Ten Steps to Buying a Home

Two females side by side at a table one looking at a computer, one looking at a phone, both engaged with each other

First time buying a home or need a refresh on buying basics? We’ve got 10 steps to keep you on track from your first showing to the closing table.

Step 1: Meet with us so we can get to know you and understand your wants and needs

  • Discuss timeline
  • Discuss financing
  • Understand expectations and goals
  • Discuss wants, needs, location, and neighborhood preferences
  • Determine communication preferences

Step 2: Meet with a lender to know how much you can and want to spend on a home

  • Shop around—we recommend getting at least 2 opinions
  • Once selected, get a pre-qualification letter from the lender that states how much you can afford
  • Ask your lender about closing costs, which include: loan application fees and points, appraisal, title and recording fees, prorated taxes, homeowner’s insurance

Step 3: Start looking at homes

  • Review purchase contract and other disclosure documents
  • Discuss how negotiations work in real estate transactions

Step 4: Find the perfect home

  • Write an offer
  • Negotiate with the seller
  • Receive an accepted contract
  • Send a copy of accepted contract to lender to begin loan process
  • Earnest money deposited

Step 5: Schedule a home inspection to understand the condition of the home

  • It’s a good idea to attend so you can learn and become more comfortable with your new home
  • Plan on spending about $500–$650 for inspections (whole-house, radon, and termites)
  • At the same time, start shopping for homeowner’s insurance (all lenders require insurance before the loan closes. We can provide recommendations for trusted inspectors we know!)

Step 6: After inspection negotiations, work with your lender to complete the loan, which can often take up to 45 days (for a typical loan). 

  • Your lender will order the appraisal, assuring the bank that the offer matches the home’s fair market value. During this time, your lender should remind you not to:
    • Make any major purchases
    • Open any new accounts

Step 7: Call utility companies to transfer utilities into your name starting on the closing date or occupancy date (if they differ):

  • Gas and electric
  • Trash
  • Water
  • Cable
  • Telephone
  • Security (if applicable)

Step 8: Final walkthrough (usually occurs within 24–48 hours before closing)

  • Ensure the house is in agreed-upon condition, inspection items have been met, and items that were agreed to stay are there (i.e., appliances, etc.)

Step 9: Closing day

  • Your lender will contact you at least 3 days before closing to discuss final closing numbers and documents
  • Be sure to bring a certified check made payable to the title company (regular checks are not accepted, you can also wire funds to the title company about 2 days before closing) and your driver’s license

Step 10: Congratulations—you just bought a new home!

  • Thank you for working with us! We hope that you love your new home, and we hope you will stay in touch

Interested in Receiving Updates and Insights?

Don’t worry, we respect your inbox.

Carol Harris


With a 35+ year career in real estate, Carol has an unmatched experience in the Cincinnati residential market. Carol started her career partnering with Cincinnati’s first full-time female realtor, Sheila Miller. With Shelia’s mentorship, she developed a wealth of knowledge and built a reputation for selling high-end real estate. Carol and Shelia became one of Cincinnati’s leading teams, selling many of the city’s most expensive and iconic properties. Carol continues to grow the team through the examples of mentorship and teamwork. She is proud of what The CK Group is growing into and thankful for the chance to share, mentor, and work alongside such an outstanding group of women.