Purchasing a home is one of the biggest investments and decisions you will make. Whether it’s your first home or your tenth, it’s a complicated decision. My job is to help you navigate this process and make it as seamless and worry-free as possible. Here’s a basic checklist of how I help buyers with the home buying process:

Determining your needs: I begin by understanding your needs, as well as your dreams for your future home. We’ll talk about things like location, schools, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and the style of home. The more I know about what you’re looking for, the better job I can do in selecting possible candidates.

Loan preapproval: We also need a dose of reality. Before I start seriously looking at homes with you, I need to know what you can afford. If you don’t already have a lender, I will recommend 3 lenders for you to speak with. They can quickly assess your financial situation and tell you how much you can borrow for a home.

Online searching: Chances are you’ve already been looking online for a house. You’ve probably checked out websites like Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com. You may also have gone to some open houses or driven through neighborhoods you’re interested in. Now is the time to do more a more focused search. I will take your specific criteria and search the MLS to find homes currently for sale. I will also create a personalized “listing cart” for you to browse. It’s similar to an online shopping cart that displays detailed information about homes that match your criteria. For each listing you can view pictures, see room dimensions, locate the property on a map, as well as add your own notes. You can also delete those that don’t interest you. Each day if a home is listed that meets your criteria, it will be added to your cart and you’ll receive an email notification.

Choosing homes to view: After you’ve done your online searching, I’ll recommend you choose 4-6 to go see. I will set up the listing appointments for you and map out a route. Usually the first viewings of 4-6 homes takes 2 to 2 ½ hours. I find that it becomes difficult to absorb more than that in one outing. At each home we’ll spend 15-20 minutes touring the house. I’ll provide you with a checklist to help you make notes of things you like and don’t like. Once we’re finished, your job is to decide which homes you’d like to take a second look at, and which you’d like to eliminate.

Continue viewing homes: Some clients are very decisive and choose a home quickly. Others take several months of searching. I go at your pace. Once you have your choices narrowed down it’s time for a harder look.

Second viewings: At this point we’re ready to take a hard look at your finalists. I’ll schedule a longer showing and spend some time looking at all the features and systems of the house. I will inquire about the age of the furnace, air conditioner, water heater and roof.

Comparative Market Analysis: Once you decide on a house you want to make an offer on, I will do a comparative market analysis and discuss a starting price for the offer. I look at recently sold comparable properties to provide you with a market value of the home you’re interested in buying.

Contracts and negotiations: I will ensure that all paperwork is properly filled out, and help you navigate the negotiation process of offers and counteroffers with the seller. Ultimately, I am committed to helping you negotiate the best price possible.

Inspections: Once you have a contract on a house, it’s time to get it inspected. Generally, I recommend a whole house inspection, radon inspection and wood infestation inspection. Sometimes there are other inspections needed such as septic system, lead paint, or mold. I will recommend licensed inspectors for you to choose from and will be present when the inspections are taking place.

Inspection responses: After the inspections are completed you will receive inspection reports. I will help you decipher the reports and complete an inspection response that outlines any repairs you would like completed before closing. It really becomes a second set of negotiations between you and the seller. Once the repairs are agreed upon, the seller has the burden to get the repairs done before closing. Another option for the seller is to provide a credit at closing of an agreed upon amount in lieu of making the repairs.

Mortgage Approval: Between contract acceptance and closing you will work closely with your lender to secure your mortgage for your new home.

Final walk through and closing: The day of closing has arrived! We will do a final walkthrough of the home and I will accompany you to the closing. Congratulations on your new home!