Home Buying Process



While interest rates are still low and rents are still high, now is a perfect time to buy. I will walk you through all of the homebuying steps from start to finish so you will know the entire process before you are ready to begin it so you are prepared.


Step 1-Pre-Approval

It is important to get your mortgage pre-approval so you are aware of your total spending power between mortgage payments, taxes and HOA fees if you are living in a condo. This will help you to determine what you can and want to spend on your home.

Mortgage brokers will also discuss the different types of loans available (conventional, FHA, VA), as well as any programs for downpayment assistance that you may qualify for. Some of the different loans allow for different down payment options depending on credit scores.

Mortgage brokers can help with credit issues.

Once you have been pre-approved for a mortgage and you have found your realtor, it is time for the next step. 

Click on the links to get connected to my preferred lenders to start the pre-approval process

Jett Miller

Sheryl Cohen Becker


Step 2-Finding Your Home

Be Ready with your list of wants and needs and put them into three categories.

‘Must-Haves' – if this property does not have these items, then it shouldn't even be considered.(ex: distance from work or family, number of bedrooms/bathrooms)

‘Should-Haves' – if the property hits all of the 'must-haves' and some of the 'should-haves,' it stays in contention, but does not need to have all of these features.

‘Absolute-Wish List' – if we find a property in our budget that has all of the ‘must-haves,' most of the ‘should-haves,' and ANY of these, it's the winner!

When considering your wants and needs you should also consider your long-term picture for the home. Do you plan on living there a long time or just a couple of years? If it will just be a couple of years, you want to think about your target buyers market when you are planning on selling. Do you plan on having school-aged kids while you live there? That will make the school districts you're buying in an important factor. Thinking about these questions before you head out to look at homes will help narrow down your selection and give you your best options up front.

Be ready to act fast. Once you have found the place that feels like home, you need to be prepared to make an offer quickly. As your realtor, I will pull together comparable priced homes to help guide you to make the best initial offer and continue to guide you throughout the negotiation process.

In today's real estate market it may take a while to find the home you want to make an offer on. You may have to expand the search area to find what you are looking for. You may not get the first home you make an offer on. Do not get frustrated, you will find the perfect home for you.

After you have narrowed down your list of must haves, it is time to go out and look at homes. It can take some people a few days or a few months to find the perfect home for them.


Step 3-We Found Our Dream Home, Now What?

Make an initial offer-once I have presented you with the comparables you decide on a price to offer and the contract is written and submitted.

Negotiations-there is typically some negotiations between the buyer and seller about price or other contigencies in the contract. These negotiations go through the buyers agent and the sellers agent. These are called counter offers.

Accepted offer-once all of the terms of the contract are agreed upon then both sides sign the contract and there is an executed contract and initial earnest money is required by the buyers. Earnest money is good faith money that you will be going through with the purchase. If there is something wrong during inspection or attorney review, then the earnest money will be returned to the buyers.

You have the executed contract, now what? There are still more steps to go until you close on your home.


Step 4-What Comes After The Executed Contract?

Attorney Review-it is important to hire a real estate attorney who is knowledgeable with real estate law to review the contract and to help with the next phase of the homebuying process.

Home Inspection-a home inspector will check out all of the mechanicals (for example the hot water heater), the attic and crawlspace ( in a single family home), all of the appliances, the water pressure and all of the things that you may not have checked during your tour of the home. They will check all of the windows and the decks. They will provide you with a list of things that need to be remediated. There are items on the list that you will want taken care of and your real estate attorney with negotiate with the seller's attorney to get the items fixed prior to closing or issue a credit at closing for you to do the repairs yourself.

Loan Application-after the offer is accepted you need to officially apply for your loan. During this time you will update any information with your loan officer and provide any additional documents that are needed. Once you have been approved for the loan an appraisal of the home will be ordered. There will be specific dates set in the contract that the loan needs to be applied for.

Title Search-your attorney has a title search done on the home you are purchasing to make sure that the title is free and clear and there is nothing preventing the home from being purchased.

Home Owner's Insurance-in order to be able to get a clear to close for your mortgage, you will need to have proof of homeowner's insurance. You should contact an insurance representative that you have worked with in the past for your renter's insurance or car insurance. If you need a name of someone, I can make a referral.

Clear to close-all of the mortgage paperwork has been completed, there is a clear title and you are ready to close on your home. The paperwork is sent over to the title company for the closing.

Your Closing Date is just around the corner, but there is too much to do. Where do you begin?


Step 5-It's Almost Closing Time-What Do We Do?!?!?!

Secure Movers-Once you know your closing date, book your movers if you plan on moving right away. The end of the month are busy days for movers, so if you have some flexibility, try not to move on the 30th or 31st. I may have some recommended movers for you.

Start purging-Now is the perfect time to clean out closets, dressers and cabinets as you begin to pack. Donate what you do not need anymore to an organization that can use it.

Change of address-start notifying places that still send you mail that your address is changing. Also go on line to www.usps.com and set up mail forwarding to begin after you move.

Packing-make sure you label boxes for each room and keep an inventory if using movers to make it easier when unloading, especially if you have several rooms. Use color coded labels or markers for each room. Make sure if you are moving yourself you do not pack the boxes too heavy.

Set up utilities-contact the local gas and electric companies to have the utilities started on your closing day. Also contact the cable and internet companies and schedule appointments to get set up on or after closing days. Cancel your old services.

Your Closing Date is just around the corner, but there is too much to do. Where do you begin?


Step 6-It's Closing Day!!!

Final Walkthrough-we will walk through the house one more time either a few days before or the day of the closing to make sure that all of the items that had been negotiated to be repaired/replaced through attorney review had been completed. If items had not been taken care of, the closing can be delayed.

Closing-you will meet your attorney at the designated title company. Prior to that, you will receive instructions regarding how much money you will need to have either wired before the closing or with you. Your attorney will explain to you all of the documents and have you sign them. The closing can take an hour up to 3 hours.

Closing Costs-approximately between 2-5% of the purchase price of a home. It includes attorney costs, transfer tax, appraisal, loan processing, deed recording, and others. You will receive these exact costs spelled out in a document prior to closing.

Get the keys to your new home-Welcome to your new home!


I am always here to assist you in any way and with any questions.  Please feel free to call or text me at 773.251.6103 or clicking here to reach me.  I look forward to help you love where you live!


Staci Yesner, ABR, SRES