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The Basics of Buying a Home

House Keys

Buying a home can be one of the biggest and most important investments you can make. The process of buying the home that you want can be a long and tedious process, taking up most of your time. It’s up to you, the consumer, to ask any questions, pay attention to details and to learn about the real estate market in the area in which you intend to buy.


You must know what your wants and needs are before embarking on the often times difficult journey of house hunting. First write down all the features that are most important to you:

  • Are you looking for a home in a specific city, neighborhood or school district?
  • How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need?
  • Do you want off-street parking? Garage?
  • Single family home? Condominium?
  • What style of home do you prefer?
  • What amenities do you wish to have? For example, fireplace, walkout lower level, fenced lot, attached garage, etc.
  • What age of home?
  • What is your timeline?
  • Try to prioritize your wants and needs. What is most important or least important?

Now, write down all the features that you absolutely do not want in a home. For example:

  • Living in a congested part of town.
  • Living next to an airport or busy highway.
  • A home that is in great need of repair.
  • A home with too many stairs.

Keep this list in mind as you look at homes. This list may also change from time to time as you look at homes. You may choose to add or remove certain features you do not want or change where you are willing to make compromises. Don’t be disappointed if you cannot find the “perfect” home. Homes are seldom “perfect.” They can only be made that way through time and effort.

Before you begin looking at properties, you will need to get your finances in order. It is imperative that you visit a reputable mortgage lender to get pre-qualified for a mortgage before you begin to look at homes.

This process will help assure you of your ability to obtain the mortgage you desire. For example, you will learn the amount of your likely mortgage payment and the total investment required to purchase your new home, etc.

Also, most sellers expect the buyer to provide evidence that financing can be obtained.

Most home buyers prefer to have the assistance of a reputable Realtor. The Realtors are very knowledgeable and can provide help and guidance with dozens of details that are involved in the home buying process. There is a long list of items with which the Realtor can help, including home inspections, pest inspections, financing advice, preparation of the purchase contract, negotiations, insurance, utilities, closing assistance and so on.

In most cases the services provided to you, the buyer, are free! The seller usually pays the Realtor.

It’s important that you carefully select your Realtor. Seek out references from your friends, co-workers or people you trust. You are making a huge investment. Your Realtor can be invaluable in this difficult process and you need to make sure that you are comfortable with him or her and that you have confidence in the Realtor’s abilities.

Interview the Realtor. Ask the Realtor to share their references, knowledge about the area and property you seek. Does he/she have the time necessary to devote to you? Ask about how you will be represented and how that representation will be carried out. The Realtor can help you determine if you can find the home you seek within your budget.

Since most Realtors are paid a commission, they have a vested interest in helping you accomplish your goal: Buying your dream home!

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