How to Buy a Home in One Year: A Step-by-Step Guide

Let’s start the new year off right. If you’ve been dreaming of a new home, it’s time to get started. Here’s a month-by-month guide to planning for and buying a new home. It’s about time to set your new year’s resolution, right?

22 gallant drive exeter nh

January: Brush Up on Your Market Knowledge

We recommend getting a copy of our buyer’s guide; “There’s No Place Like Home” to learn how the buying process actually works in the real world.

Woman typing on a laptop with a paper pad and pen sitting next to her on the desk.

February: Address Your Budget

This is a good time to meet with a local lender and get a preliminary estimate of what you can qualify for. One of our recommended lenders will explain the loan process to you and answer all your questions about financing.

Now you have an idea of what your mortgage will be and what you can afford in a home.

March: Find Your Perfect Location

A park full of bright trees, each at a different stage in the fall process (one is red, one yellow, and one green).

Do some soul searching. Where will you be happiest? Explore locations based on their job market, housing affordability, and overall quality of life. The goal is to narrow down your search to one city.

If you have the means, try to take some time off to go and visit a few cities. Once you find a city, it’s time to narrow your search down even further by pinpointing specific areas or neighborhoods that will best meet your needs. If you live in a town or even a state that makes in-person visits impractical, do some online exploring. Our website has some excellent information about the New Hampshire Seacoast and southern Maine regions; we’re licensed in both states.

April: Find the Right Agent

All modesty aside, we recommend us. My partner and lovely wife Ann Cummings and I have each been in the business for over 40 years each and have helped literally thousands of people just like you to buy their first home and some, their fifteenth, not to mention past client’s children and even grandchildren.

May: Define Your Dream Home

Luxurious living room with winding staircase, bright furniture, and hanging light fixtures.

Now is the fun part! Start putting together a list of everything you want in your dream home. We recommend starting by defining your “must-have” features. Think of the things in your home you can’t live without, from small perks to big ones

It’s also important to know the difference between “must-have” (i.e. you need 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms) and “nice-to-haves” (it would be nice to have granite countertops but you can also live without them.)

June-July: Begin Searching

Use a handy home search tool like ours to begin browsing homes for sale in your target area. Once you find a home that you like, it’s time to schedule a tour.

Private home tours are often better than traditional open houses because you have more time to walk through the home, without the pressure of competing with other potential buyers.

At some point in your home-search journey, you’re likely to come across at least one home that calls your name.

August: Fall in Love and Make an Offer

Bright dining room with hardwood floor, small black table, modern decor, and a ceiling fan.

You’ve found the one; now make an offer!

Work closely with your agent to compare recently sold homes in the area and craft the perfect offer.

Ask your agent for their advice—like whether or not they think the price is right for this home, as well as what other contingencies you might want to include in your offer. This is when your real estate agent will prove truly valuable: they’ll be able to provide useful insight in order to help you get the home of your dreams for the best possible price.

September: Schedule All the Things

Let’s get down to business. It’s time to negotiate with the seller, schedule an inspection, have your real estate agent complete any renegotiations (based on that inspection), and get the home appraised by a professional.

You’ll also have to take care of some more paperwork to finalize your mortgage loan.

October – December: Let’s Start Closing

Buckle up, because we’re in it for the long haul! Here’s where you’ll finalize your mortgage approval (this requires a ton of paperwork) and meet with an attorney to set closing dates and sign paperwork prior to closing. This is also the time when you’ll review closing fees and the exact monthly costs for your home.

At the end of it all comes the close. You’ll pay the remaining closing fees, sign all the paperwork, and collect your keys Congratulations! You just bought a home.

Happy home buyers

Ready to Begin?

We’re ready too. Contact us today to get started.

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