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Buyers’ Roadmap

This Buyers’ Roadmap is intended to be a guide and overview of the buying process, to help you better understand the steps involved from the moment you decide to buy to the day you receive the keys to your new home. If you have any questions do not hesitate to contact us. We are happy to talk with you at any time about your needs and there is absolutely no obligation involved. Check out our Buyers’ Checklist too.  Have a question about the process that is not listed below? Just shoot us a note on the Contact Us page and we will answer as quickly as possible.  

  • Talking to Your Lender

    Talking to a lender to understand what you can afford is a crucial first step in the buying process. A good lender will ask about your home financing needs and expectations, your current situation and goals, and ask to review your income, assets and liabilities so they are able discuss the best loan options available to you. And having a pre-qualification letter from your lender shows sellers and other agents that you are a serious buyer, ready to make a decision. We recommend you talk to more than one lender to understand which one has the best loan program to fit your needs. If you need assistance finding lenders just let us know, we are happy to share with you list of lenders our other clients have had great experiences with.  

    Items you will need for your lender:

    • Income information (Pay stubs, Tax returns, W-2’s, etc)
    • Business information (Tax returns, profit/loss statements, debts/expenses)
    • Additional Property Ownership (Mortgage statement, tax bill, Insurance, etc)
    • Credit Information (Statements fo: Assets, checking & savings, CD, investment, retirement)
    • Legal indentification, homeowners insurance, contact info, trust agreement

    Getting a Mortgage

    When it comes to the loan process, there are several steps that you must go through. By making yourself familiar with the process, you will better understand what is required of you and how you need to prepare. After all, the more you know, the more comfortable and in control you’ll feel.

    1. Organize Your Documents

    In order to obtain a mortgage, your lender will require certain documentation from you to make sure you will have the ability to repay the loan. Such documentation includes proof of employment, credit history, tax returns, pay stubs, bank statements, divorce and child support statements if applicable, and any other information the lending institution might feel is necessary.

    2. Qualification

    Before you apply for a loan, getting qualified will help you establish how much you can borrow. When purchasing a home, there are two options to choose from to qualify for a loan

    • Pre-Qualification is a quick process that usually happens in a matter of minutes.
    • Pre-Approval is more beneficial and gives you better leverage when negotiating with a seller. Getting pre-approved also lets you focus on homes within your price range instead of wasting time looking at homes that you can’t afford. And when it comes time to close, the process will go more quickly since your loan has already ben approved.

    3. Find the Right Loan Program

    While searching for the right loan program, there are many things to consider. For example, you might want to think about how long you plan on keeping the home. The length of your residence will determine the type of loan you want to obtain adjustable vs. fixed rate. To figure out which loan program is the best, you will need to compare various programs and what each one involves such as rates, fees, and points. The process can be tedious and difficult at times, which is why a qualified loan officer can help you make the best decision for your situation.

    4. Obtain Loan Approval

    The process of obtaining loan approval involves the following steps:

    • Review of loan application and be sure and fill out completely
    • verification of credit history, employment history, assets such as bank accounts and mutual funds, property value and any additional information the lender might require.

    There are also a few things that you can do to improve your chances

    • Respond promptly to any requests for additional documents and information.
    • Do not make any major purchases such as a car or furniture until the loan is closed
    • Increasing your debt can have a negative effect on your application
    • Be available for the closing. You can carry out a power of attorney to authorize someone to sign on your behalf.

    5. Close the Loan

    Once the loan is approved, your next step will be to sign the final loan documents, which usually takes place in the presence of a notary public. Be sure to verify the information within the document, especially the interest rate and loan terms. Also check to see if your name and address are correct. Finally, don’t’ forget to bring a cashier’s check for your down payment and closing costs.

  • The Cost of Buying

    The cost of buying a home is more than just the Principal and Interest on your mortgage and it is important to understand all the costs associated with home ownership. On the mortgage side you there are taxes, insurance, PMI (if applicable), and the down payment to consider. On the ownership side you have home maintenance and utilities to consider – cable, phone, internet, water, gas & electric, etc. Understanding all these factors helps to give you clarity in understanding exactly how much home you can afford and how much you want to spend.

    Costs to Keep in Mind

    1. Downpayment (Amount depends on your financing choice)
    2. Property taxes, homeowner’s insurance
    3. PMI (if applicable), title fees
    4. Utilities (gas, electric, water, phone, cable, etc)
    5. Visit our mortgage calculator page to find out what you can afford!
  • Choosing Your Agent

    Buying a home is probably the biggest financial decision you will make. It is important to work with someone that you trust has your best interests at heart, and who will be an advocate that negotiates on your behalf. Buying a home is more than just walking through a house and writing a contract. It is important to have a lender that understands the local housing market and can guide you through every step of the buying process. At Kopf Hunter Haas Realtors® it is our goal to serve your needs at all times, not just for your current purchase. We want you to help you with your next purchase years down the road and for you to feel comfortable referring your friends and family. For these reasons we take great pride in our work and strive to treat each client like a member of our family. Please see our Bios to learn more about each one of us and how we can help you.

  • Identify Your Needs vs Wants

    There is a lot to consider when buying your new or next home. You want to make sure that you get the best house for you and your family. Choosing the right home, the right neighborhood, the perfect layout can become overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be if you journal your thoughts and ask yourself “what are the most important factors we want in our new home?” Make a list of Wants and Needs for the new home. This doesn’t mean you can’t have what you want in your home, but rather that you will have a priority list of the most important features. you may not be able to obtain al the “wants” on your list and stay within your budget. Compromise may be needed, so it’s important to establish up front, the difference between your wants and your needs.


    • Specific carpeting, paint, exterior color
    • Pool
    • Jacuzzi
    • Hardwood floors, tile, carpet
    • Bay window
    • Built-in entertainment center
    • Brushed nickel lighting fixtures
    • Skylights
    • A dramatic/pretty view


    • Adequate square footage for comfortable living
    • Sufficient bedrooms for your family
    • Sufficient bathrooms
    • Comfortable eat-in kitchen
    • Backyard for children or pets
    • Easy access to school or work

    These are just a few of the things you should consider…

  • Searching For Your Home

    Once we’ve identified your needs we will set you up with a Client Portal. This is a personalized web portal that allows you to view, keep notes, and manage all the active listings in that fit your criteria. Once you see properties that interest you, simply contact us and we will arrange to take you through the home(s). After you have identified your future new home, we will sit down with you to discuss the comparable sales in the area, give our opinion on price, and discuss the proper strategy for negotiating a purchase contract with the seller.

    Search Homes

  • Inspections and Appraisal

    Once you agree to terms on a purchase price with the seller and the contract to purchase is executed, there are still a few steps needed before you can collect those keys. You will have the opportunity to perform a whole house inspection (at your expense) while at the same time your lender will have an appraisal done on the home. We discuss the whole house inspection with you to ensure you have a complete understanding of the condition of the home and are aware of any potential home maintenance costs down the road.  Please see more infomation about on home inspection using our inspection process reference sheet.

  • Moving Checklist

    Here’s some things to think about as you prepare to move into your new home either in town or moving to a new city:

    • Give your new address to post office, credit cards, utility companies, subscriptions, family and friends
    • Close out local bank accounts and set up new accounts
    • Notify insurance companies of new location for coverage
    • Obtain school records, legal records and other documents
    • Obtain medical records and history, transfer prescriptions
    • Research or ask for referrals for doctors, dentists, specialists in the new town
    • Disconnect utilities and get refunds for any deposits made
    • Register children in the new schools
    • Use up food in your pantry, refrigerator and freezer and prepare for moving
    • Additional Moving Resource: KHH Moving Resources

    On Moving Day:

    • Double check rooms, closets, and cabinets for items left behind
    • Make sure children have books and games to keep them entertained during travel
    • Prepare your pets for travel
    • Carry jewelry and important documents with you and not in the moving van
    • Leave all the keys, door openers, and fobs for the new owner

    At Your New Address:

    • Contact utility services to begin service and gas, electric, water, telephone, cable, security company
    • If relocating to a new state, register your car/s within 5 days of arrival and apply for a new driver’s license
    • If staying in the same state, you can obtain a driver’s license with your new address
    • Register kids for school
    • Set up new patient appointments with doctors and dentists
    • Explore your new neighborhood!
  • Closing

    We help facilitate and manage the closing process by working with you (the buyer), the listing agent, the home inspector, your lender, and the title company, and any other entities that might be involved. We ensure that all participants are doing what needs to be done so you can close on the home on time and without hassle.

    Things to remember for closing

    • Cashier’s check for downpayment
    • Two forms of legal identification
    • Homeowner’s insurance policy
  • After Closing

    Our commitment to you doesn’t end at closing. We are here to help provide whatever resources you might need to make the transition of moving into a new home go smoothly. We are happy to provide references for movers, contractors, lawn care, locksmiths, moving checklists, and municipal services.