Confused? Excited? Overwhelmed? Totally normal! There are a lot involved in the process. These are the basic steps of the buying process.
Finding the right home starts with finding a good lender. You need to know how much home you can afford, how much money you need for a down payment and closing costs, and what your monthly payments will be. My lender will pre-approve you for a loan and issue an approval letter. This is invaluable when you are negotiating on a home. If more than one comparable offer has been received the seller will always choose the buyer who has good financing in place.
The next step is determining location. We've all heard it but I will say it again, the first rule of real estate is location, location, location.
Once we find your home we need to negotiate an offer with the seller. Two key points in the contract will be the selling price and the closing date. To find the proper offer price, I will do a market analysis on the neighborhood for you and determine how much other similar homes have been selling for.
A lot of time buyers want to throw out a super low offer "just to see what happens". Most sellers become insulted by “low-ball” offers and become less willing to negotiate. Take into consideration how you will feel if you lose the house to another buyer. Sometimes trying to save a couple of thousand dollars is not worth losing the home of your dreams.
After the offer is accepted it's time for a home inspection. I will always advice you to have one. The inspector will go through the home thoroughly checking everything. They will find defects a normal buyer could not reasonably expect to discover and often the seller doesn’t know about either. A few hundred dollars invested here can save you thousands. We use this report to negotiate a repair request with the seller.
During this time the lender will also be sending out an appraiser. The appraiser’s job is to make sure you are not paying more than fair market value for the property.
About four days prior to the recording date we will do a final walk through inspection of the home. We will check to make sure everything in the home is still in good working condition and anything agreed to has been fixed. Just before we close escrow will coordinate the signing of your loan documents and let you know the the balance due for your down payment and closing costs. Your loan should fund within a day or two of signing.
The day after funding your property is recorded at the county recorder’s office and we make arrangements to pick up the keys to your new home. This is when title is actually transferred from the seller’s name to yours, and it’s time to open a bottle of champagne to celebrate!