Step 1: Initial Appointment

The purpose of the initial appointment is to understand your “needs and wants” as a buyer. This may be the most critical meeting of the home buying process. During this appointment, the entire purchasing pathway will be discussed.

During this 15-30 minute conversation we'll cover topics such as:

  • Why are you looking to move?
  • When would you like to be in your new home?
  • How have you been looking for a home? (Online, Open Houses, etc...)
  • Purchasing Wish List: Locate, Price Range, Style, Bedrooms/Baths, Must Haves, and Additional Wants


There are three criteria every buyer uses to find their home:

  1. Location
  2. Price
  3. Style/Condition

These criteria, along with your “needs and wants,” will determine the properties we search for and the homes we initially view.


Viewing homes without a pre-approval usually leads to disappointment. Buyers who are wise discuss their financial situation with a reputable lender and acquire a pre-approval. A pre-approval creates an opportunity for you to not just understand what you qualify for, but ultimately to decide what you can afford. Having a pre-approval greatly enhances your negotiating position – especially in a competitive market.

The Details

Our preferred Mortgage Broker is Frank Gatto with Home Capital Network (Cell: 201-650-2763 |

Step 4: View Homes

The process of viewing homes provides you with information in order to make the best decision possible. Helping you find a home is a process of elimination; not a process of selection. Viewing homes you don’t like is not a waste of time; it helps build a frame of reference to help you find what you do like.

During our Home Tours we'll keep an eye out for 14 Home Inspection Challenges that can cause an issue on during the Home Inspection and/or on the ability to lend on the home.

For example, a home with a severely aged roof and/or leaking roof impacts the ability to acquire a mortgage on the home as your purchase must be in good working order in order for a bank to lend on the home. It's part of my responsibility to ensure we keep an eye out for and bring situations such as these, as best I can, to your attention before an offer is made in order to save you time, money, and energy. 



The best way to prepare for the contract phase of the transaction as a buyer is to review a blank copy of the purchase contract. Reading the contract prior to making an offer will make you much more comfortable during the negotiation phase. (Update: January 2018)

Step 6: Deposit Earnest Money (Initial Deposit)

Once we've found the house you'll call home and you're ready to make an offer, providing the Deposit of Earnest Money (also called the Initial Deposit or Good Faith Deposit) signals to everyone that you are ready to move forward. This step lets the seller know you're serious about their property and indicates to all parties the beginning of the purchase process.

This step can be done before the offer is officially submitted, at time of offer, or within 72 hours after the contract is accepted. These monies are returned to the Buyer if the transaction is cancelled and/or can be rolled over to a future offer. 

The Details:

Checks are made payable to "BHHSNJ" and delivered to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices NJP, 538 Bloomfield Avenue, Verona, NJ 07044. 

Step 7: Perform the Home Inspection

After the contract is fully accepted and all terms are agreed upon, a home inspection can be performed if the contract allows. The inspection will allow you and the inspector you hire to take a more thorough look at the property. This inspection will give you a far greater understanding of the property you are purchasing.

The Home Inspection

There are three categories that items should be sorted into when considering a response to the Seller:

  1. Safety & Appraisal Related Issues
  2. Reasonable Fixes
  3. Wants

It's important to note that the Home Inspections request from the buyer(s) will result in one of three responses from the seller(s):

  1. Agree to Fix the item at the seller's expense.
  2. Offer a Seller's Concession (this does not reduce the price of the home, but rather is credited towards "closing costs". The Seller's Concession cannot exceed "closing costs" of typically 3% to 5% of the purchase price of the property.)
  3. Decline to address the topic or issue requested.
Follow along as Jim Krumm of Colorado's Best Home Inspections reviews the highlights of how he performs a home inspection.  Watch the Video!

Follow along as Jim Krumm of Colorado's Best Home Inspections reviews the highlights of how he performs a home inspection. Watch the Video!

The Tank Sweep

A tank sweep is the best way to locate an abandoned or decommissioned underground oil tank. This is an essential part of a real estate transaction as a clean up due to a leaking oil tank can range from $8,000 to $100,000+, depending on the location and severity of the issue.

File an "opra Request" | Open Public Records Act

Request records by filling out form and returning to the City Clerk's Office. As your Realtor I'll provide you with the completed OPRA Request and information on where and how to submit the request.

In accordance with the Open Public Records Act, any city/township makes available its public records through formal requests to the Department's Office of Record Access. Requests may be submitted in writing by submitting a paper "records request form" or by completing the online form (if available) A sample paper request form is located below. 

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has a fantastic resource title "Open Public Records Act" that can answer any of your questions. 

All records, permits, and papers related to the purchase, sale, or work done on the property (home or land) of [insert property address], including but not limited to if a tank was ever installed/removed/decommissioned, are requested. Preferred delivery is by email to [client’s emails].

The Details:

Our preferred Home Inspection Specialist is Jack McEvoy with McEvoy Home Inspections (Cell: 201-396-5928 |

Our preferred Tank Sweep Specialist is Gino with Sterling Environmental (Cell: 973-343-6716 |



After the mortgage has been approved, a final walk through is encouraged. On the final walk through, you will re-inspect the property to ensure it is in an acceptable condition and that any personal property conveying is present.


Once the contract is accepted, inspections performed and mortgage approved, the closing will be set and final documents will be executed. You will be directed by the appropriate party as to the time and date of this event. Either a formal closing date will be established by a closing attorney, or an escrow officer will close the transaction.

Frequently Asked Questions about Title & Closing

The Details

Our preferred Title Company (Closing Company) is Ed Gillespie with Associated Title (Cell: 917-868-3989|


Upon the conclusion of the paperwork and transfer of ownership, you will receive the keys, garage door openers, and any documents/warranties that convey with the property. You will then become the rightful owner. It’s time to move in!