Buyer's Guide

Everything you need to know about the process of buying a new home.

The Home Buying Process

Prepare for Purchase


Choosing a Buyer Agent

Your Agent’s Primary Role

  1. Guide you through your home search and help find relevant inventory
  2. Advise you on pricing, contracts, and the transaction process
  3. Negotiate on your behalf, with your best interest in mind (Discuss agency and representation with your agent)

What To Look For in an Agent

  1. Communication style
    Industry knowledge
    Neighborhood expertise
  2. Principles of Buyer Agency
  3. Disclosure, Confidentiality, Diligence

Principles of Buyer Agency

  1. Disclosure, Confidentiality, Diligence

Pre Approval

Determine What You Can Afford

  1. Figure out how much cash you have for a down payment.
  2. Find out your credit score and whether you need to take action to remediate.
  3. Calculate how much you’d be comfortable spending.
    • Consider your lifestyle and how this purchase may impact your monthly budget.
  4. Meet with a lender to discuss your options. They will look at your credit, all accounts,
    income, and debt history to calculate what you can realistically afford.

Questions to Ask Your Lender

  • How fast can I be fully approved for the loan?
  • Am I eligible for any first-time homebuyer
    tax credits?
  • What is the maximum amount the lender
    will allow for seller credits?
  • Does my loan program require
    additional inspections?

Cost of Homeownership

Loan Types

Finding Your Dream Home


Your Home Search

Why Am I Buying a House?

Understanding your motivation for the move will help keep you focused on your priorities.

  • Understand home types and their pros and cons (Condos vs. Co-ops vs. Fee Simple)
  • Make a list of your must haves and deal breakers
  • Think about the type of neighborhood you see yourself in
  • Anticipate how long you want to live in this home
  • Communicate with your agent about your needs
  • Be flexible and open to alternatives

Guiding You Home

Compass Has Developed a Suite of Tools To Make Your Home Search Seamless

Our dynamic search tool allows you to type in what you’re looking for—no scanning through endless rows of checkboxes. Draw custom map boundaries to only see results where you want them. Using Compass Saved Search, you'll never have to worry about missing your dream home. Easily set preferred listing criteria and receive alerts when new listings are posted.


Curate Your Search with Collections

A visual portfolio of homes, this platform allows you, your agent and anyone else involved in the search process, to share and track listings. Comment in real time and receive automatic pricing and status updates—all in one centralized place.

Leverage Our Dynamic Network

Our strong Compass network allows our agents to be in the know about upcoming listings that may meet your criteria before they hit the market, offering you a competitive advantage when they become available to the public.

Let’ s Make An Offer

Terms of the Offer


Offer Strength


Structuring An Offer


An offer can have a lower price than another, but still be stronger! For example, if a seller values moving out quickly, a lower all cash offer that closes in 3 weeks might be more attractive. Your agent will know the best strategy to make a compelling offer based on market conditions, while considering your needs and comfort level.

Contract to Close

Once you have submitted the offer, the seller may reject, accept or counter your offer. Be prepared to go back and forth until you reach a suitable agreement for both parties. When all terms are agreed upon, the offer is signed by both parties and officially ratified. Negotiations are not necessarily over at ratification of the contract. They can also go on during the inspection and appraisal periods.

Best Practices

Home inspections can be nerve wracking, but they are an important part of the process. There are many types of inspections depending on the location and home you are looking to purchase.

Be Present

Take the time to attend the inspection so you can have a better sense of how the home works, see which areas will require maintenance, and assess whether you will need to consider home improvements down the line. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!

Be Realistic

Expect to have a list of items from your inspector in a couple days. Don’t panic! Every home has a list of potential repairs, and most will be minor.

Be Practical

Home inspections are another opportunity to negotiate. Speak with your agent about what items they recommend asking for repair. Focus on the items that matter the most. Keep in mind that the seller is not obligated to make all the requested repairs, unless required by a lender (FHA, HPAP, VA etc.).

Assessing Value

This is the assessment of value on the home by a third party appraiser. It lets the lender know how much they will be able to lend for the home.



After you’ve completed your final walk through, it’s time to sign some papers!

During settlement, the title attorney will go through your final settlement statement, line by line.

The title company will be in charge of disbursing the funds to the seller and the bank (if they still owe a balance on their mortgage).

Don’t forget your government-issued ID, cashier’s check or certified funds (if amount you owe isn’t wired to the title company prior to the settlement), and personal checkbook for any small last-minute expenses.

Make sure you receive all copies of the keys.

Once you’ve signed all the documents and the deed, you can officially call yourself the homeowner!

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