a)    Determine how much you can afford

It is crucial for a buyer to start the loan process BEFORE looking for properties. One of the first questions a real estate agent will ask you is: Have you been preapproved for a loan? In my experience, starting with a lender makes a lot of sense and it will save you time, money, and stress. You need an expert that you trust on your side to help you navigate the mortgage process. Here is what I recommend:

  1. Meet with a mortgage professional; preferably face-to-face
  2. Learn about your mortgage options
  3. Provide your financial information to your lender
  4. Think about how much down payment you will have
  5. Consider the closing costs
  6. Obtain a Preapproval letter
  7. Get multiple GFEs from at least 3 lenders and compare
  8. Choose the best type of loan for you

b)    Consult with a real estate agent

We should meet for a preliminary consultation to discuss your overall objectives, discuss the process, and talk about how I work.  It is important to learn about the Agency laws and know who is representing your interests and learn how the agents get paid. I meet with agents of all kinds constantly and trust me we are not all the same. It is vital that you connect with your agent and enjoy doing business with her/him.

  1. Make sure you hire a buyer’s agent that represents your interests and not the sellers
  2. Describe your requirements, your wants and need, set specific parameters
  3. Set your price range, property type, location and favorite neighborhood, decide on your time frame
  4. Review and understand the paperwork process – contract, disclosures, contingencies
  5. Understand the negotiation process

c)     View properties

According to National Association of Realtors 90% of buyers start their search online; chances are you will too. Start out with a clear idea of what you want and search, search, search.  To achieve a successful purchase, you must have a base knowledge of the marketplace. You should keep in mind that nothing in life is perfect and there is always a trade-off, regardless of   your budget. I recommend that you download my free MRIS app that puts the MLS in the palm of your hands. It is accurate and user friendly.  I will show you homes based on the criteria that we establish. The more precise and direct you are with me, the better the result will be.

  1. Get market savvy and understand the market
  2. Download my MRIS Mobile App or sign up for email listings
  3. Attend Sunday Open Houses
  4. Have your agent preview homes for you
  5. Don’t get pressured; take your time and view as many homes as possible
  6. Keep a folder of all viewed properties with a list of pros and cons
  7. Visualize your life in the new home

d)    Select a home and negotiate the best price and terms

Congratulations! You have found your ideal home and you are ready to write an offer and negotiate. Negotiation is a complex matter and each transaction is unique. In my opinion, this is where you can see tremendous value in a   good agent. Your realtor should act like a sponge and gather information from everyone and anyone they can, the listing agent, neighbors, tax  records, MLS, management company if applicable. Having an agent on your side who is a professional and an expert in the field, organized, responsive, and a good listener will help you get the best deal possible. Here is what you need to do to pursue the property you identified:

  1. Review disclosure package provided by the seller
  2. Establish offer strategy
  3. View comparative market analysis reports
  4. Decide on offer price and terms
  5. Decide on earnest money deposit
  6. Review various websites to see if there are changes planned for the neighborhood
  7. Submit your offer and await for response
  8. Ratify the contract and submit a copy along with EMD to the Title Company
  9. Ensure you have enough money to cover the EMD

Prepare for closing

In this phase of the process, it is extremely important to make sure each contingency gets satisfied within specified amount of time.  Together we will do the following:

  1. Schedule and perform home inspection, termite, radon, etc.
  2. Obtain and go over the inspection reports
  3. Request repairs/credit
  4. Review HOA/Condo docs
  5. Submit loan application
  6. Set up a settlement date
  7. Perform property appraisal
  8. Follow up with the loan officer throughout the process
  9. Receive commitment letter
  10. Arrange for home insurance
  11. Set up a time for Walk-through
  12. Prepare for moving
  13. Transfer utilities
  14. Review HUD-1

e)    Close and move in

All the difficult decision-making is behind you by now. Cheers to a smooth and quick settlement! Don’t forget to bring the following items with you:

  1. Bring a certified check or wire transfer deposit to title co
  2. Bring photo ID
  3. Get the keys and move into your new home


Happy Buying!