Home Buying Process October 16, 2020

Grand Rapids Home Buying Process – Step by Step

Home buying in Grand Rapids


Ready to start the process of Home buying in Grand Rapids, but a little confused on where to start? Whether you are a experienced buyer, or a first time home buyer this step by step guide should provide some helpful information.

Below you’ll find an infographic that I provide to all my buyers at the initial buyer consultation meeting. It gives you a nice layout on all the steps you’ll take during the home buying process. As a local realtor in Grand Rapids, MI I’m more than happy to answer any questions you may have on this process. 

1. Meet with me for a buyer consultation.

The buyer consultation is the first step and for good reason. Consultations can be done in person, over the phone or over your favorite video program (zoom, messenger etc…). During this step we’ll cover the step by step buying process, determine your timeline and most importantly answer any questions you have about the home buying process in Grand Rapids and the costs involved. Don’t be afraid to ask LOTS of questions. My job as your agent is to educate you on the entire process, which in turn will help you to avoid the dreaded buyers remorse later on.

2. Get Pre-Approved by a LOCAL lender.

I capitalized local because I think it’s very important to use a lender that is familiar with the Grand Rapids real estate market. I can definitely provide a good referral if you’re looking for one. Each lender I refer is a lender I’d personally use for my own personal home. Top things to keep in mind here to to make sure the lender looks at your income to debt ratio, job history and credit score. I have another blog post here that covers more details on this step.

3. Determine Home Criteria.

Ok, so we’ve had our initial consultation, and you’ve knocked out the pre-approval. Awesome! Now that we have your budget to work in it’s time to determine what criteria will define your dream home! We’ll go through the usual suspects:

  • home size
  • style
  • school districts
  • number of bedrooms
  • number of bathrooms

BUT it also helps to answer the following questions… As your Real Estate Agent, these questions can help me dig in to your search results and zero in on those homes that would really be a good fit for you.

  • What do you need to have in a new home?
  • Why are you buying a new home?
  • What would you like in your new home,  but isn’t mandatory?
  • What would cause you not to buy a home? (Power lines, corner lot, close to commercial etc…)

I also have a great home search tool you can use to see what’s out there!

4. Time to GO Shopping!

Alright, so you’ve knocked out steps 1-4. If that perfect home pops up you’ll be ready to make an offer. One thing that helps me as your agent during the shopping process is to let me know your normal availability. That way I can try my best to work in showings outside of your work schedule. Also, I highly recommend bringing a pad of paper and a pen along so that you can take notes. If we’re viewing 3-4 houses in one day it’s easy for them to all start to blend together. Take some time to write down what you like, and didn’t like, about the home.

5, 6, 7, & 8 Locking down your Dream Home!

Great!  Now that we’ve found that perfect home that checks all your boxes in Grand Rapids, it’s time to make an offer. The big question you’re probably thinking is what price should we offer for this home? Thankfully I can dig into that for you and perform a CMA (comparative market analysis) to help determine the value of the home. There are many other factors here depending on the situation, market conditions, and if there is any other competition for the home. I have many strategies we can lean on to help you write the best possible offer, and still stay within your budget. Once your offer is written I will present it to the listing agent on your behalf.

9. Conduct Due Diligence.

Congrats!! Your offer was accepted, and now it’s time for inspections. Typically in Michigan the standard inspection time frame is 10 days. Meaning any and all inspections you wish to do on the home need to be completed within that 10 day time frame. There are a lot of different types of inspections that you can have done on the home including:

  • Standard home inspections (inspection of mechanicals, foundation, roof, electrical, appliances and more)
  • Radon test
  • Termite inspection
  • Chimney inspection

and the list goes on… at a minimum, I typically advise a buyer to get a standard home inspections. I’m more than happy to provide some references for inspectors that my previous clients thought were top notch.

10. Home Appraisal is ordered.

Once you’ve spoken to your lender, and signed your mortgage application, the lender will order the home appraisal. The home appraisal is conducted by a third party. The appraiser’s primary responsibility is to determine that the sale price, the buyer and seller have agreed to, is a fair price in the current market.

11, 12, 13 You’re ALMOST there!

Communication is key here! Make sure that you’re staying in communication with your lender and promptly returning any documentation that they are requesting. These steps typically involve:

  • Obtaining proof of home owners insurance
  • Signing all loan documents
  • providing any lender requested documents to verify employment history and transaction deposits.

The lender will review everything and issue their final approval, at which point you will have 3 days to review all the documentation before your closing can be scheduled!

14 & 15 closing time!

Alright! You made it. Now it’s time for me to schedule your closing and coordinate with the title company and lender. Get ready to sign your name a lot. At close you’ll sign all the title & lender documents.

Once all the documents have been signed, if the purchase agreement indicated you would receive possession at closing, you’ll receive the keys to the property.  Congrats and enjoy your new home!

I hope that helps shed a little light on the process of home buying in Grand Rapids. If you have any more questions please feel free to reach out to me. I’d be happy to help.