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Bringing it all "Home" -- the Closing
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If you're a BUYER, a REALTOR® can

  • Determine your buying power
  • Use vast, current resources to help you find your ideal home
  • Provide objective information about properties in your selection process
  • Provide due diligence during the evaluation of the property
  • Help you understand different financing options
  • Help you identify qualified lenders


Only a qualified REALTOR® is required to complete courses in the real estate industry's lastest developments, and maintain a higher level of knowledge than someone who merely holds a real estate license.

The Buying Process

This series of steps will help you get the process going smoothly, as well as tell you what to expect along the way.

Step 1: Get pre-qualified through your lender

Before you begin, you should know what you can afford. While a pre-qualification letter is easy to get, a credit letter is more reliable. Talk to your lender to discuss the differences between these.

Step 2: Find your REALTOR®

A REALTOR® will be your advocate and guide for the entire process. Search REALTORS® here

Step 3: Meet with your REALTOR®

Be prepared to talk about what you want in a home and, just as importantly, what you don't want. This will help your REALTOR® make an educated search on your behalf.

Step 4: Discuss your relationship

How will your REALTOR® get paid? How will you communicate? How long will you work together? Become comfortable with the terms of your association before you go forward.

Step 5: Research and narrow down your home search

After pre-qualification from your lender, your agent will use the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and other resources to match you with a home. Your REALTOR® will send you listings to review.

Your REALTOR® will likely show you several houses, but the specific number depends on what you're looking for and what is available. You'll visit homes with your REALTOR® and together note the pros and cons, any repairs that may be necessary, and features that may help resale value in case you want to sell it later.

Step 6: Make an offer and begin negotiations

So you've found "the one." Your REALTOR® will act as a liaison by presenting your offer and the seller's response or counter-offers to you. Remember that your REALTOR® has your best interests in mind, and is there to help you understand every step of the process.

Step 7: Review the Purchase and Sales Agreement and set a closing date

When you and the seller reach an agreement on the home price, you will both sign a purchase agreement (also known as a sales contract). This contract also covers important details like method of payment, the time you’ll take possession, and what (if any) appliances, fixtures and personal property are being sold with the home.

Step 8: The home inspection

Because a home is a huge investment, you need to know its condition. A home inspection is usually set up within a few days after the contract or purchase agreement has been signed.

While it isn’t required for you to be present for the inspection, it’s strongly recommended. By following the home inspector around and observing and asking questions, you’ll learn a great deal about your soon-to-be home, how its systems work, and how to maintain it. You will also find the inspector’s written report, which you’ll receive after the inspection, easier to understand if you’ve seen the property first-hand with the inspector.

Step 9: Get your mortgage

If you are financing your home, here are some terms you should know:

  • APR – Annual Percentage Rate – the annual rate of interest, fees and costs on a loan
  • FHA – Federal Housing Administration – an FHA loan is backed by the government, and can often offer better rates, lower down payments (5% or less) and easier qualifying criteria
  • VA – U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs – a VA loan is designed to help eligible veterans purchase housing with no down payment
  • FRM – Fixed-rate mortgage – a loan where the interest rate remains the same over the term of the loan
  • ARM – Adjustable-rate mortgage – a loan where the interest rate can adjust based on the cost of borrowing on the credit markets

Of course, these are just the basics. Your REALTOR® and mortgage lender will work with you to find the best options for your situation.

Step 10: Final walk-through and closing

At settlement, also referred to as closing, your weeks of planning and preparation finally pay off. Your REALTOR® can tell you what to expect during this part of the process .

Step 11: The best part: Move in!