Buying a home?

Buying a Home     CLICK HERE for an in-depth checklist

Whether you are buying your first home or you are a veteran home buyer there steps that all have to go through in order to make that purchase.

Step 1 Finances

Get your finances in order.  You can pull a free credit report here.  Check for errors and correct if there are any.   Your credit report can play a large part in the type of loans you can qualify for.

Step 2 Find a Mortgage Lender

Find a mortgage lender that you trust.  Your lender will be taking an in depth look at all your finances.  No rock will be left un-turned.  Bad credit does not necessarily keep you from buying a home.  A good lender will guide you through the lending process to help you get back on track to meeting your goal.  There are many different types of loansand grants; IHFA, VA, FHA, Conventional to name a few.

Step 3 Pre-Approval 

Once you have found a mortgage lender that you work well with you are ready to get pre-approved for a mortgage.  There are pre-approvals and pre-qualifications.  The difference can be significant.  For a pre-approval the mortgage lender will actually pull a credit report and some lenders will even have an underwriter approve prior to furnishing a letter.  A pre-qualification on the other hand may not have credit pulled and all information is verbal.  If at all possible having a pre-approval will help you have a stronger offer when you are ready for that step.

Step 4 Start the Search

Become familiar with your wants and needs.  For example if you need to be close to work and you want to have 4 bedrooms are either of those negotiable?  Maybe being close to work is more important than that 4th bedroom.  Giving your agent a list of needs and wants helps the agent to narrow down the search to the very best homes within your criteria.  Sometimes as you look at properties you will discover that something you think you needed may move into the want category and that is OK.  Always keep in mind that most things can be changed but we all know that location is forever.

Step 5 Find an Agent

Having an agent represent you and your interests can be so helpful during this process.  An agent can assist in locating the property, negotiating the price and manage the transaction all the way to closing.  In Idaho an agent can represent the buyer, seller or both.  This is explained more in depth during your initial consultation.  When you have an agent represent you with an agreement there are certain duties and obligations that agent must adhere to.  Confidentiality being number one.  As a buyer there is no cost to you to have an agent represent you the agents fees are generally paid by the seller.

Step 6 Pick you Dream Home

Now the fun begins!  You get to start previewing homes and deciding which one is the right fit your you.  This process can take months or days depending on your criteria.  Typically an agent will take your criteria and input it in the MLS.  From that criteria we will get a list of prospective properties that your agent will setup up times for you to preview.  Once you find the one your agent will write an offer and present it to the seller or sellers agent.

Step 7 Make an Offer

The process of making an offer and getting it accepted by the seller can be very easy to very arduous.  Depending on the market in the area you are looking at it can vary greatly.  In the case of a property receiving multiple offers or counter offers the process and take several days.  Earnest money is collected at the time you write the offer and will be held at the brokers office until an offer has been accepted.  Your agent will keep you apprised of all the steps in the process but always remember that time is of the essence when negotiating the contract.

Step 8 Inspections

Once your offer has been accepted there are several items that must be done prior to closing.  If you choose to have a home inspection (which I highly recommend) this would need to be completed and the contingency removed if you still would like to continue based on the report.  If you do not find the report favorable you can back out of the deal at this point assuming you have done so in the time allowed.  You could also ask that items be repaired or replaced and the seller may or may not decide to do that.  Assuming you have both come to an agreement on the condition of the house the next step is getting an appraisal and your financing in order (unless you are a cash buyer.)

Step 9 Getting Closer

Once all the contingencies are removed we are on our way to closing!  Your agent will be checking on all parties involved regularly to ensure that the transaction is moving along and no delays are expected.  During this time don’t make any purchases on credit or do anything that may affect your financing.  These types of things can delay or worst case kill a deal.  A typical time frame from accepted offer to closing date is around 30-45 days.  It may go longer if inspections or repairs take more time.

Step 10 Closing

You are finally ready to sign on the dotted line.  Expect to be overwhelmed if you are a first time buyer.  Your agent, lender and title officer are all there to help and guide you through the process though.  You will be signing a lot of documents and it can be nerve wracking.  Once you have signed the title company will send all the items to be recorded and funded.  Once that has happened the house is all yours and you are ready to move in and make it your own.


Most closings go off without a hitch but be prepared for some bumps along the way it will be worth it in the end.