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Buyers Guide

Your Guide to Home Ownership

Thinking about purchasing residential real estate? Then you probably have a good idea of what you want and where you want it. Whether you are looking to purchase your first home or are ready to take that next step toward owning your dream home, there are many emotions and issues that surround that next purchase.

To help you navigate the world of legal and regulatory issues, we have created a Buyers Guide with helpful information and resources. While it’s difficult to address every issue, the information in our Buyers Guide provides a good start to understanding the major considerations.

Buyers Guide


Click to view and download our complete Buyers Guide. (PDF)

Financing Qualification and Approval

The best starting point is to contact a local lender. They will review an array of information that will help you make one of the biggest financial decisions in your life.

Comparing Your Home Search Options

Recent statistics show that 92% of all homebuyers begin their search online. This is not a shocking statistic considering the ability to view pictures, virtual tours, and detailed property descriptions without having to spend hours driving around. Given all the options, it may be helpful to review how homes on the market are organized – by MLS, FSBO, Foreclosure, Short Sales, and Auctions.

Buyer Agent Representation

Having a real estate professional represent your interests through the home purchase process can help put your mind at ease. The knowledge of a good buyer’s agent is invaluable in today’s market because the brokerage commissions associated to the sale are typically paid exclusively by the seller of the property.

Purchase Offer and Negotiations

Whether an offer is accepted or even reviewed may depend heavily on the manner and quality of the offer submitted. Of equal importance is getting the property at the best price. Thus begins the negotiation process.

Performing Home Inspections

Home inspections are important. Depending on the language in the contract, the results of the inspection may determine whether or not a buyer has to proceed with the purchase. The contract should protect your interest in the condition of the property from mechanical, termite, or environmental defects.

Settlement and Closing

Your lender will provide a Good Faith Estimate (GFE) when you apply for your loan. Before settlement, you will receive a HUD-1 Settlement Statement, summarizing the fees that comprise your closing costs. Certain fees are assigned to the buyer and the seller; some of the closing costs are negotiable.

Moving In

Prior to settlement, there are a number of steps new owners should take to make the "move-in" process a little smoother and make sure the property is ready to be lived in.

If you encounter terms you don’t understand during your search, check out our Glossary or contact us for more information.