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A Step-by-Step Buyer's Guide

Buying a home is one of the most exciting milestones of your life. To prepare for this moment, you need to know what to expect during the process. This step-by-step buyer’s guide, created by our team, will reduce the stress of buying a home and help you enjoy the journey as much as possible.


Step 1: Research

Do you already know where you want to buy? If you want a condo, townhome, or single-family home? Which features do you like and dislike? What’s available on the market now? If you answered no to any of these questions, now is the time to start researching. In addition to looking for homes that interest you, also take note of any changes in asking prices. This could give you valuable insight into housing trends in specific neighborhoods and help you when the time comes to make an offer.


Step 2: Decide on Your Budget

Notice we said to decide on your budget—not determine how much the mortgage company will give you. In many cases, a mortgage company will pre-approve you for more than you’re comfortable spending, which is why you need to determine the monthly payment you feel comfortable with before talking to a lender. This likely includes doing a full household budget and taking into consideration what changes other than a mortgage payment will occur once you move into your new home. If you’ve lived in an apartment or with roommates, you may overlook new expenses like garbage, water, or HOA fees that could easily blow your budget.


Step 3: Get Prequalified

Just because you think you can afford a certain payment every month doesn’t mean the mortgage company will agree. Just as they may approve you for too large of an amount, they may also approve you for a lesser amount or deny you a mortgage altogether. Lack of time at a job, insufficient credit, past bankruptcies, or other financial issues can cause major problems when trying to secure a mortgage. Before you get your heart set on a home, talk to a mortgage professional to find out what amount you can qualify for. This will also be an advantage when you make an offer on a home, as some sellers won’t entertain offers from those who aren’t already prequalified for a loan.


Step 4: Choose a Real Estate Agent

Finding the perfect home can be a daunting task, this is where our expertise and wealth of knowledge come into play. Can you shop for, look at, and ultimately make an offer on a home without a real estate agent? Yes, but why would you when you can utilize real estate agents like us to take much of the stress off your shoulders? Not only will we help identify properties you might be interested in, arrange showings, and ultimately handle the offer process, but we also have a knowledge of the market that you don’t possess, can review addendums and terms, and negotiate on your behalf. Let us show you around some homes that meet your dream home criteria so you can find the one that's right for you.


Step 5: Find the Right Home

This should be the most enjoyable step of the entire process (other than moving in!). We will arrange showings of homes you’re interested in that are within your price range. Take notes about what you like and don’t like, and make sure to pay attention to details. Turn light switches on and off, open and close doors, and run the faucets in various rooms. Don’t limit your inspection to the home itself. Make sure to take time to explore the neighborhood and keep an eye on traffic at certain times of the day, the parking situation, and how close it is to necessities like schools and grocery stores.


Step 6: Make an Offer

Once you have selected the perfect home, work with your agent to craft a fair offer based on the value of comparable homes on the market. Depending on what the home is listed at and whether the current environment is a buyer’s or seller’s market, your offer may be below, at, or even above the asking price. We will be able to help you negotiate if you receive a counteroffer and reach an agreement. At this point, the house will be under contract.


Step 7: Have the Home Inspected

In most cases, your offer will be contingent on having the home inspected to ensure there is no major structural damage or large repairs needed. We can help you arrange this, and you can schedule it within days of making an offer. If there are no major issues, the process goes to step eight. If there is, you can renegotiate your offer based on what needs to be fixed, or you can withdraw it.


Step 9: Get a Home Appraisal

If you're getting a mortgage, your lender will have your new home appraised so they have their independent value of it. The appraisal is to ensure that all parties involved are paying a fair price for the house.


Step 10: Finish Paperwork

No one looks forward to all the paperwork involved in buying a home, but it’s a necessary part of the process. Fortunately, everything will be arranged by your lender and closing attorney and, when you’re finished, you’ll know you are the legal owner of your new home. Schedule a moving company, if needed. Place your request for utilities to be activated or transferred, on the day of possession.


After signing the final paperwork to complete the purchase, the transfer of title moves ownership of the property from the seller to you. Once your purchase is funded, you are now the owner of a new house!

Download Our Buyer E-Book

The process of buying a home can be overwhelming at times, but you don't need to go through it alone. You may be wondering if now is a good time to buy a home…or if interest rates are projected to rise or fall. This free e-book will answer many of your questions and likely bring up a few things you didn't even know you should consider when buying a home. Simply fill out the form below to receive your copy.

Laura was such a joy to work with throughout the home-buying process. She listened to what we wanted and sought it out. She encouraged us every step of the way. We could not be happier.

— Susan


Thanks to you my heart is happy. Being with our girls, grandson, great-granddaughter and back to the ocean is all thanks to you. We drove down to the town I grew up in which is about 20 minutes away and sat by the ocean for a few hours. It was so relaxing and beautiful. The kids could not be happier having us home. It is so nice having them drop by when they are out and about. Laura, I really feel we owe...

— Terry W.


We always enjoy working with Laura and her team on real estate transactions because they are simply the best in the business. Laura has handled 6 transactions for us over 20 years and every one was handled flawlessly! Way to go Team Laura!

— Jerry M.


Laura made selling my home a breeze. Her recommendations on things I could improve to get top dollar were right on. I had seventeen showings, and eleven offers and it sold in three days! I would recommend her with a ten-star rating if you had one.

— Patricia B.


Laura has been selling houses for many years and we have used her for the buying and selling of 3 houses. She is very professional and looks out for your best interests in every aspect of the sale. She has an expert knowledge of West Cobb. I would definitely recommend Laura to anyone looking for an agent.

— Lisa W.


This was the greatest experience I have had in a real estate transaction. Laura Miller Edwards Realty Group was very responsible responsive and always professional. I recommend this agent for any real estate transactions and would go to them again if I ever need that service. Their team kept me informed and represented me and my interests with utmost integrity.

— Martinez L.


Laura and her team were extremely professional, proactive, and responsive. Laura helped guide me through decisions during the selling and closing process and I know the sale of my home was not just a transaction to her. I left the closing table knowing I had made the right decision to have Laura market my home. I highly recommend Laura to anyone looking to sell or purchase a home.

— Loria L.


Laura is the best! My husband and I felt comfortable discussing every detail from selling our home to buying our new home. She knows the market and could guide us through what to expect and our responsibilities for having a successful transaction. Her team helped with details that needed immediate attention. Her high values are clear and make it easy to listen to her advice. She is there for you 100 perc...

— Julie P.


Couldn't ask for better! Laura brings a lot to the table with experience and knowledge. Her team handled each part of the listing from the professional photographer to the closing with excellence and great communication. Laura met with us before listing and explained the agreement and answered our questions. She also got the listing up on the listing services very quickly. Each showing was clearly commun...

— Kent


Laura has been my realtor since 1998, purchased my 1st home. When I made the decision to sell and buy again there was no other person that I would have chosen besides Laura. She is detailed, ensuring I got the best neighborhood and, the best lot and it was because of her my 1st house was under contract in 3 days. Here again selling, deciding to relocate and Laura was the right choice for me. This time 3 ...

— Tari R.


I recently turned to Laura when I had the difficult task of selling my mother's home. She was with me every step of the way, from advising me of what updates could help raise the value of the home all the way to a successful closing (and provided caring support as I said a tearful goodbye to the house that brought my parents so much joy)! In addition to selling my mom's home, Laura has helped me find a b...

— Donna

Our goal is to provide you with the most personalized service that is designed to help you buy your dream home.