Steps to Purchasing Your New Home

Buying a home can be fun and exciting! When it’s done right, the reward is superb. The first and most important step, is understanding the simple process.

Steps to Buying Your Home

Here’s the outline of the Home Buying 8 Step Process with us:

Consultation where we discuss what type of home you want, where you want it, and your price range.

Often as a home buyers you have a lot of questions so we invite you to schedule a time to sit down, and talk about your housing needs, what you are looking for in a home, and we’ll review some items to consider to ensure a comfortable budget is set. Once this is determined, we recommend getting a pre-approval letter from a lender of your choice, if you would like recommendations, we’d be glad to assist you in finding a mortgage officer who can met your needs.


HomeSt.A.R_Logo_R2John Rice created the exclusive HOMESt.A.R.® process that allows us to work together to ensure each step of the way your goals are met and achieved.

As your buyers agent we educate you and we tour homes until we find you your new home.

In step one we outlined a lot of the factors that are important to you, now its time to go see them in person. Items to consider here are neighborhoods, home style, proximity to things that are important to you. We help you think about all of these things.

Comprehensive market analysis is done to determine the best bid for the home of your choice.

Once you’ve found a home that you think has enough of what you want (remember no home is “perfect”). We will help you determine the right amount to offer. Some items in determining this are:what the owner paid for the home, taxes, and what other homes in the area have sold for.

We write the offer together – we thoroughly review each step so you know everything we are writing.

Offers can be written to be contingent on:

  • The buyer obtaining financing
  • Having the property inspected by a professional inspector within 10 days of an accepted offer
  • Additional items as deemed necessary

Offer is presented and negotiations begin.

After writing an offer with your interest in mind. We present the offer to the seller and their agent (if they are represented.) At this point, we might negotiate back and forth until all parties agree on price and terms. Once all parties agree on the price and terms an earnest deposit is collected to hold the property in your name. The earnest deposit will vary based on the homes price. Typically, an amount equal to 1%-2% is best but sometimes $500 is enough and other times much more is best. Plan on 1-2% and the situation will tell us if we need to adjust to anything else.

Inspections are held. If any items need attention they are brought before the seller to be taken care of.

During the inspection process, you hire a home inspector to come and inspect the home. This is a cost typically paid for by the buyer and its for your protection. The home inspector is there on your behalf to apply their knowledge to your potential purchase. They will inspect the entire structure, inside, outside, roof, basement, foundation, all items that remain with the home (test appliances and such), the electrical and plumbing systems, the roof and more – its a vary thorough inspection. Plus, you can elect for additional typical inspections like a termite inspection and/or a radon gas inspection. In Michigan I recommend both of these be done, but its your choice as buyer. A termite inspection is require if you are purchasing through FHA and some other government back loans.

The typical cost for an inspector is about $350-$400 not including termite and radon inspections (usually about $125-150 each.)  Each inspector has their own set of fees and may charge more if the home is much larger than average (typically about 1800 sqft or less.)

If there is a well or septic system involved, we will typically recommend (and in some counties its required) to have the well and septic system inspected along with ensure the tanks have been pumped within the last 2 years. This is typically a seller expense and usually their agent has already prompted them to be prepared for this to come up. Regardless we write the offer to protect you here as well.

If anything comes up during the inspection that is an issue, we can negotiate this with the seller. Almost every home has something (sometimes its incredibly little) and you may decide not to take any action about correcting an issue (sometimes inspectors point out recommendations that while important may lean more toward personal preference – you can decide.) Other times issues arise that may need attention prior to proceeding, this is when we talk about our options and renegotiate with the seller. Most sellers have done their best to maintain the home in as good of condition as possible, but sometimes things get overlooked and when the inspector brings it to everyone’s attention, the seller is willing to correct it.  In today’s HOT market you need weigh out the best next step

Once any potential issues have been corrected to your satisfaction, we proceed

The mortgage people begin to process the loan and we prepare for closing.

At this point we have passed inspections and we’ve let your mortgage representative know. At this point they will order the appraisal (a third party who helps the bank determine the value of the property you are purchasing.) Just like we helped you determine an offering price and walked you through a market analysis of the home, the bank hires an appraiser to do their own “market analysis.” Once the property has been determined to be valued to be equal to or greater than your mortgage amount, they will proceed. Typically, appraisals will run around $350; sometimes less, sometimes, more. Some lenders/banks will pay for the appraisal out of their “application fee.” It just depends on the bank/ledner you choose.

At this point we are usually within 2.5-3.5 weeks of closing. Sometimes FHA/VA loans can take longer (about 45 -60 days from the date we settle on an agreement with the seller.)

The closing: Congratulations you have just completed 8 steps to owning your new home!

Here we are! You’re sitting at the closing table signing all the papers everyone has told you about…..and we’re sittign here with you. Yes, we come to the closing – we’re here for every step of your home purchase. So what happens here? First off: we’re at a title agency. Title agencies act as a non-partisan third party that oversees the transaction and records it with the county and city where your property is located.

By now, you’ve already viewed the “meat” of all the documents you’re signing either through us in the purchase agreement or with your lender. Prior to sitting here at the table we’ve reviewed together the closing disclosure (otherwise known as the CD and previously known as the HUD or HUD-1 statement) which has all the final financials on it. This statements tells us to the penny, where your purchase dollars are going, including the cash you need to bring to close. This final amount is typically provided 24-48 hours prior to close (it depends on the lender and the closing office coordinating the delivery of your documents and their preparation.) You will need to bring the final amount in the form of cashiers check made out to the name of the closing office, along with your drivers license. If you are purchasing the home in more than one name (as a couple, co-signer, or other type of relationship) you will each need to be present and bring your drivers license.

Typically, by this date, the utility companies have been contacted to ensure you’re going to have electric and gas and such when you take possession of the home, and usually at the closing table you receive the keys – unless you’ve allowed the seller to stay a few extra days to pack their things after close.

After all the documents have been signed for both you and the seller (typically about 1 hour total.) Your closing is done and you are now the proud new owner of your own home!


What is next for you?

First Time Home Buyer Move Up Buyer (need more space) Downsizing Buyer – need to “rightsize”

What Our Clients Are Saying:

We have worked with John multiple times now, both buying and selling homes. We 100% recommend him and he’ll always be our go-to realtor for any future real estate needs. John is experienced in the industry and well-known and respected. He is extremely professional and knowledgeable, on top of being an all-around nice guy. He is responsive and answered all of our questions along the way. We asked John for several referrals for other services (lender, cleaner, etc.) and we were very happy with all his suggestions. John is honest and will listen to your concerns/opinions. He is never pushy, but gives great advice based on his years of experience. We are so thankful for the guidance we received from John to make our recent home buying and selling experience successful and quick! If you need a realtor, call John.
G&E Webb
John Rice is hands down one of the best realtors in the Grand Rapids and surrounding areas. We have utilized him as our realtor on two separate occasions, once over 10 years ago, and again over the last several months to buy/sell. He is incredibly knowledgeable and uses his expertise to help guide you in your choices throughout the realty process. He is professional, kind, has impeccable attention to detail, responsive, and clearly loves what he does. Choose John for your realty needs…he is the best of the best!
Amanda W
We moved to the Grand Rapids area 11 years ago and John was very patient as we found our first home and made the experience absolutely seamless! When we were ready to sell and buy again we knew to reach out to John. As we remembered and appreciated, John is an absolute professional and was and advocate for our best interests at all times during this wild market. We found great value in our new home and he helped us get top dollar for our sale. Grateful to have him on our side though the whole process. You won’t be disappointed!
Lance W
We have worked with John to sell 1 home and buy 2 homes and he is an incredible realtor! He is professional, prompt with communication, honest and patient. We had quite the list for what we were looking for and John was always available to answer questions and get us in to look at a home. His knowledge and connections in the industry made both the buying and selling process go smoothly. We simply cannot recommend John enough!
Chase and Nicole O
We just want you to know how much we appreciated your competent service in listing and selling our home, much loved for the last 26 years. Your quiet confidence and patience were most helpful in getting to "SOLD." Doing so during the pandemic panic, at a time when you were obeying the governor's "stay at home" orders, amazed us. You may look like the mild mannered Clark Kent, but during the pandemic, you performed like Superman! Thank you,
John and Lydia T
We can’t say enough good things about John. He is an awesome realtor! We bought our home with his help and just recently sold it with his help. He is highly knowledgeable about the Grand Rapids area market and his expertise and professionalism has shown through both times we worked with him...John is a wonderful communicator and a genuine person. His sincerity has been evident in his commitment to making the purchase and sale experience as seamless and informed as possible. We consider ourselves incredibly fortunate to have worked with John and strongly recommend him without reservation!
E&T VanBuskirk
It was a wonderful experience working with John. His professionalism, honesty, experience, and knowledge of the Grand Rapids market, helped us in multiple ways. John sold our home in one day, was honest about what we could expect from offers, and was spot on. As we progressed toward finding our new home, again, he was extremely knowledgeable about the neighborhoods, home values, and history of the homes. We are more than happy to say, that he helped us find our dream home within our budget! Anything I needed, he was there through emails, texts, or phone calls. He definitely put in a lot of work for us. Without a doubt, I will ask for his assistance again when the time comes. Thank you John!
T&A Lascari
John helped us sell our house when we moved out of Grand Rapids 3 years ago and recently helped us purchase a new house when we moved back. He is very professional and knowledgeable of the area and market. I would recommend him to anyone looking to buy or sell.
S&K Weber
I honestly can't say enough good things about John. He has helped my family buy two homes and sell one home, and each time he has been knowledgeable, responsive, respectful, and has taken care of everything that we needed. I would recommend John - and only John - to anyone looking for a realtor and I know that he will give them the same service that he gave to me
T&A Osburn
Purchased and sold with John, he is: Professional, an extremely good communicator, precise, and acted on our behalf 24/7. He kept us up to date on listings for purchase and preparation advice for selling our home. He was knowledgeable about neighborhoods. Photography for sale of our house was impressive. We were appreciative of the guidance regarding making offers, inspections, when to list our home, writing contracts, detailed review and presentation of offers on our home and being realistic about our purchase of new home. Great experience, Great Realtor.
J&G Junod
My family and I were referred to John by my sister. ... I am not sure what we would have done without his help and guidance through both the selling and buying process...John is extremely professional, and you can tell that he loves his job and takes it very seriously. I would recommend him in a heartbeat!
M&J Helms
John is an excellent realtor! He was very kind, honest, professional and thorough throughout the entire process. My house sold within 24 hours. I highly recommend John Rice if you are considering selling your home!
Rebecca P
We chose John as our realtor...(h)e came to the listing appointment incredibly well prepared, had some great suggestions on better staging the home and followed through on every commitment. Even more important, we had a full price offer the first day on the market and ended up selling the house for about $10k above list price. I know it's easy to be pleased with and recommend a realtor when you sell above list, but John was thorough, professional, accessible and generally pleasant to be around. I would highly recommend John and his team to anyone with real estate needs.
D&M Grimes
John is a very professional and thoughtful realtor! He has quickly become our family realtor and we have done several transactions with him. As a industry professional he always brings his "A" game whether it's helping me with showings, consulting on potential projects, or the phenomenal value he brings as a listing agent. I strongly recommend John Rice and his team.
Eric and Sarah C
We have worked with John in the past to sell a home and recently to purchase a new home. John is extremely professional, knowledgable and willing to answer any question you have during the buying or selling process. He is a great advocate on your behalf and John has exceeded our expectations both times we've worked with him. I would recommend John to anyone looking to buy or sell a home.
Jenna & Adam D
John guided us through the process of buying a new home. He took us on our first outing and it was immediately clear that he was very knowledgeable about the area and the business. He was courteous and patient and took notes on our preferences throughout. On the second outing it was obvious his time to get know our preferences paid off: he showed us several houses that fit exactly what we were looking for and that we would have been happy to purchase. We ended up getting a house that surpassed our expectations and fit within the budget we had given. We were very impressed with John and would highly recommend his services.
B&B Beard
"John really went to work for me. He SOLD my old home in 2 weeks and was patient with me as we looked for a new home. He really seems to understand the market and how to execute the whole deal. I would list with John in a heartbeat. If your considering buying or selling, John will make you very happy."
Jack & Stacey N
"When John Rice came to us our house had already been on the market for 2 years. We had almost given up hope of selling our house. Within 3 months John brought us two offers and our house was sold. He also helped us find our new house as well. We highly recommend John, whether your house is worth a little or a lot, John Rice will give you great personal and friendly service with the utmost professionalism."
Skip & Sara Coryell
It has been a GREAT experience working with the “Rice Team” while my wife and I were both selling our home and purchasing a new one. Great, because when working with them, they made us feel as though we were their most important clients. They were readily available when we had questions, which there were plenty, and they were very patient with us through the entire complex process of selling/purchasing our home, taking extra time to explain and making sure that we understood all of our options.
The Henry’s
The Rice team covered every angle to assure that the sale of our home took place in a timely and efficient manner, making this a pleasant experience.They were easily accessible and able to answer any questions that arose throughout the entire process. It was a great pleasure working with them and we will work with them again.
Justin & Jaime Beckstrom
Dear John, I wanted to take a moment and thank you both for the professional way that you handled our listing. As you know our house had been on the market for a considerable length of time with a different realtor. Once we made the decision to switch realtors, Jason and I had told ourselves that we were going to interview many different realtors so we got the one that would be right for us. You were our first and only interview that we did. Your professionalism and amazing presentation blew us away and as you know we signed with you two on the spot. At the time of the listing it was early December and we all fully agreed that we needed to hang with this listing through the tough winter months and would really look forward to something positive happening in March. Within 5 days of signing with you, we had an offer and 3 weeks later, we were sitting at a closing table....Thank you again for helping us. Please know we will be referring you to anyone that is looking for a Realtor. Sincerely,
Jason & Christine
During the sale of our old farmhouse and purchase of a new property, John Rice was a skillful professional. His positive attitude was infectious and inspiring. He possesses a knowledge of the local market and industry trends that is encyclopedic. As a young physician, my schedule is very hectic. I am amazed at how quickly John was able to respond to my phone calls and correspondences at all times. He consistently answered any questions we had within a few hours (most often within minutes). He always made my wife and I feel like we were his only clients as he focused his attention on our sale. Of course, there are many Realtors who may share some of those aforementioned qualities. However, the thing that sets John Rice apart is his tangible desire to share in our vision and help us realize our family’s dream. My wife and I always had the sense that from the first day we met him, John understood us and really desired to help us achieve those life-long goals. Needless to say, I now enthusiastically refer him to all of my friends and family. To any physicians or health-care professionals who are interested in moving their practice to our blossoming medical community in West Michigan, I urge you to contact John Rice and make him your ally too! Sincerely,
Joshua D. Vander Lugt, MD
Medical Director of Emergency Services / Spectrum Health – Gerber Memorial
John was a pleasure to work with. We were only in town for a long weekend to find a home and he was extremely accommodating of out tight schedule. We finally found our new home on the last day of our visit. John was very helpful through the entire negotiation process and helped us get our dream house and keep it within our budget.
Nick A, MD
John was very professional and a pleasure to work with. He is very knowledgeable about the real estate business. All of our questions were answered that arose during our buying experience and he kept us well informed of the next steps in the process. I would recommend him to all of my friends and family as the realtor to use for any real estate transaction whether it is buying, selling or even renting a home.
Vera & Jeremy D
I can’t thank you enough for helping me over the last 5 years. I began Grand Rapids with you and ended it with you. Seems fitting!... I will continue to send anyone I know to get the great service I received. I certainly am not your only promoter in Grand Rapids! Best,
Andrew B, M.D.