AnalyzeDetermine Your Housing Needs
Preparing for your home search is critical. The first step is to determine your priorities. What are the key characteristics of a home that are most important to you? Are you looking for a better school system? A shorter commute? An ocean view? A larger yard? Do you need a bigger home or are you downsizing? Are you looking for an investment portfolio? Having a clear sense of your reasons for buying will help you choose the right property.
And, of course, there’s always the issue of how much home you can afford, which takes us to the next step in the process - financing.
FinanceKnow Your Numbers
How much home you can afford may come down to how much debt you’re prepared to take on. In that respect, it’s important to speak with a mortgage professional (we can point you in the right direction).
Keep in mind that getting pre-qualified by a lender may not be enough; you should get pre-approved before you write any offers. A pre-approval means your loan has been fully analyzed by an underwriter whereas a ‘pre-qual’ just means that, based on what you’ve told or shown the lender, you should be able to get the loan but, to be approved, your loan will still have to be reviewed by an underwriter. Sellers prefer to deal with pre-approved buyers.
ShopFind Your Dream Home
We’ll help you prepare a “wish list” of everything you’re looking for in both your new home and your new community. We’ll match your must-haves with your budget and then draw upon our local expertise and our network of industry colleagues to zero in on the perfect home for you. We may even be able to introduce you to neighborhoods and pockets within those neighborhoods that you weren’t aware of. And occasionally we have or learn of a so-called ‘pocket’ listing (an off market listing) where we are able to match up one of our buyers with a property before it is exposed to the home-buying public at large.
When considering a possible home, we will honestly and objectively discuss with you that home’s pros and cons and will never pressure you to make an offer on any particular property.
OfferMake An Offer
We’ve found a home that checks all your boxes and you would like to make an offer. Now what?
We’ll help you develop the strongest, fairest offer by going over with you the current market climate as well as the data from recent comparable sales in the neighborhood. We’ll also get as much information as possible from the listing agent in order to see what’s most important to the seller and where there may be flexibility with respect to price and/or terms.
We’ll also review with you the various terms and conditions of the purchase contract itself so you fully understand what you’re signing, particularly the contract contingencies which are specific time-sensitive conditions that the buyer must agree to remove during the escrow period in order to consummate a home purchase.
The three most common contingencies are the loan approval, the appraisal and the home inspection. We’ll go over these and decide which ones you can afford to shorten the timeline on or waive altogether in order to make your offer more attractive to the seller without prejudicing your ability to close escrow.
InspectOpen Escrow And Schedule Inspections
Once the terms of the purchase offer have been agreed to and the offer has been fully executed, the next steps are to open escrow, wire your initial deposit to escrow, begin the process of finalizing your loan and review the seller property disclosures and HOA docs (if a condo or townhome is involved) as well as the preliminary title report. We’ll guide you through the maze of details each step of the way.
We will also schedule professionally-qualified and licensed inspectors to evaluate the condition of the home. We highly recommend a thorough home inspection on all purchases because these inspections invariably uncover issues that aren’t apparent on a walk-through and may not be known to the seller. Plus they can be a powerful negotiating tool as you move to the next step - requesting the seller make certain repairs (or offer you a credit in lieu thereof) prior to removing your home inspection contingency.
ApproveRemove Contingencies And Proceed To Closing
Once you’ve done your inspections, we will prepare a list of items that you would like the seller to fix (a Request for Repairs) based on your inspector’s findings and negotiate with the seller as to how those items will be handled in order for you to be comfortable removing your inspection contingency.
If you are financing your purchase, we will work with your lender and the appraiser to make sure all conditions of your loan are met prior to removing those contingencies as well.
After all contingencies have been satisfied and removed and the loan is finalized, we can proceed to closing.
CelebrateClose Escrow And Move Into Your New Home
Making it through escrow can seem like a mountain of details but the view from the top is worth it. Expect to sign a ton of paperwork before you get there but we’re ready to assist you every step of the way to ensure a smooth transaction.
A few days before closing, we’ll conduct a final walk-through to ensure the home is in the same condition as when your offer was accepted or even better if the repair negotiations required the seller to fix things. We’ll also go over with you the buyer’s estimated closing statement and answer any questions you may have.
On the day of closing, we’ll arrange to have all property keys, garage door openers and appliance manuals available on-site as you begin this exciting new phase of home ownership.