percent of the purchase price. Earnest money is essentially a down payment on the purchase of your new home. These monies are held in escrow by the hired title company and will be applied as credit toward your total cash down payment at close. The deadline is typically within the first three days after all parties have signed the contract.

Perform an Inspection

Most contracts allow a window of time for you to perform your due diligence on the home. This inspection period is very important. It allows the buyer the opportunity to thoroughly inspect the home to ensure it is safe. There are many types of inspections you can perform on your new including radon, mold, asbestos, structural, and a full home inspection.

Typically this period is between 7-10 days. Be sure you allow yourself enough time in your contract to perform all your desired inspections. Once you are past inspections, only the appraisal remains before you close on your new home. :)ﹿ

What Is an Appraisal?

Lenders require appraisals of homes their clients intend to buy. Appraisals confirm your loan is equal to or less than the value of the home you are purchasing. Appraisals are performed before a closing is scheduled. Typically, the appraisal deadline will fall between fourteen and twenty one days after the contract is signed by all parties.

It’s Closing Time!

You made it! After all of the above processes are complete, your lender will give you a “clear to close” and will distribute a closing disclosure to you, your Realtor, and the title company. This will show all of your costs to close. Your Realtor and lender will review this with you prior to closing.

You will need to bring the following to the closing table: 

  • Picture ID
  • Cashier’s check( or you may wire) the remainder of your down payment for your new home

Contact Rhoads Real Estate Today

Top realtors practice fiduciary responsibilities that matter to you. This means you will have an expert at your side throughout the offer and buying process who is looking out for your financial and domestic interests. In addition, experienced real estate agents participate in continuing education courses that keep them up to date on constantly changing regulations governing the real estate industry.

Becoming a homeowner is thrilling, but navigating the convoluted landscape of contracts and negotiations can be exasperating. Let a Rhoads real estate agent do all the hard work so that you can enjoy the more pleasant task of getting ready to move into your new home.


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