Many of our residents and clients looking to buy a home have asked us to go over the details of how making an offer works. Though there are several steps, it's actually a pretty straight forward process if you're familiar. We would like to clarify a few of the steps and highlights in the process. There are several things we do as your representative within this process but below we list the crucial steps in the order you should be aware.

1.Line up your financing.

A pre-approval letter is paramount to finding and securing the right property for you. This should be your very first step so that when you find the right home, we can use that to help you secure it.

2. Identify the home.

It's never too early to begin looking. Starting out early allows you to be familiar with the neighborhoods, condition of the homes and price-point of what you are looking for. Our website has an excellent search feature which allows you to define your own criteria, area and amenities as well as how often you are sent updates. Please feel free to set up a search HERE.

3. Make an offer.

Once you view potential houses, find the right fit and have your financing lined up, it's time to take the plunge. The expiration of the offer is negotiable, but we recommend having it expire within 24-48 hours to avoid the seller notifying other interested parties. The seller can reject the offer, accept it as is, or propose different terms or conditions to your original offer.

4. Negotiate the terms of the agreement.

 Either party can withdraw from negotiations until both parties have signed a contract with the agreed upon terms and conditions. Once this is signed, that establishes the day of "Mutual Acceptance". Several timelines begin on that day.

5. Earnest money is deposited.

The earnest money is the amount of money which the buyer commits to put down as a sign of 'good faith' to the seller and risks if they do NOT follow through with their agreement to purchase. Earnest money amounts and timelines are negotiable but are typically 1-3% of the purchase price and due within 3 business days of mutual acceptance.

6. Inspections are scheduled and conducted.

The inspector works for the buyer specifically to give them a 3rd party opinion of the overall condition of the home. Inspections include(but are not limited to) Whole house inspections, Radon Test, Sewer Scope, Lead Based paint testing and and Oil tank locate. Though the timeline is also negotiable, the typical timeline in our market to complete the inspections AND any negotiations specific to condition or repairs is 10 business days from mutual acceptance. This sometimes requires getting bids for work needing to be completed, so it is important to schedule these right away.

7. Review Property Disclosures.

The buyer has 5 business days from delivery of the property disclosures to review the contents and either accept them or revoke the offer based on the contents.There are few exceptions, but a majority of homeowners are required to fill out and deliver property disclosures to the buyer. If the seller and/or their agent fails to deliver the property disclosures and are not exempt, the buyer has the right to terminate the transaction and retain their earnest money.

8. Order Appraisal.

The appraiser works for the bank to verify that the value of the home specific to your down payment is in line with the offer (i.e. 97%,80%, etc.). This can take anywhere from one week to three weeks, so we want to order the appraisal just after we have completed the inspections and any negotiations on repairs. This timeline allows us to complete the appraisal in time to meet the closing deadline with the knowledge that any repairs we feel needed to be completed have been addressed.

9. Lender Processing and Underwriting.

The lender completes a final review of the entire file including all financial data, contract and property paperwork and the appraisal with the underwriter. They then prepare loan documents and disclosures for the buyer to sign and send the buyer a breakdown of charges before signing the loan documents.

10. Wire money for down payment and sign loan documents.

This happens a few days prior to close.

11. Closing and Possession.

Now you're a homeowner!! You would typically get the keys around 5pm on the day you close unless you have made another agreement with the seller. We'll arrange to get you keys and meet you at the house or somewhere more convenient.

There is quite a bit more to it than these 11 steps, but these are the most pertinent details that require either action or understanding of the process from you as a buyer. I hope you have found this useful as you begin your search. please don't hesitate to reach out to us directly at, 503-208-2991 or us our website to find your next home.