According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the three most popular information sources homebuyers use in the home search are:

  • Online Website (93%)
  • Real Estate Agent (86%)
  • Mobile/Tablet Website or App (73%)

Clearly, you’re not alone if you’re starting your search online; 93% of homebuyers are right there with you. The even better news: 86% of buyers are also getting information from a real estate agent at the same time.

A real estate professional knows what steps need to be taken, and in what order. Working together makes you more confident as a buyer, better prepared and equipped with the knowledge to make educated decisions to meet your home buying goals.

Below are the home buying steps: click each arrow for more information

1. Initial Meeting | Establish A Time Line
  • What are your RE goals?
  • When would you like to be in your new home?
  • What are your priorities when looking for the right location? Schools, Commute Time, Close to Metro, Walkability
  • How long do you intend to live in the home you purchase?
  • What are your up front questions? concerns?
2. Buyer Agency | A Mutual Agreement

When buyer(s) and agent are mutually comfortable moving forward. A Buyer Agency Agreement outlining the terms of the relationship, including an agents responsibilities is signed by all parties.

What is covered in a Buyer Agency Agreement?

  • Contractual obligation – an agency relationship is between a Buyer and Broker
  • Duration of agreement and broker fee’s (typically the seller pays the real estate commission. Buyers are asked only to pay a small administrative fee charged by most brokers. Essentially making the guidance and consulting services offered by a real estate professional FREE when buying.)
  • Legal requirements/disclosures for buyers in regards to; lead paint, material facts, wood destroying insects, jurisdictional disclosures and/or disclaimers, smoke detectors, federal tax reporting, use of the multiple listing service, Fair Housing laws and title matters
  • Termination protocol
3. Connect With A Lender | Pre-Approval Letter

Prepared Clients Are The Most Successful Clients.
An experienced agent will have a cadre of partners ready to help.

  • If you need to borrow money to purchase a home, getting pre-approved provides the financial framework that defines what you’re capable and comfortable working with in.
  • Having been pre-approved makes your searching more efficient, only looking at properties that you can actually purchase should it meet your criteria.
  • Most important, being pre-approved places buyers in the position to be able to make an offer when they find the right house. Avoids having to back track to see if they can afford it. In the DMV real estate market that could mean loosing the house.
4. Identify Property | Touring |Open Houses

Location, location, location! Knowing where you want to call home is essential to moving forward with your purchase. Often it becomes a process of elimination based on personal preferences and needs.

Some of the biggest considerations for clients are:

  • Where do you and other family members need to go for work, school, other involvements?
  • How long is the commute for work and other activities?
  • Are they looking for your “forever” house? Or a transitional house?
  • Do you have school age children?

In addition to an agents resources, insight and knowledge for a given area and its market trends, going to Open Houses and touring gives you increased access to homes and appraisal of neighborhoods.

5. Make An Offer | What Is In A Complete Offer

Your agents role is to provide information pertinent to each purchase so as a buyer you can make confident, educated decisions on how and what to write into your offer.

  • How do you make the best offer on a house?
  • What is considered a strong offer?
  • What information should buyers take into consideration when making an offer?

The answers to these questions are going to be unique to you as buyer based on goals, timing, priorities, purchasing power and information about the sellers.

A compete offer includes the following:
Offer Price |Down Payment Amount |Financing/Appraisal Times | Contingencies|EMD |Inspections |Settlement Date |Title Company |HOA or Condo Resale if applicable | Signed Contract|Pre-Approval Letter |Signed Seller Disclosures |Jurisdictional Addendums

6. Post Ratification Process

Time is of the essence as to all terms of the contract. In other words, the dates and time frames agreed to by all parties must be met. In practice it means that an agent’s role is to keep everything moving forward in a timely manner.

  • Ratification is when all parties have signed a complete contract.
  • Once the contract is fully ratified, the clock on the contracts time frames and contingencies begin.
  • As a buyer, you work closely with your lender to meet the financial contingency timelines.

LMRE works closely, communicates and coordinates with the seller’s agent, title company, lender, any inspectors and HOA or condo associations to ensure all contingencies are on track and met to include settlement.

“Laurel is not only an amazing realtor but our friend for life. We met her when we were looking to buy our first home and she walked us through each step in the process, she was kind and patient. We felt like we could take our time finding the right fit.

We called Laurel again, as our family grew and realized we needed something bigger, our forever home. This was at the beginning of COVID and we were anxious about the challenges that may come with selling and buying at this time. Laurel again, walked us through the process and was there for us when we had questions. She helped ease our fears and frustrations. She helped us sell our home quickly while ensuring we got the best deal possible, and was able to help us find our forever home in which we needed a very short time to close.

Laurel was honest each step of the way and spoke honestly about the pros and cons of each home we looked at to ensure we found the right home for our needs. Laurel is not only knowledgeable but also trustworthy and personable. She made a journey that can sometimes be painful, fun and easy. The only downside to finding our forever home is not being able to work with her again!” – Samantha & Ben 2020

If you’re ready to start your search online, don’t skip over the support of an educated and informed real estate professional. You need someone at your side who can answer your questions and guide you through a process that can be complex and confusing if you go at it with the Internet alone. Let Laurel Murphy Real Estate guide you through the Home Buying Process.

Things to Consider When Buying a Home, download a free Home Buying Guide