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6 Phases Of The Home Buying Process

6 Phases of The Home Buying Process

How exciting! Whether your looking to buy your first home, or thinking about an investment property, the home buying process can easily contain a rollercoaster of emotions. Being prepared and educated before you embark on your home buying journey can be very beneficial and calming. While each situation can vary from buyer to buyer, if you know what to expect and plan ahead, you can better prepare yourself for each phase of the process and how long each step may take.

Phase 1: Paperwork & Prep Work

Estimated Timeframe: 1–3 days

Begin your home buying process by ensuring that you have all the correct paperwork you need to get the ball rolling.

  1. Previous 2 years’ W-2 Forms
  2. Previous 2 years’ Tax Returns
  3. Previous 2 Pay stubs
  4. Home address for past 2 years
  5. Social Security Card
  6. Paper trail of all major purchases from previous year
  7. Set Your Budget
  8. Checkout desirable communities/towns
  9. Make a list of wants and needs that you’d like to find in a home 

Phase 2: I’m Ready To Buy A Home - Building Your Team

Finding the Perfect Realtor

Estimated Timeframe: 1 day – till (depends on your hiring process)
Meet Our Team > 

Find a Lender & Obtain Pre-Approval Letter

Estimated Timeframe: 1 day

It’s a great idea to find a local lender to get a pre-approval letter before you begin your house hunt. The pre-approval letter is a rough idea of how much home you’ll be eligible for purchasing. This process should take less than an hour compared to the full approval, which can take up to a month. 

If you’re looking for a lender, below are a list of a few of our local mortgage lenders:

BB&T: 252-240-8402

PNC: 252-240-6098

Eastern Mortgage: 252-354-4700

First Citizens Bank (Candace Peterson): 252-808-4013

Bank of America: 252-808-0080

Movement Mortgage (Liz Nowell): 252-241-2960

Sound Bank: 252-727-5558 or Bill Weinhold: 252-247-1942

First South Bank: 252-648-7608 

Phase 3: The Search

Estimated Timeframe: 1 month (but can heavily depend on what you’re looking for)

This is when you’ll take the list you’ve created from Phase 1 and discuss your wants and needs with your Realtor®. Depending on what you’re looking for and the current market, you may have many options. Finding the “right one” early on does happen, but be prepared to take a look at numerous available properties. However, if there are fewer properties in the market, it may take a bit longer to find the perfect home. If this is the case, be sure to attend Open Houses in your area. Your Realtor® should be able to provide a list of all Open Houses.

Work with your Realtor® to setup showings for homes that you’re interested in and be sure to keep notes of the likes and dislikes of each home toured.

Phase 4: Offers & Negotiations

Write The Offer

Estimated Timeframe: 1 day

When you know that “this is the one!” and you want to make an offer, you and your Realtor® will sit down and review all area comparable sales, or “comps”, to ensure that you are making a competitive offer. The offer will then be submitted to the listing agent who in will in present it to the sellers.

Negotiations & The Seller’s Acceptance

Estimated Timeframe: 3 days to 1 week

Once the initial offer has been presented, it’s typical to have counteroffers during the negotiation process. Both parties typically come to terms within a few days. The negotiation process can be a nail-bitter, but hang in there, you’re almost there!

Under Contract
Once the buyer and seller have come to the price & terms, you’re officially under contract! Congratulations!

*Note: Most real estate purchase contracts include earnest money1 and an increasing number of them include a due diligence fee2.

1. Earnest money: Money held in escrow until closing and applied to the purchase price. It is also refunded to the buyer if the buyer decides to terminate the contract prior to the due diligence date negotiated as a part of the contract. 

2. Due Diligence Fee: A due diligence fee is paid directly to the seller also applied the purchase price. It is refundable to the buyer only in certain instances when a seller breaches the contract. Those instances are set forth in the contract itself.

Phase 5: Due Diligence Period

Estimated Timeframe: 4–6 weeks

Once everyone has come to terms, you’re well on your way to owning your new home. It’s important to note that this is one of the most crucial and time sensitive phases of the home buying process. You’re now in the timeframe known as the “Due Diligence Period”. This is the time where you’ll handle all your inspections and appraisals and make any final requests or decisions.

Below are a list of important steps to ensure are completed during this time period:

  1. Mortgage Loan Application/Pre-Approval 
  2. Hire A Home Inspector 
  3. Home Inspection Repair Request
  4. Home Appraisal
  5. Title Search & Survey Request
  6. Apply For Home Owners Insurance
  7. Title Search & Survey Request
  8. Apply For Home Owners Insurance

Find our list of the areas service providers here > 

Phase 6: Pre-Closing & Closing

Say Hello To Your New Home!
Estimated Timeframe: 1 hr

A few days before closing, you’ll have one final opportunity to walk-through the home to make sure this is the exact condition you agreed to buy, that agreed upon repairs have been made and that nothing has happened to the home since you last looked at it. 

Be sure to bring to following items to closing:

  • Government issued ID
  • Payment for any closing costs

That’s it! Now grab your keys and start decorating your new home!

Buying a home is very rewarding, and, as we all know, one of the biggest financial decisions we can make it our lifetimes. Like any major decision, there are lots of moving pieces and items to understand. But don’t worry, thats what we here at Realty World First-Coast Realty are for. Our ultimate goal is to provide you with the tools, knowledge and experience to guide you smoothly through the home buying process. Give us a call today at 252-247-0077 or stop by our office at 407 Atlantic Beach Causeway and let us help you find your way to the perfect home.

Click here to download our printable Home Buying Checklist >

Home Buyers Timeline - Infographic