Home Buying Guide

There are many factors that go into buying a house.  We've prepared a comprehensive list of what you need to know before making the decision to buy a house.

  1. Obtain a pre-approval letter from a credible bank.
  2. Define your ideal home.
  3. Define your ideal price.
  4. Sign up at elitehomeselling.com to search for homes, receive price drops, and any status changes.
  5. Review listings, and preform a few drive-bys.
  6. Make an offer.

Pre-Approval For Mortgage

The first step in the home buying process is getting pre-approved for a mortgage loan.  It's important to know this process because with out a pre-approval letter from a bank or lender you will not be able make an offer on a house. Here are the steps to get pre-approved:

Step 1: Get Pre-Qualified

The first step in the pre-approval process is to get pre-qualified.  This step is quite easy and all you have to do is provide a bank lender with a general outline of your current financial situation.  Some information a lender will ask for is if you have any outstanding debt and how much income you make. After this short conversation your lender will be able to give you an approximate mortgage amount that you could qualify for.

Step 2: Get Pre-Approved

Getting pre-approved can be a bit more difficult and time consuming than getting pre-qualified.  Keep in mind that just because you are pre-qualified does not necessarily mean you will get pre-approved.  In order to get pre-approved you will need to provide your lender with two years of tax returns, recent pay stubs, bank account statements, and a credit report. Once you have been pre-approved, your lender will provide you with a pre-approval letter.

NOTE: We will collect your pre-approval letter from you to give directly to the seller once you are ready to make an offer on a house. Also, without a pre-approval letter, you will not be able to make an offer on a house.

[Read]: A more in depth look at getting approved for a home mortgage. 

Define Your Dream Home and Ideal Price Point

Defining your dream home can be a difficult task, but there are certain questions that you should ask yourself before you begin your search.

These questions can help narrow down your search and help choose your dream home.

Define Your Dream Home

Once you have obtained your pre-approval letter you should be ready (if you aren't already) to define your ideal home. Here are the questions you may want to consider before beginning your search.  

  1. What city or town do you want to live in?
  2. How many beds and baths do you prefer?
  3. How much square footage and acreage do you want?
  4. Is having a two car garage important?

It can be tough to really narrow down your search and can also take some time.  All of these questions and more will be figured out with the help of your realtor.  

“Through my experience as a realtor, I have learned that buying and/or selling a home is typically the largest sales transaction of our lives. For such a monumental decision, it is important to have someone you trust walking you through the process.  It is my mission to provide you with exceptional service and communication while assisting you with all your real estate needs.”

– Ben Magsig

Home Search Tool

Use this awesome home search tool to help narrow your search.  Enter county, city, price range, beds, baths, and property type to get a list of houses with the exact criteria or hit the Advanced Search button for even more options.


Define Your Ideal Price Point

Remember, just because a lender tells you that you're approved for a $500k house, does not necessarily mean you should be looking in that range.  

To some buyers, defining a price point can be a bit confusing.  It is important to understand that when defining your ideal price point you should consider what the monthly house (mortgage) payment will be.

Included in a monthly mortgage payment is:

  1. Principle
  2. Interest
  3. Taxes
  4. Home Insurance 

NOTICE: After closing, your first full mortgage payment will not be due until two firsts of the months later.  This just means that if you buy your house on January 2, you won't need to make a payment until March 1.

 [Read]: Find out exactly what goes into a monthly mortgage payment. 

Figure out how much your monthly mortgage payments will be.  Simply enter the price of home you're looking at, the interest rate, and the term of the loan. 

Mortgage Calculator

Amount of Loan
Annual Interest Rate
Term of Loan
Est. Monthly Payment:

Does not include any taxes or fees.
Please consult a financial professional for a more accurate number.

Stay Updated on The Housing Market


When you sign up for our website, create a search and save it, you will receive an on the minute update for any new listings, price drops, or status changes based on the houses your saved search.  This website is awesome because it is directly integrated with the MLS (Multiple Listing Service), which hosts all current active listings in the Greater Lansing Area. Since it's integrated with the MLS, our site has the capability of providing our clients the most up to date listings.

With the demand for homes greatly outweighing the supply, it is crucial to stay up to date on current market conditions. 

Using our website can help a buyer narrow their search greatly. After narrowing the search down to a few houses, we recommend doing a few drive-by viewings before scheduling any showings to get a feel for the neighborhood and any surrounding areas.  

Once you have done a few drive-bys its time to schedule showing times to walk through some houses you think you might be interested in buying. You inquire about walking through any house directly on our website by clicking the 'schedule showing' button on any particular house on the set.

NOTICE: The average buyer will look at and walk through at least 8-10 homes before deciding on a house, so don't get discouraged when you think you will never find the right house.

Making An Offer

Now that you have learned what goes into buying a house and have determined your ideal home, it's time to make an offer.  

Making an offer and what happens after an offer is accepted is normally the lengthiest stage in the home buying process.  There are several aspects to consider when making your offer.

There is some very important information you should know about before making an offer on a house.  We have broken this important information into 7 different aspects you should know about. 

  1. Process time line.
  2. Determining a price.
  3. The cost of buying a home.
  4. EMD - Earnest money deposit / Good faith deposit to seller.
  5. Inspections.
  6. Appraisal.
  7. Contingencies

This stage of the home buying process may seem a bit overwhelming, but do not worry because we will be with you every step of the way.

Let's take a deeper look at the 7 aspects that go into writing an offer.

Process Time Line

The process time line is typically between 5-7 weeks from the point where we receive an accepted offer to acquiring the keys and you being able to move in.  This may seem like a long period of time, but continue reading and you will find out why.

Determining A Price

In this stage of the home buying process, we will provide you with an in-depth market analysis to help generate a fair value for the home you wish to buy.  Determining a price is one of our specialties as Ben Magsig graduated with a degree in economics and has a knack for breaking down the market.

Cost Of Buying A Home 

There are many costs that go into buying a house that you may be unaware of.  Lender closing costs including tax escrows and pre-paids are expenses that must be covered by the buyer at closing along with your down payment.

NOTE: There is a way to finance these costs into your loan that you can take advantage of.  This is important to know because if you do take advantage of this then you will only have to bring your down payment of 3.5-5% (depending on which type of loan you use) of the sales price to closing.

The final cost that goes into buying a house is inspection and appraisal fees. Inspection fees will be paid at the time of the inspection and appraisals will be included in closing costs. We will cover both of these below.

Earnest Money Deposit / Good Faith Deposit to Seller

Once an offer has been made, we will collect a check from you, which is typically 1% of the sales price.  This check will be held in an escrow account by our title company Parks Legacy Title

This check is a good faith deposit for the seller that is collected from you at the time the offer is made. 

IMPORTANT: It's important to know the seller will only collect this money if inspection contingencies are cleared and you decide to buy a different house, or get cold feet.

[Read]: More information about escrow accounts.

[Read]: More information about Earnest Money Deposits.

Home Inspections

Although property inspections are not required, we HIGHLY recommend doing them in any real estate transaction.  Inspections ensure the home you are buying is in as good of a condition as what the seller is portraying.

REMEMBER: Your offer will be contingent upon your satisfaction of the property inspection.

Once the seller accepts your offer, we will have up to 10 days to perform inspections.

As stated above, property inspections will be paid for in full at the time of the inspections.

Once inspections are completed, we can either re-negotiate our offer, remove inspection contingencies in full, or completely back out of the offer. 

GOOD NEWS: If you decide to back out of the offer due to inspections, your EMD will be fully reimbursed.

Here is a list of recommended inspections along with their approximate costs:

  1. Full home inspection: $300-$325
  2. Radon Gas Level Inspection: $100
  3. Pest Inspection: $75

This is just a brief overview of what goes into home inspections. There are reasons why it's smart to get them and how they can help during negotiating the final sales price of a home.

[Read]: Everything you should know about home inspections.


After we remove our inspection contingencies (assuming the house was in the shape we thought), we will contact your lender to order an appraisal.

APPRAISAL BY DEFINITION: According to investopedia.com, an appraisal is an unbiased professional opinion on a homes value.

The appraisal must meet the offer price, or we will have to re-negotiate with the seller. For example: if we write an offer on a house at $200,000 and the appraisal comes back at $195,000, we will have to re-negotiate the purchase price because the bank lender will not cover the loan.

CONSIDER THIS : DO NOT rely on the appraisal for an accurate home value.  The appraiser knows the price we offered for the home and his objective is to make sure the price isn't over market value.  Most appraisals will come back $1,000-$5,000 above the offer price.

[Read]: For more information about real estate appraisals.


From the day you write an offer to the day we close on a house, your offer is ALWAYS contingent upon you qualifying for a loan from a bank.  If you lose your job the day before closing and cannot qualify, the offer will be considered dead and the EMD will be returned to you.


[Read]: Everything you should know about real estate contingencies.


This information may be a little overwhelming.  We are always here to help! If you have any questions, feel free to contact us, or leave a comment below and we will answer your questions as soon as we can.

Also, if you believe we missed something important in our home buying descriptions, please let us know and will add the information.