ONE Deciding to Buy.  Purchasing a home is one of the biggest financial decisions you will ever make.  It's important to carefully consider your current and/or future needs whether its your first or fourth purchase.  Most experts recommend spending approximately 30-40% of your income on housing. 


TWO Choose an Agent.  The purchasing process involves many important and complex decisions along the way.  Choose an agent that's experienced and can guide you through the complexities of purchasing a home.  Other factors to consider when selecting include: credentials, availability, attentiveness, and industry knowledge.  


THREE Preparation.  During your first consultation with your selected agent, expect a one-on-one consultation to review your overall objectives, determine your desired neighborhood and home requirements.  It's also recommended that you are pre-qualified for a home loan prior to the search with a reputable local lender. 


FOUR Home Search.  Once you've completed the administratives, it's time to find the home that best fit your needs.  Today, most people begin their search online, but it's also important for you drive around in the neighborhoods of interest and get a sense of the type homes available within that area.  Your real estate agent will be critical in helping you discover new areas or little known neighborhoods, potential resale values, and other amenities nearby.  


FIVE Make an Offer.  After an exhausting search, you have finally found the home that best fit your needs.  Your real estate agent will gather all the information regarding that specific property; give you a list of properties that have recently sold within the area; and provide expert consultation regarding an acceptable offer price, earnest money deposit, and appropriate contingencies.  


SIX Offer Acceptance.  Once you and the seller have agreed on the terms and conditions of the sale (ratified contract), the timeline for all the contingencies begins immediately.  Those contingencies may include the following: home inspection, radon inspection, termite inspection, underwriter approval, appraisal, homeowner insurance, and review of the association documents if within a community.  During this time, the designated title company will ensure that the title is free and clear of any past liens or encumbrances prior to the settlement date and that all new encumbrances are recorded properly to the title.  Throughout this process, its imperative to be in constant communication with all the transactional parties involved who are working on your behalf.  


SEVEN Settlement Week.  Once all the contractual items are completed and approved, you're just days away from owning your new home.  A couple of days prior to settlement, you'll complete a final walk-thru with your real estate agent to ensure that the home is in proper order prior to obtaining possession.  You'll also schedule the transfer of utilities to your name on the day of settlement.  The title company will provide a preliminary closing statement (HUD-1) to all parties which details the purchase transaction and associated costs.  On the day of settlement, the title attorney will review the HUD-1 statement for clarity and accuracy with each party.  Once approved, both parties will sign the official documents to consumate the sale along with the exchange of keys.  The documents (deed of trust) are then recorded at the local government entity and then the buyer is the new legal owner.   


EIGHT Move In.