Real Estate 037: Home buying checklist

As I continue to scale my rental portfolio from one to over 20 units, I realized that having a system and process to perform all duties involved in a deal is crucial. Below is a home buying checklist that I personally using during the purchase of my rental properties. This is by no means an all exhaustive list, and some of these tasks may be done by other members of your team such as your agent or property manager, so please use it as a guide than a rule.

  • Get signed purchase & sale agreement from all parties.

  • Create physical and digital file folders for all documents.  

  • Contact title company to “open up escrow.” Our escrow agent’s name is: _________

  • Preliminary online tax research to verify tax amounts.

  • Check for hidden liens on the property at the courthouse.

  • Determine what names will be on title (LLC, partners, etc.)

  • Create lender presentation packet.

  • Talk to private lender about funding the deal. Present lender packet to them.

  • Get promissory note from private lender or prepare note and give to lender to review.

  • Send promissory note to title company.

  • Open new bookkeeping file in online bookkeeping software.

  • Call insurance agent and get quote. If it looks good – order insurance and get to Title/Escrow.

  • If tenanted, have all tenants sign Estoppel Agreement to verify rent & deposit amounts.

  • Hire 3rd party home inspector and schedule a time for them to inspect the home.  

  • Review home inspection report.

  • Call Title Company and verify we are set to close on the proposed closing date.

  • Call seller (if private seller) and reassure that we are still set to close on the proposed date.

  • Open bank account (if needed), order checks and debit card for that account.

  • Get Title Report from Lender, review (look for problems) and place in Property File.

  • Get wiring instructions from Title company and send to the private lender.

  • After wire was sent, verify wire was received by the Title Company.

  • If we are bringing cash to closing, call Title Company and get an exact amount.

  • Go to Bank and get any funds needed to close if we are bringing cash to closing.

  • Call Water, Garbage, and Electric company to get utilities turned on in our name.

  • Schedule time to sign papers at the Title Company. Sign papers at the Title Company.

  • Get keys for the property from Agent or homeowner.

  • If we are getting cash back at closing, pick up the check from Title Company.

  • Deposit repairs check into the checking account for this property.

  • Send handwritten thank-you notes to all parties involved (agents, escrow, seller, etc.).

As always, please make sure you do your due diligence and talk to your CPA/Attorney/Financial Adviser before making any investment decision.

Good luck!