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Buying a Home

Learning how to buy a home is a process. Whether you are buying real estate for the first time or fifth time, the process of buying a home or a new investment is always a learning experience.

The best preparation is knowing what you want, having your finances in order and having a good team of people working with you so that the entire process is productive and minimally painful.

Though the home buying process varies from one buyer to the next, there are certain steps that are consistent for most when buying real estate.

What are the steps of buying real estate?

Step 1: Get your finances in order

The first step is to review you finances for for the pre-qualification or pre-pre-qualificationapproval. Check your credit report to know your credit score, and address any errors that might show up.

Your credit score plays an important role in the mortgage approval process and in determining the interest rate and other loan terms that a lender may offer.

Step 2: Get familiar with the mortgage industry

Finding the right loan and lender is crucial to your home buying success.

Your AMSI associate can help you select a loan broker or lender who best fits your needs, and will provide an overview of the loan process before you begin.

Step 3: Get pre-approved for a mortgage

mortgagePrior to shopping for a home, you need to find out how much you can afford and qualify for. A pre-approval from a lender is based on your actual income, debt, credit history and savings.

Getting a pre-approval helps to focus on houses you can afford. A pre-approval letter may add more credibility when making your offer.

Step 4: Determine your wants and needs

Searching for your new home can be a time consuming process, especially if you have not determined in advance the parameters of your search. Take some time to develop your own list of needs and wants, and prioritize them.

Although you may have determined your search parameters in advance, buyers often find that their expectations may get further refined during the search determined by factors such as availability, supply and demand.

You must differentiate between your true needs and what you would like to have, your wants. Once you have a clearer view of what your house will need to have, the next step, actually looking for a home - will be easier for you and your AMSI agent.

Keep in mind, that your budget is a big factor and will impact, which needs, and moreover, which wants, you can actually realize. Get our checklist on how to determine your wants and needs.

Step 5: Get an agent

It’s possible to buy a house without a real estate agent, but most people without experience in real estate sales or legal fields will need the assistance of a good real estate agent. AMSI real estate agents will advise and support you throughout the whole process of buying your new home or investment.

  • property showingFind homes adjusting your wants and needs
  • Arrange appointments to see homes
  • A thorough market investigation for your dream home or investment
  • Introductions to local financial institutions
  • Help you to write offers
  • Professional representation in the negotiation of your home's purchase price
  • Relocation information to help choose the right community and location for your needs

All of our AMSI real estate team understand what a major commitment the process of buying a home is for a home buyer. Therefore you can fully rely on the assistance of your AMSI agent throughout your entire home buying process.

Working with AMSI’s real estate sales team means you are working with a licensed agent who listens well and understands your needs and wants, knows the local area, and whose judgment you can trust. Use our home comparison chart and figure out which home fulfills your wants and needs the most.

Meet our AMSI real estate sales team and find your agent.

The buyer’s agent is generally paid a commission or percentage of the sale by the seller.

Step 6: House hunting

Your AMSI real estate agent will know where to help you look for properties, while keeping your preferences and price range in mind.

Agents will most likely provide you with a list of properties that you can check out. Also check out a sufficient amount of real estate until you develop a sense of comparative value of each neighborhood.

Your AMSI real estate agent can help you with the evaluation.

Are you interested in a neighborhood orientation tour or a rental housing tour to get a sense of the rental market? Then learn more about our neighborhood orientation tour or rental housing tour as you prepare for your home buying experience.

Step 7: Write an offer

When you have found the house of your choice, the price should be compared with other houses in the area. Your AMSI agent will help you to assess the value of the home, and determine the strategy in your purchase offer.

property showingOnce the price is agreed upon, your AMSI agent will help you write up an offer.

In addition to the offer, you need to decide how much of a deposit you will make. This is known as earnest money or good faith deposit. This simply shows the seller that your offer is serious. Your agent will help you to determine an appropriate amount for the deposit.

Once your offer and earnest money are sent, the seller will respond in one of three ways: Either with an acceptance, a counter-bid where you’ll be given a number between your offer and the asking price, or declining where the seller wants to stick with the original price.

If your offer is not accepted, your agent will handle further negotiations after consulting with you.

Once the negotiations are completed and the offer is accepted, the escrow process will start.

Step 8: Get a home appraisal

After your offer has been accepted, the next step is to get a home appraisal. There is not much you need to do. Your lender will arrange the appraisal and check if the home appraises for the price you have agreed to pay.

Step 9: Get a home inspection

The main home inspection is one of several inspections you should have done on the home. A home inspection is an important home buying step that should not be skipped.

A home inspector will let you know what condition the home is in and what kind of repairs are needed before you buy the home.

Some concerns may include the condition of the roof, foundation, walls, plumbing, electrical, windows, heating, air-conditioning, etc. Consequently, you will benefit by knowing the real value of the house in regards to the asking and offer price.

Step 10: Settlement / Closing

The period between offer acceptance and the final settlement is known as escrow, which can take several weeks.

During this part of the home buying process, you might have additional inspections (for radon, pests, etc.), and you'll likely have more paperwork to closing escrowfinalize as you move toward the closing / settlement date.

Your AMSI agent will always be constantly involved to facilitate concerns, questions and real estate disclosures needed through the escrow process and closing of escrow.

“Contact us today and we will answer any questions you might have and help you find your perfect home”

Search our listings homes for sale in San Francisco and homes for sale in San Diego.

Meet our real estate sales team and find you real estate sales agent.

Buying Real Estate - Home Buying Guide

Get your finances in order

Getting to know Mortgage Industry

Pre-Approval for Mortgage

Determine Wants and Needs

Get an Agent

House Hunting

Write offer

Home Appraisal

Home Inspection




The stress and uncertainty one goes through when purchasing a home – especially their first – were never part of my experience when working with my AMSI agent… she and I would look at properties and she’d know more about the property than the selling realtor.

David C.

My AMSI agent was sincere and tenacious in helping me find my condo. She put my best interests forward and genuinely cared about my needs. She had integrity and provided the utmost professional service.

Rachel L.

Your support and efficiency during the transaction process has been second to none, I doubt any other agency & agent would have been able to deal with me as efficiently and professionally as you.

Alan S.

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American Marketing Systems Inc. is a Real Estate Brokerage licensed by the California Department of Real Estate. License # 01254853 exp. 05/25/18 AMSI 2800 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, California 94109, USA

@ 2017 American Marketing Systems inc.

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