THE BUYER EXPERIENCE
Whether you are buying your first home or your 5th home, we are here to guide you through the home buying process step-by-step from query to closing and beyond. We make the journey to your dream home fun, accessible, and engaging. If you're wondering where to start with your home purchase journey, you're in the right place! Read on for our step-by-step guide to learn what to expect.
OUR 10 STEP GUIDE TO BUYING A HOME
If you’re thinking about buying a home, or if you would like to explore the possibility of buying a home, and you’re not sure where to start - you are not alone. This is the number one question that we get from prospective home purchasers - you are in the right place to get the information you need to get started!
Many of our clients come to us at the beginning stages of their home purchase journey, and it’s never too early to start thinking and planning. We also recognize that this is not everyone, and you might be needing to move quickly. If you would like to complete your home purchase in the next 60-90 days - your first step is to get in touch with us - you can do that here. We can help you come up with an expedited customized plan and timeline to ensure that you are moving into your new home very soon!
For everyone else, whether you plan to buy a home in 6 months or even if you think it might be years away, read on, we’ve got lots of information to share with you to help prepare you for this journey.
Choosing a Realtor who is a good fit for your specific needs is the single most important decision you will make in your home purchase journey - your success depends on them. Let us know that you'd like to schedule a virtual consultation with one of our agents here - We may not be the right fit for everyone, but the best way to find out is to start with an exploratory, no-obligation, conversation. Looking outside of the DC area? We can help you find the right agent no matter where you are planning to purchase.
STEP 2 - PRE-APPROVAL
Figure out your finances, how will you pay for your home and what your mortgage options are. With this information, you will be able to decide on a comfortable budget and plan ahead for your eventual down payment and settlement expenses. Just as you wouldn't go shopping without knowing how much money you have in your wallet, you don't want to begin looking at houses until you know how much you have to spend.
(note - It's completely OK to do step 2 before step 1, we recommend them in this order because your Realtor® can introduce you to a lender and mortgage options that best fit your financial objectives)
STEP 3 - DEFINE YOUR OBJECTIVES
Define your objectives. Your home purchase objectives are your big picture reasons for buying a home. For example, what changes do you hope this home purchase will have on your life? Why do you want to buy a house? This is a really important step of the process and something that we focus on in our initial consultation with our clients. You don’t have to do this one alone, we will help you create a customized plan and focused strategy.
STEP 4 - LOCATION
If you already know exactly where you want to live, this step may not apply to you. But for others, we recommend taking some time to explore different areas to determine what neighborhoods you want to include in your search, and which we should skip in our search. During our initial consultation and throughout your search process we will make recommendations on neighborhoods to help you find a place where you love to live!
STEP 5 - YOUR HOME SEARCH
For many homebuyers this is one of the most fun parts of the home buying journey, who doesn’t like looking at homes! We also recognize that each of our clients has their own unique preferences and there is no one size fits all solution for your home search. We offer a few different online tools to help you if you want to actively participate, or we can manage the online search process and make recommendations of homes that we’ve narrowed down to be the best fit for your criteria. Regardless of the path you choose, we are there every step of the way to make sure that you have access to all of the homes for sale and that you don’t miss out on any.
STEP 6 - MAKING AN OFFER
When you find a home that you love enough that you can see yourself living there, and know that it’s a good fit for your objectives, it’s time to make an offer. We break the offer process down into a few steps:
Pre-offer preparation: We will review the recent comparable sales and provide you with an estimate of the current market value of the home. With this information, you can decide what the home is worth to you and what you want to offer. We will also request an updated estimate from your lender to ensure that the numbers are a good fit as well. Last but not least we will provide recommendations on offer terms and discuss your options, answering any questions you have and helping you decide what terms you are comfortable with.
Document review and signing: We prepare the sales contract and addenda with your offer terms and will send them to you to review electronically. All of our document signing takes place electronically, and while a larger screen makes viewing a bit easier, it can be done on a mobile device as well.
Submission: We will submit the offer to the listing agent and discuss it with them to review the terms and see if they have any questions. We will also notify your lender that we have submitted the offer so that they can reach out to the listing agent and confirm your financial qualification. We will also request from the listing agent when they expect to present the offer to the seller, and when we can expect to hear back - and keep you updated every step of the way. We completely understand that waiting in suspense is one of the most challenging parts of this process and we promise to proactively communicate and keep you fully informed throughout.
The absolute best news that we get to deliver to a buyer is that their offer has been accepted! This step of the process is also known as contract ratification because we know have a fully ratified contract where the buyer and seller have signed off on all terms. With the ratified contract we begin the “contract to close” process which includes all of the final steps before settlement.
STEP 8 - FULFILLING CONTINGENCIES
Contingencies are clauses in the contract that provide a buyer with specific options. The contingencies included in an offer are specific to the buyer and home, but generally include inspections and financing related matters. Once the contract is accepted the timeframes for the contingencies begin and with the limited time to complete each one time is of the essence. We will guide you through the process of ensuring that your contingencies are met and you are on your way to a successful settlement.
STEP 9 - SETTLEMENT
Settlement or closing is the conclusion to your home buying journey and is when you sign the documents that transfer the ownership of the property. It's also when you get the keys to your new home - after settlement, you are officially a homeowner!