Buying a home can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be
There are over 300 steps that occur during the buying process. Negotiations occur all throughout escrow, not just during the initial offering. Having an experienced agent will ensure that all parties (Seller, Buyer, Escrow, Lenders, Contractors for example) are completing the appropriate disclosures, meeting deadlines, and performing according to the Purchase Offer Contract.
Buyer Consultation: I meet with you to determine your needs, timeline, and financial goals. Together we determine the best plan to create leverage for your transaction. I collaborate with your tax professional, attorney, loan officer, financial advisor and other professionals to help you make an informed buying decision.
Get Pre-Approved for a loan: There are many different types of loans available today. FHA, Conventional, VA, Jumbo Loan, USDA, CalHFA/GSFA, and renovation loans are some examples of loans, as well as city and county grants for down payment assistance. Some lenders only offer a particular type of loan. I can make referrals to reputable lenders that will ensure your escrow closes on time.
The type of loan you acquire will determine what type of home you will be able to buy, whether you will need to obtain mortgage insurance, and how much your monthly payment will be including your monthly HOA fees. If you are planning on buying a fixer upper, you might want to consider a renovation loan, which may not be offered by your regular banking institution. If you are a first-time buyer, you may be eligible for down payment assistance. This loan is essentially a grant and does not have to be paid back after a 3 year period.
Your lender will need the following items from all borrowers: Last two years W2 forms, tax returns; Most recent statements for all assets; Two months of bank statements; Paystubs covering the last 30 days; Most recent mortgage statement; Homeowner’s insurance Declarations Page for other properties; Current lease for any investment properties you own; Divorce Decree or legal separation including child support agreement, settlement of personal and business assets and liabilities; Gift letter if getting a gift for the down payment; Bankruptcy discharge papers; Copy of driver’s license. It is normally required that you have been in employed by the same employer for at least two years, but if you have been in the same industry for two years, this may satisfy the requirement of ability to pay the loan. Alimony and child support may be considered as income if the payments will continue for the next three years. Check with your lender on their requirements, which may change depending on your circumstance, credit score, down payment, and loan type.
Buyer Representation Agreement: This is the standard agreement, written by the California Association of Realtors. It is my commitment of service to you and ensures that agent commissions will be paid by the seller.
Searching for properties: I will send you a list of properties based on our initial consultation, neighborhood comparatives and demographic data. During your home search, your wish list might change and this may impact your loan or the way in which you make a Purchase Offer. I am available to show homes around your schedule. Please keep in mind that third party sites do not always reflect true offerings, nor may they reflect correct pricing or availability.
When you find a property that you would like to purchase, I will help you craft an offer that is likely to be accepted by the seller. Believe it or not, Sellers often accept offers based on factors other than price. The number of days to remove contingencies, the length of escrow, the amount of down payment, the type of loan, whether the loan is approved by the underwriter are all factors that can make an offer more desirable to the seller. A Seller will also respond differently offers presented. A multiple counter offer is given to all potential Buyers if several offers were received. This counteroffer will include new terms and may be designed to weed out other Buyers. This is why you need the negotiation power of a good real estate agent.
Escrow: Once your offer is accepted, you will have 3 days to wire your earnest money deposit to the Seller. Normally, all contingencies must be removed within 21 days, but this may change depending on the negotiation between the Buyer and Seller. I work with a professional Transaction Coordinator, who helps ensure that all documents are completed on time, accurately and lawfully.
A property inspection is immediately scheduled to determine the actual condition of the property and what kinds of repairs and maintenance will be needed after purchase. The Buyer submits a list of requested repairs based on the inspector’s report, to which the Seller may approve, deny, repair or provide a credit or reduced price to the Buyer. Sometimes a specialist, such as a structural engineer or plumber, will need to perform an additional inspection. The tricky part here is to determine the repairs needed, acquire necessary estimates, and get them completed within the allotted time.
Your lender will send out an appraiser to determine if the property is valued at the proposed purchase price. If the appraiser determines the the true value is less than the purchase price, the Buyer will need to provide the cash over and above the appraised value. If the Buyer is unable to do so, we may be able to renegotiate the price.
Your lender will send your file to underwriting for approval. If your lender notifies you that the loan is not approved and the loan contingency period has not expired, you may cancel the escrow. If the lender is unable to approve the loan on time, the Seller may cancel escrow and keep your earnest money deposit.
Once all contingencies are removed, you will need to wire the remaining monies to escrow. Your lender will send you a disclosure notifying you of all the costs of the loan. There is a three day waiting period from the time of the disclosure until the loan may be funded. A final inspection is completed to ensure that the property is in proper condition. Escrow will notify me when the sale is recorded. An appointment is made to deliver the keys to you.