Home Buying Process

STEP 1 - Budget

Determining how much house you can afford is the first step of the Home Buying Process. Consider the amount of your savings. How much you can use for your down payment? How big of loan will you need for your house budget? Will your annual income cover the loan and other debt requirements? Tip: use the basic mortgage calculator below for a rough estimate.

STEP 2 - Real Estate Agent

Connecting with a real estate agent early in the process is invaluable in helping you with your home search. Refine your preferences with your agent to narrow the search. The home buying process takes time so it’s helpful to get along with their personality and have a sense of trust.

As your agent they should be an expert in the area and write competitive offers. You should feel confident that they will negotiate favorable terms, coordinate inspections and smoothly handle the transaction. Josh Gainer strives to provide his clients with a relaxed and enjoyable home buying process. He’s working to find you the right fit.


STEP 3 - Financing

Unless you’re buying a property with all cash, start the pre-approval process with your lender of choice. The lender will consider multiple factors like your credit score, annual income, debt, and savings. The pre-approval gives you a baseline for your house search budget.

People often confuse pre-approval letters and pre-qualifications. A pre-approval letter requires supporting income and expense documentation for lender verification. Whereas the pre-qualification is simply an estimate of loan amount. The pre-approval letter lets sellers know that you’re serious about buying their property.

In a hot market when there is increased competition having a pre-approval letter is essential for a stronger offer requiring financing.

SE Portland Home

STEP 4 - Property Search

This where the fun starts. Josh sends a list of homes/properties that meet your criteria. As new homes come to market you’re sent new listing alerts. Josh previews homes and will show you multiple properties to find the ideal home. During this search process you’ll weigh the importance of different needs and wants. Trade-offs can occur between priorities, such as location, schools, bedrooms, home quality, attributes and budget.


STEP 5 - Offer

Once you’ve found the right house it’s time to make an offer.  Josh will ask the Listing Agent if there are other offers and seller wants. In this seller’s market you’ll most likely be competing against other offers. Presenting the most competitive terms within your comfort and budget is the key to getting an accepted offer.

You’ll work together to determine the appropriate earnest money deposit, down payment, financing, contingencies periods and inspections. Good communication between agents and well written terms are effective in convincing sellers that you will close the sale. 


STEP 6 - Negotiations

The Purchase Agreement identifies any contingencies that must be agreed upon for the sale to finalize. When financing, your lender typically requires an appraisal. An appraisal contingency can be included to make sure the home appraises at or above the purchase price.  On the other hand, buyers can waive this contingency and agree to make up any difference if the appraisal is lower.

82% of home buyers included an inspection contingency in their offer, according to Zillow. This contingency stipulates that you’re entitled to have professional inspections of the home. Even brand new construction homes have mistakes and building issues. There’s always something found during inspections.

Familiar with the ins and outs of a home’s components, Josh will review the inspection reports with you. You may require seller’s to perform work before the sale is finalized or want estimates of correcting items with your own contractors. During the inspection contingency period contract adjustments and credits are often negotiated. Addendums to the contract are negotiated specifying what costs the buyers and sellers are responsible for.


STEP 7 - Finalize Sale

After you agree to release the buyers’ contingencies the earnest money deposit becomes non-refundable and part of your down payment. The lender’s appraisal has been completed and the lending process is finalized.

Josh will accompany you on the final-walk thru the day before closing to make sure the home is in the same condition as the day the offer was written. Josh will also confirm the seller has performed any agreed-upon repairs. You’ll finish up paying the remaining closing costs and signing closing documents with the Title Company. That’s it! Welcome to your new home.