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12 Weeks to Buying or Selling a Home: Week 1

A Real Estate Series

Have you ever wondered what it takes to buy a home? Or maybe you already own a home and you are interested in moving for a number of reasons - downsizing, need more space, you want to move to the city to be closer to things, you want to move to the country to be further away from things- you get the point. Well over the course of the next 12 weeks, I am going to tell you everything you need to know about what it takes to buy or sell a home! For the 1st week, we are going to focus on the very FIRST steps to doing both. Let’s dive in!


Buying a home can be incredibly stressful and scary IF you do not have the right guidance along the way. This is where I come in - your friendly neighborhood realtor. Maybe you have been renting for a while, or perhaps you live with your parents and you are saving up money and getting ready to move out on your own. Whatever the circumstances are for you right now, you have been contemplating - or should I say obsessing over- the idea of buying your own home. It sounds scary, right? You are thinking how in the hell am I going to be able to afford to live on my own. What if the dishwasher breaks? What if my furnace goes out? I don’t like mowing grass. Is this really a good idea? I know, I know. I hear things like this all the time. But don’t worry! Because as I promised you earlier, I am here to HELP you. So let’s get started with some tips on preparing to buy a home:

  1. Save up your money. Buying a home is not really a cheap process to get started. It is a fantastic investment into your future, and you will likely pay less in your mortgage than you will in somebody’s else’s mortgage- i.e. the rent you pay- but you have to have a chunk of change saved up to get started. There are a number of different loan options with different down payment amounts, but you can expect to need between 3.5-5% of the purchase price of the home to use as a down payment (ex. $200,000 home price would need $7,000-$10,000 down). You will also need around another $2,000-$5,000 for earnest money, inspections, appraisals and closing costs. Don’t worry - if you don’t know what any of those things mean, I will be discussing them in more detail in my future posts in the 12 Weeks to Buying or Selling a Home Series!

  2. Pay down as much debt as possible. This is very important! If your debt-to-income ratio is too high (the amount of debt you have compared to the income you bring in) your loan approval will be very low and you will likely not get the house you really need. Pay down credit cards, car loans, and any other debt that you can before you get your pre- approval.

  3. Bump up that credit score! Most lenders require that you have AT LEAST a 620 to qualify for a standard loan type. Some will go as low as 580, but BEWARE! The interest rate on these types of loans will be very high. It is best to get your credit to at least 620 before getting that pre-approval!

So there you have it! Those are the top 3 tips I suggest to all first-time homebuyers who are very early in the process. It is best to be prepared for what to expect, and I don’t want you to be blindsided when you call me and are ready to look at homes!


You all are in a different position because you have purchased a house before, but maybe you have never sold one. Selling a home is much different than buying a home because you are now on opposite sides of the negotiating table. Fortunately for you, I am going to walk you through every step of the home selling process from the beginning stages of preparing the home to list all the way to the closing table. Let’s start with this week’s tips on how to get your home ready to sell:

  1. Declutter. No one wants to see your mess, your junk, your piles of dirty laundry. Trust me, I know that hurts, but it’s a fact. Not only does this look terrible in pictures, but it is not appealing for potential buyers who come to view your home either. So have a garage sale! Sell some stuff on Facebook! Hire a cleaner! Get rid of your kids! Whatever you have to do to make your house look clutter-free and clean - do it.

  2. Yard clean-up. This one depends heavily on the season you choose to list in, but you should always make sure your yard is cleaned up. If you are anything like me, you have toys, chewed up pieces of trash from the dogs, and so on in the yard at any given time. Clean that stuff up! If it’s springtime, plant those flowers and clean up the mulch beds. You do NOT have to spend a ton of money, but just put a little time into making the yard look nice. This helps greatly with curb appeal!

  3. Finish those projects you started months ago. Yes - I said it. I know how excited we all get to start a project, and then life happens and we just sort of…stop. I get it! But what you don’t want is to have potential buyers thinking they have to do “too much” to the home for the price you are asking. Just finish those things up for them beforehand!

These are just a few tips I offer to anyone preparing to sell their home, so they are ready for our first listing appointment!

So there you have it! This is just barely scratching the surface of the home buying and selling process, but gives you some insight into where to begin. Check back next week for a deeper look into what the pre-approval process looks like for buyers and what to expect at the first listing appointment for sellers!

About the Content Creator:

Courtney Burke is a real estate agent and co-owner of Welcome Home Realty Group, LLC located in Franklin, Indiana. She spent 9 years as a Biology teacher at Franklin Community High School but left teaching in 2021 to pursue a career in real estate alongside her husband, Chris Burke, who has been in the business since 2014. She uses her background in teaching to educate her clients on the steps to home buying, selling, and investing and help them reach their goals.

For more information, contact Courtney at 317-416-3073. You can also visit her website at

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