Buyer's Guide

A Step-by-Step First Time Buyer's Guide

Buying a home is one of the most exciting milestones of your life. To prepare yourself for this moment, you need to know what to expect during the process. This step-by-step first time buyer’s guide will help reduce the stress of buying a home and help you enjoy the journey as much as possible.


Step 1: Research/Discuss Budget

Do you already know where you want to buy? If you want a condo, townhome, single-family, or multi-family home? Which features do you like and dislike? If you answered no to any of these questions, now is the time to start researching. It’s also a good time to consider your budget. In some cases, a mortgage company will pre-approve you for more than you’re comfortable spending, which is why it’s helpful to think about the monthly payment you feel comfortable with. Of course, part of our process is guiding you through these steps, so don’t worry if you don’t have definitive answers yet.


Step 2: Buyer Consultation

Our buyer consultation meetings typically take about an hour, as we want to really envision what your ideal home looks like. This can be over a zoom/phone call, cup of coffee, meeting at our office, whatever works for you. This meeting gives us a chance to explain what our process looks like, and how we help our clients win. We get to hear your goals and what you're looking for, so we can create a plan for finding the right home at the right price. Based on what you're looking for, we'll set you up on an automatic email list directly from the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) that sends you any new listings or price changes. With us, you won't miss anything.


Step 3: Get Pre-Approved

If you are not purchasing with cash, the next step for you is to connect with a lender and get pre-approved. We can provide you with recommendations of a few of the best lenders In the area, or you're free to shop around on your own. A letter of pre-approval from a lender shows that they have checked all your documentation and have qualified you for a loan. Getting pre-approved prior to starting your home search saves you time by: Keeping you focused on viewing only the homes that are within your budget, and helping you obtain financing more quickly when we find the home you want to buy.


Step 4: Tour Days

Now’s when the real fun begins! “Tour Days” are where we arrange showings of homes you’re interested in that are within your price range. Together, we will go on a tour where we take notes about what you like and don’t like, paying close attention to the details. Answer questions, turn light switches on and off, open and close doors, run the faucets in various rooms, point out different elements and tell you about the area. Don’t limit your inspection to the home itself. Make sure to take time to explore the neighborhood. It's not uncommon to find your dream home during our first tour day! If not, we continue to send you homes for sale until you find what you're looking for.

As Your Trusted Real Estate Advisors, Our Goal is to Provide You With the Most Personalized Service That is Designed to Help You Buy Your Dream Home

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Step 5: Make an Offer

Once you’ve found the one, it’s time to put things in motion. We'll start by putting together a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) to help determine a competitive offer price, and ensure you don't overpay. Together, the next step is to compose our offer. We'll walk you through the contract forms to ensure you understand the contract language so you know what you're signing. When it comes to making an offer, we pride ourselves in maximizing our clients investment. In order to present a strong, clean offer that gives us the best chance at acceptance, there's a few ways to make our offer stand out that we explain during this process. Upon acceptance, the house will go into escrow.


Step 6: Get a Home Inspection

In most cases, your offer will be contingent on having the home inspected to ensure there are no major structural damage or large repairs needed. We will help you:

  • Find both a reputable inspector and home repair contractors if needed.
  • Review inspection options, and see that everything is scheduled and carried out in a timely manner.
  • Negotiate fair and appropriate solutions if necessary.

Step 7: Get an Appraisal

In most cases, your lender will arrange for an independent appraiser to provide an estimate of the house you are purchasing. The appraiser decides if the agreed cost is a fair price for the property. When purchasing a home, it’s required by most lenders to have an appraisal done to ensure the value of the property is consistent with what you are paying for it. Once approved, expect to receive a letter confirming your loan terms and final rate selection.


Step 8: Pre-Closing

While the house is in escrow, an independent third party escrow officer will oversee the transaction. They ensure all parties involved have performed their duties as stated in the contract. Prior to closing, we'll take one final walkthrough the home to ensure it's still in the condition it should be, as well as making sure all agreed repairs have been addressed.


Step 9: Signing Day

Once all loan documents have been sent to escrow, you will meet with the escrow officer typically 2-3 days prior to the closing day to sign all documents. Everything will be arranged by your lender and title company and, when you’re finished with the paperwork, you’ll know you are the legal owner of your new home.


Step 10: You Get the Keys!

We will keep in touch to find out how things are going, and are always happy to answer any questions you might have. We can also provide referrals (plumbers, electricians, etc.) and keep you updated on the market value of your home moving forward!


After signing the final paperwork to complete the purchase, you are now the owner of a new house. It may take a few days for your loan to be funded once the paperwork has been returned to the lender, but once that check is delivered to the seller, you’ll be all set to move into the home of your dreams. 

Work With the DeBoer Brothers

Let us put our knowledge and expertise, as well as the power of Windermere, to work for you. Don’t hesitate to give us a call or send us an email for a free, no-obligation market analysis and consultation. You won’t be disappointed.