How To Plan Ahead Of Buying A New Home


When you’re ready to purchase a new home, it helps to have a thorough timeline of how the process will go -- especially if you’re a first-time homebuyer or you haven’t purchased a home in a long time.

14 Months

  • Check your credit score to determine if it needs help before applying for a home loan.
  • Stop applying for new credit lines, especially those issued by department stores. If you already have store-issued credit cards, pay them off and close them.
  • If you don't have a major credit card – VISA, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express – apply for one through your bank, and pay the balance in full every month.
  • Download home buying apps that survey amenities, local schools, walkability, and more.

12 Months

  • Research the benefits of living in a homeowners association community.
  • Research different home builders.
  • Research which model home from the preferred home builder fits your future lifestyle.
  • If you're a first-time buyer, take a homebuyer education class to become eligible for state-sponsored home buying assistance, including a home loan and down payment assistance. 

10 Months

  • Compile past federal income tax records, canceled rent and utility checks, student loan information, and recent paycheck stubs for the mortgage company.
  • If you're a first-time buyer, apply for pre-approval on a state-sponsored home loan.

8 Months

  • If you're selling your old home, check on the status of its appraisal, title search, and survey.
  • Put your home on the market with a reputable realtor. 

7 Months

  • Schedule model home tours in your preferred community.

6 Months

  • Meet with a sales consultant about available home sites for your preferred home, pricing, optional features, the construction process, warranties, available loan programs, and a monthly payment estimate.
  • Write the purchase agreement on your new home.
  • Schedule a loan application appointment with your loan officer. (Your Ryan Homes sales consultant can help.)
  • Call your insurance agent to discuss homeowners insurance, including a bundle with auto.

5 Months

  • Schedule a pre-construction meeting with your sales consultant and the project manager. (For a timeline to Ryan Homes construction, click here.)

4 Months

  • Visit your home site as often as possible.

3 Months

  • Expect a call from the project manager to schedule your new home's pre-drywall tour.
  • Gather a binder for insurance paperwork, moving estimates, receipts, alarm codes, and the IRS change-of-address form.
  • Create an inventory of everything you own.
  • Consider purchasing a storage unit for excess items.
  • Get your pet’s paperwork in order by asking for a copy of any important veterinary and adoption documents.
  • Ask for a transfer of medical and dental records to be sent to the new healthcare provider, or obtain copies, if applicable. 
  • Go to the local post office or to for a change-of-address form.
  • Transfer any memberships or subscriptions to your new address.
  • Order supplies like Bubble Wrap, cardboard boxes, packing tape, and permanent markers.
  • Take measurements of your new home’s doorframes and rooms for furniture.
  • Research local moving companies, or call friends and family to discuss their availability.

2 Months

  • Clean your old home to avoid packing toxic cleaning supplies.
  • Use perishable and frozen foods.
  • Pack up room-by-room, starting with things used most infrequently.
  • Decide what to keep and give away, and note any valuable or breakable items that need an appraisal for additional insurance.
  • Label boxes with the room and your name.

1 Month

  • Confirm moving date, costs, and contact information with the moving company.
  • Make travel arrangements, including any flight or hotel confirmations.
  • Schedule a date to turn off cable and Internet, and switch it to your new address.
  • Drop off unwanted items at a garage sale, nonprofit, or with friends and family.
  • Stock up on prescription medication.
  • Forward medical records, if changing health providers.
  • Alert banks, credit card companies, your employer, car and health insurance companies, and doctors and dentist’s offices.
  • Arrange for a day off work on closing day.

2 Weeks

  • Confirm closing date with your settlement coordinator.

1 Week

  • Attend the final walkthrough.
  • Pack an essentials box with a first-aid kit, toiletries, bedding and towels, phone/laptop chargers, and a change of clothes.
  • Visit the mechanic for a tune-up and advice on vehicle care and maintenance, if you’re moving to a new climate.
  • Close or transfer bank accounts, if applicable.
  • Switch your prescription pick-up destination.
  • Backup desktop computer files to a memory stick or hard drive.
  • Load electronics in the car to avoid overheating in transfer.
  • Arrange for the mover’s payment including tip.
  • Confirm arrangements with family and friends and/or moving company.