Buying A Home from Contract to Close; The Step by Step Process

Buying a home is not as complicated as you may think. If you break the process into phases, each step is very attainable! Here are the three distinct phases of the buying timeline. We’re here to help you every step of the way!



  • Define your goals and research your options. You can think of this as your wish list! For instance:
    • What type of home are you interested in purchasing – a Single Family Home, Townhouse or Condo? 
    • How many bedrooms and bathrooms would you like to have
    • What counties / towns do you want to live in? 
    • How close do you want your home to be to your work location? 
    • Are schools important in your considerations.


  • Contact a Real Estate Agent and establish your timeline. This is especially important if you have many factors to calculate like most do during a PCS move. 


  • Contact a Mortgage Lender and get Preapproved. This step cannot be missed! While google searching homes for sale in your new city is fun, getting preapproved lets you determine what you can afford and clarifies your search tremendously. *Pro Tip! At this stage we can set you up with a custom search within your desired location and price range so you can start to see what’s out there and what you like. We can always refine your search as needed!


  • Determine the right mortgage for you. The type you choose will affect what you’ll need to qualify, the downpayment amount and how you will pay it back. 
    • Conventional loans are mortgages not guaranteed by the federal government. They offer low minimum down payments but have more stringent qualifications.
    • FHA loans are mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration. These are generally easier to qualify for than conventional loans but have stricter requirements for mortgage insurance.
    • VA loans from the Department of Veterans Affairs are for active or former service members and eligible spouses. VA purchase loans allow you to make no down payment.
    • Jumbo loans are mortgages for houses that are more expensive than standard lending limits. These usually require larger down payments and higher credit scores. (Kate Wood, NerdWallet)



  • Explore specific neighborhoods online, and in person if able. Keep in mind it can be typical to rely on your realtor if you are living far from your new city. It is important to work with someone who understands the unique challenges of the military lifestyle and someone who is ready to step in on your behalf.
  • View Homes and Go to Open Houses. Again, your realtor can view homes for you and give you the ins and outs of each property, sharing videos and pictures.
  • Select THE ONE home you plan to make an offer on.
  • Negotiate terms with the sellers. From contingencies to escalation clauses, having someone on your side to help negotiate for you is key. The right person representing you at this stage, can save you money and hours of hassle.



  • Do your Home Inspection. This is where a qualified inspector walks through the home and evaluates it to ensure proper function.
  • Secure your Financing and Title Search. 
  • Do Your Final Walk – Through
  • Close the Deal at Settlement. This is where all parties sign and the purchase becomes official.
  • Get the Keys


Article provided by the Properties by Leah Team @ Compass  

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About the Author

After graduating from Syracuse University, Leah Fernandez began her career in digital advertising at Ogilvy & Mather in York . There, she excelled creating digital campaign strategies buying digital media for Dupont, Pfizer, Live Nation and Qualcomm. Leah developed a keen ability to understand her client’s needs, and make the daunting, and ever-evolving, digital media landscape, easy to understand and digestible. With this skillset Leah offers unparalleled customer service, and will be the trusted partner you need to navigate the fast-paced DC Real Estate Market.

Upon relocating from New York to Washington DC, Leah and her husband began their joint real estate venture, renovating town homes from the ground up, developing them into multi-unit rental properties. As a result Leah has a keen eye for detail and understanding of potential improvement opportunities. Leah has a passion for design and craftmanship, and is an expert in evaluating homes and helping buyers avoid potential pitfalls, and guiding sellers to invest in their homes where they will see the most profit during resale. Whether you are a first time home buyer, investor, or looking to downsize, Leah’s dedication, enthusiasm and tenacity ensure that every client receives highly personal and profitable guidance.

Click here to connect with The Leah Team!