Judy James

Buyer Information: Buyer Representation | Purchase Procedure | Building Inspectors | Mortgage | Area Hotels

The home buying process.

Typical Home Purchase Procedure,
Fairfield County, CT

Step 1: In negotiating the purchase of your new home, the initial step will be to instruct your real estate agent to make an Offer to Purchase. This offer is in writing and accompanied by a check (1% of the purchase price) to show "good faith". The offer should include:

  • The amount you are willing to pay;
  • Closing and occupancy dates;
  • Any contingencies, including obtaining of mortgage, building and pest inspections;
  • Any personal property specifically included or excluded.If the offer is not acceptable to the seller, further negotiations are necessary to reach terms agreeable to both buyer and seller.

Step 2: When a buyer and seller agree on terms:

  • The buyer immediately applies for financing and directs his realtor to arrange for building and pest inspections.
  • The seller arranges with his/her attorney for the drawing of the Contracts of Sale, based on the agreed terms.

Step 3: The Contract of Sale should include, among other things, the following:

  • Purchase Price;
  • Mortgage Contingency, if any;
  • Quality of Title to be conveyed;
  • Date of Possession;
  • Itemized list of personal property included in sale;
  • Satisfactory building and pest inspection (if desired).

The Purchase Procedure

The contract of Sale is reviewed by the buyer (and his/her attorney), and signed, usually within 10 to 15 days following acceptance of the offer. It is exchanged with a check from the buyer to the seller's attorney for 10% (less the 1% earnest money), of the purchase price. (If 95% financing is accepted, then the check would be for 5% less the earnest money). After the seller has also signed the contracts, the buyer's attorney arranges the title search and other preparations necessary for the closing or passing of title.

Typical Home Purchase Costs

  • Points or Loan Origination Fee;
  • Adjustment of interest on loan from date of closing;
  • Title Insurance (one time fee required by banks;
  • Credit Check;
  • Bank Appraisal;
  • Attorney's Fee;
  • Survey Fee. If property has not recently been surveyed, the Lender or Title Insurance Company may require a registered survey or plot plan showing the location of the house and the boundaries of the property, as well as easement and rights of way;
  • Recording Fees. The buyer usually pays the fee for legally recording the new mortgage;
  • Homeowners Insurance. Proof of a current policy is necessary at closing;
  • Adjustment costs paid to seller at closing (where applicable) Buyer's share of pre-paid property taxes Heating Oil or Gas remaining in tank Sewer service charge, if applicable;
  • Building Inspections, including pest, radon, pool (where applicable);
  • Private Mortgage Insurance (if financing more than 80%);
  • Taxes.

Make Offer:

Offer is presented by the broker in person, if at all possible. A binder (simple document outlining terms of sale, i.e. price, closing date, contingencies) and a check in the amount of one percent of the offered price should accompany presentation. Binder must be signed by broker and potential buyer. As soon as both seller and buyer agree on price and basic terms, the binder is signed by seller. Check is held in escrow.

Retain Counsel:

In Connecticut, the banks will generally only release funds to an attorney. It is customary to be represented by counsel.


The legal document binding both parties. It should be prepared by seller's attorney and forwarded to buyer's attorney. At contract signing by both parties, ten percent of the agreed sales price is due (one percent binder plus an additional nine percent) by buyer to seller or his attorney, depending on whether or not all contingencies have been met at that time. (Top)