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A Step by Step Guide to the Process of Buying Real Estate

Buying real estate is a high stakes endeavor. To help prepare yourself, you need to know what to expect during the process. This detailed guide explains it all. Deborah’s goal? Alleviate the stress of the unknowns so you are as comfortable as possible moving forward.

Step 1: Buyer Consultation

Beginning with an initial consultation to understand your personal goals, Deborah will take the time to truly understand your timeframe, your budget, your wants, needs, and vision for your future home. In addition, you will be enlightened about the essential forms and disclosures including the Buyer’s Agent Agreement. This will ensure clarity and understanding before proceeding. In addition, Deborah will share comprehensive insights into current and anticipated market conditions including the good, the bad, and the ugly, providing valuable context for decision-making.


Step 2: Connect With a Lender/Get Pre-approved

One of Deborah’s jobs is to help you maneuver all of the financial pieces to ensure you’re on a strong financial footing when that dream home becomes available. Connecting with a lender/financial expert can help you tighten up your credit and help you understand your buying power - i.e., determine how much you can afford, give you insight into down payments, closing costs, etc. And if you’re obtaining financing, you will need proof that you can afford the home of interest so getting a pre-approval letter from your lender is essential. If you are purchasing with cash you will need to have proof of funds from your financial institution. These proofs of ability to purchase are required by many sellers even prior to scheduling showings so it is a key component of the Buying Process.


Step 3: Sign Disclosures + Buyer Representation Agreement

The disclosures explain the difference between being a client vs a customer - having representation or not. The Buyer’s Representation document allows you and Deborah to establish a mutual business agreement. This document is designed to increase transparency by laying out Deborah’s obligations to you as your representative, as well as details on the term length, compensation, termination, exclusivity, etc. Once you and Deborah are both aligned with the terms of the agreement, you will be asked to sign before she can show you or send you any properties.


Step 4: Begin House Hunting

Now for the fun part! Deborah will match your budget with your parameters and draw on her local expertise and network to help you find the home and the community you’ve been dreaming about. In addition, she will run market trend analyses in the area to give you a clear understanding of current market values. Together, you and Deborah will identify your ideal home's location and amenities, and search as long as it takes until you find ‘The One’. She will listen to your continued feedback and pivot when necessary and regularly update you on new inventory and other market activity.

Note: Deborah recognizes that you may not live locally and that you may not be available to view a property in person. With this in mind, she will be ready to do a virtual tour with you allowing for an in-depth view of all aspects of the property.

Deborah's goal is to provide you with the most personalized service that is designed to help you buy your dream home


Step 5: Making an Offer and Negotiations

You have found the perfect home and you’re ready to make an offer. Deborah will advise you on formulating a strong but fair, data-driven offer based on the property conditions, the market conditions, as well as the local trend analyses. She will draw up the offer paperwork and discuss the purchase price and terms such as down payment, closing date, sale contingencies, and other stipulations. It is Deborah’s job to guide you through the decision-making process to ensure you are comfortable and confident with all aspects of it. Once an offer is submitted, the Seller may accept, reject, or counter the offer. If the Seller rejects, we’ll be ready with a game plan to make another offer or move on. If the Seller counters, you will enter a negotiation period until an agreement is reached. And this is where you need a broker with experience. Purchase offers and counteroffers require expert-level advice so it’s crucial to have a broker who understands the local market and all of its nuances. Once the Seller accepts... YAHOO! You’re on to the next steps!!

NOTE: In Massachusetts, signing an offer agreement is binding with a refundable, monetary deposit. It will later be replaced and superseded by the Purchase and Sales Agreement. In NY and CT, the offer agreement is verbal and not binding until it reaches the Contract stage. In NH, the offer agreement and the Purchase and Sale are one and the same throughout the transaction.


Step 6: Inspections/Due Diligence

If you’ve chosen to inspect the property, Deborah will take responsibility and coordinate all inspections, including home, pest, etc., within the agreed timeline and contractual contingencies. She always advises taking this step to help make you aware of any potential issues and to help you better understand the more intimate details of homeownership. If issues arise, Deborah will work together with you to develop strategies on how best to proceed. This may include renegotiations. But not to worry, whether it be negotiating repairs or the offer price, etc., Deborah knows how to help the parties come to terms.


Step 7: Sign Contract

The Contract or Purchase and Sales (P&S) is the agreement between you and the Seller to purchase the property. In MA, NY, and CT, this is drafted by an attorney you hire to represent you who focuses on the legal details all the way through to the closing. (Don’t worry! Deborah isn't going anywhere! She will continue to be with you every step of the way, working in conjunction with your attorney to make sure the rest of the transaction progresses smoothly)! In these states, the Contract/P&S is typically done after home inspections and other due diligence is satisfied but it can be done beforehand. In NH, it is drafted by Deborah who works with a Title company who does the back end title search, etc., and the closing. In this state, it is typically drafted immediately with the home inspection and due diligence included. The Contract/P&S is a more detailed version of the original offer and includes the purchase price, any unsatisfied contingencies, etc., details the escrow deposit and closing date. Once this document is mutually agreed upon, signed by both parties, and the escrow funds have been deposited, the agreement becomes binding.


Step 8: Loan Application

If you are financing the property, within the Contract you will agree to a specific time frame to obtain financing approval. Your lender will work with you to receive and complete all the necessary documentation in order to deliver final loan approval and secure the loan to close. Such documentation includes a couple of months of bank statements, tax records, pay stubs, etc. This part can get complicated, but Deborah knows from experience how to keep the crucial final stages of local approval from becoming overwhelming. She will regularly monitor the progress and mitigate any obstacles to ensure a smooth closing.


Step 9: Appraisal

The lender will require an appraisal of the property as part of the loan approval process. It is ordered by the lender and paid for by the Buyer. It is an unbiased professional opinion of a home’s worth. They carry a lot of weight, and a closing can hinge on the results as the lender can only lend money up to the value it is appraised for. If the home appraises less than the expected value, you may have the option of renegotiating the purchase price or terminating the deal altogether. Should the latter happen, don’t worry. Deborah will work together with all parties to find a solution so everyone is satisfied.


Step 10: Final Loan Approval

Making it through to this point can seem like a mountain of details but the view from the top is worth it. Once the lender has received all your documentation, appraisal, and any necessary condo docs, HOA docs (if applicable), and all of your conditions have been met, your offer is submitted to the lender’s underwriting team for final approval. Once the loan has been approved, the lender will issue a “clear to close” with instructions to all parties involved.


Step 11: Pre-Closing

Deborah will work with you, your attorney/title company/lender to gather all necessary information, documents, closing timelines, etc., and review all other items associated with the closing process. This is also the time to call all service providers and homeowners insurance, etc., to begin service for the date of closing.


Step 12: Final Walk Through

Next comes your final walk though of the property confirming everything is as it should be per the Contract. This typically takes place the day of the closing unless otherwise specified.


Step 13: Closing

You’re almost to the finish line! Now onto the formal closing where you should expect to sign a lot of paperwork! Your lender will provide a final closing disclosure that summarizes the loan terms, monthly payments, taxes, and other costs associated with the closing. Both parties will sign all the closing documents, funds are passed to the Seller, the deed is recorded, and ownership is passed to the Buyer.


Step 14: Celebrate

The keys are yours! It’s time to celebrate your new home, your new life. Congratulations! Get excited for a lifetime of great memories!

Work With Deborah

Deborah would love an opportunity to talk with you and show you why it would be a benefit to work with her. In a world full of uncertainty, she will guide you in the correct direction and ensure that you make the most confident decisions. Connect with Deborah - She is here to offer insight and support whenever you are ready.