Buying your first home? 6 essential steps to snag your dream home

Real Estate Agent with Powered by: eXp Realty 50781-90

In a scorching hot market that Madison Wisconsin home sales is, landing the property you want means having your ducks in a row so you can pull the trigger immediately....Not being ready means losing your perfect home.

Fortunately, the process is pretty straight-forward and completely doable. Here’s what we are telling clients they need to do right now to be “offer ready.”

1. First, when you want to be moved in and settled in your new home? Identify that date on a calendar. Now count back 8 weeks. This date is when you need to have an accepted offer on the books. So if you want to be settled in your new home on July 1st, you’ll need an accepted offer May 1st. Note, closing can sometimes take as little as 45 days, but 60 days leaves you a little wiggle room if there are delays. Nobody wants to have to move into an extended stay hotel and put all their stuff in storage, only to have to move it again in a few weeks!??

2. Now we need to set aside time to find your new home. I recommend a period of 6-12 weeks. The more unique features and location that you’re looking for, I generally recommend setting aside more time to search. So if you’re more flexible about your requirements, starting your search March 15th would be fine. If you’re more particular about what you’re looking for, start looking February 1st. Note: February 1st was YESTERDAY!!!??

3. Look at your personal finances and decide how large of a payment you can really afford. Be realistic; leave room for savings, emergency funds, car repairs, and unexpected home repairs. Do not overextend yourself. You can always save the extra money for renovations!! ...or a vacation. ??

4. Get pre-approval from your lender. I highly discourage showing homes to clients who don’t have pre-approval in hand. Why? 
     •  You don’t want to visit a home, and fall in love with it, and then not be able to purchase it because your financing isn’t lined up. Not only does it stink to be let down, but looking at homes when you aren’t ready to buy isn’t an effective use of time because the market will be different when you’re ready to pull the trigger. 
     •  It’s a seller’s market, and sellers are looking for strong offers. A strong offer includes evidence that you’ve established a relationship with a lender and can obtain financing for the purchase. “Well, of course I can get a loan” isn’t sufficient assurance. The other buyers you’re competing against are including their financing pre-approvals with their offers, so when yours is missing, your offer appears weaker. ??

5. Meet with your real estate agent before you start searching. Home sellers are represented by agents who negotiate for the seller’s advantage; you need to be equally represented by someone who fights for your best interests. When we meet, we’ll discuss the home buying process, what you most want in a home, our search strategies, getting an accepted offer, and what to expect every step of the way. Bring your questions to this meeting! Your agent is your consultant and should be an enthusiastic guide.??

6. Be ready to roll on loan commitment. Your work is only beginning when you get an accepted offer; now you’ll need to supply more documentation and go through several more steps to obtain a commitment from the lender that says they are indeed lending you the money. There’s usually a deadline in the offer by which you must have loan commitment.  Selecting a lender and starting the application prior to a home really helps reduce the stress when you do get an offer accepted on your home. 

All of these points speak to acting swiftly in a very fluid and rapid-moving market where you’re in fierce competition with many other buyers for relatively few properties. These are the cards I tell my buyers to have in hand so they don’t lose the home they love.

Don’t have a lender yet? Click on “Contact us” for a referral to trusted lenders who’ve taken great care of our clients. 

Find your new home using our free home search. We’ll email you daily with new listings and when properties have an accepted offer. Our site is updated in real time so you’ll know the current status of every home you peruse. 


Written by Karin Harwitz, of the Real Estate Guy team, Madison Wi.  

Real Estate Guy has been selling Real Estate, particularly homes,  in the Madsison Wi area for 24 years.  The team offers personalized service to find that home of your dream and works with you to secure the home in any market.  Years of experience is important. 


Posted by

Guy Lofts CRS,  is a long-term area resident who has been helping people make sound housing decisions since 1993.  Guy is a past president of the Wisconsin Chapter of CRS, the Certified Residential Specialists.  A leader in technology, having had his first personalized web page in 1995.  With a first Blog in 2006,  Guy has provided training with in his office and is to present a training at past Wisconsin Realtor conventions.

His passion is helping people improbe their quality of life through Real Estate.  That means whether you are in real estate of ust want to invest of buy a home, we can help you.

Real Estate Guy @ eXp Realty Madison 

Helping Buyers and Sellers in Madison WI  Search all homes for sale, Madison WI


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Thomas J. Nelson, Realtor, ePRO, CRS, RCS-D
Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 - La Jolla, CA
& Host of Postcards From Success Podcast

Great post and you mention something seldom seen in lists: #2 set aside the time. So many people expect it to be life per usual during a home purchase or sale; wrong! People need to be prepared to have some disruptive real estate activities in their routines. 

Feb 11, 2017 09:32 AM #1
John Pusa
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Crest - Glendale, CA
Your All Time Realtor With Exceptional Service

These are very good helpful tips about buying the first home.

Feb 11, 2017 10:09 AM #2
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

This is a great post, and it does take planning and due diligence to be truly ready to buy a home!  

Feb 11, 2017 12:32 PM #3
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Setting aside time is pretty key in the whole process. After that, everything becomes easier.

Feb 24, 2017 09:48 AM #4
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Joan Cox sometimes, a little dab of diligent effort makes everything go Just that much easier!

Feb 24, 2017 09:49 AM #5
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, Keller Williams Fox Cities - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

A well thought out plan Guy, sure to lead your clients to a successful home purchase.



Feb 25, 2017 05:53 AM #6
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