Find Your Perfect Home

Buying your first home is a huge milestone. You’ll be making a large financial commitment, and it’s likely to be the largest purchase you make up to now. But don’t worry — we’re here to help.

Homebuyer Workshop

Get in on this homebuyer education workshop to help you navigate through your homeownership journey with confidence!

We’ll Find You The Perfect Space

Congratulations on beginning the buying process! Consider this your go-to guide. Connect with me to get the most out of this guide with valuable insights at every step.

finding the right home for you

Steps To Finding the Perfect Space

If you’re buying a home for the first time, you may find yourself looking at houses that are out of reach financially.
Don’t let that discourage you; there are ways around it, but you really have to be realistic about how much you can actually afford.

The best way to determine whether you can buy something is to calculate your monthly mortgage payment, including taxes and insurance. If you come up short, it could mean you’re better off renting.

For example, consider a $200,000 home loan at 4% interest. A $1,500 monthly payment includes principal and interest payments, plus property tax, homeowners insurance, and maintenance costs. If you make less than $2,400 per month, you’re not paying enough to cover those expenses. So even though you can technically afford the home, you’d be better off renting.

You can also use online calculators to see if you can afford the down payment and closing costs for a particular home. These tools take into account your current income and debt obligations and show you whether you can qualify for financing based on the price of the home.

When you do decide to go ahead with a purchase, here are three things to remember:

Start your Search

The first step in buying a new home is identifying the neighborhoods you want to live in. Then, save your favorite homes, add them to a collection, and collaborate with your agent.

Using the KW App

With layers of options found on no other app, the KW App allows you to search by neighborhood and school district, revealing the details that matter most to you. Your neighborhood is an extension of your home.

Neighbors, surroundings, and access to everyday things can and should factor into your home-buying decision. The KW App provides background on neighborhoods you won’t find anywhere else – including lifestyle trends, walkability ratings, local restaurants, and more.


Once you have identified the neighborhoods that you are most interested in, favorite the homes in those neighborhoods that best meet your needs.

When you tap the ‘heart’ icon next to a home that catches your eye, you will have the option to add it to a collection. From there, share the collection with your Keller Williams agent, co-buyer, friends, and family. Because searching for a home is not a solo activity, the KW App allows for true collaboration so that everyone stays on the same page.

Another helpful tool is to create a saved search. This is a preset filtered search that updates automatically with any new homes for sale. Simply fill out your desired search criteria (neighborhood, number of bedrooms, bathrooms, etc.) and tap the ‘save’ icon. You can then choose to be alerted through text or email whenever a new home meets your criteria.

What Can I Afford?

Quickly get an idea of your home budget using our calculator.


Get Pre – Approved

Why should you get pre-approved? Simple – to determine what you can comfortably afford. It also allows you and your agent to move quickly when you find the right house.

The ZeroPlus Loan could save you thousands in Lender’s Fees!

  • Zero Lender Fees
  • Plus $1,000 additional Lender Credit at Closing
  • 150k + loan amount required
  • Plus a Discounted Rate!

Tour Homes

Work with your agent to arrange to visit the homes you’ve selected, together and in-person, to determine the best fit for you.

While you may have casually popped into an open house or two, when you’re serious about finding your new home, it’s best to start with a consultation with a lender. Your real estate agent can recommend a trusted professional who can talk to you about your financing options.


Make an Offer

Once you’ve narrowed down your list and have a clear favorite, it’s time to collaborate with your agent to make an offer on a home.

When you’ve found the one, your agent can help you evaluate the market and make a well-thought-out offer that also protects your interests.

What is a Counter Offer?

The seller can accept your offer as is, or they can make a counteroffer with an adjustment to your terms. You can accept or reject the counteroffer and make your own counteroffer. The contract is final once you and the seller have agreed to all terms.

 Your agent is essential when negotiating the terms of your purchase


Execute a Contract

Your agent is ready to help you navigate all of the steps that lead to a successful close.

The crucial period between an offer and a final contract is an important time to stay in close contact with your agent, so you’re equipped with all the information you need to make smart decisions.

What Should I Watch out for During the Home Inspection

You and your agent should attend the home inspection to learn more about home maintenance and so you can see any potential problems yourself. The inspector can answer questions as you go, so if there’s anything you don’t understand or are worried about, just ask.

Home Insurance

Home insurance protects your new home and belongings from accidental damages. Make sure you insure your home with a plan that fits.

Home Warranty

Secure a home warranty to maintain the essential, major systems and appliances that can be costly to repair out of pocket.

Some home sellers pay for a home warranty that covers them while their home is on the market and conveys to the buyers after the sale. You can ask your real estate agent for advice about negotiating for the seller to pay for a warranty or buying one yourself.

What is a home warranty?

A home warranty policy, which typically lasts for one year and is renewable, provides coverage for some of your home’s systems and appliances. In return for the annual fee, the company will cover repair costs and arrange for contractors. You’ll pay a deductible fee and possibly service fees if you need to use the warranty.

Do I need a Home Warranty?

If you’re buying an existing home, especially one with appliances that are more than four years old, a home warranty can give you peace of mind about paying for unexpected repairs and finding a reliable contractor. If you’re a first-time buyer, especially if you have limited savings, this can be particularly important.


If you have plenty of emergency savings, you’re handy, or you know good contractors, you may not need a warranty. Your real estate agent can also be a good source of recommendations for contractors.

If you’re buying a newly built home, structural defects are usually under warranty by the builder for 10 years, and other items are typically covered for six months to two years, so you don’t usually need a home warranty.

Close the Deal

Your new home is close at hand! Get ready to gather the required documents, sign the paperwork, and hire a mover.

There’s no need to feel jittery before your closing as your agent and lender will have you fully prepared for the day.


What’s Next?

After your closing:

  • Keep all your signed documents in a safe place.
  • Change your address.
  • Change the locks and security codes on your home.
  • Review your due dates and new budget.

Congratulations! You’ve got the keys to your new home! 

Stay in touch with your agent for future recommendations and service.

Frequently Asked Questions

Advantages of Partnering with an Agent

  • Absorb their local insight
  • Get to know neighborhood inventory levels
  • Learn about emerging local trends
  • See what’s about to hit the market
  • Understand market averages
  • Complete a thorough needs assessment
  • Sign an agency agreement for them to work on your behalf

What I need to Know when Touring Homes

Ask your agent to explain the key points in your multipage contract, such as:


  • Accuracy of information, including the correct spelling of your name and the property address
  • The effective date of the contract – important because your contingencies have time limits
  • A list of contingencies, such as that the sale depends on financing, an appraisal, a satisfactory home inspection, and perhaps the sale of your current home
  • Property disclosure information from the seller, depending on your state laws
  • A complete list of what conveys with the property
  • A list of required inspections, such as a home inspection and a pest inspection
  • Information about when you can move in
  • In some cases, such as if your offer is contingent on the sale of your home, the seller may add a “kick-out”
  • clause, which means that the seller could accept another offer if one is made before your home is sold

What should I expect when touring homes?

You and your agent typically tour homes together.


  • Homeowners usually aren’t home, so you’re free to spend as little or as much time as you want.
  • You may have a gut reaction when visiting a home. First impressions count, but you can also consult your agent to learn more about home values and possibly to reevaluate your priorities in the context of what’s available in your price range.

What should I expect to see in the contract?

Ask your agent to explain the key points in your multipage contract, such as:

  • Accuracy of information, including the correct spelling of your name and the property address
  • The effective date of the contract – important because your contingencies have time limits
  • A list of contingencies, such as that the sale depends on financing, an appraisal, a satisfactory home inspection, and perhaps the sale of your current home
  • Property disclosure information from the seller, depending on your state laws
  • A complete list of what conveys with the property
  • A list of required inspections, such as a home inspection and a pest inspection
  • Information about when you can move in
  • In some cases, such as if your offer is contingent on the sale of your home, the seller may add a “kick-out”
  • clause, which means that the seller could accept another offer if one is made before your home is sold

When to negotiate and when to let go?

Your agent can guide you, but you will also need to decide how much you want a particular property and what you’re willing to accept to get it.

You may want to let go when:

  • A bidding war drives the price too high
  • The appraised value of the home is below your offer
  • A home inspection finds defects that would be expensive to repair
  • The seller is unwilling to make reasonable repairs
  • You learn about homeowners association rules that won’t work for you

Common contract pitfalls I should avoid?

Your agent will help you watch out for:

  • Unrealistic deadlines: you’ll need time to arrange a home inspection and receive the report, as well as arrange financing
    • Missing deadlines means you lose your chance to end the contract and keep your deposit
  • Items that don’t convey with the property: if you’re not sure, ask your agent to confirm
  • Communications from your lender

According to the National Association of REALTORS®, the most common reasons for contracts to fail or to be delayed are home inspection problems, financing problems, or an appraisal issue.

Work with an agent to help you navigate the complexities of a real estate contract.

What should I do before the closing?

As your closing nears, you should:

  • Stay in close touch with your agent, lender, and title company.
  • Avoid lowering your credit score with a new credit application or late payments.
  • Confirm that your contract contingencies are resolved, including the home inspection, an appraisal, and your financing.
  • Finalize your homeowners insurance policy.
  • Gather your down payment and closing-cost funds in an accessible account.
  • Review your closing disclosure form, which you’ll receive three days before your settlement, and ask questions if you don’t understand something.
  • Arrange a wire transfer or get a cashier’s check for the funds you need for the settlement.
  • Schedule a walk-through of your new home within 24 hours before your closing to check its condition.

What should I look for when visiting homes?

  • Look beyond the staging and decorative items to see the features and fixtures that convey with the house.
  • Check the condition of the home.
  • Keep track with photos and notes.
  • Consider possible home improvements you might want to make so you can research costs later.
  • Don’t forget to check out the outside of the property and the neighborhood. Your agent has access to neighborhood insights and data to help inform your decision.
  • Locate your commuter route, schools, shops, restaurants, parks, and other amenities.
  • If the property is a condo or located in a homeowners association, find out the fees and rules to see if you can live with them.

What should I include with my offer?

Your agent will have the most recent standard-purchase offer forms that comply with state and local laws.

Your offer should include:

  • The price
  • Terms – such as a request for closing cost help or that the offer is subject to your obtaining financing and a home inspection
  • Target date for closing
  • Earnest money deposit – your KW agent can advise you about how big your deposit should be based on local customs and current conditions
  • Request for final walk-through
  • Time limit for the offer

What are the most common contingencies?

  • Unless you’re paying cash, it’s typical to write your offer with a contingency clause that lets you off the hook if you can’t finalize your mortgage within a certain number of days. Even though you have a pre-approval for a loan, it’s smart to protect yourself.
  • Home inspection. Your offer can be made dependent on a satisfactory home inspection report within a certain number of days. This protects you if the inspection uncovers expensive necessary repairs.

What happens if I face multiple offers?

In a hot housing market, you may find yourself competing against other buyers. In that case, your agent is your best ally in strategizing for your offer to be accepted. With access to real-time market data, your agent will know how to best position your offer.

If there’s more than one on the table, the seller can:

  • Accept the best offer
  • Counter all the offers to get a better price and terms
  • Counter one offer that’s close to what they want

You and your agent can work together to find out what’s important to the seller, such as a specific moving date, and to discuss possibly waiving contingencies, adjusting your price, or writing a “love letter” about the house.

What’s included in a home inspection?

The inspector will check:

  • Structural conditions such as the foundation, beams, and floors
  • Roof condition
  • Mechanical systems such as heat and air conditioning
  • Appliances – to make sure they’re working
  • Plumbing – for leaks, rust, and water pressure
  • Electrical systems such as grounded outlets and code violations
  • Safety issues such as stairs, handrails, mold, or chimney maintenance

I’ve got the home inspection report, now what?

While you and your agent can decide whether to negotiate on anything in the inspection report, you can ask the inspector the following questions:

  • Are the items you’ve flagged major or minor issues?
  • What needs to be done to resolve any flagged issues?
  • Can you give me an estimate of the cost of any repairs?
  • Do I need another inspection, such as by an electrician or a structural engineer?
  • Are there things I need to do after I move in?

Your experienced real estate agent is the best adviser to help you understand the implications of the home inspection.

What should I look for in a home warranty?

To choose a good home warranty, you and your agent should review:

  • The home warranty company’s license with your state’s real estate commission
  • The fine print – that’s where you’ll find exclusions and limitations
  • What’s covered and what’s not
  • The coverage limits – your repairs will only be paid for up to a specific level
  • Service fees and deductibles
  • How quickly service and claims are handled
  • How contractors are vetted and what happens if you use your own
  • Coverage differences between a basic warranty and enhanced warranty
  • Online reviews

You can always ask your real estate agent for home warranty recommendations and advice.

What can I expect at the closing?

In a word – paperwork! Allot a few hours for your closing.

Bring to the closing:

  • A government-issued photo ID
  • Proof of homeowners insurance
  • Your copy of the contract
  • All paperwork associated with your loan and the home purchase
  • Your cashier’s check or wire transfer confirmation
  • Your checkbook for miscellaneous funds that weren’t included on your closing estimate

What paperwork is required to close?

You’ll be signing numerous documents, including a repeat of the documents you signed when you applied for your loan. The most important documents you’ll sign are:

  • Promissory note to repay the mortgage
  • Deed of trust, which gives the lender the right to foreclose if you don’t repay the loan
  • Initial escrow disclosure, which outlines the funds on deposit for your property taxes and homeowners insurance bills
  • Right to cancel form, which states that you have three business days to cancel the transaction

Denise really went above and beyond in selling our home. Not only did we succeed in getting a very good price but she did an enormous amount of work in finding contractors for pre-sale repairs and staging.

Matthew Owens

Denise is a great agent.  She helped us purchase our dream home in a very competitive market.  She's really easy going and has the perspective of a parent and working professional.  I highly recommend her.

Meg Stockbridge

Denise was absolutely great at helping us to sell our home. She's very knowledgeable and helped us get our house ready for presentation. She was able to bring in several offers and help us choose which one was best for our family. 10/10 would recommend her to family and friends!

Rochelle May