How to buy a house

How to buy a house

At Brick & Banister we pride ourselves in being transparent and upfront about both the home buying and home selling processes. That is why we have put together this step-by-step overview of the entire process and all the moving parts.

Heading into this major purchase with the right expectations and information can save you from the heartbreak of missing out on your dream home or buying more house than you can afford.

If you’ve got questions right away, shoot us an email or text/call any of our agents to set up an info session. We are always happy to grab a cup of coffee to discuss this process anytime.


Step 1: Find the Right Real Estate Agent

A good agent is KEY to a smooth transaction. They should listen to you, advocate for you and equip you with all of the information you need to successfully navigate your transaction. We recommend interviewing a few agents to find your perfect fit.

Step 2: Choose a Lender

Your mortgage lender can make or break your deal. They should be prompt in responding to you when you need a preapproval letter or numbers on a house. You’re looking for someone honest who speaks to you in plain English. They should never talk down to you or get frustrated with you.

Step 3: Start House Shopping

This is probably the most fun part of the entire home buying process! Plan to see 4-6 houses each time you go. Look in lots of different neighborhoods and at different ends of your price range to find the best fit. This is where you determine your needs vs. wants. When we start finding houses you like, have your loan officer run some estimates to help with your decision making.

Step 4: Write Offers

This may feel intimidating, but your agent will do the research to find out what comparable houses are selling for, and if there are any other offers or special circumstances that may affect your offer. Your agent will walk you through the entire contract so you understand what you’re agreeing to.

Step 5: Negotiate Your Deal

Your agent will negotiate on your behalf while explaining the pros and cons of each proposal. They will help you decide when to be firm and where to give, and what is a reasonable expectation. Common terms that are negotiated are price, seller paid closing costs, inspection, closing dates, personal property, and repairs.

Step 6: Schedule a Home Inspection

Your inspection typically happens within 10 days from offer acceptance. Most buyers have a home inspection. Depending on the property, you may also have a sewer scope, radon test, and well/septic inspection. If you have an inspection contingency in your purchase agreement, you have the right to renegotiate or cancel based on the inspection results. Remember, no house is perfect. Always consider the biggest and most serious items and try not to focus on a long list of the little stuff.

Step 7: Appraisal

After you’ve passed your inspection, your bank will send an appraiser out to make sure the house is worth what you’ve agreed to pay for it. They’ll also make sure the condition matches the bank’s guidelines. If there are basic safety issues they may flag some items for repair. If this happens, the seller will need to complete the work before closing on the house and the appraiser will need to come back out to verify completion.

Step 8: Title Work

Your title company will research the history of your property. They are checking for any issues that may come back to you in the future, such as mechanics liens, or other issues with title. They will issue you a title insurance policy and perform your closing.

Step 9: Closing Day

It’s your big day! You’ll arrive to closing with your driver’s license and a downpayment check, and walk away with a thick stack of papers and keys to YOUR NEW HOUSE! This is a very fun day. Celebrate! You’ve bought a house!

Step 10: Home Ownership

Congratulations on your new home! Now you’ll need to take care of it.

Monthly maintenance tips: Change the furnace filters, run water in unused bathrooms/showers/drains, check your water softener salt and add more if needed (be sure to check for salt dams).

Seasonal maintenance tips: Check/change smoke and carbon monoxide detector batteries, turn off and drain outside spigot in the Fall, clean outside dryer vent, furnace intake, and AC unit. Vacuum refrigerator coils, clear gutters and schedule an HVAC tune up.



Whew! We made it! That’s a ton of info but if you made it all the way to the bottom of this page you should feel more comfortable with the process of how to buy a house.

It’s time for you to get started. Give us a call/text or contact us today to get moving. We can’t wait to help you find your first, or next, place.

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What our clients are saying...

“I was a first time homebuyer with a narrow list of what I was looking for, and in a hot market, too! Amy never gave up or made me compromise (while also helping me manage expectations!). She is so easy to talk to and smart as heck on every step of the process. Every day I’m grateful for my home and she made it possible. Thank you, Amy!”

— Marissa D.

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© Copyright 2019, Brick & Banister Real Estate Co.

Properties are provided courtesy of the Regional MLS of Minnesota, Inc., Broker Reciprocity Database.
Information Deemed Reliable But Not Guaranteed. ©2018 Regional Multiple Listing Service of Minnesota, inc. All rights reserved.