10 SIMPLE Steps to Buying a House

October 17th, 2023

Buying | Realtors®
10 SIMPLE Steps to Buying a House

Steps to Buying a Home

Here is what you need to know when buying a home in 10 simple steps!  

Are you or someone you know wondering what the steps are to buying a home?

A lot of the first-time home buyers we work with typically don't have a clue where to begin. So, to help the disconnect between what they don't know and what they'll need to know, we have created this 10-step guide to buying a house.

This is valuable information for anyone looking to buy a house - Please feel free to share. 

Without further ado, here are 10 Steps to buying the home of your dreams. 

1. Learn The Process

When you decide to buy a house, there is a chance you will want to dive right in and start looking at homes for sale in person. This is common among buyers and typically means you're allowing your emotions to drive your decision-making. This is a common mistake buyers make. Take a step back and understand that preparation is how you win in real estate, and that begins with an education.

Knowing what to expect after you make an offer is going to help your confidence in making an offer. If you don't know what happens after you make an offer, there's a good chance you're not ready to make one.

Knowledge is power, and obtaining as much information as possible when making a decision will give you the highest percentage chance for success. Educating yourself throughout the entire process and beyond will go a long way. You can read some great real estate resources online for buyers on our website or any of the top Real Estate Blogs.

family with children in new home sitting on the stairs

2. Talk to Lenders

You want to understand your financial limitations BEFORE you start searching homes for sale online. If you don't know what your limitations are, you may end up wasting your own time looking at homes that are outside of your price range.

Or worse, you may end up buying at the maximum of what you can afford and not enjoying the lifestyle you were used to before purchasing the home. This is a common mistake among first-time home buyers.

A fifteen-minute conversation with a mortgage lender will go a long way in your home search, especially if you address this conversation upfront. 

We recommend buyers be pre-approved for several reasons. Many things can happen that the lender cannot see when you're pre-qualified, and this can cause problems for you when it comes time to receive funding.

Most of us can't buy a home with cash, nor would we want to lose that type of leverage with interest rates so low unless it was the only way to buy the house. Knowing the difference between pre-approved and pre-qualified is essential.

3. Find a Real Estate Agent

Searching for a Real Estate Agent is one of the first steps to buying a house. They will provide the local market reports and update you on new listings that match your criteria. Aside from some of a Realtor's main responsibilities, they will also be an educator, explaining to you the process of buying a home. 

When choosing a Real Estate Agent, trust is the most important thing to look for. You have to trust that your Realtor has your goals in mind and not their own. There are apparent differences between Realtors who sell homes and Realtors who help find lavish lifestyles. Knowing what motivates your Real Estate Agent should clearly indicate their intent and actions.

The type of Realtor you don't want to work with are the ones who are afraid to tell you something you don't want to hear. Transparency is the most redeeming quality of a salesperson. I want to work with the type of salesperson who isn't afraid to tell me the bad news.

real estate agent talking to clients

4. Search Homes for Sale Online

After you understand your finances, you should begin searching homes for sale online and build a frame of reference. You'll want to ensure your search is geo-specific to the locations you're interested in. If you pick five different towns that you could potentially move to, there's a good chance you haven't done enough homework.

Before you jump into homes, pick a city or neighborhood to focus on to help narrow your search, alongside looking at homes online is understanding the neighborhoods in person.

Drive the neighborhood to understand what you like and don't like about each subdivision before you ask to see properties. Location is one of the most critical aspects of buying a house and is one thing you should never settle on.

If you're going to buy a house, do not allow yourself to be distracted by a poor paint job or landscaping; these items can be fixed. Location is one thing buyers should never sacrifice.

Once you've narrowed your search to select areas, you should start setting up appointments to see homes in person with your Real Estate Agent.

family and friends searching for homes online

5. Preview Homes in Person

Previewing homes in person is a fun step in buying real estate. At this point, you should clearly understand what you can afford, the Real Estate Agent you want to work with, and the specific locations chosen.

If you don't have one of these three things, you aren't ready to preview homes in person, even though you may think you are. 

couple looking at and previewing home in person

6. Write an Offer

What has always surprised me is how quickly some people make offers and how slow others are. There is no right or wrong way to write an offer on the house, but once you find one you love, don't hesitate. 

There are plenty of ways to back out of the deal with little to no harm done to the buyers if any at all. You can offer zero to little money to hold the house during due diligence. You can back out for any reason during this timeframe, and you will lose the money you put down for due diligence.

7. Schedule Date and Times

Schedule your dates and times. This includes closing, home inspection, due diligence deadline, and many other dates that will be key stepping stones in home buying. There is a good chance your bank or lending institution will determine many of the dates involved as they will have the home appraised and need a specific timeframe to close.

One date you will want to pay special attention to is the due diligence deadline. You'll want to negotiate all repairs before the end of this period.

Then, it's time to schedule a final walk-through for the property you're buying.

8. Final Walk Through

It's essential to do a final walk-through of the home to ensure that nothing went unresolved or could lead to potential problems after closing.

There may have been items the seller agreed to fix that remain unresolved. You'll want to be sure these are fixed BEFORE you hand them a check, or you will lose a lot of the leverage you had.

Most sellers will welcome any last-minute fixes to help close the deal, so don't wait until after closing.

9. Close On the Home 

Closing on a home will require time for the buyers, so be prepared to spend a few hours at closing (this is conservative) if anything goes wrong with the lending institution or any problems arise.

Most closings will not take that long for buyers, though we have seen some take several hours.

Once you have closed the deal and signed all necessary paperwork, your attorney will congratulate you and hand you the keys.

10. Receive the Keys

Receive the keys and move into your new home. This step is sure to put a smile on your face.

Chances are the home-buying process has sent you on a wild ride of emotions, and it was all for this moment. Now, you can relax, let the attorney record the deed, and move into your new house. 

house key of new home when moving in


What are the steps before buying a house? 

Before buying a house, some steps include checking your credit score, getting approved for a mortgage, finding a real estate agent, and closing on a home. 

What credit score do you need to have to buy a house? 

Depending on the mortgage that you plan to borrow, a conventional mortgage requires a credit score of at least 620

What are the three most important things when buying a house? 

When buying a home, three of the most important things to consider are location, the neighborhood, and home size. 

Final Thoughts on Steps to Buying a House

Often times people will start looking at homes for sale online before they are ready to buy, sometimes over two years in advance. This is natural. There is a curiosity among renters about what they may be able to afford vs. continually paying a landlord each month. Homeownership has been one of the best investments a person can make.

Millennials have been deemed the generation 'rent,' and we have seen quite the contrary at Raleigh Realty. In fact, many people we work with buy real estate at a young age. One of the hot spots for the buyers we work with seems to be Downtown Raleigh, as it attracts all types of people.

If you start the home-buying process with a solid education, an understanding of your finances, and a top local Realtor, you can have a lot of success.

Find your new home Search real estate and homes for sale
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Ryan Fitzgerald

Ryan Fitzgerald

Hi there! Nice to 'meet' you and thanks for visiting our Raleigh Real Estate Blog! My name is Ryan Fitzgerald, and I'm a REALTOR® in Raleigh-Durham, NC, the owner of Raleigh Realty. I work alongside some of the best Realtors in Raleigh. You can find more of my real estate content on Forbes, Wall Street Journal, U.S. News and more. Realtor Magazine named me a top 30 under 30 Realtor in the country (it was a long time ago haha). Any way, that's enough about me. I'd love to learn more about you if you'd like to connect with me on Facebook and Instagram or connect with our team at Raleigh Realty. Looking forward to connecting!

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