See How Easily You Can Own a Home.

The 16 Steps From Shopping to Closing on a House

1.  Find a Realtor who is an Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR) to look out for your best interests as you buy a home. The agent with the sign in the yard is trying to get the home sold and does not represent you. Get your own Realtor to represent you during your home purchase.
2. Get pre-approved. Ask your ABR Realtor which lenders he recommends. After you are pre-approved, you will know what you can spend on buying a home.
3. Make sure that your monthly payment is not more than 1/3 of what you earn per month.
4. Pick out an area where you would like to live and where you can afford a home. Does the area have good schools? Is the area safe? Is the house on a busy road? How large of a house do you want? How many bedrooms? How many bathrooms? What square footage are you looking for? Think about re-sale. 3 bedrooms sells better than 2 bedrooms.
5. Have your ABR Realtor send you homes via e-mail, pick some homes out that you want to see, and go look at homes. If you see homes that interest you and are for sale by owner, give the contact information to your Realtor BEFORE you call to inquire, they will call the home owners for you, to ensure you always have representation & don’t go into a transaction with only the sellers calling all the shots.
6. Once you’ve picked out a home, you will want to take your pre-approval letter from your lender and meet with your ABR Realtor to write up an offer on forms that your Realtor has.
7. Your next step after your offer is accepted is to have a home inspection. Your ABR Realtors should have a list of recommended home inspectors. Choose one of them. The home inspector will find out more than you want to know about the home. Some of the things that the home inspector will find will be small items that aren’t worth negotiating over. Look for big problems like foundation issues, heat and air problems, roof problems, plumbing & electrical problems, rot on the exterior of the house, etc. Your ABR Realtor will help you identify problems found during the inspection that should be fixed by the seller.
8.  Right after your offer is accepted, your lender will ask you to approve the”Loan Estimate” (LE), so be sure that you approve
9. The buyer will have the termite inspection done. You will find out if there are termites, and that is usually only a major problem if the termites have eaten through a main support of the house.  Your Realtor will help you identify a qualified termite inspector.
10. Your lender will send out the appraiser, so you don’t need to worry about that. You will have to pay your lender for the appraiser ahead of time. Some appraisers require repairs by the seller (FHA loans & VA loans). Mostly the appraiser is looking for the value of the home to be equal to -or greater than- what you are paying for it.
11.  Your lender may ask for forms here and there, so get those to the lender quickly. You don’t want to delay the closing on your house over a bank statement that took you a while to deliver. Be sure to check with your lender periodically to see if they have everything they need from you and keep them on task.
12. Be sure to have the utilities changed into your name. Start the process with time, but be sure it’s not effective until the day of closing.  You don’t want to pay for their water, electric, and gas usage.
13. 3 days before the closing, you should get a closing disclosure/closing statement.  That document will tell you how much money you will have to bring to closing.
14.  The day of or the day before closing on your home purchase, you will do a final inspection to make sure that the repairs that you asked for were completed, to make sure the home is in the same if not better condition, and to make sure that no new damage has occurred to the home. When the lender is done and the title checked by the title company to see if it is clear, you are ready to close.
15. You will go to a title company with a copy of your driver’s license, and close the loan. . You’ll have to get a cashier’s check from the bank to pay for your closing costs, so do that ahead of time.  Soon, you’ll be a proud homeowner!
16. Enjoy your new home!

Written by Nathan Walldorf with The Group Real Estate Brokerage. Chattanooga, TN. 423-544-7700 or