6 Steps of the Home Buying Process

You’re tired of renting and have decided it’s time to buy a home.  Now what?  The typical steps in the home buying process are as follows:

  1. Lender Shopping + Prequalification – If you’re like most buyers, you’ll be using a lender to finance the purchase of your home. It’s smart to reach out to several lenders and see what interest rates, loan types (conventional, VA, FHA), and special offers may be available to you.  Once you’ve decided on a lender, the company will ask for information to get you pre-approved for a loan.  Your offer to the seller will be stronger if you can show you’ve been pre-approved.
  2. Home Shopping + Offer – This is the fun part!  Go out and find that dream home! As a buyer, it’s often beneficial for a buyer to have a licensed real estate agent help you through this stage. They will be able to show you houses that are available and within your budget — maybe even some that haven’t been officially listed for sale yet — and draft the offer to the seller for you. They can also help you through contract negotiations. 
  3. Closing Attorney Selection – As soon as you have a fully-signed contract (one signed by both you and the seller), you’ll want to send that contract to your lender and let them know which closing attorney you’ve selected. The closing attorney will need ample time before closing (typically around 30 days) to perform a title examination. Remember, many real estate agents have attorneys that they prefer to work with, but the choice of a real estate closing attorney is entirely yours.
  4. Home Inspection(s) and Appraisal – Since a home is often the biggest purchase you’ll make, it’s smart to have it thoroughly inspected by a licensed home inspector. The inspector will look in every nook and cranny and provide you with a detailed report that includes any areas of concern.  Depending on your contract, you may be able to take this report to the seller and ask for repairs, a price reduction, and/or closing credits so you can make the repairs yourself. This is another time that real estate agents can be very helpful. In addition to the inspection that you will want for yourself, your lender will likely require that the home be appraised. This is to ensure that your home is worth at least the purchase price that you’re paying.
  5. Loan Selection – Once the home has been inspected and any renegotiating has taken place, and after your lender has received the appraisal, you and your lender will be able to finalize your loan amount. If the home doesn’t appraise high enough, the loan amount may have to be adjusted.
  6. Closing – You’ve made it to the end! The closing is where you’ll meet with your attorney, review and sign all of the necessary paperwork, pay for the home, and receive the keys.  Sometimes the seller will attend, but often they’ve signed the deed (your title to the property) and other documents ahead of time. 

The process can be long and exhausting at times, but hopefully once you’re handed the keys to your new home, it will all feel worth it. We hope you’ll think of Bellamy when you start searching for a real estate lawyer for Step 3!