Lancaster Real Estate Search

Steps to Buying Your Dream Home

Purchasing a home can be an exciting experience that involves many big decisions. As a buyer, it is important to understand the entire process and ask questions along the way. Here are the basic steps to expect on the road to your new home.

Whether you’re a first-time home buyer, single home buyer or have purchased properties in the past, contact our team for more helpful information.

Deciding to Buy:

  • Determine how much you can afford to spend on a home.
  • Calculate the funds you may have available for a down payment.
  • Identify the future use of your home:
    • Do you plan on having children or growing your family?
    • Will you soon have an empty nest?
    • Might you need to care for aging parents?
  • Create a list of home features you need or can’t live without and a list of features that are simply “nice to have” or unnecessary.
  • Evaluate your time and skill level to do repair work and touchups on an older home versus a newly constructed one. 
  • Contact a loan officer to get a pre-approval for a mortgage. It will help you identify your available loan size and provide you with your affordable target range. For pre- approval, you will need to know:
    • Cash available for a down payment
    • Cash available for closing costs
    • Current income
    • Job status
    • Estimated assets
    • Estimated debts

Shopping for a Home:

  • Work with one of our trained and professional agents:
    • An agent can help you find listings that meet your specifications, schedule showings and provide you with insight on the home value and its location. 
    • Our agents will do the legwork for you and guide you to your dream home (not an overpriced money pit). 
  • Schedule showings with your agent. 
  • Ask for a copy of the sellers disclosure, a document on which the seller provides information about the age and condition of the house.
  • Verify the school district, taxes, parking, flood history, etc.
  • View an aerial map of the area for rail lines, major roadways, hospitals, streams, etc.
  • Drive or walk through the development to assure the neighborhood suits your needs and family’s desires. 
  • Take your time and be patient. Buying a home is a big decision, don’t rush into it!

Making an Offer:

  • Identify the maximum amount you can afford to prevent over spending. 
  • Consult with your agent to place a bid on the home. Our agents can help you determine a fair price as well as negotiate with the seller and seller’s agent.
  • Prepare your offer to ensure it is within your price range and includes:
    • The pre-approval letter to strengthen the bid. 
    • Any contingencies or conditions to your offer.
  • Wait for the seller to accept, reject or counter, which can take hours or days.
    • In the event of a counteroffer, you can accept or “counter the counter.”

Offer accepted, now what?

  • Our agents act like your quarterback, we will facilitate and watch over all of the moving parts during the critical stages of the next 30 to 60 days.  
  • Your agent will set up any necessary home, radon, sewer, water and pest inspections.
  • We will send the final agreement of sale to a lender and title company (attorney) who will conduct the closing and provides title insurance.
  • Consult a lender or mortgage broker to obtain a loan.      
  •  Do not make any large or new purchases on credit at this time which could jeopardize your ability to receive a loan.
  • You will apply for a Homeowners Insurance policy which provides fire and storm damage protection.
  • We will send the final agreement of sale to a lender and title company (attorney) who will conduct the closing and provides title insurance.
  • Our agents calculate all the closing costs so you have no surprises at settlement.
  • Consult an accountant for tax purposes if your closing date is near the end of the year.
  • We will keep in touch with your lender and title company to ensure all the necessary paperwork has been processed.
  • We will schedule a walk through on the day of settlement to confirm the seller has completed repairs and other contingencies in the agreement.

Heading to Closing Day:

  • Bring funds for your down payment (the title company will send us the final dollar amount) and settlement costs, usually in the form of a cashier’s check. 
  • Bring along a valid photo ID (drivers license)
  • Discuss all paperwork with your agent before providing your signature. 
  • The home is officially yours when the seller signs the house over to you.
  • The title company provides you with title insurance and will file the new deed in the local court house.
  • Enjoy your new Home!!!!