Steps to Buying a Home

Everyone dreams of owning their own home. Searching for the perfect home for your family can be a very exciting, yet anxiety-filled experience. However, if you know what to expect during the home buying process you will be more relaxed and comfortable knowing that we will be by your side every step of the way guiding you through it and looking out for your best interests. Below are the steps to selling to help you visualize what this process looks like. Don’t hesitate to call us if you have any questions and remember we will be there for you every step of the way!


Before the house hunting process begins, it is important to know how much you can afford. Expenses to consider include the down payment, monthly expenses, property taxes, and any home insurance costs. These will all have to be considered before the home buying process begins as they are typically included in your new monthly payment. Since a person’s credit score determines their interest rate, knowing your score ahead of time can help you decide if now is a good time to buy or not. An individual’s debt-to-income ratio must also fall within acceptable limits of the home’s cost. Once you have determined these things, and if you feel that your budget has enough room to afford a new home, then it’s time to look for the right loan.


Different banks and companies will offer different loan origination fees and by shopping around you can oftentimes save yourself a lot of money. Get multiple quotes so you can make sure you get the best rate and terms. Be sure to also check your loan officer’s website for testimonials and information. A good loan officer will offer you many online resources and tools. Before you lock in your rate, be sure to check the daily rate with the rate your loan officer gives you to ensure you are getting the lowest rate possible. Interest rates will determine how much a mortgage will cost each month and come in fixed or adjustable terms. Mortgage lengths can range from 15 years to 30 years. The longer the repayment term, the lower the payments will be. However, the interest accrued will also be higher on a longer loan. Don’t forget to ask for a pre-approval letter so you can include this with any offers you make.


Before you start your home search, it is important to find a buyer’s agent that will be looking out for your best interests so you don’t fall into a money pit or end up paying too much for your new home. A good buyer’s agent will help guide you through the home buying process and can also save you TONS of time and money on the road to your new home. Buyer’s agents are legally bound to help buyers, whereas listing agents—the real estate agent representing the home listing—have a fiduciary duty to the home seller. Your buyer’s agent will also set up home tours, give you insight on any homes you like that you may not be aware of, have knowledge of upcoming listings not yet on the market, help you negotiate the best terms, protect your part in the deal, and give you invaluable advice throughout the process.


Start your home search by using your agent’s website (like this one!) to search the MLS for homes. Agents have a direct line to the MLS, so their websites often update with the newest properties faster than the ‘big name’ sites out there. It also has a My Listing Manager tool that keeps you both in the loop. You can start your search and begin saving your favorite properties to your account and even set up alerts to get new homes and price changes emailed to you. Your agent can then see the properties you have liked and can send potential new properties directly into your listing manager that they think you may be interested in. It’s a WIN-WIN!


There is an art to making an offer on a home. Your buyer’s agent will help you choose the right terms for your offer and will be watching for signs of problems in the home. Listen closely and be sure to ask questions. Be sure to ask for an inspection contingency so if there are major problems, you can back out of the deal without losing your earnest money. A home warranty is also a valuable part of your contract and is a sign of good faith on the seller’s part. You want to make sure all of your bases are covered. That’s where having a buyer’s agent is most valuable: so your rights and interests are protected. With their experience on your side, they will be able to help you negotiate a lower price that sometimes includes concessions or closing costs. Their job is to protect YOU in the contract.


Once your offer has been accepted, you will need a home appraisal. Banks require this so they can make sure the home is worth as much money as they are lending you. You may also need some inspections depending on your loan type. FHA and VA loans have more requirements than conventional loans. This is also the time to have a full home inspection, even if it is not required. A home inspector will go through the home and specifically look for problems and provide you with a full report on everything they find. This will give you the opportunity to avoid major problems and back out of the sale or negotiate repairs without losing your earnest money.


Once the inspections are done, you will more than likely ask the seller to fix some of the issues you found. Keep in mind that they are only required to fix something if the loan terms require it. Be reasonable but firm in your requests. If your seller rejects your request, then it is up to you to decide how to proceed.


The final walk-through is an important last step, even if you are positive you are going to go through with the sale. Walk through and check the agreed upon repairs, make sure everything is in working order and new issues have not popped up. This is your last opportunity to back out. If everything looks good, then it’s time to go to closing!


Before the home is legally transferred to you, the closing process must occur. During this phase, you will sign all of the mortgage documents, pay closing costs, and sign various other legal documents. Your buyer’s agent will be at the closing with you to help you through it all. Once all of the papers are signed and monies are transferred, the keys to your new home are yours! The only thing left to do is move into your humble abode. This may occur immediately after the closing or at the date set in the closing documents.


Depending on how far you’re moving or how much stuff you have, you may require a moving company or a moving truck. Professional movers may seem pricey at first, but when you look at the time and money to get similar results, you may re-consider. Call and set your moving date and start packing! Many places like U-HAUL sell moving boxes that are made to make your move easier. Label everything with what is inside it and what room it goes in. Recruit friends and family if needed.

Bonus Buyer Tips

See What Our Clients are Saying:

Molly B.

She puts in 100% of her time

I highly recommend Karen Haug. She is on your side and will find your dream home you have been looking for or your first home. She puts in 100% of her time to help you get what you are looking for.

Amanda R.

She was great to work with!

Karen helped us purchase a new home and sell our old home recently. She was great to work with! We knew we wanted the house before it went on the market and she helped us put an offer in as soon as it came available. Our house took about 3 months to sell and Karen was there for us the whole time. She had many open houses and showed it as many times as it took to sell it. I would recommend Karen if you are buying or selling and looking for someone very knowledgeable in real estate.

Courtney K.

She is always there

Karen is an absolutely wonderful being! She is very informative, personal, and honest. She is always there when you need her and responds quickly to questions and concerns. We could not have completed this task without her!

Brett F.

A realtor with experience makes all the difference

I want to thank Karen for everything with the sale of our home and the purchase of our new home. She did a good job of keeping everything moving in a timely manner. A realtor with experience makes all the difference. The “Sell 4 Free” deal is awesome! Thanks Karen!

Jeana B.

Would 100% recommend her!

Karen was absolutely fantastic in helping us find a home!! I work tons of hours and she was so accommodating working around my schedule and she was dedicated in getting us in the right house. She had so much advice and was very knowledgeable! She really went the extra mile to get my family into our home and she was very real and down to earth. Really couldn’t have asked for a better realtor! She definitely had our best interests in mind. Would 100% recommend her!!

Sonda S.

Her clients are like family to her

Karen has been a great realtor and person to work with. Her clients are like family to her.

She helped us buy our first home in Huntingburg 8 years ago so when we decided to sell our Huntingburg house she was our go to realtor. She did a wonderful job of getting the listed and getting it out there quickly so that buyers were able to see it and in no time she had found a buyer for the house. She was there from listing the house all the way to the closing on the sale of our house and was there to help us and keep us calm every step of the way.

And when we ran into some problems with purchasing the home we originally wanted she was quick to find us a better home that is exactly what we were looking for. She got our offer submitted and accepted quickly. She has been there every step of the way with us and has gone out of her way to help us when we needed it. I can not say it enough that her clients are like family to her and she is there for them. I would recommend Karen to everyone. She knows how to sell houses and she will find youe xactly what you are looking for.


So easy and so much fun!

Karen is the absolute best!! She made my experience so easy and so much fun! I wouldn’t have wanted to work with anyone else! She is truthful and tells you her honest opinion about everything. I highly recommend working with Karen for al your selling and buying needs! Thanks again Karen!!

Josh S.

I would 100% recommend

I had a great experience with Karen. She was very knowledgeable and walked us through the entire home buying process. I would 100% recommend to anyone looking to purchase a home in this challenging market.

Lisa J.

Karen went above and beyond

We were relocating from Illinois to Jasper. Karen went above and beyond to help us find a home via email and text messages. She set up 8 homes for us to see in one day, and was very knowledgeable about the homes and neighborhood. She found us our dream home that day, and we couldn’t be happier. She made the stress of moving 4 hours away, very easy! We would 100% recommend Karen!!!!