For Buyers

Home Buyer Information

First Step

1. Obtain your credit report. To get copies from all three credit bureaus at once, visit

2. Review your credit report. Make sure there are no errors. Check everything from the administrative information to the credit history.

3. Fix errors quickly. If you find an error on your credit report, go to the company’s website where the report came from (TransUnion, Equifax, or Experian) to contest it. Don’t delay. This is an important part of the home buying process so stay on top of it.

4. Run the numbers. Use an online mortgage calculator to get an idea how various mortgage amounts translate into monthly payments.

5. Start saving your cash. Mortgage lenders like to see that home buyers have some cash reserves on hand, and you’ll need them for such things as hiring an inspector and closing costs.

6. Get pre-qualified. Pre-qualification is an informal review of your finances by a mortgage lender to see what amount you might qualify for.

7. Now you’re ready for us!

The Search

1. Create a “need vs. want” list. Make home buying checklist of the things you need in a home versus the things you want. Print a copy for each house we visit and check items off.

2. We will send you many listings, and we do our best to narrow the listings down to the ones that meet your criteria. However, if you drive by a listed property on your way home from work or from running errands that wasn’t on a list we sent you, jot down the address and give us a call. We can pull up all of the information you need.

3. Ask plenty of questions. Don’t be shy about asking us questions. In fact, you should carry this inquisitive nature with you through the entire process of buying a home.

4. Validate the asking price. It’s called an “asking price” for a reason. Compare it to recent sales in the area. We will be able to provide you a comparative market analysis (CMA) on the property you want.

5. Consider shopping, dining and the like. Is the home near the places you frequent, or will it be a long drive?

6. Consider the commute. If you’re a daily commuter, distance is a big consideration.

7. Research the neighborhood, not just the house. Neighborhoods impact property value as well as your own happiness, so make neighborhood research a key part of your home buying process.

8. Research taxes. Sometimes, two neighborhoods right across the street from one another will have different tax situations.

9. Research schools. This is important whether or not you have school-aged children. Schools affect property values.

10. Bring a digital camera. It’s a great way to record the details of each home for later review. The home buying process can be a long one, so anything that helps you recall property details later on is worth pursuing.

11. Bring a notepad. Jot down some notes about each home, and label each page by address.

12. Think five years ahead. Will the home still suit your needs if your family grows?

13. Play home inspector casually. The full inspection will come later in the home buying process, but you should at least give the “big ticket” items (roof, heating system, etc.) a glance when visiting.

The Offer/Closing

1. Base your offer on evidence, not emotion. Remember, the lender will appraise the home later on in the home buying process. If it appraises for less than you’ve agreed to pay, you’ll have problems.

2. Use our experience. It might be your first offer, but we have seen dozens.

3. Discuss home buying contingencies. Will your offer be contingent upon something, like the sale of your current home?

4. Prepare for all possible responses. What will you do if the seller makes a counteroffer or rejects your offer outright? Conduct “rehearsals” for each scenario.

5. Move quickly, but cautiously, in a seller’s market. Delays can cause a home to slip through your fingers. In a hot real estate market, all steps of the home buying process should be quick and efficient.

6. Set the closing date. This will normally be agreed upon during the offer process.

7. Get a home inspection by a certified inspector. At around $500, it’s a small price to pay for peace of mind. Don’t forget to ask questions about anything that may arise.

8. Categorize discrepancies, based on whether or not you want the seller to fix them.

9. Be realistic with repair requests. In a seller’s market, you may not get all the repairs you want. So be realistic with what you’re asking.

10. Stay in touch with us, your lender, and the escrow company. Make sure they have all the paperwork they need to avoid delays in your home buying process or final closing.

11. Be on the lookout for your HUD statement. You should get one several days before closing. It will list the total amount due at closing.

12. Transfer utilities. Now might be a good time to start putting the utilities into your name.

13. Get hazard insurance. Most lenders require home insurance before you can close, but it’s mainly for your own financial protection.

14. Conduct your final walk-through. Make sure all requested repairs have been made.

15. Get a certified check for the amount due on the HUD statement.

16. Confirm the time and location of the closing.

17. Bring your ID and the check to closing. Once you sign all the necessary documents, it’s time to break out the bottle of champagne!