Sales Checklist – Buyer

Buying a new home is a big decision and there is much to learn. If you do some homework ahead of time, you will be better prepared to make better decisions when the time comes. Learning about the process, and becoming familiar with some of the key steps, will put you in a better position once the process begins.

  1. Educate yourself about the process. There are numerous free resources on the internet.
  2. Assess your credit and your finances. Speak with a mortgage professional about what you can afford. Ask them about how much money you would need to “close.”
  3. Use a mortgage calculator or something similar to determine if you are comfortable with the figures determined by the mortgage company.
  4. Determine what you want in a home: number of bedrooms, bathrooms, garage space, etc. Determine where you’d like to purchase a home. Schools are frequently an important criteria, but what about distance from other amenities: bike trails, walk-ability to stores, restaurants, or parks? Do you prefer new neighborhoods, ones with lots of younger families or older neighborhoods with established foliage and older homes?
  5. Start searching for properties. If you want to purchase directly from a seller, stay away from the MLS listing websites (properties on the MLS are listed by real estate brokers.) Use websites such as ours, and craigslist. You may be able to save money if both seller and buyer do not have a real estate broker. Drive around neighborhoods that interest you. Many FSBO sellers place yard signs on their property. If you end up searching for MLS listed properties, get a buyer’s broker to help you. If you don’t you’ll have to deal directly with the seller’s broker, on your own. That broker gets to then keep all of the commission. If you have a buyer’s broker, the seller’s broker will share commission with your broker, so it only makes sense to have someone on your side.
  6. Negotiate terms and submit and offer. Contact an attorney, if you are purchasing directly from a seller, to help you write the offer, and decide on terms and contingencies. If you have a buyer’s broker, that person will do the same for you.
  7. Get a Mortgage. Once your offer is accepted, deliver the signed purchase agreement along with your earnest check to the title company that you and seller have agreed to use. Contact your mortgage lender and start the process of qualifying for a loan.
  8. Conduct all your due diligence. The purchase agreement outlines all that you will do to determine that you want to follow through with the purchase: conduct inspections, study various reports and disclosures, etc.
  9. Negotiate repairs. You may be able to get the seller to cure issues discovered by the inspector.
  10. Close: The title company will insure that title to the property is clear and that title insurance is in place. They will also provide the parties with a “settlement statement” showing all costs/fee, for each party.
  11. Celebrate!