8 key steps of your first real estate purchase

Are you planning to buy your first property? Well done! This is an important decision, which will allow you to start building your wealth and have a "real home". For this, you will have to go through a few steps. We have listed 8 tips to help you to carry out your first real estate purchase with confidence! 


Step One: Define the budget 

It is simply not possible to launch a real estate search if you do not know how much budget you can devote to it! The easiest thing to do is turn to a broker or to your bank, to get a first mortgage simulation. This will allow you to know on the one hand your borrowing capacity, and on the other hand, to estimate the total cost of a possible mortgage. Thus, you will be able to specify and refine your search according to the properties that fit your budget. 

Step Two: Define your needs 

Take stock of your needs and desires to determine the best property for you; like minimum square footage, the type of property (apartment or house?), presence of a balcony or terrace, parking space availability, elevator, accessibility to  public transport, number of rooms, proximity to schools in the neighborhood, amount of renovations needed, brightness, etc. Do not neglect any aspect of what could become your daily life. 

The easiest thing to do is to make a list of your needs in order to effectively target the properties that may interest you and avoid unnecessary visits – or even purchases, that you may regret. 

Step Three: Plan a visit 

Sorting ads and organizing visits can be time-consuming. Several options are available to you: create alerts on real estate publication sites to be sure not to miss the "rare pearl", or call on a real estate agency (or a real estate hunter) to accompany your efforts. 

Before any visit, make you specify the legal area of the property, its exact location, the amount of any condominium charges, the state of the property and neighborhood... Do you like the answers provided by the seller or the real estate agency? If yes, quickly block a time slot to visit the property. 

Step Four: Visit the property 

During your visits, be attentive to details and picky about the information requested from sellers or real estate agents. Take note of the condition of the property (walls, ceilings, floors, various equipment), its organization, related services (garage, cellar, parking ...). Pay particular attention to noises; those of neighbors on the one hand, but also those coming from outside with windows both open and closed. You can also request a counter-visit, to remove doubts or to see the property in different lighting conditions. Also take stock of any unpaid condominium fees, and the work undertaken and / or remaining to be paid in the building. 

Step Five: Make an offer 

Have you fallen in love with an apartment or a house? It's time to give the seller an offer to purchase. Do not delay, especially in areas where supply is greater than demand. 

Your offer to purchase must contain the contact details of both parties, the address of the property, its description, your financing conditions (to convince and reassure the seller if you have the pre-approval of your bank) and the offer price. You can also set a validity period for the offer, usually one week. 

From there, you have three options: 

  • The seller accepts your offer, and you can proceed to the next step; 
  • The seller sends you a counter-proposal, so you can accept it or make a new offer;
  • The seller refuses it and does not want to negotiate because he thinks you will not be able to obtain financing or because he has found another buyer, so you have to start the visits again and find another property. 

Sixth and Seventh Steps: Formalities with the notary and financing 

These two stages are grouped together because they are to be carried out (almost) simultaneously. You will now need to formalize your agreement with the seller, by signing a pre-sales contract.  


Note that at this stage of the real estate purchase, you will most often have to pay a deposit to the seller or his notary. Once the preliminary contract is signed, a countdown begins: you have a certain amount of legal days to get a mortgage offer. A piece of advice, do not necessarily approach your usual bank. You can shop around for the best financing options or you can consult with a mortgage broker. Can't get funding? Do not panic, you can nullify the sales agreement, by activating the corresponding suspension clause. 

If all goes as expected, a bank agrees to finance your property purchase, and you can sign therortgage offer.  

Step Eight: Signing the deed of sale 

In most cases, the signing of the authentic contract occurs within the specified time found in the sales agreement. This is done at the notary, who will read the deed to both parties and collect the various sums due, like the price of the property, its fees, the costs related to the transaction, etc. At the end of this very symbolic meeting, you get the keys to your new home: you are the owner! Congratulations! 


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