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.

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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.



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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

4 Beds 4 Baths RIS-1333502 MLS
Welcome to Northgate! Nestled in a picturesque setting with seasonal water views of Narrow River, this remarkable home is a testament to elegance and sophistication. With its impeccable design, expansive living spaces, and captivating surroundings, this property offers a lifestyle that is truly extraordinary. Spanning over 2,352 square feet with 4 bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms, providing ample space for both relaxation and entertainment. As you step inside, you'll be greeted by a multi-level floor plan that effortlessly combines functionality with a seamless flow, creating an inviting atmosphere for both intimate gatherings and grand celebrations. The well-appointed kitchen features stainless steel appliances and a center island that doubles as a gathering place for family and friends. Escape to the spacious master suite, a private sanctuary complete with an ensuite and ample closet space, this retreat provides the perfect oasis to unwind and rejuvenate after a long day. Step outside into your own private paradise, where manicured grounds create a captivating backdrop for outdoor entertainment. The highlight of this property is undoubtedly the in-ground pool, a sparkling oasis inviting you to take a refreshing dip on hot summer days or simply lounge by the water's edge. This home is surrounded by natural beauty and tranquility, offering a peaceful escape from the bustle of everyday life. Yet, it is also conveniently situated near local amenities, dining and renowned beaches.

121 West Bay Drive, Narragansett

2 Beds 2 Baths RIS-1336407 MLS
Welcome to the unannounced New Residences at Sunset Lake on Johnson's Pond. This new development is truly a special one! This, over 1,700 sq ft (finished area), single family, two bedroom home, offers vaulted ceilings and a spacious open layout including a large two car garage. There are high-end finishes and hardwood floors throughout. Entertain in the custom kitchen with farmers sink, quartz countertops, pantry, coffee/wine bar area, large center island and expanded dining area. The great room has a gas fireplace and offers plenty of room for entertaining. The first-floor primary bedroom has a huge walk-in closet and en-suite bathroom with gorgeous custom tile work and double sinks. There is a second bedroom and full bathroom with laundry hookups. In addition, you have an all-season bonus room leading to an exterior deck with tranquil natural untouchable wooded surroundings. Upstairs offers additional living space for a home office or den. The unfinished full basement provides infinite room for storage and could easily be converted to additional living space. Further features include a patio, central A/C, first floor laundry irrigation system and the luxury details that you are accustomed to. Your entire community has over 40% of protected natural woodlands and has access to Johnson's Pond; where you can enjoy kayaking, canoeing, paddleboarding, swimming, fishing and viewing the most AMAZING sunsets after a long day!

3 Sunset Lake Circle, Coventry

1 Beds 1 Baths RIS-1336395 MLS Mariemont- Green End Manor BLDG.
Extraordinary Coastal Lifestyle - Welcome to Green End Manor! Richard Morris Hunt designed Victorian-Colonial Revival, Mariemont," original Landscape designed by John Charles Olmsted. This remarkably preserved estate with authentic architectural detail is situated on the highest elevation on Aquidneck Island. Beautifully landscaped, imported European Beech tree, perennial flowers, plantings galore that grace these park-like grounds, sweeping southwest ocean breeze - views of the ocean with a melody of surrounding church bells, foghorn, and yacht horns. Enjoy 4th of July fireworks from Newport Harbor from this private, spacious, secluded rooftop deck. Condo offers one-level living, a separate peaceful wing with sunset & sunrise, a luxury land yacht feel nestled in the treetops, wholly renovated with premium finishes, cathedral cedar ceilings, oak flooring, natural gas Napoleon fireplace, custom marble mantle, raised panel millwork, crown moldings, solid wood doors, upgraded hardware, custom window seat, day bed. New Anderson Windows and French doors to the private deck. Nature gas heat, quality cabinets, granite counters, gas cooktop, Central air conditioning, Thermador drawer refrigerators, ideal for entertaining, separate utility room, extra refrigerator, sizeable stackable washer & dryer. Centrally located, close to beaches, and surrounded by exceptional birdlife. Just minutes to Newport Harbor. This private oasis of luxurious living can be your subsequent heavenly digs!

386 Green End Avenue Unit 4, Middletown

4 Beds 2 Baths RIS-1336387 MLS
Enjoy the sought after in-town walkability life style from 81 Third Street. Stroll to historic Main Street East Greenwich & explore coffee shops, restaurants & shopping from this charming four bedroom 1952 Cape. Offering tons of curb appeal on a beautiful 10,000 square foot corner lot, a just completed top to bottom restoration has uncovered original details while adding modern touches. Numerous exterior updates include new roof, windows, shutters, trim, exterior doors, garage door, paint, crushed aggregate walkway and patio, backyard fence, landscaping, irrigation system & driveway paving. Interior updates include white oak flooring throughout, reimagined front to back mud room with custom cubby storage, painted shaker kitchen with GE Cafe appliances & quartz countertops, first floor bath with tiled shower/custom frameless glass door, linen closet, Kohler plumbing & quartz countertop. Second floor tiled tub/shower, linen closet, Kohler plumbing & quartz countertop. This home has been completely rewired to 2020 code with a new 200 amp service & new panel. Two year old Burnham furnace. Rebuilt chimney. Finished lower with windows, vinyl plank flooring, laundry with new washer/dryer, & closet storage. Additional unfinished storage space with bulkhead access. Connected to sewer. Close to waterfront, boating, golf, Goddard Park, schools, dining, 95, train, airport. East Greenwich is centrally located approximately twenty five minutes to Providence, Newport and Narragansett.

81 Third Street, East Greenwich

4 Beds 2 Baths RIS-1335439 MLS
Just one mile from Narragansett Beach, this charming home offers a comfortable and inviting living space. The primary bedroom suite features a large walk-in closet, full bathroom and a separate office or changing room, providing flexibility and convenience. The open floor plan creates a seamless flow throughout the home, with a bright and airy Great room that makes for the perfect gathering space. Cozy up to the soapstone woodstove during chilly evenings or open the slider to the large deck, allowing for indoor-outdoor living and providing a tranquil setting to enjoy the well-maintained yard with seasonal views of Sprague Pond. The lower level of this home is tastefully finished with a walkout slider, offering additional living space and endless possibilities. Indulge in the convenience of an outdoor shower, perfect for rinsing off after a day at the beach or playing in the yard. Take advantage of the nearby restaurants, shops, parks, and activities that the Pier has to offer. Narragansett High School, Middle School, Elementary School, and Sprague Park are all within walking distance. As an added bonus, the sale includes the 16,000 square foot lot directly across the street, situated on the shores of Sprague Pond. This additional parcel of land provides the opportunity to stroll down to access your canoe or kayak, allowing for a peaceful paddle around the pond. Experience the best of coastal living, surrounded by natural beauty of Narragansett Pier.

74 Lakewood Drive, Narragansett

4 Beds 4 Baths RIS-1336190 MLS
Step onto a property that is the quintessence or rural New England. This idyllic Rhode Island property features swirls of old colonial life paired with contemporary farm living. Nestled neatly in the woods, completely enclosed by trees and hidden from the outside world, this 134 acre property shines in all four seasons with cascading rivers, century old trees pregnant with leaves, animated wildlife, acres of aromatic peonies and mellifluous sounds of birds greeting you and inviting you to their home. Enjoy miles of cleared hiking paths that snake through the woods, affording you views of the rolling vast expanse visible throughout. The oceans of grass blows and ripples in the wind during the spring and summer symbolizing the life and power this property possesses. The saturated bright leaves in the fall hint at the coming cold months and the exciting new beauty that brings. Miles of original stone walls define the property and two spacious barns provide shelter for animals and machines. A tranquil pond, Blue Herons, deer, ducks, swans, pear trees, blueberry and raspberry bushes, grape arbors, all here for the feasting. Perched atop a hill overlooking the landscape is a new 3680 sf. custom quality built home featuring 4 bedrooms, 3 1/2 baths, 9' ceilings, plush movie theatre in the lower level, spectacular views from every window. Hardwood floors throughout with state-of-the-art HVAC system. Barns are ready for your animals or hobbies. Truly a must see property.

140 Evans Road, Glocester

6 Beds 6 Baths RIS-1336378 MLS
Near sandy beaches and wildlife refuges, Meadowgrass is a rare seaside retreat in Paradise Valley, minutes to Newport and offers exceptional beauty and superb privacy. Classic New England architectural design with multiple decks & porches is in harmony with secluded parklike grounds, mature gardens, specimen trees & the neighboring Norman Bird Sanctuary. The main house features turn-of-the-century charm & modern conveniences, elegant living room with a wall of windows & picturesque views, fireplace & coffered ceiling. French doors connect living room with dining area & kitchen. The sliders to a mahogany deck & bluestone patio, heated swimming pool & hot tub & cabana, integrate indoor & outdoor space.Private 1st floor guest bedroom has a large bathroom.The 2nd floor new principal suite has mahogany floors & enjoys spacious bedroom with sitting area, balcony & gorgeous views, 2 walk-in closets, marble bathroom & office space. 2015 addition adds 2 bedrooms with bath. Guest house with full kitchen,dining area & living room has 2 bedrooms,1.5 bathroom,laundry & private outdoor space. 1,250 sf gym with 14 ft ceiling,2 car garage & 2 generators are additional highlights of this extraordinary residence. This unique & much desired estate in a tranquil setting is 2.5 mile to eclectic restaurants,museums & marinas of famed Newport and adjoins the protected lands of the Norman Bird Sanctuary, and 1/4 of a mile to Peabody Beach to enjoy perfect summers sunbathing, swimming & water sports.

664 Third Beach Road, Middletown

3 Beds 3 Baths RIS-1336226 MLS
This well-maintained colonial home is nestled privately on a generous 1.4-acres.The residence boasts tastefully landscaped grounds, complete with charming stone walls that border the property. If you have a green thumb or simply enjoy the beauty of nature, you'll appreciate the vegetable gardening area and the abundance of fruit trees, allowing you to live off the land. In addition to its natural delights, the property also features an oversized garage and three sheds that provide ample storage space for your outdoor equipment . For those warm summer days, an above-ground pool awaits, offering a refreshing oasis for relaxation and fun. As you arrive, you'll appreciate the convenience of a paved driveway with a u-shaped area, ensuring plenty of parking for both friends and family. Step inside, and you'll be greeted by beautiful hardwood floors that flow throughout the entire house. The living room features a cozy brick fireplace that invites you to unwind and relax. An updated eat-in kitchen combines modern functionality with classic charm, a joy to cook and entertain in. The delightful screened-in porch provides a tranquil space to relax while taking in the beauty of the surrounding landscape. The house also offers numerous built-ins, adding both character and practicality to the living spaces. Each room emanates warmth and care, creating an inviting atmosphere that instantly makes you feel at home. Don't miss the opportunity to make this wonderful colonial your own!

137 Liberty Church Road, Exeter

2 Beds 2 Baths RIS-1336329 MLS Seawinds BLDG.
Welcome to your dream townhome in the scenic town of Narragansett! This updated 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom corner unit offers the perfect blend of luxury, privacy, and convenience. Situated in Pt. Judith, this stunning residence provides breathtaking views of the renowned Narragansett Bay, allowing you to enjoy the beauty of the waterfront right from your primary bedroom suite's balcony. Hardwood floors throughout the home create a warm & inviting ambiance. The thoughtfully designed floor plan boasts a spacious living area that seamlessly connects to the balcony, providing an ideal space for entertaining guests or enjoying peaceful moments. Imagine sipping your morning coffee or unwinding with a glass of wine as you witness the sunsets over the bay. Enjoy the convenience of having your own laundry within the unit. The 2-car garage not only accommodates your vehicles but also offers ample space for storing all your outdoor gear and belongings. As a corner unit, this townhome guarantees ultimate privacy. This townhome is just a stone's throw away from a ton of local attractions. Explore the pristine sandy beaches of Scarborough Beach and Roger Wheeler Beach. Nearby Galilee is your gateway to Block Island Ferry. Enjoy dining at one of the many local restaurants and don't forget to visit the iconic Pt. Judith Lighthouse, Experience the epitome of coastal living in this beautiful townhome. Schedule your private showing today!

1125 Point Judith Road Unit E1, Narragansett

2 Beds 3 Baths RIS-1335604 MLS Carnegie Tower BLDG.
Elegance and Luxury awaits you with this Fully Furnished home appointed with brand new Restoration Hardware and Serena & Lily brands. 2 bed,plus den with sleep sofa and 3 full bathrooms. Two private balconies and stunning floor-to-ceiling windows, allowing for panoramic views of the Narragansett Bay, Newport Bridge, elegant private homes and a traditional Scottish golf course, all with impeccably manicured grounds. The kitchen features European-style custom cabinetry, quartz countertops and newly installed backsplash. Motorized shades in every room at a touch of a button lift with ease to expose amazing sights. Bathroom finishes include an elegant natural stone on the vanity including surround on its jetted air tub, Brand new lighting fixtures throughout and carpeting in bedrooms as well as entirely fresh paintthroughout make this unit better than new. The Carnegie Tower amenities include a concierge service, an Olympic lap pool with private cabanas available for purchase, an outdoor spa and children's wading pool, lounge area with fire pits, outdoor grilling station, fitness center, a resident lounge, conference room and common kitchen for resident functions as well as attended security gate, HOA fees include most all utilities. Options to join the Equestrian centerand beach club . Use of short term marina slips and options to purchase slips if available.. A private oasis like no other!

1 Tower Drive Unit 1002, Portsmouth

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