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.



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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

2 Beds 2 Baths RIS-1329359 MLS VISTAS ON THE TRAIL BLDG.
Enjoy boutique style living in one of East Greenwich's premier condo developments ~ Vistas on the Trail. This corner unit has a modern floorplan and tastefully appointed for the discerning buyer that appreciates detail and pristine living. An elegant entry hall turns the corner to a light filled living space with 9' ceilings w/crown moulding, hardwood flooring and versatile living. The family room boasts a gas fireplace and private balcony and is adjacent to your choice of dining areas. Cozy up to the breakfast bar with quartz countertops, in the renovated and well appointed kitchen. Additional living space is versatile for individual needs, be it an office, additional seating area or studio space. An ensuite primary bedroom with generous dimensions, a stunning accent wall with designer grasscloth wallpaper, includes a large walk-in closet, nicely outfitted with custom shelving. A secondary ensuite bedroom completes the space. Remote control window treatments on all windows. In-unit laundry area enclosed behind double doors in the entry foyer. One deeded, indoor parking space in the attached garage, with elevator access to each level. Additional 8' X 12', double climate controlled storage area and separate utility space. Inground pool and clubhouse with a full kitchen, makes lounging and entertaining outdoors easy. Prime access to every convenience (recreation, shopping/dining, and highway) while still maintaining the privacy and exclusivity of this community.

1404 South County Trail Unit 212, East Greenwich

3 Beds 2 Baths RIS-1329488 MLS
Today's clean, crisp aesthetic meets with timeless New England charm in this tasteful Oak Hill home. From the front entry, step into the foyer. Crown molding and warm wood floors unify the main level, beginning with the fireplaced living room. The adjacent study adds privacy for work or quiet conversation with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. The pleasing flow continues in the formal dining room with large windows looking out on the rear garden. Find a hub of family life in the updated eat-in kitchen, offering stone counters, stainless steel appliances, ample cabinetry, and nearby walkout access to the backyard. Discover an oasis of outdoor living along the brick patio, cocooned in arborvitae and lush landscaping. Step through the ivy-covered fence to reach the one-car detached garage. Move back inside where a retro-style tiled powder room completes the first floor. Follow the lovely hardwood floors upstairs and into three comfortable bedrooms, each with windows on two sides for sunlight and gentle cross breezes. A full bath with a glass-enclosed shower is the sleek finish to this gracious home. Enjoy the best of Oak Hill and Hope Village in easy stroll. You'll be just steps from the farmers market at Lippitt Memorial Park. Downtown Providence is minutes away for fine dining, theater, sporting events, and dazzling WaterFire. The convenient commuter rail provides for a seamless commute along the Northeast Corridor. A gem!

9 Lowden Street, Pawtucket

4 Beds 4 Baths RIS-1329381 MLS
Just off Blackstone Boulevard, this fully renovated half-brick Colonial offers a light-filled expanse of high ceilings and spacious rooms. Its landscaped corner lot lets you enjoy private outdoor living and is an easy stroll to many East Side attractions. A columned portico leads you into a welcoming foyer which flows into the adjacent living room. Its large windows, recessed lighting, and gas fireplace create warm, modern living. The bright sunroom provides secluded office space. The open concept dining area and chef's kitchen is the perfect backdrop for gatherings. Offering stainless steel appliances, Euro-style cabinetry, a large center island, and quartz countertops. Walkout access to a private stone patio makes summer cookouts and alfresco cocktails a joy to host. A convenient powder room completes the floor. Follow the staircase to the second story and step into a spectacular family room with a beamed ceiling and custom cabinetry. Hardwood floors continue down the hall to the primary suite, graced by a walk-in closet with custom shelving and an ensuite bath featuring a large, glass-enclosed shower. There are two to three additional bedrooms and a full tile bath to round out the main sleeping level. An additional bedroom and full bath are found on the updated third floor, perfect for teens or long-term guests. Downstairs, the finished lower level adds a media room and fitness center, making this crowd-pleasing home exceptional. An easy stroll to Wayland Square!

202 President Avenue, Providence

2 Beds 4 Baths RIS-1329438 MLS Winnapaug Cottages BLDG.
Gracious, spacious and open, this magnificent, custom appointed house combines one level living with the benefits of a single family home yet the conveniences of a condominium! Be a part of the coveted Winnapaug Cottage community! With the Atlantic Ocean just one mile away, this property is conveniently located between the two resort communities of Watch Hill and Weekapaug. Step inside this beautiful living room with a gas fireplace and the kind of den/library you'd find in a luxury magazine--with its custom built-in shelving and lovely lines. This house is made for entertaining with a beautifully appointed dining room which leads out to a cathedral ceilinged sunroom and a lovely deck that looks into a wooded area. A large eat in kitchen features a sunny dining area, a wet bar, breakfast bar and island plus walk in pantry, spacious laundry room and two car garage. Also on the first floor is a main bedroom ensuite with two walk in closets, a small office with built ins and a large bath plus a second bedroom ensuite! Downstairs is a family room with gas fireplace that leads to a beautiful terrace also overlooking woods, a kitchenette with a wet bar and dining peninsula, a 15' office with custom built in desk and storage, an additional bedroom and bathroom. Also an opportunity exists to join the community Club with heated outdoor salt water pool, outdoor grill, space for seated dining outdoors, exercise room, party and meeting space and a full kitchen for entertaining!

11 Kettle Close, Westerly

4 Beds 4 Baths RIS-1329422 MLS
Welcome to this stunning 4 bedroom, 3.5 Colonial situated on over 2 acres of property. This home has been impeccably maintained over the years & pretty much everything has been done that could be. The kitchen is absolutely stunning with quartz countertops & a large island. The kitchen opens up to the family room which was an addition put on 4 years ago. This room is incredible with cathedral ceilings & a floor to ceiling piece of granite that runs over the fireplace. You also have a sliding glass door off the kitchen which leads you to the enclosed entertaining area with another fully equipped kitchen. The rest of the first floor includes the dining area, 1 bedroom, full & half bath. A beautiful landing welcomes you when coming upstairs from the dining area & here you'll find 3 more bedrooms including the master bedroom with an en-suite bathroom & walk in closet, the laundry room & another full bathroom. There is also an additional stairway that leads to the upstairs from the front foyer. The basement is completely finished & makes for a great area for the kids to play. You have a 2 car garage attached to the house with an additional 4 garage bays in the backyard. Fully fenced in pool with beautiful stone surrounding it. Plenty of yard space for you, the family, & the pets to enjoy & play. The home is set back nicely from the road & offers much privacy. This is a gorgeous property, don't miss out! Schedule your showing today.

554 Weaver Hill Road, West Greenwich

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It's official - the newest addition to North Scituate is live and ready for you to explore! Come take a look at this Stunning 3 level Contemporary Home, Featuring two bedrooms, three and a half bathrooms, and spanning over 2700 square feet, this beautiful contemporary home is perfect for those who are looking for a place to relax and entertain. Situated on 1.3 acres of land with views of the Waterman Reservoir and a wraparound deck, this home is listed at 425k - an absolute steal!The main floor features a fully equipped kitchen that opens to a dining room with a view of the backyard, where you can spot wildlife. At the center of this three-level home, there is a sunken living room featuring a cozy stone fireplace - perfect for movie nights with your family and friends!The second level of this modern contemporary home, you'll find a generous primary suite with a cozy fireplace, a walk-in closet, two additional closets, a full bathroom, a sitting area and even a small balcony! Plus, there's an additional bedroom and full bathroom on this level as well.Love entertaining? The lower level of the house comes complete with a family room, perfect for gathering with family and friends, an office that can also be used as a third bedroom, full bathroom, laundry, and storage - making it ideal for extended family or guests looking for their own private sanctuaries.With plenty of shops, restaurants, and schools nearby - this property has everything you could ever need.

29 Robin Vale Drive, Glocester