Guide to Buying a Home in Rhode Island

Why Buy a Home? 

Homeownership makes for stronger communities and more stable households. A proven means of building wealth, increasing net worth, and establishing financial stability, homeownership is an integral part of the American Dream.  We love working with buyers to help them reach their dreams and find and buy homes they love, and that journey often starts here.

Top Reasons to Own Your Home

This guide to buying a house in Rhode Island was created to help our clients better understand the homebuying process so you will be as prepared as possible to successfully buy a home you'll love. This is an overview of the components of the home buying process. You will have questions and we will gladly answer them all. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us when you do. 

Financial Preparation:

There are several things to consider when purchasing a home, but the single biggest factor in buying a home you'll love is your financial situation. Income, savings, available credit, debt to credit ratio, debt to income ratio, and current interest rates will all impact how much home you can comfortably afford to buy.

The first step in figuring this out is to chat with a lender about loan options and terms available based on your financial situation to determine what programs you are eligible for. This will help in figuring out what your monthly payment will look like under the terms and price range you qualify for. The lender will need to pull your credit and will need details about your income and available savings to be used for the purchase process towards down payment and closing costs, and other out of pocket expenses.

Once the lender has had a chance to gather your information together and has gone over options, they will provide a pre-approval letter. This is necessary to have before we start searching for properties as you need a pre-approval letter to make an offer on a house and the last thing you want is to be scrambling for a pre-approval after you’ve found a house you think you love. The market moves too fast today for buyers to wait until after they’ve found a house to go through the Financial Preparation process.



Key Teams for Homebuyers


The Home Search:

Once we have your pre-approval in place and know what your functional/comfortable price range is,  it is time to start the home search process. Your Realtor will be able to set up detailed searches for homes that meet your preferred criteria. Location, overall living space, the number of beds and baths you need, the type of house you prefer, number of garage or parking spaces, nearby amenities, etc., etc., can all help narrow down the search to locate houses on the market that can work for your needs and your budget.

We will set up a property search through our MLS database and with the easy property search tools on We also encourage our clients to continue looking for houses wherever the search is comfortable for them. If you like searching on Zillow or Redfin, or, keep looking on those sites and if you see something you like, send it to your Realtor right away and let them know when you are available to see it.


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Most properties require a minimum 24 hour notice to schedule a private showing, though often with today's market there are group showings already scheduled that might be available on short notice. It never hurts to ask, but temper your expectations. It may take a few days to coordinate a showing between your agent, the listing agent, and occupants living in the property. With how quickly homes sell, it is imperative that you let your agent know immediately when you see a property you might like.

Avoid talking directly to listing agents that represent the seller of a property. Let your Realtor handle those inquiries. The listing agent represents the seller and they are obligated to use any information you give them to the seller’s advantage if they can, and you may not even know you gave them any info to use against you, and your Realtor won't know either. 

Attend open houses whenever they are available. When you do, advise the agent facilitating the open house that you are working with a Realtor and provide your agent's contact information when signing in. If you like the property, notify your Realtor immediately so that they can get to work on preparing an offer for you. Keep all conversation at open houses about the property, and avoid talking about yourselves in any way. 

Making an Offer:

We have talked to a lender and gotten a pre-approval and have found a house in our budget that we love. Now we are ready to prepare an offer. In Rhode Island, it is usually best to present your offer on a Purchase and Sales Agreement, complete with signed seller property and lead disclosures, including a copy of the pre-approval letter from your lender and if possible an image of the deposit check made out to the listing broker. The Purchase and Sales Agreement covers all the details and terms of the transaction in 5-6 pages where an offer sheet will attempt to cover those same terms in 1 page. It is best to present as clear and detailed an offer as possible to avoid misunderstandings that can cost time, money, and hurt the negotiation process.

The first items on the contract are the purchase price and deposit, or "earnest money" amount. Your Realtor will be able to help you determine a fair market value for the property and general market conditions such as competition and available inventory that might impact the offer. A customary deposit in RI is 5% of the purchase price if the buyer’s financing includes a down payment amount of 5% or more. One way to make a more competitive offer is to put more down as a deposit. 

There are some special financing situations that require less than a 5% down payment and often we can get a seller to accept a lower deposit, but keep in mind that a full price offer that is only offering a $1000 deposit doesn’t give the seller a lot of assurance that you'll stick with the deal and doesn't leave a lot to cover added costs associated with re-listing if you walk away. Providing the largest deposit you can will make your offer stronger and more competitive. 

The typical contract offers 2 standard buyer contingencies. There is the inspection contingency, which is inherent to the sales agreement unless actively waived by the buyer. Standard in RI the buyer has 10 days from the date of the final signature on the contract, excluding weekends and holidays. This 10 business day period is to hold inspections, get reports back, and make requests for repairs or credits or withdraw if they found something that makes them uncomfortable moving forward with the purchase. The buyer’s deposit is protected in this case, and the buyer can withdraw without default. We go into the home inspection process in more detail below. 

Another contingency is the financing contingency. This can be waived in the event the buyer is paying cash or financing through a third party via a hard money loan or an equity loan on an existing piece of property. The mortgage contingency sets a date, typically about 2 weeks prior to the contract closing date, by which the lender must provide you with a mortgage commitment letter or we need to extend the contingency or withdraw if we are unable to get approved for financing prior to the commitment date. Failure to get a mortgage commitment is not a default on the buyer's behalf and the buyer would be subject to receive full refund of deposit upon presentation of a denial letter from the lender or in the event that the seller refused to extend in the absence of a denial letter. 

The seller may accept your offer, reject your offer or counter back with a price and/or terms that they consider acceptable. It is up to you and your agent to determine what your line is and what you’re willing to go to in order to purchase the house.


Offer Accepted, now what:

Congratulations! You have had your offer accepted, the words every buyer wants to hear. Now we have to get to work.

Once your offer is accepted, we need to:

- Submit deposit to listing brokerage
- Schedule home inspection (remember we only have 10 days to have our inspections)
- Apply for the mortgage
- Select a closing attorney
- Start shopping for homeowner’s insurance

Your typical home inspection will cost between $400 - $1000 for a single family home. The home inspector will inspect the physical and mechanical systems in the home, the roof, external structure, electrical and plumbing systems, and report on anything wrong with the property. Some properties will warrant additional inspections such as for a septic system or well. Buyers may also elect to have inspections to test for lead hazards, water quality, radon, mold, or anything else they may with to inspect for during their inspection period. The inspector will provide a report identifying all conditions observed and at this point your agent will discuss with you what repairs or concessions should be negotiated based on the conditions identified in the inspection report. 

It is best to avoid submitting payment to your lender for the appraisal until negotiation of repairs is completed. You can expect a typical appraisal to cost between $400 - $600. This is required by your lender but the buyer pays for the appraisal. Once the appraisal is ordered it can take a few days to a couple of weeks to get the report back from the appraiser. 

Once the inspection process is completed and we have gotten our mortgage commitment, we are in the home stretch. The lender may ask for more documents often times requesting items you have already provided. A good practice is to keep copies of everything you send to your lender. You will need to provide your home insurance rider to the lender.  You should coordinate with seller regarding transfer of utilities into your name to correspond to the target closing date, confirm a schedule time with the closing attorney, and about 3-4 days prior to closing the lender should provide you with a final estimate on closing costs and cash required to bring to closing.


The Closing:

Buyer’s funds to closing can typically be provided via a bank or cashier’s check or wire-transfer depending on your bank and the closing attorney. You will need the cash to close and a valid photo id to complete the transaction.

There will be a final walk-through of the property, usually the morning of or night before the closing. Any issues with personal property left or damage/maintenance issues need to be resolved before the closing is completed. If there were any items outstanding on a repair addendum, they will also need to be addressed prior to closing. 

After the walk-through, both parties typically go to the closing attorney's office to sign documents,  often times buyer and seller meet separately at their own attorney's offices and sign in different locations. There the deed to transfer title is signed, funds delivered, mortgage documents signed by the buyer, and the buyer is given the keys to their new home. 

After the closing, the closing attorney records the transaction with the city/town and the house is yours. If the closing occurs later in the day, you may not be able to take occupancy of the property until the next day after the attorney has filed with the town.

Now you own your own house and it is time for you to make it your home. We hope you found this Guide to Buying a House in Rhode Island.

We would LOVE to help you reach your dream of home ownership. Don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or if we can help in any way.


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Call Us at 401-300-4037 or Email

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Most Recent Listings for sale in Rhode Island

8 Beds 3 Baths RIS-1313854 MLS
A superb Victorian circa 1895 that's been completely restored inside & out. Set on 1/3 acre in the heart of the Historic Pier.Rich with character having a harmonious blend of original detailing & bespoke upgrading. High ceilings, ornate woodwork & impeccable craftsmanship throughout. The main floor features a graceful entrance hall w/ a striking banister leading to a sun-filled eat-In kitchen with an adjacent laundry room,full bath & 2 first floor bedrooms. The dining area offers a generous amount of space for entertaining family & guests and hosting dinner parties. Outside you will find a welcoming covered front porch, deck, balcony, patio, exquisite grounds (plenty of room for a pool) with an expansive yard bordered by tall hedges for privacy,ample parking for 10 cars & an outdoor shower. The combined result is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in the heart of the Pier beachside community where you can walk to everything via sidewalks. Just one block to the scenic stretch of Narragansett's beautiful white sandy beach,Pier events,restaurants,cafes,shops,library,spa & more. Own a timeless & tranquil haven to be treasured for generations.(Absolute turn-key rental operation with incredible annual revenue accommodating 20 or more people. A legal 2-family, currently run as single family, w/8 bedrooms,3 baths,2 kitchens & 2 living rooms. Two bedrooms, a kitchen, bath & living room on both the 1st & 2nd floors. 3rd floor has 4 bedrooms and a full bath.)

52 Narragansett Avenue, Narragansett

Listing courtesy of Lila Delman Compass.

3 Beds 3 Baths RIS-1313969 MLS
Welcome home to waterfront living personified! Custom 4 level beauty features 2,700sqft of living space. Experience the natural beauty of Greenwich Bay and the magic of sunrises from almost every room in the house. The first floor welcomes you into a spacious open area with gorgeous kitchen, casual dining area & family room perfect for enjoying waterfront living. Cooking is a breeze in the well-equipped kitchen where an oversized quartzite island is perfect for gathering. Off the kitchen is a beautiful fireplace in the family room. On nice days, throw open the sliding doors & enjoy the custom patio & hot tub or walk down the dock & enjoy the water by paddleboat, kayak or boat. Take the stairs to enjoy the beach. Stepping onto the 2nd floor you are greeted by the sun streaming in from the skylight. This floor features 2 bedrms w/panoramic views of the bay & spacious closets.Across the hall you will find a well appointed bathroom including luxury finishes and a heated floor. On the 3rd level more spectacular water views can be seen from your luxurious master suite where windows soak the room in natural light.Enjoy the warmth of the bedroom fireplace or lose yourself in the en-suite where more luxury awaits, including a Jacuzzi tub and a luxury shower.The master bedrm is complete with another waterfront deck to take in those stunning views. You can have it all.Waterfront living, minutes from the food & nightlife of downtown East Greenwich.Call Mark 401-418-1445 for showing.

60 Oak Grove Street Unit 4, Warwick

Listing courtesy of RI Real Estate Services.

2 Beds 3 Baths RIS-1313920 MLS
Gorgeous one-of-a-kind home with a total of 2400 sq ft, offering 5 levels of living. 1st floor, lower level, is an entertainment & office space with a private bathroom & separate heating zone. The 2nd floor has a heated garage with plenty of room for a car but is also used as a home gym & workshop with storage. The 3rd floor brings you to a beautifully customized living space that balances a modern approach to living with a classic rich design. As you walk through the home you'll be experiencing the beautiful bamboo hardwood flooring throughout. Upon entering the living room, you will see that the hardwood continues up the far wall that showcases a media center, a floating shelf with recessed lighting, and the 2nd shelf with built-in draws. A custom-designed wall folding dining room table gives you even greater open space when you want it. The kitchen has an abundance of cabinets, all smart LG appliances, a granite countertop, recessed lighting, and a secondary eating/prep area. The large deck for enjoying cocktails & grilling. Heading up to the 4th floor you will see an all-new oak wood staircase that leads to the 1st bedroom and 2nd bathroom. On the 5th floor is the master suite, one of the largest suites you'll see in any home. The suite has all-hardwood closet space and its own large full bathroom. Outside the door of the master bedroom, you will find your washer and dryer unit. This is a very rare home in one of the nicest and most convenient areas in Northern, RI.

902 Brookhaven Lane, Woonsocket

Listing courtesy of J. Christopher Real Estate Grp.

4 Beds 4 Baths RIS-1314020 MLS
Welcome to this lovely Colonial in the desirable Tipping Rock neighborhood! This terrific 4 bedroom home has so much to offer with amazing outdoor spaces and an open floor plan which is perfect for entertaining. The spacious eat-in-kitchen was renovated with granite counters and island, backsplash, stainless appliances, gas cooktop, bar seating, an abundance of cabinetry, and an informal dining area. Nice flow for entertaining with the kitchen open to the family room with a gas fireplace and views of the backyard. The first floor also offers a dining room, a sunny office (or living room) with glass French doors, half bath, and a large mud room/laundry area right off the 3 car garage. The second floor primary bedroom has 2 walk-in closets, a primary bath with a double sink vanity, whirlpool tub and a tile shower. Two additional bedrooms share a jack-and-jill bath with a shower and large quartz vanity. The 4th bedroom has an en-suite bath with tub/shower. The finished lower level is perfect as a second family room, exercise space or both and has glass French doors opening to the outdoor hot tub. You're going to love the custom built stone patio with sitting wall and built-in gas grill, ideal for relaxing and enjoying the privacy of your backyard. This updated home has a new roof with architectural shingles and a 2 year old furnace and hot water tank. Stay home and gather around the fire-pit with friends or enjoy a meal in downtown East Greenwich.

25 Tipping Rock Drive, East Greenwich

Listing courtesy of Coldwell Banker Realty.

3 Beds 3 Baths RIS-1314023 MLS
Wow! This immaculate custom-built raised ranch is awaiting new owners. Before you step into this beautiful home you will love the manicured yard. Nice Retaining wall just installed by the owner with cobblestones adding character to the outside as well as a recently seal coated driveway. You can really tell the owner took pride in their land. As you enter the property you are greeted with soaring cathedral ceilings. Speaking of ceilings, they have all been finished including the lower level! The first thing that will catch the eyes is the gourmet kitchen which includes granite countertops, wine refrigerator, stainless steel appliances, and tastefully designed mahogany cabinets. Continuing on the main level you also have 3 bedrooms including a master suite with shower and granite countertops. All bedrooms have new memory foam carpets and are in excellent condition as well as premium blinds. There is also a full bath on this level with marble countertops and full shower. As you head to the lower level you are impressed with the huge flex space that includes a wet bar that has rough plumbing. There is also a walkout for easy access to your backyard. On this level you also have a generously sized bonus room and half bath. Other highlights include: 2x6 construction, pre fabricated floor joists, central air, high performance hot water tank, sprinkler system, deck and patio, heavy duty sheds, and lift master garage door opener. Contigent on sellers purchase currently under contract.

47 Morris Street, West Warwick

Listing courtesy of HomeSmart Professionals.

4 Beds 5 Baths RIS-1312712 MLS
Bluffhead in a class of its own, no detail is overlooked in this extraordinary Block Island home appealing to a lifestyle where only the best will do. Style and amenities afford this substantial residence with a sense of satisfaction that feeds the soul. It's a retreat and home all in one. Located in the private neighborhood of Southwest Point, this over 4700 square foot estate is a masterpiece of design and craftsmanship with spectacular ocean views from every room. The interior of this 5 bedroom 4.5 bath home offers a formal approach presenting an open floor-plan kitchen, dining and living that delivers luxury throughout and an appreciation for space and comfort. All three levels offer a high level of quality finishes and have multiple areas that work well for either the much needed alone-time' or entire friends & family time'. Two exquisite, significant, primary suites offer high ceilings, natural light, views of the Atlantic Ocean and engaging terraces that flow from inside to outside. Upper-level suite is a room of elegance with an opulent ensuite bath and soaking tub. Store your Island-ride' and toys for summer in the two-car garage off the first level. Appreciate a large basement, with entertainment room, wine storage, workout room and an extra lower-level-deep-garage perfect to store Island-boat. This home is ideally positioned to enjoy summers on Block Island blending the magic of coastal charm with sophisticated luxury. Embrace this magnificent Island lifestyle.

1423 Cooneymus Road, Block Island

Listing courtesy of Lila Delman Compass.

9 Beds 3 Baths RIS-1313207 MLS
Absolutely STUNNING property. Prepare to fall head over heels for this truly breathtaking, meticulously restored 3 unit Italianate Victorian home! This GEM was tastefully renovated over the past few years offering the best of both worlds; reviving all the charms & period Victorian features mixed with today's sleek modern finishes. This artfully done restoration brings out nothing short of Whimsical Luxe vibes inside & out. Each unit has a very upscale, luxurious feel boasting beautiful high ceilings, restored crown-molding & original detail, lengthy windows followed by gleaming hardwood flooring throughout! Railing in todays modern w/ updated galley kitchens featuring all white shaker cabinets, sparkling SS Appliances, Quartz countertops and let's not forget the TRENDY Chandelier & Pendant lighting sprinkled throughout! Sprawling floor plans that offers 3 beds, 1 bath. Unit 1 is just over 2,000 SQFT and Unit 2&3 are both 1,800 SQFT. Moving along to the VIBRANT exterior that was freshly painted you will find a beautifully selected color palette that creates a whirlwind of curb appeal along w/ pristine manicured grounds, fenced in yard and a lots of parking! Located in one of Providences highly sought neighborhoods the Broadway-Armory Historic District! Close proximity to all major routes & highways. Minutes from shopping, downtown & commuter-rail! Come see for yourself, don't want to miss the opportunity to see this spectacular property!!

535 Broadway Street, Providence

Listing courtesy of Broadway Real Estate Group.

2 Beds 1 Baths RIS-1313976 MLS
Welcome to 88 Harrison Street Unit 3, a functional and stylish top floor condo located in the vibrant Armory District on the West End of Providence. Tucked away on a quiet tree-lined street, this beautiful 3rd level unit features two bedrooms, one full bathroom, central a/c, in-unit laundry and tasteful updates throughout. Kitchen is sleek and modern with butcher block counter tops, eye-catching steel and frosted glass cabinetry with stainless appliances. The kitchen offers plenty of space for a large dining table or center island, the kitchen opens to the sun-filled living room making it a perfect space for gatherings. Once you walk down the end of the hall you will see an oversize bathroom with tall ceilings, warm hardwoods, stand-up shower and separate laundry area. Lovely backyard space & patio with a considerate & responsive association. This historic building is very well maintained, provides a storage space in the lower level and a large driveway with off-street parking for two cars. Situated on one of the most desirable streets on the West Side, just one block from Dexter Field, with volleyball nets, bocce courts and frequent seasonal farmers markets. Just minutes from many great restaurants, including those on the iconic Federal Hill, as well as several local breweries, and shopping areas! Additionally, it is less than 2 miles from Brown University, RISD, and RWU's downtown campus; easy access to local highways and the Providence Train Station.

88 Harrison Street Unit 3, Providence

Listing courtesy of KAM Realty.

4 Beds 3 Baths RIS-1312880 MLS
First listing in 25 years. Highly desirable 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath center-entry Colonial within walking distance to downtown historic Wakefield. Features include: Eat-in kitchen with granite countertops and stainless steel appliances, a welcoming dining room for family gatherings, and a floor plan that lends a spacious feel. Front to back LR with gas fireplace on the first floor and a front to back master suite on second will provide plenty of comfortable living space. Hardwood floors throughout dining room, living room and bedrooms. New roof in 2015, many windows replaced. The basement is complete with finished family room on one side and a utility/laundry/work room on the other side. Oversized 2 car attached garage measuring 24'X22' provides plenty of room for parking and storage. Enjoy morning sun & coffee on your sizeable front porch encircled by seasonal plantings and a lush lawn, leading up to the rock wall boundary. Entertain your family and friends in the meticulously maintained outdoor greenscapes that surround the property. Private rear yard backs up to woodlands showcasing mature plantings, privacy trees, and back deck. Close to athletic complex, ball fields, schools, the dog park, neighborhood guild, and a 10 min. drive to south county beaches. Going to South County Commons: take the walking path. Connected to town water, town sewer and natural gas for your ease, convenience and comfort. Furniture available for purchase by separate agreement.

172 Broad Rock Road, South Kingstown

Listing courtesy of EXPERIENCE Real Estate.

2 Beds 1 Baths RIS-1313559 MLS
Estimated Payment $1,536 Per Month. * 0% Down 30-Year fixed mortgage rate of 5.35% with an APR of 5.36% for those who qualify. * Taxes insurance not included. * Rates As of 06/21/22. * Optional 13-month limited home warranty included from HWA Home Warranty limited to components/structure. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ This surprisingly spacious ranch with finished basement is ready for its 3rd owner. Sitting on an oversized, corner lot with a fully fenced-in yard, double driveway, and views out the front windows of the protected wooded area across the street there is more to this peaceful property than at first glance. Out back, a screened-in three-season porch expands the living space, and the large shed offers ample storage. There is also a deep one-car attached garage. The pull-down and walk-up attic offers extra storage as well. 2 Bedrooms, Bathroom, Kitchen, and Family Room are all on the primary level. With gas in the house and a 10-year-old burner winters are very efficient. Upgrades include: insulated throughout by RISE Engineering, 2008/2009 Newpro bay window and Champion windows throughout the home, and roof new in 2005. Connected to city sewer and water with no outstanding assessments. Enjoy a short walk to Brush Neck Cove where kayaking, canoeing, and exploring are abundant.

139 Hollis Avenue, Warwick

Listing courtesy of YHSGR Nathan Clark Team.