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10 Easy Steps To Buying A Home

Posted on February 7, 2013 by Evelyn Johnston in Buyer

You are more likely to be satisfied with your purchase if you understand each step, as well as nuances of market conditions in the area where you want to buy a home. Being an informed buyer and getting the right assistance-including working with an Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR ® )- can make big differences in your home buying experience and final results.

  1. Find a Qualified Buyer’s Representative
  2. Assess Your Credit and Finances
  3. Assess your Wants and Needs in a Home
  4. Search for YOUR Home
  5. Negotiate Terms
  6. Obtain a Mortgage
  7. Prepare for the Closing Day
  8. Close
  9. Move
  10. Celebrate

Sounds like a piece of cake right?  Let’s take them one at a time…

Finding a Qualified Buyer’s Representative. How often do you purchase real estate? A couple times in your life?  How can you be expected to know all the up’s and down’s, in’s and out’s of such a big purchase?  You  can’t, not even with the experiences of all your family and friends can you navigate your way through it all, and protect yourself like a pair of experienced eyes, like MINE.  A Buyer’s Rep is a real estate agent that cares enough about the services they provide to take extra education to be the best they can be.  That’s ME!

Assess your Credit and Finances

You really want to get your taxes and pay stubs and bank statements together before you start looking at homes.  Getting a jump on your mortgage puts you in a better position to know how much of a house you can afford and when you walk into it you have a much better position in negotiations.  A Pre-Qualification means a Mortgage Loan Officer has made an informal determination stating the amount of the mortgage you can afford.  A Pre-Approval is a guarantee in writing by a lender that will grant you a loan up to a specified amount, subject to receiving full documentation and appraisal. 

Assess Your Wants and Needs in A Home

This is the exciting part! However, sometimes deciding what you truly want and need, and can afford, can be challenging! Do you want a ranch, or two story or split level, how old? What Style? How about features like a fireplace, upgraded kitchen appliances or a fenced yard?  Do you want a finished basement, one you can design and finish yourself, or do you even want a basement? Do you need a home office or hobby space?  What about storage options?  These are the types of things you and I will go over to get you to your dream home. Sometimes we have trade-offs, maybe a 3 car garage is more important than a home office…

Searching for that Dream Home

Choosing a home also involves choosing a neighborhood.  although it’s important to consider future resale value, it’s also important to choose a home and neighborhood that you and your family will enjoy living in.

Factors to consider when evaluating a neighborhood include:

  • Neighborhood Profile
  • Household Data
  • Crime rate
  • Quality of Schools
  • Amenities

Right here in this website you will find all the subdivisions in Elkhart County that have had sales since 2009. That’s a place to start…there are even photos of several homes in subdivisions so you get a feel for how it looks.

Negotiate Terms

When we’ve found a home that’s right for you, it’s time to make an offer. Depending on market conditions, you may have to act quickly, before another buyer steps ahead of you, and that is happening more frequently now.

Beyond price there are several other factors that can enter into your negotiating posisiton.  Are you an all cash buyer? Are you pre approved?  Do you have to sell your current home or meet other contingencies before you can purchase?

Negotiations begin with an initial offer and conclude with acceptance of the final offer. A check for earnest money usually accompanies an offer.

Obtain a Mortgage

If you’ve already done the legwork discussed in step 2, you are one major step closer to obtaining a mortgage. Still, securing a mortgage is more complex, and often more expensive, than many consumers realize. There are numerous documents and details that must come together in a short period of time.

Lender requirements differ, but the following list includes the most common items that you and any co-borrower will need to supply to your lender.  Your application will probably be approved faster if all required documents are submitted at the same time.

  • Social Security Number(s) and Birth Date(s)
  • Photo ID
  • Paycheck(s) most recent showing year to date earnings
  • w-2 or 1099 Tax Forms for past two years
  • Employers names address and phone numbers for past two years
  • Accounts, current statements of checking, savings and other accounts
  • Current Assets: Most recent statement of assets such as IRA’s, CDs, stocks and bonds

Special situations such as self employment, separated or divorce, social security, pension, disability or any form of public assistance benefits considered as income, bankruptcy, foreclosure or any judgments against you in the past seven years and VA loans all may require additional information from you.

Prepare for Closing Day

Many important details must fall in place before you close on your home.  Your Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ME!) will help you stay on track.  Some of the most important details include:

  1. A Complete Home Inspection
  2. Attorney Review Request, if you choose
  3. Finalize your Mortgage
  4. Get Ready to Move
  5. Attend a Final Walk-through
  6. Prepare to pay closing costs


The actual, legal transfer of ownership is called the closing, or settlement. Possession is usually transferred at closing too, but not always.  For various reasons, the seller may request to close the sale but retain possession, and pay rent to the buyer until vacating the property.

You will need to provide your payment of closing costs, proof of insurance and approval of the inspections.


You found your home! The contract has been signed and the closing date set. Now, it’s time to move. You should, however, begin planning for moving day well in advance.

Costs, insurance, packing and income tax. First time and even repeat buyers are often surprised by the variety of expenses associated with moving, including everything from packing materials and utility connections to insurance for your valuables and the actual cost of the movers, or truck rental. To obtain a moving checklist, click here…  Start Packing Early!


Congratulations! You’ve worked hard to achieve the dream of home ownership. We wish you many years of happiness in your new home!