BUYER's Guide

Everything you need to know about the process about buying a new home.


Buying a home is one of the most exciting milestones of your life. To prepare yourself for this moment, you need to know what to expect during the process. This step-by-step first time buyer’s guide created by your agent will help reduce the stress of buying a home and help you enjoy the journey as much as possible.

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Do you already know where you want to buy? If you want a condo, townhome, or single-family home? Which features do you like and dislike? What’s available on the market now? If you answered no to any of these questions, now is the time to start researching. In addition to looking for homes that interest you, also take note of any changes in asking prices. This could give you valuable insight into housing trends in specific neighborhoods and help you when the time comes to make an offer.

STEP 2: decide on your budget

Notice I said to decide on your budget—not determine how much the mortgage company will give you. In many cases, a mortgage company will pre-approve you for more than you’re comfortable spending, which is why you need to determine the monthly payment you feel comfortable with before talking to a lender. This likely includes doing a full household budget and taking into consideration what changes other than a mortgage payment will occur once you move into your new home. If you’ve lived in an apartment or with roommates, you may overlook new expenses like garbage, water, or HOA fees that could easily blow your budget.

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Just because you think you can afford a certain payment every month doesn’t mean the mortgage company will agree. Just as they may approve you for too large of an amount, they may also approve you for a lesser amount or deny you a mortgage altogether. Lack of time at a job, insufficient credit, past bankruptcies, or other financial issues can cause major problems when trying to secure a mortgage. Before you get your heart set on a home, talk to a mortgage professional to find out what amount you can qualify for. This will also be an advantage when you make an offer on a home, as some sellers won’t entertain offers from those who aren’t already prequalified for a loan.

STEP 4: choose a real estate agent

Can you shop for, look at, and ultimately make an offer on a home without a real estate agent? Technically yes, but why would you when it costs you nothing for an agent like me to take much of the stress off your shoulders? Not only will I help identify properties you might be interested in, arrange showings, and ultimately handle the offer process, but I also have a knowledge of the market that you don’t possess. I may be able to steer you away from certain homes or neighborhoods, suggest hidden gems, or give you pointers that will help you find your dream home for the right price.

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This should be the most enjoyable step of the entire process (other than moving in!). I will arrange showings of homes you’re interested in that are within your price range. Take notes about what you like and don’t like, and make sure to pay attention to details. Turn light switches on and off, open and close doors, and run the faucets in various rooms. Don’t limit your inspection to the home itself. Make sure to take time to explore the neighborhood and keep an eye on traffic at certain times of the day, the parking situation, and how close it is to necessities like schools and grocery stores.


Once you have selected the perfect home, work with your agent to craft a fair offer based on the value of comparable homes on the market. Depending on what the home is listed at and whether the current environment is a buyer’s or seller’s market, your offer may be below, at, or even above the asking price. I will be able to help you negotiate if you receive a counteroffer and reach an agreement. At this point, the house will go into escrow.

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In most cases, your offer will be contingent on having the home inspected to ensure there is no major structural damage or large repairs needed. I can help you arrange this, and you can schedule it within days of making an offer. If there are no major issues, the process goes to step eight. If there is, you can renegotiate your offer based on what needs to be fixed, or you can withdraw it.


Now is the time to go back to the mortgage lender who pre-approved or pre-qualified you and choose your mortgage. You will be presented with various options based on your unique financial situation, including fixed-rate, variable-rate, 15-year, 30-year, or special programs such as VA loans or FHA loans. Work with your mortgage lender to select the option you feel the most comfortable with.



Your lender will have your new home appraised so they have their independent value of it. The appraisal is to ensure that all parties involved are paying a fair price for the house.


No one looks forward to all the paperwork involved in buying a home, but it’s a necessary part of the process. Fortunately, everything will be arranged by your lender and title company and, when you’re finished, you’ll know you are the legal owner of your new home.



After signing the final paperwork to complete the purchase, you are now the owner of a new house. It may take a few days for your loan to be funded once the paperwork has been returned to the lender, but once that check is delivered to the seller, you’ll be all set to move into the home of your dreams.

Craig F.

"Clara sold our home of 30 years, and also found our new, perfect forever home. Clara is an amazing real estate agent and did an incredible job for us. She has a vast knowledge of the real estate business, great patience, and laid out the entire process for us so there were no surprises. Her industry contacts with inspectors, repair contractors and staging companies enabled us to quickly prepare our home to sell. She also referred us to a mortgage broker who was incredible. She made herself available to us anytime we needed her, day, night, and on weekends. Clara was extremely professional and kept our best interests at the forefront. Her advice on preparing our house to sell was spot on and it sold in 3 days. We received 11 offers that were at, or above the asking price thanks to Clara. Our home set a new level for comps in the area. Regarding the purchase of our new home, Clara hit it out of the park. We had a very specific shopping list about the location, # of bedrooms, single-story, shop space, acreage, etc. She was so efficient and in tune with our needs in recommending homes to view. Most every home we toured was a close fit and for those that weren't, Clara did not try to sell us on them and we quickly moved on. In fact, when she discovered our dream home she knew it was the perfect fit for us as soon as she saw the listing. Her interpersonal and negotiating skills are awesome, as she closed the deal for us even though our offer was not the highest. It was an absolute pleasure working with Clara, we could not be happier."


"As first-time home buyers, my wife and I were feeling intimidated by the daunting process of not only searching for homes but then once we found the house we wanted, the phone-book-sized packet of paperwork that came next. Clara never hesitated when we had questions or wanted a second, third or seventh look at a house. She helped us take a strategic approach to our search, identifying the areas we were interested in and working within those or when the selection was light, staying close. When we knew we were closing in on the house we wanted, Clara made sure we knew everything to expect and understood what we would be signing on for. She was directly responsible for our ability to relax and yes, even enjoy the process of buying our first house. And throughout, we could feel how much she was rooting for us to get the house we wanted. I can only hope for anyone that they get to have as great an experience as we did buy their home. Contacting Clara would be a great place to start."

David G.

"Clara helped us sell our old home and then buy our new one. Her knowledge, expertise, and professionalism far surpassed our expectations and made the entire selling and then buying process A lot less stressful and worrisome than it would otherwise have been. When we had questions she was prompt and explained things in a way we could understand and left the technical real estate jargon at the door. Her connections in the industry and the resources she brought with her helped with our staging, open house, and inspection process, as well as getting other agent’s clients in to look. She even rolled up her sleeves and helped us clean when it came time for the open house (who does that?!) If we ever need an agent for another real estate venture, Clara is the person we will call. I recommend her wholeheartedly and you will not be sorry if you choose her to help sell or buy your home or property."

Valerie L.

"Clara was phenomenal to work with! She helped my husband and me find a home in our dream neighborhood. We bought our home in a very competitive market during a pandemic. That did not stop Clara from going above and beyond to make the process as smooth as possible. She is very knowledgeable, experienced, and professional. Clara not only worked diligently to find us a home; she also paid close attention to details on what we desired in-home and location. Clara was there every step of the way, she helped to alleviate our stress and keep us encouraged. She didn't skip a beat when it came to writing a solid offer that sealed the deal. Buying a home should be a positive experience and Clara did everything in her power to bring our fruition. We love our cottage by the park and pinch ourselves that we get to call this sweet place home. Clara is an amazing agent and a joy to work with!"


Whether you're a first-time home buyer in search of your dream home, a seller looking to downsize or an investor looking for a great opportunity, working with a dedicated real estate professionals can make all the difference. If you're looking for a positive, helpful partner who is ready to provide you with exceptional service, let's talk today!