Your Home Buying Checklist

buying a home

For many, buying a home is one of the biggest personal and monetary decisions of your life. It can get very complicated, there’s a lot at stake, and a massive learning curve to overcome. What you need is a basic home-buying checklist.

There many steps and these include: 

  • Figuring out what you can afford
  • Getting pre-approved for a mortgage
  • Searching for a new home
  • Locating a realtor
  • Visiting open houses and tours
  • When ready - submitting an offer
  • Hiring professionals to investigate the property
  • Getting an appraisal
  • Possibly renegotiating the asking price
  • And closing the deal.

This is a rather long list with many tiny variables at each step. Rather than sending you into a panic, here is our first time home buyer checklist in depth. 

Determine your budget for buying a house

The first port of call on the checklist for buying a house is to really investigate the budget you can afford. 

Throughout this buying a-home checklist, information is key to success. Before looking at median home prices in the market, do an audit of your own internal financial affairs. 

First, be honest about your monthly income and don’t inflate it for your pride is just going to land you in trouble further down the line. Once you’re sure of your take-home pay after taxes, it’s time to review your monthly debts. 

These monthly expenses include your rough expenses on daily consumables, as well as: 

  • Monthly payments on vehicles
  • Insurance policies
  • Health care plans
  • And current mortgages on your property (or rental)

It’s always good to be honest with yourself about your finances. This is particularly true when it comes to your credit score. 

Unless you have access to a lump sum of cash and are looking for a quick purchase, you will need the bank's help.

And then include into the cost of the house, that there are going to be additional closing costs, which you’ll be liable for at the end of the deal. 

Finding out the median home prices in your area is fairly easy, with free online assets like City-Data. But be warned, these are only estimates and some sellers might be asking more for their homes for various reasons. 

Now that you have an understanding of your own financial situation it’s time to see if you can get a pre-approval on the amount you’re looking for. 

Get pre-approval for a mortgage

Of all the items on the buying a new home checklist, this might be the most daunting. Going into any type of financial institution and getting pre-approved is a process.

Getting the go-ahead from the banks, or pre-approval means that the lenders will review your income, expenses, and credit report. After reviewing this they will either agree to or reject your application for a loan. 

If everything goes smoothly you’ll be able to continue to the next step of searching for a home. 

But, what do you need to get to be approved by the lenders? 

You will need: 

  • To provide proof of income
  • Proof of the assets you own
  • That you have a good credit score
  • That you are employed currently
  • And the usual identification documents

Finding the new home

Arguably the most entertaining aspect of the home buying process checklist is searching for a new home. 

We can assume that you’re most likely going to be surfing through a number of websites and their listings. 

According to the NAR’s Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report, 51% of buyers used the internet to find their new dream homes. This was followed by 34% who used an agent, 8% who found their home via an open house or sign in the yard, and 7% were labeled as other.

While you’re online, it might be a good idea to join community social media groups to find out what is going on in the neighborhoods that interest you. Also, local agents and personal owners list properties on these forums. 

If you find a home you like listed by an owner, you could do the entire process without a realtor

But with the agent’s being the second largest source for potential home buyers finding a property, you really do want to collaborate with a real estate agent. 

Selecting a realtor

For the majority of first time home buyers, you’ll want to find an agent you can work with. The more experienced the better. They will have in-depth knowledge about houses on the market in the local area and assist with many aspects of the entire process. 

It’s not surprising that, according to, most agents are referred to buyers via word of mouth or 52%. 

After all, you’ll be spending a lot of personal time with these individuals and you want to trust them. 

It’s always wise to get referrals when selecting an agent and establishing that they are full-time real estate agents with licenses. 

While it’s bound to be suggested by the realtor, you should go to viewings and attend open houses and tour homes whenever possible. 

Visit open houses when you can

While you may have outlined exactly what you want in your home, it’s only when you’ve seen it in person that it becomes a concrete desire. 

Attending open homes will help you, as a new buyer, to know exactly what you want in your new home. Also, many buyers get emotionally attached to one idea or a certain home in their head and only when they encounter it in person can they see their mistake, or that they were right. 

Besides, the more inspiration you expose yourself to, the better the final home you select at the end of the day. 

According to the National Association of Realtors, the average house search takes 10 weeks and will comprise of 10 home viewings. 

But once you’re found the one, it’s time to put in the offer. 

Send in the offer

On the house buy checklist, this is a crucial step to execute properly. If you have contracted a realtor, they will assist you with an offer, which should include your price, preliminary contingencies, disclosing facts, and, for the first time, establishing a closing timeline. 

This is a process you may need to do multiple times until both parties are completely happy, and be prepared to negotiate the purchase price if the seller has their own ideas, in regards to price. 

Before sending through the offer, make sure to stick to three tips: 

  • Send through your offer as soon as you can, as others might be interested in the property. 
  • Always insist on getting a proper inspection of the place before the offer is validated and the deal closed. 
  • Always stand by your offer, if it is too low the seller will say no
  • And always mention if you are making a cash-for-house offer, as it guarantees a simpler and quicker sale for the seller.

When the offer is accepted, it’s time to send in the professionals to investigate the home.

Inspection time 

While we’re sure that you would have spotted anything obviously wrong with the property, it's the surprises hidden from sight that are costly. 

The owner is legally bound to share any underlying issues in the house, but sometimes they are honestly unaware of the problems. It’s only when a thorough home inspection is completed that you’ll be sure you’ve made the correct call. 

These specialists should be able to inform you whether there are any large jobs to be completed in the near future and can help you negotiate a better deal. 

What you want to be inspected in the home are:

  • Attic
  • Foundation
  • Walls, ceilings, and flooring
  • Plumbing and electrical systems
  • Roofing and waterproofing
  • Windows and doors
  • Visible insulation
  • And heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning

Once you have the reports in hand, you can now call in an appraiser to confirm whether you’re paying the correct price for your dream home. 

The appraisal 

Unless you’re able to access a large lump sum of cash, you will need the bank's help in financing the home. 

This often requires an appraiser visiting the home with documents, to estimate their evaluation of the property. 

Most appraisers are only interested in finding out the comparable sale prices in the area (houses sold in the last 90 days), the square footage of the property, the appearance, the additional amenities, and the overall condition of the home. 

If the last two steps have revealed anything untoward you might need to take one more step before closing the deal. 


If the inspection and appraisal have thrown a wrench into the deal, you need to renegotiate the price. 

But if the seller is unconvinced you can take three courses of action. 

  • Move forward if it is a minor problem
  • Ask they foot the bill for repairs if needs be
  • And if there are major repair bills and the seller is uncooperative, just walk away.

If you’re ready, it’s time to close this sale and make that last tick in your new home buyer’s checklist. 

Closing the sale

With this step, you’ll be sealing the deal and moving into your new dream home. Before you take ownership, you’ll need to sign some important documents such as:

The settlement statement 

This will summarize the final fees and charges you’ll be accountable for. 

The deed

To transfer ownership from the seller to the buyer you will need to sign the new deed. 

The promissory note 

If you’ve financed this deal through a lender this will be the legal “IOU” with the bank and will outline the loan terms, payment date, and where they must be sent. 

Deed of trust or mortgage 

The document where the buyer agrees to lien on your property as security for repayment of your home loan. 

And that’s it. As a new home buyer, you’ve purchased your first home. But for sellers reading through this new house buyer’s checklist and thinking,

“I want a simpler way to sell my house fast.” 

Then we’d suggest selling to House Buyers of America. 

Sell to House Buyer of America 

We buy houses for cash and purchase homes in MarylandVirginia house buyers, and the Washington DC area. If you are interested in selling your home without the complication of dealing with inexperienced buyers and want a professional house-buying company, we offer the quickest and simplest solution. 

House Buyers of America buy homes ‘as is’, so no need to pour money into fixing up your property. 

And because House Buyers of America purchases all their properties in cash, it is a fast and hassle-free sale

Once you fill out our intuitive online form or give us a call, you’ll receive a cash offer in a few minutes, after which you can arrange a time for us to come by the house to finalize that important paperwork, and the money will be in your account in days. 

Call us today at 855-659-3289 or use our online form to get started! We’ll get you a cash offer within 10 minutes and walk you through the process of selling your house for cash.

Get an offer with a click of a button

Sell your home directly to House Buyers of America and can skip all the hassle and months of uncertainty. Simply enter your address – and get our offer with a few simple steps.

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Of course, while working with an iBuyer is usually the best way to sell your home quickly (for cash or otherwise), there are still several other options that might be worth exploring: Related: The Top 6 Reasons You Should Sell Your House “As Is” For Sale by Owner (FSBO) Listing This method allows homeowners to bypass real estate agents. However, the onus of managing paperwork and attracting buyers falls squarely on the homeowner. This route can often be more time-consuming than anticipated, especially if the market is slow. Real Estate Listing This method has its merits, but the time and effort involved in maintaining the house for viewings, alongside agent commission fees, can make it less appealing for those wanting to Sell Your House Fast. Doing “Whatever It Takes” Selling a house requires effort, whether you're working with an agent, promoting it on social media, or hosting open houses. But remember, more effort doesn't guarantee a faster sale. The below statistics demonstrate why this is the case: The entire length of time it takes to sell a home is more than just the number of days your house is on the market. Before your house can be listed for sale, you must do your research to ensure selling your house is the right decision and also find contractors. That takes time. 86% of home buyers finance their homes, meaning they must wait for their mortgage loan to be approved before finalizing a purchase. That adds additional time to the closing process. It takes 30 days, on average, for a mortgage to be approved, and 50 days for the sale of a house to be completed (from initial offer to closing). On top of that, if the house needs a lot of work and the buyer is getting a construction loan—like an FHA 203K loan—you can expect another 90 to 120 days for that to be approved. Why The Traditional Route Might Not Be Fast Enough Traditional house selling methods often require time, sometimes stretching from 6 months to a year. 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Making the Right Choice for Your Needs While traditional methods might work for some, many find the efficiency and ease of a "sell house for cash" approach preferable. If a hassle-free, swift sale is what you're after, House Buyers of America might be your ideal choice. FAQ Why might someone want to sell their house swiftly? Reasons vary, from job relocations to financial challenges or even unexpected property inheritances. Is selling my house for cash a reliable option? Yes, especially when you want to sell your house fast without the regular market uncertainties. What advantages do iBuyers like House Buyers of America offer? They provide a streamlined process, no realtor commissions, and swift cash offers, among other benefits. Does the condition of my home affect the cash sale? Not with entities like House Buyers of America, as they offer to buy homes "as is." How long does it take to get a cash offer for my house? 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Cities and Counties in Maryland Where We Buy Houses Aberdeen Adelphi Annapolis Baltimore Bel-Air Beltsville Bowie Burtonsville Bushwood Catonsville Chesapeake Beach Chevy Chase Chillum Clinton Colesville College Park Columbia Crofton Darnestown Edgewater Eldersburg Elkton Essex Fells Point Fort Washington Frederick Gaithersburg Glen Burnie Greenbelt Gwynn Oak Halethorpe Havre De Grace Hyattsville Indian Head Lanham Leonardtown Lexington Park Lochearn Marlow Heights Mechanicsville Milford Mill Monkton Monrovia Montgomery County Mount Rainier Nanjemoy Olney Oxon Hill Pikesville Potomac Prince George's County Randallstown Rockville Rosedale Walkersville West River White Plains And more! We’ve worked hard to establish the best platform for quickly selling your home in Maryland. With our “We Buy Maryland Houses” program, you can quickly get your home off your hands, all for a very fair price. We’d love to chat more about finding ways to sell your Maryland property and help you achieve your long-term financial goals. Why You Should Use House Buyers of America Selling a house is stressful enough, even if you live in a very competitive state for housing like Maryland. When you add in the trials of trying to sell your house during a personal financial emergency or the emotions of an estate sale, it can be overwhelming. Let House Buyers of America buy your house; as suggested, we buy houses in Maryland and we put a lot of pride into our work. Here are just a few ways House Buyers of America can make a real difference: No Commission Yes, you read that right. House Buyers of America takes no commission when buying your home. This frees up at least 6% in the value of your home, significant savings that you can apply to your next home. With Maryland’s high real estate values, that means you could potentially save tens of thousands of dollars. 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Our commitment to a speedy sale is a hallmark of House Buyers of America. Any Condition, AS IS This is not a gimmick. We buy houses AS IS in Maryland, in any condition—from a tear-down to relatively new houses. Whether it needs tons of repairs or no repairs at all, our purchases are not made based on the condition of the home. Our offers are made in cash for any condition and on an AS IS basis. When Should You Use House Buyers of America? Clients of House Buyers of America range across demographics, ages, and financial situations. We help make it possible for Maryland homeowners to achieve their financial dreams. As a result, there are certain reasons why our customers tell us why they sell their houses to us. Job Transfer Did you just get a promotion that requires you to relocate? Or maybe your local office is closing down and you have to relocate to another city quickly in order to keep your job. Whatever your job transfer needs are, we offer cash for your home and we can close quickly. Buying a New House Perhaps the thought of juggling the sale of your current home and purchasing a new one at the same time in the same local market might be creating a lot of stress. Have you considered having to have your home staged and then factor in coordinating where to live after you sell? What should you do? Put a home sale contingency in an offer to purchase a new house and risk making your offer much less competitive. Or should you buy a house first and then risk not being able to sell your current house, leaving you stuck with two mortgages? This is the age-old real estate dilemma. If you’re in this situation, you’ve come to the right place! With House Buyers of America, you get a guaranteed sale of your house and we’re flexible on the closing date (and no closing costs). After the purchase agreement is signed, your home sale is covered and you can start looking for a new home without worrying about selling your existing home. Divorce Divorce can be a huge disruptor, emotionally and financially. In most cases, the divorced couple needs to sell their house fast so they can divvy up the assets and make a clean break. Many in a divorce situation look for a “sell my house fast Maryland” company so they can sell their house without having to go through the arduous process of a traditional sale. Finding a real estate agent, renovating, cleaning, and staging the house, agreeing on a list price, negotiating the terms of the contract, etc. This is normally a stressful enough task, but if you add divorce into the mix, it feels impossible. Why not pick up the phone and get an offer in 10 minutes? Or simply fill out our online form and get an offer quickly. No need to renovate, stage, select a Realtor, and deal with people traipsing through your house and losing all of your privacy for 6-12 months. Real solutions are well within reach. There is an alternative: House Buyers of America! Financial Distress Are you in a financial bind with thousands of dollars locked away in your home? Most people do not realize they can directly access the accumulated equity of their home in their hands in as little as 7 days until they contact House Buyers of America. We offer fair prices for when you need an immediate cash infusion to stave off foreclosure, bankruptcy, or whatever life throws at you. Medical Emergency, Retired, Downsizing Some of our clients are elderly and have stayed in their homes for years, but have stumbled into a medical emergency and need the equity in their homes to pay for hospital bills. When this is the case, whether you are a homeowner or a care provider, you might need to sell your Maryland home quite quickly. Others simply want a hassle-free solution for downsizing into a smaller home and want equity in their legacy home. Estate Sales House Buyers of America have also helped thousands of people who have suddenly inherited an unwanted or unneeded property. When dealing with an estate, many heirs can’t decide or agree on when to sell the house or who will take care of the paperwork, so the house is left sitting vacant and deteriorating for months or years. Estate sales can bring out the worst in people and families often get torn apart in the process. The traditional real estate process can be complicated and often doesn’t work well for estate sales. The unique estate laws that apply in Maryland can also create some additional complications. So why not try a simple, fast, and hassle-free solution that all of your family members can agree on? Get an all-cash offer in as little as 10 minutes by contacting House Buyers of America. A Fresh Start We’ve talked about several reasons you might want to sell your Maryland house to a cash buyer. Then there are those unfortunate circumstances in life that require a complete and total liquidation of your assets when you need a speedy exit from your current home and town. By getting an all-cash, guaranteed offer from House Buyers of America and getting your house sold in as little as 7 days, you get that fresh start without waiting. That’s why we continue to be the choice of people looking to “sell house fast in Maryland,” as well as other nearby states.