The Home Buying Process

Our Comprehensive Guide for Home Buyers

What Every Home Buyer Needs To Know

Ramseier Group

Your Saint Joseph, MO Home Buying Experts

St. Joseph Realtor® Team

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Our Comprehensive Guide for Home Buyers*

What Every Home Buyer Needs To Know

There's a lot to navigate when buying a home, from having your finances in order to finding the right agent, identifying the right property, negotiating an offer, navigating the inspection and appraisal process... it can seem overwhelming! Use this Home Buying Guide answer some commonly asked questions about the home buying process. Call one of our expert real estate agents to schedule your no obligation consultation. (816) 262-8077

Homebuying Myths

Myth one: I need 20% down to buy 

• Truth: It’s great if you can put 20% as a down payment, but it’s not required. 

• Depending on what kind of loan you get, you can make down payments as low as 0-5%. 

• Even if you have a low credit score, it’s possible for you to buy a house. If you need to repair your credit, your agent will point you to programs that can help you repair your credit. 

Myth two: Renting is always cheaper than buying

• Truth: Oftentimes, you can make house payments for less than what it costs to rent. 

• Also, rent rates are going up!

• The additional benefit of buying is that you’re building your own equity instead of putting money in someone else’s pockets. 

What You Can Expect To Pay

• You have to pay for a down payment, earnest money, inspections, appraisal, and closing costs.

• Don't forget to account for insurance and taxes when using a mortgage calculator.

• Don't make any major purchases (e.g. new furniture, a new car, etc.) or apply for new credit cards between getting pre-approved and buying your home as this could cause your lending to fall through.

• Typically, a buyer’s agent is no cost to you because the seller usually pays the agent’s commission.

The Home Buying Process

1. Initial Consultation

• Why do you need an agent? It’s important to have your own agent who can represent you. The agent who is helping sell the home (the agent who appears on the For Sale sign) is already under contract to represent the seller. So you want to have someone looking out for your best interests in the transaction. 

• That agent will establish a working relationship with you and will determine your needs, time constraints, and financial prequalification. 

You should be pre-qualified before you start the home search.

- Why is choosing the right lender so important? With a bad lender, you might not close on time. You want a lender who communicates well. You don't want to have your moving truck in the driveway only to find out that you can't close on time because of the lender's failure!

-Lender choice is up to you and our real estate agents have great relationships with local lenders. We are happy to make recommendations!

• It takes a minimum of 4-6 weeks to close (unless you are buying a house with cash). It could take an additional 4-6 weeks to find the home you want. So the entire home buying process can take up to 8-12 weeks–sometimes longer, sometimes shorter. 

2. Select Properties

• A good agent will ask you a lot of questions and show you a few properties instead of asking you a few questions and showing you a lot of properties. Your time is valuable! 

• Once your agent knows what you’re looking for in a house, they will then start a search on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) for you. 

• One advantage your real estate agent has is that they can look at the Pre-MLS to see properties that are about to go on the market so you can hopefully be one of the first ones to view the property or make an offer once it’s live on the market. 

• Sometimes your agent will need to get creative to help you find your new home.

-Your agent can drive around town to look for For Sale By Owner properties (FSBOs). 

-Or, if you want to live in a specific neighborhood, your agent can knock on doors and/or pass out flyers to ask if anyone in the neighborhood is looking to sell or planning to move in the near future.

• You and your agent will then go view the properties you’ve selected

- As you look at multiple homes, they tend to run together in your mind. So use a piece of paper or the MLS sheet your agent provides to make notes about what you like and don’t like.

-Once you get outside, your agent will ask you to rate the house from 1-10. A good agent will pay attention to the things you like and don’t like so you continue looking at homes that best suit you.

3. Make Offer

• A good agent will make suggestions and offer tools and resources to help make your offer stand out so that it’s more likely to get accepted.

• You’re still in control during this whole process, but you want someone in your corner representing you.

• If there is a counter offer, your real estate agent will also walk you through that process and help you negotiate a deal.

4. Acceptance of Contract

• Once your offer is accepted, you will begin paying for the following items.

• Earnest money

- Typically $500-2,500 for the St Joseph, MO and surrounding area market.

-You or your agent will take that check to the title company.

-Once you close, you will get that money back as a credit. But it will leave your bank account in the meantime.

-The more skin you have in the game, the more sellers realize you want the property. So a good agent will tell you not to skimp on earnest money.


- Typically $300-400 for a general inspection in the St Joseph, MO and surrounding area market.

- Your agent will inform you about the different kinds of inspections available (e.g., general, termite, septic, pool, radon, mold, etc.).

- A Ramseier Group real estate agent will recommend you get a general inspection and termite inspection in the St Joseph, MO and surrounding area. If the property has a septic tank, it’s a good idea to get a septic inspection as well. 

-Having an agent with local knowledge helps because they’ll be able to recommend quality inspectors to you.

- The inspector will let you know if there are any concerns that need to be addressed before you decide to purchase the property or move in. vi. Remember that part of home ownership is maintenance. So when you get the inspection report, you will see minor items you can fix yourself when you move in. Think of that as your honey-do list. vii. The inspection period is like a safety net for you. If there is a major concern with the property, you can back out of your contract and get your earnest money back or ask the seller to correct it.

• Appraisal

- An appraisal is different from an inspection. An appraiser assesses the property and makes sure it’s valued correctly so you don’t overpay for it.

- Once you’re done with the inspection process, your agent will notify your lender to order the appraisal.

5. Mortgage Application

• You will provide your lender with information they need like pay stubs, job history, W2s, bank statements, and your credit score.

• Sometimes lenders will have you pay the appraisal fee up front (approx. $450); but usually, that fee is rolled into your loan.

• When you get the appraisal back, it will go to the final underwriters who will look at your appraisal and your mortgage application. They will make sure that there are no other conditions that need to be met. Then they will accept or reject it. 

6. Loan Approval

• Once the underwriter accepts your application, your loan has been approved and you can keep moving forward! 

7. Title Company

• During this whole process, the title company has been working in the background. 

• They do a search and make sure that nobody else has a claim to that property or has a mechanic's lien against the property (if the property owner hired a contractor to do work on the home but didn’t pay their bill, that contractor can put a mechanic's lien against the property). 

• The title company provides insurance so that, in the event that someone comes claims an interest in that property, the title company will cover it. 

• Also, if there has been a divorce but someone hasn’t been removed from the title, the title company and your agent will help you walk through that.

8. Closing

• Congratulations! You’re ready to close! 

• You will receive a settlement statement prior to closing with the amount that you will pay at closing. 

• On closing day: 

-Bring your driver’s license or photo ID. 

- Bring a cashier’s check, not a personal check. 

- Sign a bunch of papers! 

- Once funding has been received, you get the keys to your new home!

Final Takeaways

• You want someone in your corner, representing you and your best interests. 

- If you want to be in full control, don’t go directly through home buying websites and apps since they will randomly select an agent to connect you with. You always want to choose an agent that has a good reputation and a proven track record. 

• You won’t be alone through the whole process 

- Buying a home is full of emotions: hope, excitement, happiness, stress, and sometimes nervousness! But your agent will be with you to help every step of the way and to celebrate with you when we find that perfect place for you and your family. 

• Contact us when you’re ready to buy! 

- Read our reviews and learn more about our team by going to our website 

•When you’re ready to buy, give us a call at 816-262-8077.

Our Reviews Say It All

See All Our Google Reviews

Mary WoodMary Wood
12:31 09 Oct 21
The whole team did an excellent job helping us to find our new home!... Everyone was friendly and professional. They were very quick to respond to any questions or concerns that we had. Thank you so much!read more
Lauren JacksonLauren Jackson
02:03 09 Oct 21
This team is amazing to work with!! They made the process of buying a... house seamless!!! David went above and beyond to make things easy. I really appreciate all the hard work from the Ramseier Group team!!read more
Miranda MatthewsMiranda Matthews
20:49 04 Jul 21
My husband and I can not express just how wonderful of an experience we... had using Priscilla Ashford as our realtor and Sandi Gaunce as our Transaction Coordinator with Ramseier Group Reality!! They both went above and beyond to make our experience the best it could be. As first time home buyers we could not have asked for a better realtor that doesn’t just say “they’ll communicate and work to find you the perfect home for you” but speaks with her actions!! She did a wonderful job communicating with us regularly and book viewings as soon as she knew we were interested!! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for helping us get into the perfect home for us!!read more
Paula SimsPaula Sims
15:58 27 May 21
A great experience! Everyone was professional and easy to work with. We... love our new place!read more
diane Desartdiane Desart
18:17 11 Apr 21
We have bought and sold several properties and Ramsier Group has by far... out shone any real estate company we have ever worked with. Our property was listed on line promptly. All questions were answered and suggestions were made in a friendly professional manner. In our opinion, Lorrie went beyond all expectations in showing our property. Missouri had nasty cold weather going on and she was there showing our property. She and her team are friendly, personable, and easy to work with. We recommend this group to more
Jean RobertsJean Roberts
23:00 02 Feb 21
Very competent, professional, and friendly team. We had a difficult house... to sell but they got it done and made it easy for us. Thanks again!read more
John TimberlakeJohn Timberlake
18:00 04 Dec 20
Lorrie and her team were outstanding and I am so glad that we selected her... agency to list our home. Everything Lorrie did was 5-star worthy. She presented a compelling analysis and recommendation on our listing price, she and her team were very accessible, very professional and it was a true joy to work with them. Lorrie went above and beyond on many occasions, she has excellent connections and resources which we used from closing agents, to electricians and plumbers. As the seller, she excelled in the "selling" process especially the negotiation and working to get multiple offers. She never took the easy road, always the road that provided the best outcome. Anyone can list and sell a home, but few can make the process seamless and get the absolute best price for the seller....If you are listing, you can't go wrong with more
Christi ShafferChristi Shaffer
17:17 03 Dec 20
This team was very professional, efficient and patient. I had a fantastic... time working with them to purchase my home. The first home I was interested in fell through and Priscilla immediately started looking for houses again and found me one within days. They did a great job through the entire contract time and, with the help of my lender, had me closing 8 days early. Thank you very much for all of your help, ladies!!!read more
Matthew WienersMatthew Wieners
14:07 23 Sep 20
Lorrie and her team are awesome! They think of everything and are so... helpful as you are in the middle of chaos trying to sell, pack, buy and move. Lorrie or someone from her team will walk you through the whole process before you start to give you an idea of how they run things. The pictures they post are great and really show off your home. Couldnt think of going with anyone else!read more
Bradford TaliaferroBradford Taliaferro
00:40 20 Aug 20
Everyone at Ramseier Group is professional, friendly and very competent! ... They sold my house in 1 day! I got the best price and situation. They handled everything - including directing me to professionals for carpet cleaning, trash removal and house cleaning. Their online presence is excellent and well covered. They kept me up-to-date and informed of everything. We had some tell us to sell the house ourselves. I am very delighted I ignored that advice and had the professional team at Ramseier do what they do best. The process was easier, better and the price was better because of them. If you were looking for the best - you just found them!read more

Award Winning Real Estate Team
  • 2013 Affiliates Choice Award
  • 2014 Realtor Who Counts Award
  • 2017 KW Northland Highest Closed Units
  • 2017 KW Northland Highest Volume Sold (2nd Place)
  • 2018 KW Northland Highest Volume Sold
  • 2018 KW Northland Highest Closed Units (2nd Place)
  • 2019 Top Agent Award
  • 2019 Forbes Five Star Professional Award
  • 2020 KW Pinnacle Award 100+ Units
  • 2020 KW $10 Million Dollar Club Award
  • 2020 Golden Can Award from Second Harvest Community Food Bank

Ramseier Group is a team of Keller Williams real estate professionals with a passion for real estate and people. Our philosophy is simple - success is built on relationships. We believe that a real estate transaction is about more than buying and selling properties- it's about lifestyles, family and friends, hopes and dreams... That's why our team of highly-seasoned real estate professionals is dedicated to providing exceptional, personalized service for all of our clients. 

* This information is for educational and informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice nor is it intended to be a substitute for professional advice. The content of this document contains general information and may not reflect current developments or information. The information is not guaranteed to be correct, complete or current.

realtor st. joseph mo


Ramseier Group
Keller Williams, St. Joseph
(816) 262-8077
3915 Beck Rd.
St. Joseph, MO 64506