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The Home Buying Process

You can begin your home search once you have your mortgage information in place. Working with your agent is the best way to determine which properties will best suit your taste and budget. Agents will likely have knowledge of "pocket listings," or available houses before they go on the market, as well as builder specials and incentives on inventory. Both of these can result in a quick, no-hassle sale for you.

When you have made a decision and are ready to make an offer, your buyer's agent can perform a market analysis to determine home prices near the property you have chosen. Once you submit an offer on a property, you will enter the negotiation phase. In most cases, you can expect a period of counteroffers as both sides work to agree on a fair purchase price.

Once you are under contract, you may be required to put up earnest money to show your seriousness about completing the sale. This money can be forfeited if certain measures are not met — yet another important reason to have an agent representing your interests. You will also have a timeline of important milestones, including property inspection, to ensure that you are comfortable with the condition of the property. Our agents use specialized tools to make sure these dates and important events are met throughout the process.

At closing, you will be required to have your lending in order and the money ready to be wired when the deal is completed by an escrow agent or attorney. Make sure to bring identification information for all parties who appear on the financing or who will appear on the deed information. (A representative with the escrow/title company or the attorney's office can give you a list of the exact items to bring.) Also, if you have not done so already, you will want to decide on a home warranty, which is a great way to go through the transition process of moving into the existing home with the least amount of worry.