Guide to Buying A Home
1. Get Pre-Qualified –
Contact a local lender to discuss your finances. You will need 2 years of tax returns, 2 most recent pay check stubs & 2 most recent bank statements, along with a few other items they will request. If you do not know a lender, I highly recommend Cary Pearce, he can be reached at 951-750-7555, cell 951-256-3715. He has helped my clients with smooth, stress free transactions.
2. Chose the right Real Estate Broker –
Chose an experienced Real Estate Broker with experience & a Broker that is familiar with the area where you wish to purchase your home. Your real estate Broke must have your best interest in mind, when looking for a home and strong negotiating skills. Using a Real Estate Broker vs Agent is the difference in experience, education and more security for a buyer or seller knowing the liabilities throughout a transaction. Past Sales & My reviews
3. The internet –
It is an excellent source to find a home. The most common sites used today are Zillow, realtor.com or Redfin. They all have valuable information, however not always accurate. This is where a real estate Broker can assist you with “Cross referencing” properties, found on these sites and in the local multiple listing service. The Multiple Listing Service is where agents, exclusively list your home, with accurate information about your home. Homes listed on the internet are not always accurate and use averaged numbers to find values. They do not take condition, views or upgrades into consideration, when giving value to a home.
4. Searching for your dream home –
The web sites such as Zillow, realtor.com or Redfin are great for your initial search and learning what homes are listed your desired area but finding a local Broker, that is familiar with the area, you are looking in, is more beneficial. They should meet with you, discuss your “likes & dislikes”, “needs and wants” in a home, prepare several homes for you to look at, in your qualified price range and then your search begins to find “Your Dream Home”.
5. Bank Owned listing VS. A Standard Sale –
A Bank Owned home for sale can be a bit more complicated and time consuming for Buyer’s. Keep in mind that you are not dealing directly with the bank, but a negotiator, that does not have the authority to make immediate decisions, which can cause the negotiating process long and drawn out. The process from writing an offer, counter offers and maybe an acceptance can be a 3-10 day process. Patience are necessary when dealing with an institution sale. When writing an offer, on a standard sale, your agent is working directly with the listing agent, representing the Seller, which will make the negotiating process very quick from offer, to counter offer, to acceptance and opening escrow. Typically a 2-4 day process, depending on the Seller.
6. Writing An Offer –
Before your real estate broker can write an offer you must receive a pre-qualification letter from your lender. Your agent will also need a copy of a check made out to the requested escrow company and proof of funds, that your down payment actually exist. You and your Broker will discuss the value of the home, according to the past sold homes, in the area. Usually within the last 2-3 months and within a 1/2 mile radius of the home. Once you have determined the value of the home, your real estate broker will write the offer and submit it to the listing agent. After the offer has been received and presented, to the seller, the seller may request their broker to create a counter offer and the negotiation begins.
7. Negotiations –
The buyer will wait for a response from the seller, this could be a 1-3 day period. The Seller’s agent will create a counter offer if the Seller does not like all terms within the original offer. Through the negotiation process many aspects of your original offer can be countered, whether it is price, terms etc.
8. Acceptance –
Upon acceptance of your offer, the contract will be signed by the buyer, seller and real estate broker/agents. It is not until bother Buyer and Seller have signed the contract that it is fully executed and accepted. Then escrow is opened.
9. Your offer is accepted & Opening Escrow –
Once your offer has been accepted a Buyer will send their earnest money deposit to escrow, the escrow officer will open escrow, escrow instructions will be typed and sent out to all parties to be signed.
10. The Escrow Process –
The escrow officer is a neutral party. Their job is to be sure the earnest deposit is received, type escrow instructions, all paperwork has been completed by Buyer and Seller, contact and work closely with the lender, title company and prepare for loan documents to be received, from the lender for signing and prepare to close escrow.
11. Close of Escrow –
Upon confirmation of the close of escrow, your real estate agent will gather all house keys and turn them over to the new owner. It is always recommended to change the locks to your new home. There are many keys that could be floating around from the past home owner, family members, renters etc.
12. Broker VS. Agent –
Experience the Difference! A real estate agent is licensed by the Department of Real Estate. A Real Estate Broker is also licensed by the Department of Real Estate but is required to have 2 years of full time real estate experience, attend a total of 8 real estate courses, if working independently and own their own company. They will also be required to purchase E & O insurance and liability insurance. A Real Estate Broker typically has more experience and education than the average real estate agent. Always ask the agent, your working with, if they are a real estate agent or if they have a real estate Broker’s license. A Broker is always watching out for the liability, within your transaction.
Keep in mind the process I describe above can vary from transaction to transaction. I quickly outlined the basic steps to a full transaction. Refer to your Real Estate Broker for any questions you may have.