Home Buying Steps


If it’s your first time buying a home or if you’ve been out of the loop for several years, listed here are the basic steps to the home buying process. Of course having a good Buyer’s Agent at your side to guide you along the way and answer questions will make the entire process go smoothly. So to begin, connect with a Buyer’s Agent (like me) to help you from the initial consultation to handing you the keys to your new home and beyond.

1. Get Preapproved. There are many types of loans available from zero down to 20% or more down payment. To get started, your agent can recommend loan officers that are a good fit for your financial situation. Once you know what you can afford and your comfort price range, you’re ready to begin shopping for a home.

2. Start Shopping. Your agent will set up tours of homes you’d like to see and when you find the home that’s been waiting for you, the transaction process beings.

3. Offer. To determine true market value of the property, your agent will pull up recent sales data on homes in close proximity that are similar to compare. To decide on an offer price, also consider the “net” to seller if you request seller to cover buyer closing costs from their proceeds, which is a fairly common request.

4. Earnest Money. After a contract is agreed on it is customary for buyer to deposit earnest money to show sellers they are “earnest” about their offer. Earnest money can be as little as $500 to 2% or more of the purchase price, depending on the transaction. Typically it is deposited into an escrow account and will be credited to you at closing.

5. Inspection. It is always highly recommended that buyers have a home inspection and condition the offer on the results of the inspection. It is not mandatory, however a qualified home inspector will examine the house with scrutiny including getting on the roof, in the attic, in the crawl space as well as check the furnace, water tank, plumbing, electrical, appliances etc. Although there could be small issues that would not deter from a sale, you want to be sure there is no major issue that could be expensive to repair or worse, beyond repair. A buyer can ask seller to make reasonable repairs, or even a major repair if needed. If agreement on repairs or a credit to cover the cost of repair is not reached, buyer can opt to terminate without consequence with earnest money returned.

5. Appraisal. The lender will require an appraisal to ensure the appraised value meets the purchase price. Along with determining value with an in depth report, the appraiser is the eyes for the bank, so although they do not scrutinize a home like a home inspector, they do check for a few general requirements depending on the type of loan, basically to ensure its structurally sound and safe.

6. Escrow. The final step occurs in escrow. The escrow officer is the neutral party that prepares necessary documents and accounts for funds collected and disbursed on behalf of the seller and buyer. (The lender deposits the buyer’s loan funds into escrow.) Both buyer and seller will receive an itemized statement to review and a time to meet with escrow to review and sign documents.

7. Closing Day. That’s the day the Deed is recorded at the Auditor’s office, giving notice to the world that buyers are the new owners of the property and seller is compensated for the sale.

Please contact me with any questions or concerns about the process at 360-220-6094 or Janiceo@kw.com I’m here to help!


Janice O'Rourke

Janice O'Rourke