Buyer's Guide

A Step-by-Step First Time Buyer's Guide

Buying a home is one of the most exciting milestones of your life. To prepare yourself for this moment, you need to know what to expect during the process. This step-by-step first time buyer’s guide created by your agent will help 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 I 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: Tour Homes

When we’re ready to start looking at homes in person, it’s best to start with a consultation with a lender. I am happy to recommend a trusted professional who can talk to you about your financing options.

How can I make the most of my time when touring homes?
We’ll work together to get an accurate idea of your price range, an estimate of your monthly payments, and a pre-approval letter, so we can move quickly if need be.
Refining your “wants” and “needs” list will help us identify what’s most important to you, including both the location and the house itself.
Preview, favorite, and hide homes through the KW App to eliminate those you won’t need to visit in person.
Once we narrow your list, we’ll plan an itinerary together.
What should I expect when touring homes?
We will typically tour homes together alongside any co-buyers, friends, or family you’d like to join.
Homeowners usually aren’t home, so you’re free to spend as little or as much time as you want.
You may have a gut reaction when visiting a home. First impressions count, but I’ll advise you on home values and help evaluate priorities in the context of what’s available in your price range.
As your trusted partner for your home search, feel free to reach out at any time should you have any questions about any of the homes we tour.

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

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Step 5: Make an offer

After you’ve found the one, I’ll evaluate the market and draft a well-thought-out offer that also protects your interests.
What should I include with my offer?
Your offer will be written using the most recent standard-purchase offer forms that comply with all state and local laws.
Your offer will include:
  • The price
  • Terms – such as a request for closing cost help or that the offer is subject to your obtaining financing and a home inspection
  • Target date for closing
  • Earnest money deposit – I can advise you about how big your deposit should be based on local customs and current conditions
  • Request for final walk-through
  • Time limit for the offer
I’ll work on your behalf to negotiate the terms of your purchase.

Step 6: Home Inspection

As soon as your offer is accepted, we’ll schedule your home inspection. I have a number of trusted home inspectors we can turn to.

What is a home inspection?
Your home inspector will check a massive list (more than 1,000 items) of systems, appliances, and structures in your home to evaluate its condition. You’ll get a written report that identifies potential problems and future maintenance issues. We’ll look at it together to decide whether the report means you want to walk away from a house or ask the sellers to make repairs. You can also have an “information only” inspection, which means you’re buying the house as is, but want to know its condition.
What’s included in a home inspection?
The inspector will check:
Structural conditions such as the foundation, beams, and floors
Roof condition
Mechanical systems such as heat and air conditioning
Appliances – to make sure they’re working
Plumbing – for leaks, rust, and water pressure
Electrical systems such as grounded outlets and code violations
Safety issues such as stairs, handrails, mold, or chimney maintenance

I’ll be your partner in helping you understand the implications of the home inspection.


Step 7: Purchase and sale contract

Execute Contract
The crucial period between an offer and a final contract is an important time to stay in close contact with me, so you’re equipped with all the information you need to make smart decisions.
I’ll review the contract with you to make sure all of your questions are answered.
We’ll watch out for:
  • Unrealistic deadlines: you’ll need time to arrange a home inspection and receive the report, as well as arrange financing
  • Missing deadlines means you lose your chance to end the contract and keep your deposit
  • Items that don’t convey with the property: if you’re not sure, we can discuss it
  • Communications from your lender
According to the National Association of REALTORS®, the most common reasons for contracts to fail or be delayed are home inspection problems, financing problems, or an appraisal issue.
I will be by your side at every step to help you navigate the complexities of a real estate contract.

Step 8: Apply for a Mortgage

Submit all proper paperwork to mortgage company.


Step 9: Buy Home Insurance

Home insurance protects your new home and belongings from accidental damages. Make sure you insure your home with a plan that fits.


Step 10: Final Walk Thru

The final walk through is the home buyer’s opportunity to inspect the home prior to closing. It is the time to see if the sellers is leaving the property in the condition that was expected, and to ensure that the seller has fulfilled their contractual obligations.


Step 11: Closing Day

There’s no need to feel jittery before your closing as I will have you fully prepared for the day. As the buyer, you choose the title company for your title search and the closing. I can recommend reliable title companies.
What should I do before the closing?
We’ll stay in close communication to make sure that your questions are answered and you feel ready to sign on the dotted line.
What can I expect at the closing
We’ll be finalizing all of the paperwork to close on the sale of your new home. You will want to allot a few hours for your closing.
What’s next?
After your closing:
  • Keep all your signed documents in a safe place.
  • Change your address.
  • Change the locks and security codes on your home.
  • Review your due dates and new budget.

You’ve got the keys to your new home!

After your purchase, ask me to recommend fully-vetted service specialists in town or how you can care for your home. Further down the road, should you ever want to sell, I’ll have the scoop. You’ll always have my number, and I’ll always be ready to spring into action.

Work With Debbie

My extensive knowledge of Boston's investment real estate market is unparalleled. My clients have consistently sought my advice and trusted my judgement on multi-million dollar deals.

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