Home Buying – Where do I start?

Don’t worry, at Smart Realty we will be with you every step of the way; from targeting your dream home, through the negotiation process, to being at your side during closing!

10 basic steps to home buying (with tips to make the purchase of your home more enjoyable and productive!)

  1. Realtor®: Once you have made the decision to purchase a home, the first thing we recommend is to find a Professional REALTOR® that you are comfortable with and truly has your best interest at heart. The difference between a real estate agent and a Realtor® is simply that a REALTOR® is a member of the National Association of REALTORS®. As such a REALTOR® must subscribe to the REALTOR® Code of Ethics.
  2. Pre-Approval: Next we highly recommend you get pre-approved before you begin looking for a home as it will let you know how much home you can afford. Simply Click Here or on the 24 Hour Pre-Approval Link above, to begin the approval process.
  3. Location: Now that you know how much home you can afford, it is time to define exactly what you are looking for in a home. The first thing you want to determine is the area in which you desire to live. Asking yourself any of the following few questions, which pertain to you, should help you make a strategic decision. Remember once you purchase a home you can update it or remodel it, but you can’t change the location.
        1. How important is the School District? Even if you don’t have children the school system can be a major factor in the resale value of your home.
        2. How close do you want to live to family/friends? * Watching just one rerun of Everybody Loves Raymond could answer this question for you. :)
        3. How far, and how long are you willing to commute to work? Is public transportation important?
        4. Community: what’s most appealing to you? Living close to downtown; the arts district; by parks, lakes or rivers;  or a quiet rural setting?
        5. Do you wish to be a member of a HOA to help protect your investment through conformity or would you like more freedom to decide what you can do with your home?
        6. Are you Relocating? If so you will want to consider taxes; (sales tax, property tax and state income taxes,) climate (temperature/number of overcast and rainy days) business climate (unemployment rate and availability of work in your specific career field).
        7. How close would you like to be to an major airport? Close proximity can be an asset for convenience (or a hindrance because of noise).
        8. Other things to consider: Choice of dining establishments, your Walk Score.
  4. Dream Home Checklist: Use the checklist below to help you determine exactly what you would like in your dream home. Keep in mind many peoples’ ideal home are not within their budget so it is important to consider this exercise as a starting point in which you will probably have to make some concessions as you further narrow your search. Feel free to add your own categories if there are things not on this basic list that are important to you. The Dream Home checklist is for you own personal use, however if you submit it online we will use the criteria to assist you in finding your dream house.

    Dream Home Checklist

    • For each item below, please rank using 1-5: 1) Necessity; 2) Highly Desirable; 3) Important; 4) Nice to have, but not really important; 5) Not important at all.


  5. Targeted Home Search:  Our next step will be to set you up with your own personalized website so I can e-mail you a link to view a list of home with pictures that best match your specific criteria.  You can e-mail back a list of the addresses or MLS numbers of the homes you would like us to show you.  Your website will be updated as new houses meet your search parameters and you will be e-mailed notification. I will consult with you in the event we need to back off on any of the criteria you have deemed as a Necessity or Highly Desirable, in order to find homes in the price range you requested.
  6. Showings:  Once you have selected homes you would like to see, the fun begins! Our job as the Buyer’s agent, is to help you find the best house based on your needs, with the best terms possible. When we show you a house, we remain neutral. Our goal is not to sell you that house, but rather to assist you in finding what you want in a house.  We are usually seeing it for the first-time, just as are you. We will give you an honest opinion and point out the positive features as well as any negatives we see.
  7. Making an Offer: Once you have found a home you wish to purchase we will do a Comparative Market Analysis to see what other similar homes in the area sold for, make allowances for the differences and then collaborate together to determine the best offer to make.  This is where the negotiations begin, as there will usually be counter offers made both after the original offer and after an inspection is done as well.  It is important to have a  Realtor® with a CNE (Certified Negotiation Expert) designation on your side.
  8. Scheduling an Inspection:  Once you have made an offer and it has been accepted, we recommend you order an inspection. You are welcome to use your own inspector or we can recommend an inspector that will do a thorough job in documenting things that could undermine your investment, be of safety concern, or simply things that could use repair that you should know up front.
  9. Inspection Report Review:  Once you get your inspection report we will go over it together to make sure there are no serious problems and determine the approximate cost of having anything out of the ordinary repaired.  Normally the seller will pick up all or part of the tab for reasonable repairs, everything is negotiable until finalized.  Negotiations of repairs are typically performed and finalized prior to the expiration of the option period set forth in the contract.
  10. Final Loan Approval/Closing:  As your Buyer’s Representative we will keep in close contact with the lender to help ensure your loan approval deadlines are met.  Closing will be scheduled with the title company.  We will go over the final numbers with you and let you know exactly how much down payment you will need to come to closing with and we will be at the closing with you to make sure you are confident and are in completed understanding of what you are signing. We make every effort to be at every closing!