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Cookeville Real Estate: Buying a Home

looking out the window at homeWondering how to buy a home?  If so, you're not alone. Buying a home is one of the biggest steps in a person's life, and can be overwhelming if you've never done if before.  I find that the experience is much better if you know exactly what to expect.  So today, I'm going to discuss with you exactly what to expect every step of the way as you shop the Cookeville real estate market and go through the process of buying a home.


Step 1. Meet with the Realtor® of your choice and discuss what you want in a home. It is important to choose one Realtor® and work with that person exclusively. You should not call other agents once you are already working with a Realtor®. Direct all questions about any property to your agent, and your agent only.

Step 2. Your Realtor® should be able to provide you with a list of excellent loan officers.  Meet with the mortgage lender of your choice and do a pre-qualification.  This is a very important step. This will determine the price range of the house you can buy, and also determine what loan program you will be using.  Your Realtor® must know these things prior to beginning your search for houses to view.  Not all homes and loan programs work together. For example, a rural development loan may not be used for houses inside city limits. You would need to know this ahead of time so you don't fall in love with a house that you can't obtain a loan for.

Step 3. Set an appointment with your Realtor® to begin looking at houses. A good real estate agent will be patient and make this part of the process fun. You should look at as many houses as you necessary to find the one you fall in love with.  A good agent will enjoy showing you houses as much as you enjoy looking at them.

colorful houses

Step 4. When you find the perfect house, it's time to write an offer. Set aside at least 1 hour to write an offer.  You will also need to bring your checkbook so you can write an earnest money deposit. An earnest money deposit is negotiable, but in the Cookeville real estate market the norm is 1% of the purchase price you are offering. Earnest money is held in escrow if the seller accepts your offer. This money shows the seller that you are serious, and is credited back to you on the day of closing.

Step 5. Once the offer is accepted, it's time to get busy. Your Realtor® will forward a copy of the purchase agreement to your lender, and help you arrange for inspections. Within the first week, you will normally have a home inspection and a termite inspection.  You will also meet with the loan officer and begin the formal loan paperwork. The lender will also order an appraisal of the property you are purchasing.

magnifying glass

(photographer:Renjith Krishnan, courtesy of

a. Home Inspection - The buyer pays for an independent home inspector to inspect the property. The inspector works for the buyer exclusively.  The home inspector's job is to inspect the property for defects and make the buyer aware of any problems found. The cost here in Cookeville for a home inspection generally starts around $400.00, which the buyer pays to the home inspector on the day of inspection. (Cost can vary based on size of home and location.)

b. Termite Inspection - Buyer pays an independent termite inspector to go under inspect the house for any signs of termites.  If termites are found, it is the seller's responsibility to pay for any needed treatment. Cost for a termite inspection is generally $60 - $75 here in the Upper Cumberland. Inspectors will typically take payment over the phone via credit card.

dollar signs

c. Appraisal - The loan officer will order an appraisal to make sure the home is worth what the buyer has agreed to pay for it.  The appraisal is strictly to determine value and is required by all lenders. The cost is usually between $350-$450, and is paid by the buyer the day the lender orders it.

Step 6. Now for some good news.  If you've made it to this point in the home buying process, you can expect smooth sailing from now on. Once inspections are completed and any issues resolved, your loan officer and Realtor® will work to coordinate a closing date.  A couple of days prior to closing, you will need to make arrangements to have the utilities switch over into your name on the day of closing.

Step 7. This is the grand finale. Your Realtor® will accompany you to closing at an attorney's office. This is where you sign all the legal documents to make the house yours. Once everything is signed, the keys to the house are yours and you are officially a homeowner in Cookeville Tennessee!

jumping for joy


Virginia Kail


Cookeville TN native. A full time, full-service agent for the entire Upper Cumberland region of Tennessee.

931-260-4729 cell

True Blue Realty

931-559-8783 Office phone, 931-559-4256 Office Fax