Buying a home, whether it’s your first time or your fourth, is always a big undertaking! We want to make sure that you are well aware of what you need to know and what steps are next to help you go from someone who is “just looking” to someone who is “ready to buy” with confidence. 

Of course, we are here to help every step of the way!

Below is an outline of the home buying process. Please schedule a call with us to discuss your personal situation so we can help you personalize your process, as every situation is unique.

Define Your Goals

Before beginning your home search, make sure to have clearly set goals: desired type of neighborhood, type of home, location close to things important to your lifestyle, etc. You will more than likely need to be flexible on some of your “must haves”, but putting pen to paper and starting with a list will be a fun way to begin the process of getting yourself into a home buying mindset.

Examine Your Finances

It is extremely important that you have gone through your finances and that you understand how much you can spend on a house payment, and the associated costs. When you begin working with a lender, they will frequently approve you up to a maximum amount. You want to be certain that you are comfortable with the payment of the loan and that you will not become “house poor”. You also want to make sure you have enough savings to support the purchasing and maintenance of a home.

Call us for Consultation and Planning

Everyone’s situation is unique and requires a consultation to make sure you are on the right path for a successful home buying experience. Some people contact us after they are pre-approved and ready to go, and some people contact us as soon as they wonder if they are ready to buy a first home. We find it best to consult with us after you’ve defined goals and examined finances, but before you reach out to a lender for a pre-approval. But we love discussing all of it with you at any stage of preparation so that we can help you prepare for success.

And as a side note, if you think you may want to purchase a new construction home, please contact us BEFORE you begin visiting sales centers, or those sales centers may not allow you to bring your own Buyer’s Agent to ensure you are fully and fairly represented. And contrary to what they may say, you will not save money by having a builder’s agent represent you…they contractually always have to represent the best interest of the builder. 

Get Pre-Approved

A pre-approval from a mortgage lender is essential for being able to submit an offer on a home. It is also essential that you know exactly how much you can spend on a home. Do not rely on estimated payments shown on online websites. The only way to know exactly how much you can spend is a combination of two things. 

  1. Having a trusted lender get your financial information so that they can use that to see how much money the bank will lend you based on your personal finances, credit scores, and what amount of money you will be using for a down payment.
  2. What house payment (including property taxes, home insurance, and possibly mortgage insurance) you will be comfortable with so that you don’t overextend yourself. 

It is incredibly important to choose the right mortgage professional. We have trusted, local mortgage professionals that we know are excellent to work with, have top notch communication skills, will get you the best rates, and know our local market. We are happy to match you with one. The mortgage officer is an integral part of our home buying team and process. We are happy to work with a mortgage officer of your choice, as long as they meet the qualifications above and are licensed to lend in Idaho.

Search for Homes

The fun part!

Once you are pre-approved, we begin the serious home search in person. Finally!  We may have set you up on a general automated home search after our consultation call, based on your goals, so that you could understand the market and set correct expectations. But once you get that ever-important pre-approval, we hit the ground running and touring homes until you find the best one for you. 

Many of our clients have been here for a visit but are not actually here in person for the home search process – that’s okay! We have a system for out of area buyers that we can discuss with you that works very well, and of course it includes lots of videos with you. We try to be as honest and detailed as possible in those videos, including videoing the communities. 

Make an Offer and Negotiate

Once you’ve found the home for you, it’s time to make an offer. We discuss how you may want to construct the offer, not only a price, but also other terms, like a closing date, seller negotiations, inspection time frames, etc. We will shepherd you through each step of the offer process. 

Next Steps When Under Contract

There are several more steps in the home buying process that happen once your contract is accepted, but the main steps to know are:

  1. Getting your lender the documents they need to secure the loan.
  2. Having a home inspection and negotiating any repairs or credits if needed.
  3. A home appraisal
  4. Financing is secured through underwriting
  5. You are cleared to close!

Closing the Deal

The time frame from getting an offer accepted until you get the keys in hand, or you “close” is typically 30 days for people getting loans and can be as little as 5 days for people purchasing with cash. During the last week of escrow, we will do a final walk throughout the home, we will have the “signing” and make sure all funds are secured and ready to go. If you sign in person, you can expect your agent, your title officer, and possibly your mortgage broker to be present. It is also very common, with our out of area buyers, to sign with a mobile notary. If you are buying with cash, you can sign your documents online. During closing, the deed, title, recording with the county, insurance, etc… is all finalized, so it’s a big day!


Not when you sign your documents, but when the loan funds and the property records you as the new owner with the county. We call that “funding and recording”. Clever. If we have prepared properly, and everything is ready to go the day before closing, then your home will fund and record by about 3:00 on your day of closing. Sometimes it’s earlier, and rarely it’s later, but don’t schedule your moving truck until the DAY AFTER closing! You want to make sure you have keys in hand before those movers show up!

Congrats! If you made it through reading all of the home buying guide, you are probably ready to start getting serious about purchasing a home! Please reach out to us for a consultation so you can get started… we are happy to help!