The Home Buying Process: A Quick Overview

    The home buying process is complicated, and can be a little overwhelming. Especially, if you’ve never done it. Don’t panic. We’ll be there with you, every step of the way, to answer your questions, offer our experienced professional guidance, and help make sure you end up with a new home that best fits your needs. We’re available 24/7 (well, almost) to help. The following is just a quick overview of the process.

    First, Let’s Talk

    Before we can begin the exciting process of home shopping, I need to know get to know you, and get a clear idea of where you are coming from, and what your goals are. This covers everything from your reasons for buying, your preferred home size, location and style, and the buying process, itself. And, of course, the price range you are looking for. The buying process can be complex and time consuming, so the more information we share up front, the smoother it will be.

    You Get Pre-Approved

    Before we can get serious about house hunting, it is absolutely crucial to find out how much you can actually spend. Without a pre-approval from your lender, you’re likely to waste time looking at homes that aren’t in your price range. And in today’s extremely hot market, you may not even be granted access to tour a home, without, one and you definitely won’t get an offer taken seriously. Ideally, you should be taking care of this before or immediately after our initial consultation.  

    We Tour Homes

    Once you’ve determined a practical price range, as well as the ideal areas and styles for your new home, the real fun begins. That’s when we’ll put together a list of available properties that best match your criteria, and make arrangements to go see them. We’ll work together to create the list, and I’ll take care of making the arrangements and getting us access. The trick is to narrow the list as much as possible, ahead of time. We want to see enough homes to allow you to see an adequate representation of the market, but not SO many that you feel overwhelmed by the number of options. The process of viewing homes provides you with information in order to make the best decision possible. Helping you find a home is a process of elimination; not a process of selection. Viewing homes you don’t like is not a waste of time; it helps build a frame of reference to help you find what you do like. Of course, all of this depends greatly on market conditions, your price range, and the specifications you want to meet. There may be a lot of options, or there may not. Regardless, we’ll make sure you find the house that best suits your needs.

    You Make an Offer

    Once we’ve decided on the right home, it’s time to make an offer. That involves putting together a contract that stipulates the terms that make sense to you, including the price, closing period, financing terms, and more. We’ll go over these details thoroughly during our initial consultation, and throughout the touring process, so that you’ll know exactly what to expect, and what to ask for.

    The Earnest Money Deposit

    With rare exceptions, every offer involves what is called an earnest money deposit. Essentially, what this means is that you are putting your money where your mouth is. The seller is taking a risk by accepting your offer, in that they have to take their home off the market, and could potentially miss other offers, in the process. This deposit, which is typically between 1-3% ofthe purchase price, is your guarantee that you plan to see the purchase process through to completion. There are certain safety nets built into most contracts, that protect you in the event of financing problems or issues that surface after the home inspection, that protect your deposit. Your deposit will be applied to the purchase price, at closing, or returned to you, depending on the terms of your financing. The main thing to remember is that making an offer is a serious process. You need to be sure that you’ve chosen the right home. But don’t worry, we’ll be with you every step of the way, guiding and advising you on all of these details.

    The Home Inspection

    Once a contract has been agreed to by both sides, it’s time to take a thorough look at the home, to make sure that it doesn’t have any unexpected problems that may require repairs and further negotiation. You’ll hire a professional who specializes in just this sort of thing, who will look at the home from top to bottom. If any unexpected issues pop up, you have the option to renegotiate the price or ask for repairs, or, if the issues are too serious, walk away from the house and get your deposit refunded.  Not all contracts require an inspection, but generally they are a good idea.

    The Final Walk Through

    Once the inspection has been conducted, any issues resolved, and your mortgage has been approved, you’ll have chance to take one more look at the home to make sure it is in the condition that you expect. You can make sure that repairs have been made, and that any items specified in the contract, like appliances, are there, as agreed.

    The Closing Process

    The closing date will be agreed upon in the initial contract terms. Typically, that will be 30-60 days from the date of mutual agreement. You’ll have an appointment to meet with the escrow officer, or in some cases an attorney, who will have all of the necessary documentation prepared for your signatures. This process formally transfers ownership of the property, and you’ll be able to pick up your keys and move in. All done!


    Jamie McAuley, Designated Broker. (206) 388-7737

    Did you find this post helpful? If so, please consider sharing it with others who might like it. If you still have questions, or want more information on Seattle real estate, neighborhoods, and activities contact the McAuley Real Estate team at (206) 388-7737, or email


    Created by Rob LeRoy, at Full Frame Creative Agency

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