Buyer's Guide

A Step-by-Step 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: Choose a Real Estate Agent

Can you shop for, look at, and ultimately make an offer on a home without a real estate agent? Technically yes, but why would you when it costs you nothing for an agent like me to take much of the stress off your shoulders? Not only will I help identify properties you might be interested in, arrange showings, and ultimately handle the offer process, but I also have a knowledge of the market that you don’t possess. Finding the perfect home can be a daunting task, this is where my expertise and wealth of knowledge come into play. Let me show you around some homes that meet your dream home criteria so you can find the one that's right for you.

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: Find the Right Home

This should be the most enjoyable step of the entire process (other than moving in!). I will arrange showings of homes you’re interested in that are within your price range. Take notes about what you like and don’t like, and make sure to pay attention to details. Turn light switches on and off, open and close doors, and run the faucets in various rooms. Don’t limit your inspection to the home itself. Make sure to take time to explore the neighborhood and keep an eye on traffic at certain times of the day, the parking situation, and how close it is to necessities like schools and grocery stores.


Step 6: Make an Offer

Once you have selected the perfect home, work with your agent to craft a fair offer based on the value of comparable homes on the market. Depending on what the home is listed at and whether the current environment is a buyer’s or seller’s market, your offer may be below, at, or even above the asking price. I will be able to help you negotiate if you receive a counteroffer and reach an agreement. At this point, the house will go into escrow.


Step 7: Have the Home Inspected

In most cases, your offer will be contingent on having the home inspected to ensure there is no major structural damage or large repairs needed. I can help you arrange this, and you can schedule it within days of making an offer. If there are no major issues, the process goes to step eight. If there is, you can renegotiate your offer based on what needs to be fixed, or you can withdraw it.


Step 8: Select Your Loan

Now is the time to go back to the mortgage lender who pre-approved or pre-qualified you and choose your mortgage. You will be presented with various options based on your unique financial situation, including fixed-rate, variable-rate, 15-year, 30-year, or special programs such as VA loans or FHA loans. Work with your mortgage lender to select the option you feel the most comfortable with.


Step 9: Get a Home Appraisal

Your lender will have your new home appraised so they have their independent value of it. The appraisal is to ensure that all parties involved are paying a fair price for the house.


Step 10: Finish Paperwork

No one looks forward to all the paperwork involved in buying a home, but it’s a necessary part of the process. Fortunately, everything will be arranged by your lender and title company and, when you’re finished, you’ll know you are the legal owner of your new home.


After signing the final paperwork to complete the purchase, you are now the owner of a new house. It may take a few days for your loan to be funded once the paperwork has been returned to the lender, but once that check is delivered to the seller, you’ll be all set to move into the home of your dreams. 








Jean is a true professional and absolutely the best agent my wife and I have ever dealt with. We are experienced re-locators!! Ten moves during our 40 years of marriage. Where to begin…We met Jean via her w site many months ago when we were still living in FL unable to sell our home. We spent 2 days working with her viewing homes and neighborhoods in Greenville. At the end of our visit Jean had pinpointed exactly what we were looking for. Several months went before our home sold. During those months Jean kept in regular contact with us. Long and short…Jean found our home and gave us a personalized video tour. We put an offer in and it was accepted. We drove up soon after and viewed the home during the inspection. Perfect in many ways. Closing tomorrow. She did so much work for us after the acceptance. I could go on and on detailing what she has done beyond anything we expected. I highly recommend Jean Durham. If there is any one better at her craft…I wouldn’t believe one exists. Mark and Audrey
If you're looking for a Realtor® who's got your best interest at heart, Jean Durham is the one for you. She has a fantastic knowledge of the local market and works with a great network of people. She is very personable and makes you feel at ease. We couldn't have asked for more. We are first time buyers and she ensured that the whole process was as smooth as could be. She took time to explain anything we didn't understand which allowed us to make fully informed decisions. Sometimes you get lucky and great people come into your life at the right moment. We couldn't have asked for better. Jean was recommended to us and we most definitely recommend her to anyone looking to buy or sell their property. Exceptional service through and through!
Partnering with Jean was the best decision from start to finish. She was eager to really listen to us and our needs, her knowledge of the area was insightful and extensive and any questions were answered quickly, no matter what time it was! We are relocating from across the country and Jean has built a network of other business professionals to assist with any other needs we had. The bottom line is she took care of us (and my neverending questions) and we knew she was always looking out for our best interests. Professional and friendly, you will be capable hands! Thank you, Jean!
Jean was such a pleasure to work with. She was available to answer any questions or concerns I had during the buying process at just about any time of night and day. She is extremely dedicated to finding the right place for you. Better than all of this, she is one of the only honest Realtors® I've ever worked with. She respects your budget and is able to find you those unicorn properties. I would not have found the home of my dreams without her constant help and willingness to answer all of my random questions.
Jean was amazing! We told her what we were looking for and she would immediately find the exact homes we were looking for. She responds immediately no matter what time we would contact her. She is one tough cookie too, when we needed something done, she made it happen immediately. She treated us like family (she even made cookies for my kids). Jean became more than just our Realtor® and now we consider her more family than Realtor®. We love you, Jean! Thanks for everything!
Jean was amazing! She immediately sent us listings, contacts for loans, crime apps, etc. She was on point and on fire! She set us up with 5 houses on the first day and sent us the itinerary. She does all the investigating and gets you answers before you even think of the questions. We adore her and recommend her 1,000 percent. She will go above and beyond for her clients and she’s a breath of fresh air. Thank you so much, Jean!

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