Utilizing our experience, resources, and training, we will walk you through the systems and processes we have developed, tested, and refined for over 150 years.
It’s important to have a trusted real estate advisor who understands the information, acts as your advocate, and offers the emotional support that buyers need throughout the process of finding and acquiring a home. Our agents are local market experts, and are prepared to guide buyers through all the practical details and potential obstacles that may occur during the purchase process.
We’re happy to answer any questions you may have along the way. Feel free to reach out to us at any time while you browse this buying guide.
Where to Start
When you begin looking for properties, it can seem overwhelming. We will help guide you through this process, so you have the information and resources to make the best possible decisions.
When you begin the process of buying a home, it can be overwhelming.
You don’t want to miss out on anything, but you also don’t want to pay too much. We will help guide you through this process, so you have the information and resources to make the best possible decisions.
What to Expect & How to Prepare
By educating yourself about the real estate process, you will feel more in control and have a better handle on the situation.
How to Prepare Yourself
There are a lot of emotions, decisions and questions that you need to answer before discovering your home. One of the best ways to start your home search is to take a moment to identify what is important to you. Download our checklist of 16 tips to consider before buying a home
Determine What is Important to You
Next you’ll need to weigh the features vs benefits. When most people start this process, they think of the number of bedrooms or bathrooms or have a specific area or neighborhood in mind. All of these factors are necessary to discuss. We suggest you write them all down (or type them out) in a column, because they are just a starting point. However, the next - and very important step - is to identify the “why” behind each of these features. Use our template to Determine your wants vs needs
The buying process takes anywhere from 9-22 months. In addition, it takes 45 days on average to close on your home purchase after an accepted offer. That means that it will be very important to understand when you would like to be in your new home and then work backwards.
Also consider what the market is currently doing
The real estate market is affected by supply and demand. When there are multiple buyers trying to buy the same house, prices will be higher, and in some cases the winning bid is above asking price. However, the longer a house sits on the market without an offer, the more likely the seller will need to negotiate a lesser price.
In most of our markets, a house that is on the market for 30 days or more will sell between 95-98% of the last asking price. Rarely does a seller accept an offer for less than 90% of the asking price. In all cases, your Realtor is your advocate and will help you make good decisions.
The home buying process involves several different people who can help you make the right decisions. One of the most important people is your mortgage loan officer. A knowledgeable loan officer will ensure getting your mortgage is a smooth and easy process, especially if this is your first home purchase.
Getting pre-qualified with a lender will speed up the process.
It’s important to set up a meeting with a lender to determine a comfortable price range through pre-approval. A knowledgeable loan officer will also be able to advise you on special loan programs, loan products, tax incentives and other financial considerations.
There are many benefits to pre-qualification. You don’t waste time looking at homes outside your budget, and you speed up the final loan approval. Also, you have power in negotiations because sellers often show preference to the buyer with “assured” financing.
Once you complete the process, your Loan Officer should give you a pre-approval letter that you can share with your agent. The Loan Officer should also give you a better idea of your upfront expenses and answer any of your financing questions.
There are many types of loans available to fit your specific situation. Different loans have different up-front costs, interest rates, payment schedules and incentives
Other Costs Involved
In addition to your loan, you will want to discuss closing costs as well as other costs that should be considered.
Do you understand the 1%=10% Rule?
A buyer tends to focus on the total sale price, but you want to focus on what you will pay each month
Finding your home
Once you are clear on what you’re looking for, your search can begin. We will guide you through the process but you will control all of the decisions.
We use the comfortable process of elimination rather than the often frustrating process of selection.
We call it the “Funnel Process”
We start with all on the possible properties and then narrow down the options by eliminating any that don’t meet your needs/requirements.
We’ll go from potentially thousands of properties in the funnel to hundreds and then to dozens, as we begin to eliminate those that don’t work. Some of them you will simply look at online. The ones you like the best, we will drive by or make an appointment to go inside. You will always be in control of the decisions.
As we go through this process of elimination, our goal will be to find your top three favorite homes that could work for you. This can be a rolling top three, so if you find a home you like better than one in your current top three, you can substitute.
To get a sense of what is on the market now, you can start your search here.
Your Rolling Top 3 home
Having two to three homes to choose from increases your negotiating power with the seller. They need to sell, but you don’t need to buy. This shifts the power/need dynamic. You can then use this to your advantage by letting the seller know you have another option. Purchasing your first choice is your preference, but having a second home to fall back on will make your negotiations less stressful.
Once you have identified your three favorites, we do a comparative market analysis (CMA) on each one to show you other similar properties that have sold, and to help you get a feel for their value. Our goal is to make sure you don’t pay too much.
Making an Offer
Writing an offer is one of the most important steps in the process. Our agents will help you structure an offer that will put you in the best negotiation position possible.
Before you are ready to make an offer, be sure you understand the road ahead. You want to think through everything that happens after you make the offer, prepare for negotiations and learn about the paperwork. These next steps are worth investing time to understand because they often go quickly but are crucial to your success in the process.
The paperwork can be lengthy and complicated. Negotiations and understanding different negotiation tactics can be difficult. However, both hinge on five points that the buyer and seller must agree on:
The terms (earnest money, down payment, financing or cash)
To learn more about the offer process download our guide below, but the best preparation is to have a trusted real estate advisor who will advocate for you and protect your best interests. Contact us to connect with an agent.
Your interests, goals, and dreams are our number one priority. To help you achieve them, we will need some information from you. Feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions while reviewing our Seller’s Homework.
Congratulations! Your offer was accepted, but there is plenty of work to do between now and closing
Please feel free to reference some of the resources below to learn more about what you can expect and how to prepare.
The appraiser will visit the property and do a detailed study to determine its estimated value. This estimate will help the underwriter determine the amount of the loan. Keep in mind the appraiser will not do a detailed inspection - that is the inspector’s job. More about Appraisals
What to Expect during Inspections
At Ruhl&Ruhl Realtors, we always advise our buyer clients to have their prospective home inspected. As part of the purchase agreement, we recommend that buyers request a whole house inspection to be completed soon after an offer is accepted.
Most purchase contracts state that the inspection will focus on major mechanical, structural, health or safety issues. Another way to look at it is the inspection will help you identify items you may not easily recognize.
Keep in mind that your inspector is a "generalist". The report provided to you will have a lot of information and can be overwhelming or scary! The inspector is pointing out a wide-range of items from suggestions for future maintenance to items that warrant further review by a specialist.
You may want to walk along with the inspector or meet with them at the end of the inspection to review the findings. Your Realtor can help you work through options to address concerns. The seller is not obligated to make any additional repairs or compensate for deficiencies, however, your Realtor will help you negotiate a satisfactory resolution.
Get Ready for the Move!
You don’t want to forget the basics like turning on the lights in your new home and lining up contractors to make any necessary repairs.
Organizing your current items for the move is always a good idea, and you may want to think about when you plan to make the move. Some people do upgrades to their home before they move in and others wait until they are settled. Your Realtor can help you through this transition.
More help with moving.
There are a few things you don’t want to forget in all of the excitement. Check back soon as we’ll be updating this guide with helpful resources for after closing on your home.
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