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What to Expect During the Home Buying Process

Homeownership is a big step to take — one that comes with a lot of anticipation, accomplishment, and of course, excitement. But if we’ve learned anything over the course of the last few years, it’s that the journey to homeownership can be riddled with difficulties and disappointment — but it certainly doesn’t have to be!

With Reinhart on your side, you can walk through the home buying process with ease. Since 1971, Reinhart Realtors has been the leading full-service real estate firm in the Ann Arbor region — so we know a thing or two about buying a home here. There are many steps along the way, but we are breaking them all down so you know what to expect. Plus, your agent will be there to answer any questions as they arise!


Find an Agent

Before you start the home buying process, you will need to find a qualified agent to work with. Your agent will help you navigate every step of the journey, from the initial home search to signing papers on closing day. They will be able to help you find potential homes and set up showings, communicate with the selling agent on your behalf, put together an enticing offer, make sure all paperwork is signed and submitted, negotiate for a better deal, and answer any questions you might have along the way.

When you’re ready to begin your home buying journey, turn to a Reinhart Realtor for the expertise and guidance needed to help you attain your home ownership goals. The average Reinhart agent is full-time, has more than seven years of market experience, and has probably spent their entire career at Reinhart. They are also equipped with the training, tools and technology to skillfully assist you with your home search. Learn more about our agents and search our agent directory to start working with a Reinhart Realtor!


Get Pre-Approved

You’ll want to get pre-approved for a mortgage loan before you begin your home search, which means a mortgage professional will review your financial situation and verify your income and debt status. Once you’ve completed the pre-approval process, the mortgage professional will let you know how much house you can afford to buy based on the loan amount for which you qualify.

Reinhart’s John Adams Mortgage is a one-stop source for home financing. We’ve done our homework to provide the best loan products, saving you valuable time and money. We have competitive interest rates and fees and a selection of lenders and products, which allow us to get you the best priced product for your needs. We are based in Michigan and our local processing minimizes the time spent during the process. To a seller, having a lender’s pre-approval letter is an advantage over non-approved buyers. If a seller knows your financing is secure, your offer is stronger. Pre-approval also gives you peace of mind as you shop for a home, knowing that you will qualify for the proper mortgage amount.


Search for Your Home

What to Expect During the Home Buying Process

Now comes the fun part! Make a list of your specific wants and needs, such as number of bedrooms and bathrooms, style, location, amenities, etc., and share it with your agent. They can then set up a search for available properties matching your criteria and schedule showings to tour homes in person.

Create an account with Reinhart to begin monitoring the local market. You can see new homes as they become available, get information on recently sold properties, save your favorite properties and searches to view again later, share listings with your agent or friends and family, and more. Our listings are updated within minutes of a home hitting the market, so you won’t miss out on your dream home. You’ll be the first to know when new properties become available based on your saved preferences in the communities you love!

Also, download the Reinhart mobile app, available for iOS and Android devices, to discover a variety of different search options and filters, making it easier than ever to search for homes on the go. The app syncs seamlessly with your account, so any information saved on your phone is also accessible through our website.


Tour Homes at Open Houses + Showings

Once you find a house or two (or more!) you are interested in, your agent can set up a showing to view it in person. While you can scroll through photos all day, there’s nothing like seeing a house in real life to get a true sense of what it’s like. Stepping inside gives you a good idea of the size, layout, and the overall feel of the home — plus, you can walk around the neighborhood to learn more about the surrounding area.

Plus, every weekend (and even on weekdays), there are several open houses all throughout the Ann Arbor area! The more open houses you go to, the more you’ll know what you want — and don’t want — in your future home.


Submit an Offer

Once you find that perfect home, it’s time to move forward with making an offer. You will work closely with your agent to determine a fair offer price, how much earnest money to put down, etc. You’ll also establish any conditions or terms for the purchase, such as who is responsible for closing costs, if there will be any contingencies, the target closing date, and other requirements. Now, all you have to do is hope the seller accepts your offer! They may choose to respond with a counter offer, which will give you the opportunity to counter once again — or simply accept their counter offer.

Remember that your first offer or two may not get accepted, especially if you’re in what’s considered a seller’s market. So remember to be patient, trust the process, and keep moving forward. Take solace in the fact that there is a home out there for you — and when you finally move in, you’ll feel an incredible sense of relief and excitement. And all that hard work and the rollercoaster of emotions you went on will have been worth it!


Go Under Contract

Congratulations! Your offer was accepted and you are now under contract. This period typically lasts 30 days, but can be shorter or longer, depending on what the buyer and seller have agreed upon. During this time, you will do a number of different things, all with the guidance of your real estate agent. You will get documentation to your lender (if you have applied for a loan), get your home appraised and inspected, and obtain title and home insurance.


Home Appraisal

A home appraisal is a professional estimate of the value of a property from a third-party appraiser, to ensure the bank is lending the proper amount of money. Appraisals are required for any home purchase, sale or refinance. The appraiser will compile information about the floor plan, amenities and features, and square footage, combined with local housing trends, similar home sales, and the neighborhood, to determine the home’s actual value. If the appraisal comes back with a value equal to or higher than the sale price, the sale continues, but if it is less, the buyer has the chance to negotiate. If the seller is not willing to negotiate, your mortgage lender may not approve the mortgage for a higher amount than what the home is worth. If that’s the case, you can either choose to walk away or simply pay the difference with cash.


Home Inspection

A home inspection is a detailed examination of the condition and overall safety of a property, which includes an in-depth look at the major components of the home, including the plumbing, structure, foundation, appliances and other features. After the inspection, the inspector will provide an in-depth report highlighting any safety concerns, major issues, minor repairs, and other findings. If there are significant issues uncovered during the inspection, such as the presence of black mold or a crack in the foundation, the buyer then has the opportunity to walk away from the sale. Or they can ask the seller to either take care of the repair or lower the sale price to make up for the cost of the repair.


Title and Home Insurance

During this time, you will also purchase title and home insurance. Homeowner’s insurance is a form of property insurance that covers damages and losses to the residence, including damages to the interior or exterior, loss or theft of possessions, and even personal injury that occurs while on the property. This is similar to renter’s or car insurance — it protects you from incurring major costs if something catastrophic happens to your property. Title insurance protects both lenders and buyers from any financial loss related to a defective title, which may include liens, encumbrances, or other defects.


Title Search

Title companies will perform a title search, which determines who currently owns the property and has the legal right to sell it. This will also ensure there is no one else who can claim the property once the sale is complete, especially if there has been a divorce or an inherited property, which can complicate things. If a title contingency is in place, this gives the buyer the opportunity to back out of the contract if the title search reveals an “unclean” title.


Final Walk-Through

You and your agent will do a final walk-through of the property just before closing day. This is your last chance to make sure everything is in good shape for move-in — and nothing has changed since you last saw it, like a flooded basement or fire damage. This is important because as soon as the ownership is transferred, the property is your responsibility!


Sign Papers on Closing Day

What to Expect During the Home Buying Process

Finally, closing day is here — the day you’ve been waiting for! You will meet with your agent at an agreed-upon location, which is usually the lender’s office. Here, you will sign dozens of documents, including the property deed, the bill of sale, the closing disclosure, the mortgage note, and more. Once everything is complete, you will receive the keys to your new home — which means the property is officially yours! Now, all that’s left to do is celebrate!



You are officially a homeowner!

And if we can help make your homeownership dreams a reality, contact us to be connected with one of our agents, who can help you through every step of the home buying process.

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