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6 Steps to Make Home Buying Easy

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6 Steps to Make Home Buying Easy

Charlie Wills

I have been a resident of Madison for the past 24 years...

I have been a resident of Madison for the past 24 years...

Aug 22 7 minutes read

When you are just getting started to buy a home, the idea of it can feel overwhelming.  Where do I start?  How much can I afford?  Where do I want to live?  What is it going to cost to hire a Realtor?  These questions and more are common questions and thoughts that most buyers have when they think about a home purchase.  We have taken our 19 years of experience and these 6 steps are the keys to being prepared and feeling confident in purchasing a home.


1. Meet with a Realtor

This is the best place to start.  You want a professional who does this all day and has lots of experience in the market and knows how to guide you.  Ask family and friends who they used to help them in real estate.  If you don't have anyone that you can ask where you live, then do a search on Google to see not only what agents, but what others say about their experience with that Realtor.

Once you have decided on meeting one or a couple of Realtors, then you should meet them and see what they are like in person.  You want to know that they are prepared and ready for you.  They will most likely walk you through a process and ask you what is important to you in hiring a Realtor, plus they will want to know where you are in the process so that they can layout the next steps to help you on your timeline.

Be careful as there are many that have a license but only so many are full time professionals that know not only the market but they know each step of the process to help guide you to the right home for you.


2. Get Approved for Financing

This is extremely important!  Knowing what you can afford and are approved for is a huge help to you as you create a budget for a home purchase, but it makes you a legitimate buyer in the market when you are ready to buy.  Every seller that is in the market, wants only approved buyers to look at their homes.  Without it some sellers, if not all, won't let you in for a showing without an approval letter from your bank or mortgage company.  

3. Talk About the Costs to Buy

Outside of a down payment, there are several costs associated with buying a home that should be discussed so you have the proper funds.  Here are a few of the most common that you should know about:

  • Home Inspection: Most likely you will have an inspection.  That will range in price from $500-$700 or more depending on the home and how large or how many additional buildings on the property to inspect.
  • Appraisal: These are needed to get your loan approved and financed.  These will cost around $500-$700 depending on the lender and how busy the market is for an appraiser.
  • Earnest Money: This is the money that you put up front to the seller in an offer, to show how financially strong you are.  In our area around 1% is normal on average, but we suggest 2% or more to show strength.  This money comes back to you and is part of the down payment.
  • Closing Costs and Title Work: There are costs to close on the house from title and the lender.  They can range from $2500-$4500 depending on the offer and lending options you choose for your loan.  

These are all estimates based on the averages in the market where we practice in Dane County/Madison, WI.

4. Searches and Showings

Setting up a search or searches for what you want, it is really good to know what is a need versus what is a want.  That is different for everyone but typically a need is:

  • Beds, baths, school and location( city, town or village) 

Wants are something that we define as bonuses to the needs.  That if a house has all the needs met and has one or multiple wants on your list, then this is the house for you!

For each of our clients we use our First Weber App.  This helps you and your Realtor search for houses and so much more.  Here are the key features of the app and how we love using it with our clients:

My First Weber App   

  • Set your search
  • Save your favorites
  • Request a Showing
  • Our app searches for new homes that meet your criteria every 15 minutes. Shhhh… that’s as fast as agents get the same information!


  • Showings
    • When you see properties you like and you want to see one or multiple homes, then call, text or email us to set up a time that works for everyone.
    • What do all of these statuses mean?
      • Active: available to show the house 
      • Offer-Show: Seller has an accepted offer but willing to still show the house.  Usually due to a contingency that needs to be completed or is in process.
      • Offer-No-Show/Pending: This means there are no more showings and all contingencies are completed or removed and all parties are waiting to close.
      • Sold: the property is closed and now transferred to the new owner.

Download the My First Weber App Today!  


5. How to Make an Offer

The offer in Wisconsin is structured to have the same terms each time an offer is made.  There are standard terms that are necessary for most offers.

Here are a highlight of what those are from a 30,000 ft view to showcase a few major terms that you will want to have some familarity with:

  • Offer Price: This is the value you are offering to the seller.  We will discuss strategy about this for each house and each situation as each market and home are unique and deserve a full analysis.
  • Earnest Money: as described above we suggest at a minimum 1% of the sale price toward earnest money but in most cases we suggest that you do 2% or more to show financial strength.  This money comes back to you as part of your down payment once you close.
  • Inspection: This is a term that allows you to hire an outside professional to inspect the home and discover if there are any defects in the house.  They also do a great job of showing what maintenance is needing to be done and what is coming so you can plan for the future.
  • Financing/Appraisal:  This is the amount of time you need get approved for financing the house purchase.  You want to make sure you talk with your lender on that timeline so it is accurate.  The appraisal is always done with a new loan on a house, but you don't always have to make the offer subject to the appraisal.  This is a large topic and needs its own discussion!
  • Closing: The date that you are going to buy the house.  Once that is selected, you will know the day you close on this house to then move your home items into and become a home owner!

There are many more terms that come with an offer but are more specific if you are buying a farm/farmette or vacant land or income property.  We have helped over 500 families buy and sell in the area over the past 19 years.  Let us know how we can help you!

Let's Sit Down

Now that you have some of the basics of home buying, it is time to grab a meeting with our team and talk more about you and your situation.

Book a Meeting
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