THE BUYING PROCESS

AN EASY STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO PURCHASING YOUR NEW HOME

PRE-APPROVAL LETTER

Sellers are typically more willing to accept offers from pre-approved buyers, because it shows that the buyer has the financial resources available to make good on their offer.

Get quotes from multiple lenders and go with someone reliable. Read online reviews of each lender and consider their responsiveness, transparency, and estimated closing timeline. To get started, see which lenders Redfin clients recommend here, or ask a Redfin Agent who she or he trusts in your area.

Apply for pre-approval

Once you select a lender, apply for pre-approval. Your lender will check your credit and ask for all of your financial documents—tax returns, pay stubs, bank statements, credit card statements, student and auto loans, etc.—to accurately assess your financial situation.

Keep in mind that just because you’re pre-approved for a certain amount doesn’t mean you can actually afford that amount. Prepare your own monthly budget to figure out what you’ll be comfortable paying.

MARKET SNAPSHOT

Real estate agents are licensed professionals who have access to information that isn’t open to the public. A good buyer’s agent will be an expert on the home buying process, know your area inside and out, be familiar with local listing agents, and be a skilled negotiator.

The seller pays all real estate commissions in a home sale, so working with a great real estate agent won’t cost you a thing.

MAKE AN OFFER

Making an offer on a home may seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Learning the offer process, knowing your limits, and working with a real estate agent you trust are crucial factors in crafting a strong offer.

Trust your agent

When the time comes to draft an offer, you’ll likely have some intense emotions and a heightened sense of competitiveness. Keep your cool, make rational decisions, and trust your agent.

HOME INSPECTION

Contingencies are conditions that must be met for the sale to go through. If you have an inspection contingency, you will typically need to get a home inspection in 10 to 15 days after your offer is approved. Inspections usually cost between $300 to $500, but vary based on the property and local rates.

Often buyers will waive the inspection contingency when making an offer on a home in a market with fierce competition or on a new-construction home with a builder’s warranty.

For recommendations on home inspectors and mortgage lenders, see who Redfin clients recommend here, or ask a Redfin Agent who she or he trusts in your area.

TITLE INSURANCE

To protect real estate ownership and to promote the transfer of real estate between buyers and sellers, Florida law has evolved to establish a definition for clear title. Title to real estate in the State of Florida is protected by longstanding laws and court case precedent. If there are conflicts between who is the proper owner of a piece of Florida real estate, then our courts will look to our case law for guidance on how to determine who is the lawful owner of that property.

FINANCING

Unless you can afford to buy a home in cash, you’ll need to get a mortgage. When you’re serious about buying a home, it’s important to understand the mortgage process and see how much mortgage you can qualify for.

FINAL WALKTHROUGH

Once you and the seller agree on the terms, you’ll enter the closing process, or escrow, which usually takes 30 to 45 days. You’ll likely be in very close communication with your agent, lender, and escrow agency during this time.

Closing costs for buyers

Closing costs are the lender and third-party fees paid at the close of a real estate transaction. The fees usually total 2%–5% of the final sale price.

You can learn more about the costs that you’ll pay at closing, and ways to lower them, on our resources page.

In addition to closing costs, your lender may require that you have at least two to six monthly payments (including principal, interest, taxes, and insurance) in the bank after the closing.

CLOSING DAY

Welcome to your new home! You will typically get the keys after 5 pm on your close date.

Whether or not your home is turnkey ready, there might be some maintenance and remodeling you want to complete before moving in. You’ll also want to think about hiring movers, buying new furniture and appliances, setting up your utilities, etc.

You’ll pay for these after the home is yours but may want to factor them into your home-buying budget or create a separate post-move budget. If you buy with a Redfin Agent, you’ll have access to exclusive offers on everything from movers to home security through the Redfin Marketplace.