I love working with buyers. Many Realtors do not. They won't ever tell you that but it's the truth. They'd rather have a listing than "drive buyers around all day," they say. 

Me? I love buyers. Whether a buyer is selling their existing home to move up to a larger one or to downsize, or it's their first purchase, a buyer is looking forward to their next step in life. It's an exciting time and I really enjoy being a part of it. I guess I'm a teacher (or lawyer!) at heart, so I love guiding buyers through the process to ensure they make the right decision.

Whether you're a first-time buyer or you have been buying and selling homes for years, it's crucial to have as much information as possible. You need to know about current market conditions, where the market is going and how to successfully negotiate in that market. It will also benefit you to know and understand the upcoming process so you know exactly what to expect before and during escrow. Although every transaction is unique, I have winning methods that I employ, especially in MULTIPLE OFFER situations, to increase your likelihood of getting that perfect house and calling it HOME! 

And perhaps MOST IMPORTANTLY, MY SERVICES ARE FREE TO YOU! The home seller pays my fees. You will have a very experienced Realtor on your side. What's more, I'm a LICENSED ATTORNEY, and while I don't practice law anymore, I DO provide my buyers, during the purchase, with FREE REAL ESTATE, TAX AND CONTRACT ADVICE as it relates to the purchase of your home. What more could you ask for?

1. Get your credit in good shape. 

We all know how to find our credit reports. If your credit isn't stellar, call me and I'll put you in touch with mortgage brokers who can help you do just that. Don't try this on your own; you might wind up doing the exact opposite of what is in your best interest. I've seen buyers pay down debt when they should've been putting those funds to better use as a down payment!

2. Get a mortgage broker lined up.

  Aside from checking your credit, this is really step number 1 and should be done before you even start looking for a home. You want to be sure you are searching for homes in the appropriate price range. When you have the proper guidepost from a good mortgage broker, you could realize you actually can have that extra bedroom you've always wanted, or that you really should limit the size of the back yard due to financial constraints you were not aware of.

I always say the mortgage broker is the weak link in the chain. A less than professional mortgage broker can cause your offer on a house to fail. Chose wisely. Only work with brokers who have good references from people you trust. I have brokers I've worked with for years, and who have great programs, and I typically recommend them to my clients. I am confident the house purchase will close when using my preferred brokers.

3. Good Faith Deposit.  

This is the first check you will write! It is standard to place into escrow an amount equal to 3% of the purchase price (the 3% is calculated based on your offer price but will be increased to 3% of the contract price if the price increases during negotiations.) This amount will be applied to your total funds due at the close of escrow. In the event that you legally terminate escrow, that 3% will be refunded to you. Be sure you legally and properly terminate escrow or you might lose that 3%! This alone is a great reason to hire the right Realtor to represent you in a purchase.

4. When do I need my down payment

When you make an offer, you will need to provide, along with the contract, a copy of your bank statements which show you have the ability to make the down payment. So you will need such evidence up front. It's ok if the funds are not liquid (i.e. stocks and bonds or the like) as long as the source funds can be easily liquidated prior to the close of escrow.

5. Can my parents or friends help with the down payment

Yes of course they can and often do! You will just need a "gift letter" signed by the donor with their evidence of the gift funds. Lenders will have their own rules regarding gifts so its best to check with your mortgage broker before putting the gift letter together.

You have been searching online and in person for a while now. You found a house, made an offer and it's been accepted! Congratulations! Now the REAL work begins, ESCROW! This is the hard part of the transaction, THE REASON YOU BROUGHT ME IN TO REPRESENT YOU!

Once your offer is accepted, you have 3 BUSINESS days to put your good faith deposit into escrow. That's usually done via a wire transfer but you can mail or drop off a personal check if you prefer.  The check does NOT need to be certified. Then you will have a specified amount of time in which to conduct your investigations of the property. This is typically anywhere from 10 to 17 days, depending on what we negotiated on your behalf during the contract negotiation. 

During this time period you will be hiring your "physical inspectors" to kick the tires of the house.  Unless the house circumstances suggest otherwise, I typically recommend a basic general inspection, then proceed to other more specific inspections, i.e., roof or plumbing, if the general inspector's report suggests it. On hillside properties, I always recommend a geological inspection. And in many cases I recommend a sewer inspection as well. I have a book of trusted service providers who you can hire to accomplish all these tasks.

At the end of the contractual 10-17 day period, we will either sign off on, or "waive" the inspections, or request a credit for work to be done by you after the close, or we request that the seller perform certain repairs. This is determined on a case-by-case basis. But you are not done yet!

We still need to sign off on appraisal and your loan, if you are getting a loan. The appraisal is ordered by the bank (on your nickel, of course) and typically the report is completed right around the time you have to waive your loan condition. The bank usually gives you an approval on the appraisal almost simultaneous with your loan approval. What happens if your appraisal comes in low? That's a more complicated question which is beyond the scope of this post, but there are ways we can get around that issue, so rest assured all is not over if that occurs!

Once you have loan approval and a proper appraisal, the inspections are done AND you are sure you want the house, blemishes and all, it's time to waive all contingencies. I call this the "I really, really, really want to buy the house" document and I will NOT let you sign it without your knowing approval. CAREFUL HERE: this is the point of no return. This step must be done correctly if you don't want to lose that 3% good faith deposit! Rest assured you will be in good hands with this Realtor when we get to that point in the transaction. My #1 GOAL is to get you over that finish line, or if you decide NOT to go over that finish line, to back you out LEGALLY AND PROPERLY.

After all this is done, it should be smooth sailing to a smooth close of escrow and you can then put the key in the front door and start your new life!

Meet in person.

I know you are anxious to look at homes. You will profit greatly from knowing the whole process and what to expect every step of the way. I like to find out your "bonus items" and "must haves" that will make a house the perfect home. We go over the current market, current inventory, and how to win in that market. I walk you through strategy for winning in multiple offer scenarios without overpaying, concessions you can get from the seller, financing options, your time frame, etc. Also, earnest money required at your price range and conditions we put on your offer to protect your earnest money. Basically what to expect and all methods of mitigating risk. I also understand that it's not always possible to meet in person and we can accomplish what we need to over the phone or email as well. I get it, you're busy!

Getting prequalified.

Please use a good lender. I am more than happy to recommend lenders who are fantastic at what they do. The lender may not need a whole lot of info from you initially, but they do need to know how they can most effectively help from the financial documentation that you provide. Pick your ideal loan program and a price that your ideal monthly payment correlates to. This has to be done before presenting your offer. It is important to have this done before searching for homes so there are no delays once you find the perfect home that can result in you losing out on the opportunity to make an offer on your dream home.

Time to get in the car.

Now the fun part! Let's look at some amazing homes at your convenience. Thanks to our productive initial consult interview we can tour homes that meet your needs and are not a waste of your time.  I'll also make sure to inform you about "coming soon" listings and off-market properties.

Found the perfect home! Time to write an offer.

I walk you through the contracts section by section so you know exactly what you are offering and how that applies to you.  We need to tailor your offer to our knowledge of the seller's negotiating position. I will have a detailed conversation with the listing agent to review the seller's motivations for selling, request property disclosures and reports if available, and get a general sense of what we can include or remove from your offer to make it more appealing to the seller. We research liens against the property, how much the seller owes on their mortgage, whether the property is in foreclosure, time on market, and patterns in price reductions to determine their position. And of course, tailor everything to your needs. Do you want/need the seller to pay some of all of your closing costs? Would you like a seller paid home warranty? All of these works into the net amount that we present to the seller. 

Multiple offer situations are common these days. You do not necessarily have to be the highest offer to win in one of these competitive situations. WAYS TO WIN IN MULTIPLE OFFERS.

Offer presentation has to be done properly. On my listings, I usually get horribly presented offers. A dot loop share with a prequalification letter from a random unknown lender is not a real offer. Presenting you in a personalized way and as the fully qualified buyer that will easily close on the home is key. That being said, you are financially prudent and won't overpay for an asset.

Acceptance. Woohoo!

Most escrows last 30 to 45 days. Good lenders shouldn't need longer than that to get your loan cleared to close. We are officially under contract. Now the real work begins!

Now it's due diligence time.

One of the conditions we put on your offer is your due diligence (property inspection) condition. Home purchases are as-is so you need to do your homework. I highly recommend getting any inspections necessary so that you can determine if the home is in the condition that you expect and so that we can find the things that should be repaired by the seller before closing. We will discuss this in detail and determine what inspections to perform and what each inspection will cost. Your offer is subject to satisfactory inspection and repairs negotiation.

Don't forget that your lender has a lot of work to do for you!

There are some very cool financing programs out there to fit anyone's situation. Once under contract, your lender gets started on the property specific loan. The lender will need some financial info from you so they can process everything. They will order an appraisal (which you as the buyer will pay for - make sure you know the cost in advance), your loan will finish underwriting, and then you get that beautiful "clear to close". 

Complications pop up all of the time in this process. Again, please use a good lender. I am more than happy to recommend lenders who are fantastic at what they do.

Schedule possession.

Signing, funding and recording, and then getting keys is the best part of the process. I love giving my clients a handshake or a high five at the exciting appointment where I give you keys to your new beautiful home! 

The process is full of possible problems that a good lender and a good Realtor should have seen and successfully solved many times before. We all love when things go smoothly!

Bottom line folks - most of the valuable work comes after your dream home goes under contract. The fact that a buyer agent/broker can show you any available home is awesome, but that is not the primary reason why you hire someone to help during this emotionally charged period of your life. 

The value of a buyer agent in the modern real estate landscape is absolute. If you are in the market to buy a home and you are only calling on yard signs and on Zillow listings you are doing it wrong. Most of those yard signs are under contract. Same goes for Zillow - many of the homes that you see there sold months ago. Many others will not show up there at all.

Buyer agency is free of charge to buyers. The seller pays the buyers agent commission. So you can hire a massively experienced Realtor who handles everything for you without paying a dime. So cool! 

As you interview agents and brokers make sure they have a process and can clearly articulate what they do to bring you value that goes beyond opening doors and writing a contract. Every transaction is unique but as I mentioned before, I use the same process every single time because it works. 

Ready to get started? Just say the word.

 CONTACT ME today.

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