So, you want to buy a house—now what? The first time buying a home is an emotional, exciting, and also exhausting experience. You may also be wondering along the way—what am I missing? This is a common question. Here’s how the buying process works from start to finish.

Do some Preliminary Searching

More and more home buyers are shifting the way they search for new homes. While some

prefer to look at the homes for sale in publications on news stands, others are searching online and or browsing apps and websites on their mobile phones while they're on-the-go. 

Take Care of Your Budget

Check into what homes are selling for in the areas you’re interested in to give you an idea of what you’re looking for. This will help later on when communicating your wish list with your real estate agent.

Get Pre-Approved

Getting pre-approved is a necessary first step as it lets you know how much you’ll be able to afford as well as the down payment for which to budget. Not only this, it prepares you for the monthly mortgage payment and what type of loan you are going to use to finance your new property. There are so many different loans to apply for as a homebuyer; it all depends on what you’re looking for.

Find an Agent

A good real estate agent will help you navigate the process every step of the way. Your friends and family will be great sources—see if any of your trusted contacts have someone they recommend.

Look at Homes

Be patient at this stage. Your real estate agent may show you a variety of homes to get your reaction on features they think you’ll like. Give your agent detailed feedback so they can show you homes that are perfectly suited to you. Sometimes, this process can take months or years—So be patient. Also, make sure you let friends and family know you’re looking for a new home--you may even find out about an amazing home before it hits the market.

Make An Offer

Once you’ve found your dream home, you may want to move quickly. Your agent will guide you on a reasonable first offer to start negotiations based on market conditions. Also, make sure you consider closing costs which could account for 2-5% of the home price.


Prepare to go back and forth with the seller a few times on price and selling conditions. Your real estate agent will be your advocate here and try to get you, their client as much as possible for your money while being fair and respectful to the seller and their real estate agent.

An Accepted Offer

Pop the champagne! If you reach an agreement, you’ll make a deposit to an escrow account to show good faith. Escrow is usually 30 days where the seller takes the house off the market with the contractual expectation that you’ll purchase the house - provided you don’t find any serious problems during the inspection.


When your negotiations with the seller are successful, and the inspection came back clean, you should be ready to close. At your closing, you’ll spend a little over an hour signing lots of paperwork and then will be handed the keys.