A Beginner’s Guide to Buying a House: From Contract to Closing


Buying a house can be an exciting yet overwhelming experience, especially for first-time buyers. From finding the right property to navigating through the complex processes involved, it’s crucial to have a clear understanding of each step along the way. In this blog post, we will provide a beginner’s guide to buying a house, focusing on four essential phases of the process.

1. Find Your People.

Before even considering making an offer on a house, it’s essential to assemble a team of professionals who will guide you through the process. Start by finding a reliable real estate agent and a reputable lender. Your agent will help you search for suitable properties, determine fair prices, and negotiate on your behalf. Meanwhile, your lender will assess your financial situation and help you understand the price range of houses you can afford.

2. Going Under Contract.

Once you’ve found your dream home, it’s time to make an offer and go under contract. However, before signing any agreements, thoroughly review any property restrictions or covenants that may affect your ability to use or modify the property. In most cases, you will need to put down a due diligence deposit and an earnest money deposit. The due diligence deposit is nonrefundable but will be applied to the purchase price at closing, while the earnest money deposit is refundable until the end of the due diligence period.  Be smart about your deposits and don’t put up more than you can reasonably risk to lose should you need to walk away from the deal.

3. Due Diligence.

Once under contract, it’s crucial to be responsive to your team of professionals, including your agent, lender, and attorney. During this stage, inspections and surveys are conducted to identify any issues with the property. It is essential not to skimp on inspections as they can uncover problems that the seller may be legally obligated to address or repair.  By being diligent in this phase, you can avoid unexpected surprises after closing.

4. Closing Day.

As the closing day approaches, it’s important to plan and schedule accordingly. To ensure a smooth transition, wire the necessary funds to the attorney’s trust account in advance. The deed can only record once all funds are securely credited. Remember, the seller is not obligated to hand over the keys until the deed has officially recorded. Take the time to review the closing statement with your agent before the closing table to ensure you understand the financial details involved.

Buying a house is a significant financial decision, and understanding the process is crucial for a successful and stress-free experience. By finding a trusted team of professionals, going under contract with caution, conducting thorough due diligence, and planning effectively for closing day, you’ll be well-prepared to navigate the journey from contract to closing. Remember to lean on your trusted guides, ask questions, and seek guidance to make informed decisions throughout the process. Happy house hunting!

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Thomas & Webber Law at the Lake

Our entire legal team is committed to providing you with first-class service and a knowledgeable, professional guiding hand to help you during your real estate closing.

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