Your role as a HOME buyer

A layman's guide to the HOME-buying process

Whether it is your first time buying a HOME or you are a veteran buyer in need of a quick brush-up, this guide will go a long way toward preparing you for everything you might encounter in the HOME-buying process. Go forth and buy with confidence!

The path to making an offer

  1. Obtain loan pre-approval. This is the first step. Obtaining loan approval will clarify the type of loan you will need (FHA, Conventional, VA, etc.…), your projected price range, and will even help determine your potential monthly payments.
  2. Ask your REALTOR® to set up a custom search for you. Often individuals start their HOME search on the internet by browsing Zillow or Trulia. These are decent search sites but are typically not up to date with the most accurate information. The best, most reliable information comes from your REALTOR® who can access their local MLS service.
  3. Make an offer. Once you have toured several HOMES and determined the “one,” be prepared to make an offer. If possible, review a purchase contract prior to making an offer and be prepared to answer the following questions:
    1. Have you reviewed the CMA and determined how much you want to offer for the house?
    2. Have you reviewed the property disclosures?
    3. How much earnest money will you need?
    4. What date do you want or need to close by?
    5. Do you have a preference on which title company you want to use?
    6. Will you want a full home inspection?
    7. Do you want a home warranty for the home?
    8. Are you prepared for counter-offer or multiple offer situations?

Once an offer has been accepted.

  1. Deliver the contract.You will need to provide your lender with a copy of the final contract and your REALTOR® will deliver a copy — along with the earnest money — to the specified title company where they will begin working on the abstract and title process.
  2. Obtain HOME-owner's insurance. Contact your insurance provider. You may want to get more than one quote to determine you are getting the most and best coverage for your money.
  3. Bring the HOME up to code. Inspections will be ordered and scheduled, and must be performed within the time periods as provided for within the contract. Once the inspection report is finalized, your REALTOR® will review this report and determine what repairs you will request to be completed by the seller. If a buyer is not satisfied with the findings of the inspections, the contract can be voided at this time.
  4. Provide additional information. Lenders will request any needed paperwork to continue with the loan process — which you, the buyer, should provide in a timely manner — and will place an order for appraisal.
  5. Resolve any title issues. As provided by the title company, review the preliminary title insurance report and survey to make sure there are not title issues or encroachments relating to the property.
  6. Set a date! Once inspections and repairs have been agreed upon and the appraisal has been completed, determine a day and time for closing that are agreeable to the buyer, the seller, and the buyer’s lender.
  7. Schedule service with utility companies. Contact your local water, electricity, and gas providers to initiate service for your new HOME.
  8. Conduct a final walk-through prior to closing. The best time for a final walk-through is just before the closing and is a good time to verify all repairs have been completed. Typically, the seller has already provided “paid” receipts for any repairs completed by contractors, or that need to be collected at closing.

And the final step. . . move in and enjoy your new HOME!

Marinated buffalo mozzarella and tomato salad

One of our new favorite salads — serves four as a starter!



  • 8 to 9 ounces buffalo mozzarella
  • 2 ripe medium tomatoes (red, yellow, or mixed)
  • Marinade
    • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
    • grated zest of 1 lemon
    • 15 basil leaves, shredded
    • 2 tsp chopped oregano
    • 2 tsp best-quality extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to finish
    • 2 tsp grape-seed oil
    • 1 garlic clove, crushed
    • 1/2 tsp Maldon sea salt
    • black pepper


  1. To make the marinade, scatter the fennel seeds in a small frying pan over medium heat and dry-roast them until they begin to pop. Transfer the seeds to a mortar and pestle and crush roughly. Place the crushed seeds in a small bowl and add the remaining marinade ingredients.
  2. Break the mozzarella roughly with your hands. Smear it with the marinade and set it aside for 15 to 30 minutes.
  3. To serve, cut the tomatoes into wedges and plate them along with the marinated mozzarella. Drizzle with additional olive oil and serve.


Flavorful tomatoes are a must for this recipe. Smaller varieties have better flavor in the colder months.