Purchasing a home in 17 steps

Team Up for Quick Results


While purchasing a home can seem like a daunting task, hiring the Melissa Cummings Group will ultimately lead to a reduction of stress for you. We are consultants who guide our clients from the initial thoughts of purchasing a property, to handing over the keys.

New to the sales process? Here is a general timeline of what you can expect. While the milestones will vary per each buyer’s unique scenario, here are 17 steps for a home purchase: 

Step 1: Choose an agent

When considering purchasing a home, it is important to find a team and realtor who you trust and connect with. It is never too soon for that initial meeting, and we will create a customized Blueprint specifically for your timeline and search criteria.

Please review the About Us page to learn about our agents and their specialties.

Step 2: Find a lender

The best next step is to connect with a lender. The lender will help you determine a purchase price to match your goal monthly payment. Our team will create a strategy based on the current market trends to keep you in that range.

Step 3: Go the Extra Mile to Win

Obtaining a loan can be particularly overwhelming especially while in the rush to meet deadlines of an accepted offer. Prevent the stress by becoming fully underwritten prior to writing an offer.

A fully underwritten “TBD” pre approval will be granted by a lender when an application is completed and the lender moves forward as if you were already in contract on a property. You will be requested to send in the documents required to qualify for the loan, therefore reducing the scramble of finding those documents during the strict timeline of a purchase contract. At the end of the underwriting process you will receive the fully underwritten approval to send in with offers.

A listing agent will prioritize offers with fully underwritten files, especially since it can shorten the funding process and contingency periods. A fully underwritten pre approval is competitive with a cash offer in scenarios where the loan contingency is waived. Every active contingency on an offer is considered a potential weakness by the seller, because each contingency is an opportunity to back out of the contract. A cash offer is usually preferred over a financed offer because the appraisal contingency and loan contingency are not active.

Sending an offer with a fully underwritten pre approval will elevate your offer over other buyers who haven’t started the underwriting process. 

Step 4: Share Your Search Criteria

Decide on the profile of your next home. Create a list with the qualities that are “must have” and “would like to have” and “deal breakers”. Include potential cities and neighborhoods that you prefer, with requirements for amount of bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage, and other features.

We have developed a form that can guide you through the options we see commonly in properties. Begin the survey below. Send this list to your agent specialist to begin the search and to create your customized Blueprint: Home Search. Looking for an agent? Search Here or Contact us.

What is a Blueprint?

Our team stands out for the specialized, streamlined services we have created.
When you hire us you will receive a Blueprint, or a map of the road ahead, to guide you to your end goal with the criteria you have outlined.

Step 5: Home Collection

When working with our team, you will be receiving an invitation to your personalized home collection. Based on your desired property criteria, properties will collect in your search dashboard when they match your search criteria.

Depending on your specific Blueprint, the properties will load automatically into the collection as they come to the market. Please check your collection often and use the “trash” button to remove any properties that do not interest you, and the “favorite” button to save properties of interest.

The comment section is ideal to let your agent know why you like a specific property or why one does not meet your needs. The more details we receive, the better we will be at matching your home to you! 

Step 6: Request Tours

Our home collection platform allows you to request tours directly through our app. Keep in mind that most sellers require at least 24 hours notice to prepare for showings.

Step 7: Write an Offer

When you find a home of interest, your agent will send you a home value estimate with recent sales in the neighborhood, and will create the offer. It is common to receive a counter offer from the seller. Your agent will guide you through your options for accepting, countering or rejecting the counter offers. We use an electronic signature system called Glide to make signing paperwork easy and streamlined.

Step 8: Open Escrow

Once your offer is accepted, the listing agent will contact the escrow company to begin the purchase process.

What is an Escrow?

Escrow is a third party company who holds the deposit and final closing funds during the process of the sale.

Step 9: Due Diligence

Once escrow has opened, it is strongly recommended to conduct professional inspections. The specialists will identify upcoming repairs needed on the property. Depending on the findings, repairs or credits can be requested. The seller has no obligation to agree to any of the requests and you have the opportunity to cancel the sale when the inspection contingency is in place.

Step 10: Earnest Money Deposit

Escrow will send instructions on how to wire your initial deposit, which is due within the first 3 days of opening escrow. We usually see a deposit of 3% of the purchase price, although this is one of the terms that can be negotiated during the offer process.

Buyer Beware!
Wire fraud is on the rise. The best practice to keep your funds safe is to call escrow to confirm the correct account number prior to wiring the funds. Our agents will never request funds from you; please alert a team member if you believe there is a questionable communication regarding request for funds.

Step 11: Appraisal

In a purchase involving a loan, the lender will require and order an appraisal to determine the value of the property. The appraisal is ordered once a fully executed purchase contract is in place.

What is an Escrow?

Escrow is a third party company who holds the deposit and final closing funds during the process of the sale.

Step 12: Removal of contingencies

The purchase contract will outline the timeline for contingency removals. Contingencies are active, not passive, as they require approval from the buyer to be removed.

A contingency is a term which means “ depending on certain circumstances”. In a sale, there are various contingencies which gives the buyer an opportunity to cancel within a mutually agreed upon amount of time.

Step 13: Signing Documents

Escrow will require “wet” signatures on the final documents prior to closing the transaction. The escrow paperwork can be signed in the escrow office or with a notary at your preferred location.

Step 14: Closing Disclosure

Your lender will send the final closing disclosure at least 3 business days prior to funding your loan. This time requirement was put in place by the State of California.

Step 15:Verification of Property

When the sale is a few days away from closing, you or your agent will revisit the property to confirm that it is in the same condition it was when you first wrote the offer.

Step 16: Closing Funds

Coordinate timing with escrow and your lender for wiring the rest of your down payment.

Step 17: Closing Day!

Once your loan has been funded, your down payment has been sent to escrow, and title records, you officially own the home! Receiving possession of the property will vary in each situation based on the initial negotiations. In a standard sale, you will receive keys by 6pm the day the property records.