Buying a home is exciting, it can also be a bit overwhelming. As a buyer, you may want to see a lot of places so you know what you can get before making a decision, or make a quick decision based on a few options.

During our search I get a sense of what would be the perfect match and what might be an acceptable trade-off if something special pops up. In the end it has to feel right for you. I can do searches that are not available to the general public, like carve out specific locations, filter for houses with central a/c, brick exteriors, attached vs detached garage.

I find that people sometimes have very different options that might work equally well. You may be happy with a condo downtown, or a small newly renovated house in a specific neighborhood. A single-family home or a duplex.

I also understand some people are looking but not urgently. I think it is great to get a sense of the market before jumping in, and I don’t mind showing places so you understand what you can get at different price ranges.

To make buying your home as easy as possible, I’ve put together an outline of the steps involved…

  1. Get pre-approved for a loan
  2. Find a home
  3. Make an offer
  4. Satisfy contingencies and other contract obligations
  5. Close, get the keys, move in, have a party


First it’s important to know what you can afford and what you are willing to spend to buy your new home. At no charge, lenders will work with you to determine how much financing you qualify for.

There are a lot of factors that go into determining your financing. Some variables include: the amount of cash you have for a down payment, the type of loan you want, the interest rate which varies based on your credit score, and how much you are willing to pay in extra fees.

The lender can give you a ‘pre-approval’ letter which states that you qualify for a loan up to a certain amount. It is not a guarantee but it indicates confidence that you can get a loan based on the information provided at the time.

The pre-approval letter is included with an offer and is a critical factor in providing the seller confidence that you can get a loan. Sellers may even choose a lower offer if the higher offer does not have loan pre-approval.

It makes sense to talk to more than one lender to find one you are most comfortable working with. Not all lenders are the same in style, creativity, and available loan offerings.


It would be great if you know exactly what you want and it is on the market ready for you to make an offer. That is not the most common case. More typical is that you have some idea of what you like. Sometimes you may want to see a lot of options just to get a sense of the market before narrowing your interest.

The most helpful information to narrow a search is the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, parking spaces, price range, and location. It’s also great to describe specific styles of features you want, and certain things you don’t want.

I will search and email you links to properties that seem like a good fit. If you prefer, I can setup a system that will send you emails automatically when a property matches your criteria. Either way you let me know what properties you want to see. If you don’t like email I can sit with you to review properties in person or just take you on a tour of properties I think you might like.

While looking at properties on the web and touring it is helpful to describe aspects you like and do not like. Feedback is a great help to focus in on properties most likely to make you say “THIS IS IT!”.


Once you’ve found the home that’s right for you, we’ll prepare an Offer to Purchase. Writing the offer can be an exciting, emotional and complicated experience. I’ll simplify and soothe, allowing you to enjoy the moment as you make decisions about the details.

The first thing to know, is there are standard legal forms and language approved by the State of Wisconsin. Together we’ll fill in the blanks to describe the offer. I’ll provide explanations and answer questions as we go through the process.

Although price is a major factor, there are more decisions you need to make. Some significant information you need to provide is:

  • deadline for seller to accept offer
  • amount of earnest money to offer and when it will be delivered
  • deadlines and details related to contingencies
  • closing date

If you want all the details I can send you the form.

Delivering the offer starts the negotiation. The seller can counter your offer if they want something changed. Once the offer is accepted the clock begins for contract responsibilities.


The earnest money check is made out to the listing broker’s trust account and dropped off at the listing broker’s office.

Schedule your home inspection as soon as possible. Sometimes inspectors are so busy that it may be a week before they can inspect the property. It’s a good idea to pick a few inspectors before an offer is accepted so you know who you want to call if your top choice is not available. You should schedule the inspection at least a few days before the contingency deadline because you may want to schedule a specialized inspection for something discovered at the general inspection.

Financing has a lot of steps and doesn’t start until you submit the application. Ask your lender what you need to provide. Before making an offer, you can get a head start by collecting the necessary information and filling in most of the application. As soon as the offer is accepted, call your lender to start the process. Also, talk to your lender before doing anything that might change your finances like purchasing a car, borrowing money, or even moving money between accounts.


Before closing your lender will tell you your closing costs. You’ll have a detailed statement 3 days prior to closing. The lender may ask that you bring a certified cashier’s check for your closing costs.

At the closing, you will sign your final documents and settle the financial details. This could take 1 to 2 hours. Then you’ll get the title and the keys to your house. Yippee!