GUIDE TO BUYING A HOME



Buying a home usually represents your single most significant investment - and debt.

The home buying process is one of the most exciting and frequently stressful experiences you'll ever go through. It holds whether you've bought many homes or you're looking to buy your first, whether you're in the market for a new primary residence, an investment property, or that perfect vacation getaway. Today's real estate market can offer riskier opportunities than ever before. There is a multitude of factors to consider and decisions to make. When buying, it's crucial to have all the available resources necessary to make a well-informed decision. It's essential to enlist the help of a trusted real estate professional who'll be able to provide expert guidance at each step of the buying process. Finding and purchasing a home includes the following steps:

1. Define your goals, research your options, make your plans

Given that buying a home is such a big step, it's essential to educate and prepare yourself as much as possible. It means determining the reasons you're buying and what kind of home you're looking to purchase. Since buying and financing a home is closely related, it also means examining your current financial situation and projecting how much you can afford. Once you've answered these questions, even tentatively, you'll be in a better position to research housing and mortgage options and create an action plan and timelines for moving forward. Although it is possible to do this yourself, you may benefit from consulting an experienced real estate professional right from the start.

2. Contact a real estate professional

Since no two homes or transactions are alike, buying real estate is a complex matter with many factors to consider. Moreover, with all the unique opportunities and potential pitfalls of the current market, it's more important than ever to contact a real estate professional once you've decided to buy. When choosing a real estate professional to guide you through the property search, financing, negotiation, and transaction processes, you should consider their local market knowledge, experience, and track record.

3. Get pre-approved for a loan

We recommend that you get pre-approved for a loan before you start viewing homes with the serious intention of buying. The pre-approval process involves meeting with a lender and authorizing them to examine your current financial situation and credit history. The lender may provide you with a document detailing the amount you can borrow to buy a home based on this examination. Consider looking online to see what different lenders offer, or contact your local bank or credit union.

The benefits of pre-approval include:

You'll know what you are eligible to receive and be able to plan accordingly. Lenders can tell you if you qualify for special programs that will help you afford a better home (particularly if you're a first-time buyer). Real estate financing is available from many sources, and an experienced real estate professional will be able to suggest lenders with a history of offering excellent mortgage products and services.

4. View homes and select THE ONE

Simply put, the key to the home search process is knowing what you're looking to purchase. Among other things, that means distinguishing between "must-haves" and "like-to-haves."  That said, here are a few recent facts about the search process that might put your experience in perspective: 92% of buyers use the internet or mobile apps to search for homes. The typical buyer searches for 12 weeks and views 12 houses; 97% of buyers view real estate agents as necessary in the home search process. There are many benefits to starting the search process of a real estate website like realtor.com® or Richmond Region Realty. You can view many homes and their details, take video tours, and access neighborhood info. However, it's also important to view homes in person. While the property details may seem similar online, homes can differ in layout, design, quality, and other aspects. Ideally, you should view homes with the help of an experienced real estate professional who'll notice things you might miss, provide expert analysis, and act as an impartial sounding board.

5. Make an offer and negotiate with the seller

Once you've found the home you'd like to buy, it's time to make an offer. Your state or local real estate association likely has contracts generally used for transactions in your area. These contracts enable you to specify a sale price and allow the inclusion of clauses specifying various purchase terms, such as the closing and possession dates, your deposit amount, and other conditions. You should carefully review these clauses with your real estate professional to be sure that they accurately express your intended offer. In addition to drawing up the contract, your real estate professional will be happy to address all of your questions about the offer process. Once you've written the offer, your real estate professional will present it to the seller or the seller's representative. At that point, the process will vary somewhat depending on the market you're to make a purchase. Generally speaking, the seller can accept your offer, reject it, or counter it to initiate the negotiation process. Subsequent counteroffers, with deadlines for responding and meeting conditions, may be exchanged between you and the seller until a pending mutual agreement exists or the negotiations break down. Negotiations involve many factors relating to different market conditions, homes, and sellers.

6. Secure your financing

Once you have a pending agreement, it's time to return to your chosen lender to finalize mortgage details to close the deal. It means completing your down payment, interest rate, regular payment schedule, and all other financial conditions associated with the closing. As the saying goes, 'let the buyer beware. Unfortunately, too many buyers suffer negative consequences from not fully understanding their financing decisions. Thus, it would be best if you worked with people you trust. In this regard, a good real estate professional can become a true friend for life. Close the deal - If you've efficiently taken care of everything connected with purchasing your new home, taking ownership should be a positive joy with no surprises. Key steps to the closing, also referred to as the "escrow" or "settlement," include: Getting a title search – you will need a historical review of all legal documents relating to ownership of the property – to ensure that there are no claims against the title of the property. It's also necessary to purchase Title Insurance for protection in the event of errors in the records or mistakes in the review process. The final walk-through – you will be given a chance to look at the home one last time to make sure it's in the same condition as when you signed the sale agreement. Typically, the settlement– on the Closing Date, you'll meet with a lawyer, real estate professional, or escrow agent to verify and sign all the paperwork required to complete the transaction. The settlement will include paying your closing costs, legal fees, property adjustments, and transfer taxes. You'll receive the property title and copies of all documentation about the purchase at that point. Oh, and one more thing – you'll get the keys!

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What my clients are saying  

I’M VERY HAPPY TO HAVE WORKED WITH RONNIE ON THIS SALE! “I really enjoyed the personal interactions with Ronnie. He felt more like a friend than “hired help.”

 

~ Scott M.

I FELT LIKE I RECEIVED MORE PERSONALIZED ATTENTION WITH RONNIE THAN WITH OTHER REALTORS I’VE DEALT WITH! “I’ve worked with several realtors in the last few years. I felt like I received more personalized attention with Ronnie than with other realtors I’ve dealt with. I also felt like he was more knowledgeable and took the time to sit down and explain every detail of the process with me.”

 

~ Jennifer G.

RICHMOND REGION REALTY WAS A TRUE PROFESSIONAL WHEN IT CAME TO SELLING MY HOME! “Ronnie and Reed are true professionals who made the entire process easy. Ronnie had proven to be a top-notch agent who listened to my needs and concerns in the past. Unrealistic demands of the buyer, but Ronnie handled those beautifully. The entire experience was nothing but professional and positive, and I would only recommend Ronnie, Reed, and the entire team to family and friends. I am a client for life.”

 

~ Karen H.

WE FELT COMFORTABLE THROUGHOUT THE HOME BUYING PROCESS! “Ronnie was always willing to spend time with us. Either showing houses or writing emails. Ronnie is very nice and personable and made us feel comfortable.”

 

~ Tom G.

THE DAILY MARKET REPORTS I RECEIVED FROM RICHMOND REGION REALTY HELPED ME KNOW WHAT WAS GOING ON WITH COMPARABLE PROPERTY WHILE MY HOME WAS ON THE MARKET! "I enjoyed the market update emails that I received throughout the selling process."

 

~ Samuel C.

IN TODAY'S WORLD, A REALTOR WITH FLEXIBILITY IS KEY TO THE PROCESS! "Ronnie's flexibility is what we liked the best."

 

~ Wesley H. & Derek F.

RONNIE MANAGED TO GET US OVER SEVERAL ROADBLOCKS TO A SUCCESSFUL CLOSING! “We hit some roadblocks along the way, and I felt like Ronnie really cared about figuring out the best outcome for us. Thanks again for a fantastic service!”

 

~ Victoria H.

I DON’T THINK WE WOULD BE HOMEOWNERS WITHOUT THE HELP OF RICHMOND REGION REALTY! “Our realtor did everything and more to accommodate us throughout the process, and that helped make things a lot less stressful for us. This was a great experience, and without the realtor we had, it wouldn’t have been nearly as enjoyable!”

 

~ Mitchel F.

IF BUYING A HOME, RONNIE IS THE REALTOR YOU WANT! "Very knowledgeable, kind, and appreciative overall."

 

~ Paul & Megan H.

RICHMOND REGION REALTY UNDERSTANDS THE REAL ESTATE INDUSTRY INSIDE AND OUT! "Fabulous service and excellent knowledge."

 

~ Andrea B.

LOSING SOMEONE IS NOT EASY, RONNIE MADE THE PROCESS OF SELLING MY FATHER’S HOME EASY! “Ronnie went above and beyond to help us during the sale of our father’s property after he passed. He even went with us to the tile store and helped us pick granite countertops and kitchen cabinets.”

 

~ Jeanne B.

I DON’T THINK I WILL EVER USE ANOTHER REALTOR! "Ronnie my realtor is the best."

 

~ Anonymous

IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR A REALTOR WHO WILL “GET” THE JOB DONE, YOU NEED TO CALL RONNIE! "My realtor was very attentive to all of my needs as far as becoming a first-time homebuyer. Wonderful!!"

 

~ Stacey S.

FIRST TIME WORKING WITH A REALTOR TO SELL MY HOME. "Ronnie is understanding and very personable!"

 

~ Ruslana R.

SELLING MY HOME WAS SO EASY! "Ronnie keeps his communication open by phone or text, and I always know my questions and needs are addressed."

 

~ Anton P.

IT’S BEEN 10 YEARS SINCE WE PURCHASED A HOME. "We never felt pressured. Always felt Ronnie had our interests as the priority."

 

~ Laura H.

DESERVES THE REALTOR, PLATINUM STAR! “Mr. Burnham was very professional, knowledgeable, courteous, and accommodating during this entire process. His assessment and time investment in the data/analysis was very welcomed, and he assisted us immensely in the process. After working with us on a lengthy process, Mr. Burnham would deserve the Realtor, Platinum Star, if there were such a thing. We greatly appreciate his time, efforts, and patience in helping us to find a property that fit our goals.”

 

~ Robbie W.

EXCELLENT CUSTOMER SERVICE! “Excellent customer service; was on the ball about every issue or question I had. I would recommend Ronnie without reservation and will use again in the future.”

 

~ Andrew S.

RICHMOND REGION REALTY KNOWS HOW TO TAKE THE STRESS OUT OF THE HOME BUYING PROCESS! “Ronnie was wonderful to work with during the process of buying our first home. From the time we met until closing, he was readily available to answer my questions or calm my concerns. He was fun and friendly and took much of the stress out of the daunting process of purchasing a first home. I knew he had my best interests in mind the whole time. We love our new home and highly recommend him to anyone looking to buy!”

 

~ Shannon S.

WHEN IT IS TIME TO SELL THIS HOUSE, I WILL BE CALLING RONNIE AGAIN! “Ronnie worked with me for months to find the right house. He spent multiple Saturdays going from house to house and driving the neighborhoods with me. When we did not find a house I liked, he would widen the search to include more houses fitting my criteria. When I finally found the right house, Ronnie helped me find a loan officer and a contractor. I have lived in my house for a year and a half and love it! When it is time to sell this house, I will be calling Ronnie again.”

 

~ Sarah W.

THE RICHMOND REGION REALTY’S NETWORK IS ENDLESS! “Ronald was excellent and efficient in connecting me with another agent in the Miami area that was well informed in expediting the sale of my condo.”

 

~ Richard W.

THE SURPRISES WERE ESPECIALLY ENTERTAINING! “Ronnie did an excellent job showing us so many different options. Also, the surprises were especially entertaining, and it turned out one of your surprises was the choice we made! Again, thank you so much for your help!”

 

~ Vishaka S.

IT WAS A GREAT EXPERIENCE ALL AROUND! “I used Ron’s expertise when purchasing my first home. It was a GREAT experience all around! He was proactive in reaching out to me and always early to appointments. He walked me through the entire process and explained each step in an obvious and understandable way. He knew my needs and suggested homes that he thought I would like. Thanks to his urgency in finding homes that just came onto the market, I was able to find the perfect first home for my family. I would 100% recommend Ron Burnham to ANY person in the market to buy or sell a home.”

 

~ Mandy C.

TOP QUALITIES: PERSONABLE, EXPERT, ON TIME “Ronnie is very good at selling real estate and looks out for his customers! He is very prompt and goes out of his way to do the little things. He met us at our house on the coldest day of the year and didn’t seem to mind at all! I would recommend him to everyone looking to buy real estate!”

 

~ Dave R.

BEST REFERRAL WE’VE EVER RECEIVED! “We were first introduced to Ronnie Burnham in 2011 when we were passively beginning to look for our first home in Richmond. He was extremely patient and helpful as we worked through the pre-approval process and determining the location. Ronnie worked with us to understand exactly what we wanted in our home and when we found “the one,” helped us navigate through a competitive situation to get it. We would highly recommend Ronnie Burnham to first-time and veteran home buyers.”

 

~ Kristyn C.

THIS IS OUR FIRST HOME PURCHASE! “We needed a realtor who would work at our pace. During our search, Ronald showed us numerous properties matching our criteria; provided feedback, history, and other options. Calmly, patiently answered our questions, clarified the housing purchase process, and taught us a variety of topics. He is a determined, organized, fast-paced, and scheduled realtor. Returning phone calls, texts, and emails on time; he is friendly, attentive to customer needs, helpful, and knowledgeable. When I have a question about the property, the first person to call is Ronald; we still keep in touch. It’s been two months since we moved into our house. Thanks for your work, Ron!”

 

~ Anton P.

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND WORKING WITH RICHMOND REGION REALTY! “Ronnie’s attention to detail helped me purchase the perfect home.”

 

~ Sam C.

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