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Buying Guide

 

 

Buying Guide

Because a real estate purchase is one of the largest investments in your life, it is important that you select the right agent, know the neighborhoods, and thoroughly understand the real estate transaction process.

Step-by-Step Buying Guide
The idea of buying a home can be daunting, especially if you are a first time home buyer. Understanding the costs of home buying and home ownership, along with the buying process as a whole, are vital. But if you are working with the right agent, someone who can make buying both uncomplicated and easy to understand, the process can be a great one, and ultimately get you to your goal, of owning your own home.

Selecting the Right Agent

The first step in a successful real estate transaction is selecting the right real estate professional to work with. The importance of finding the right fit, a person you can relate to, is paramount.As your agent, I will be your partner every step of the way. Not only will I listen and identify your needs, I will also share my knowledge of local communities, market conditions and trends to bring you up to speed on the inner workings of the fast-paced Bay Area real estate market. This education will be invaluable when we find the right property and you need to make informed decisions that will greatly impact your future.

Born and raised in the Bay Area, I not only have a deep understanding of the real estate market and the subtleties of different neighborhoods, I have access to off-market listings as well as publicly listed properties. I have an excellent reputation among my peers, which has proved to be a valuable asset particularly when competing against other agents in multiple offer situations. It can also lead to cooperation in complicated transactions and can create streamlined and trouble-free closings.

Determining Your Budget & Getting Pre-Approved

Assessing your financial readiness when it comes to buying a home is essential, and your current income, savings, fixed expenses, and debts will all help us gauge your budget. Before starting your home search, we will get you pre-qualified for a home loan. This will estimate how much home you can afford and how much money a lender would be willing to loan you. Once pre-qualified, we’ll have a good idea of what your price range for a home will be, and we can start actively looking at homes that fit your criteria. Simultaneously, we will move forward with the process of getting you pre-approved for a loan.Pre-approval is a tentative commitment from a specific lender for mortgage funding. To attain pre-approval, you will need to provide actual documentation of your income, assets, and debts, which the lender will use to calculate how large of a loan you qualify for. Once you are approved, the lender will give you a letter of commitment, stating how much money the bank is willing to loan you. This will help immensely when making an offer on a property, as sellers and their agents will take an offer much more seriously when they see you have mortgage funding in place.

Finding Your Desired Neighborhood/Community

Before we can find the right home, we’ll need to start by identifying the communities and neighborhoods that appeal to you most. Having lived in the Bay Area all my life, I have first-hand knowledge of the nuances of different neighborhoods and community highlights including schools, recreation, and market conditions. I can also identify the potential for home appreciation in different neighborhoods and lend insights into where you might get the most value for your money. By touring towns, getting a feel for particular areas, and visiting listings, we will find the right area for you.

Finding The Right Home

After narrowing down the communities and neighborhoods, we can choose properties to view based on your preferences – be it the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, the square footage, lot size, age of the home, school district, or architectural style. I can set up instant alerts that notify me immediately of new listings as they come on the market, and I will network with associates to discover upcoming and off-market listings – both are essential in the swift moving Bay Area real estate market. We will tour properties that fit your requirements, and when we find the right home, we will carefully review all disclosures and reports, including the property inspection and title report, before deciding to make an offer.

Making An Offer

When we have found the right home that is in your price range, has the amenities you want,and we have reviewed all the property disclosures, we will be ready to write the purchase offer.Placing an offer can be a delicate process. The number of offers on a property, current market conditions, time of year and any needed repairs on the home may all affect your proposal. Taking everything into account, I will advise you not only on the correct financial offer, but also on terms and conditions of the purchase,including contingencies for financing, the home inspection and appraisal.I will offer advice on how we might respond to counter offers, and I will fiercely negotiate on your behalf until we are satisfied with the outcome.

In the competitive Bay Area real estate market, multiple offers on properties are commonplace. If we find ourselves in this situation, I may advise you on alternative strategies that will make your offer the most attractive to a seller and their agent, including the option of submitting an offer free of contingencies, which can often give a competitive advantage.

Escrow

When both parties reach a contractual agreement and have signed the purchase contract, escrow begins. At this point, your earnest money is collected and deposited into an escrow account at the company specified in the contract.Simply put, escrow refers to the process by which a third party (typically a title company) holds funds and handles vital documents involved in the close of the sale. The escrow process ensures that the interests of all parties in a transaction are protected, and that all conditions of the sale, as outlined in the purchase contract, have been met before money and property change hands.

Negotiations can occur during the escrow process, particularly when there are contractual contingencies. The determinations of the bank appraisal, or conditions that emerge from a property inspection, may all have an effect on whether I advise that we renegotiate contract terms or ask for credit from the seller prior to closing.

The length of escrow can range in duration, depending on your mortgage lender and terms of the purchase contract, but in the Bay Area, on average, escrow closes somewhere between7 and 30 days.

Closing Escrow

To close escrow, all negotiations must be completed, contingencies removed, documents signed, money transferred, and the deed recorded and confirmed by the title company. The escrow officer will handle all documents involved in the close of the sale, including insurance receipts, deposits, loan documents, and recordings.At least a day before closing, you will receive a statement of loan terms and closing costs, and, in preparation for closing, you will need to obtain a cashier’s check or prepare a wire transfer for the amount of money due upon closing. Then, we will make an appointment with the title company where I will accompany you to sign all the necessary documents, commonly called the “sign-off.”

On closing day, all escrow papers and loan documents are signed, and all money due is deposited into the escrow account. The deed to the property is then put in your name and given to the lending institution. The title company will register the mortgage and deed with the county courts, and when the title company receives confirmation that the deed has been recorded, you are officially the new homeowner and all funds due the seller, or seller’s lender, are released.

Congratulations, escrow is now closed and it is time to enjoy your new home!

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