If you’re thinking about buying a home in the Bay Area and wondering what to do first.. you’re in the right place. I will walk you through 10 easy steps to buying a home in the Bay Area.
Let’s get started!
1) Find a real estate agent. Not any real estate agent. You need an agent you KNOW. Hi! I’m Maria, nice to meet you. See you that was easy you know an agent now!
2) Get pre-qualified. Don’t skip this step. It’s not that I don’t want to show you homes, but not knowing what your prequalification loan amount is we could be wasting a lot of time looking at homes you can’t or don’t want to buy anyway. Right now homes are selling so quickly that if you found the perfect house it would be unlikely a lender could get your pre-qualified fast enough to put in a competitive offer. Plus if any credit issues come up on your credit report the sooner you know the better. There’s a lot of differences between lenders so your best bet is to ask a realtor you know, like and trust for a recommendation.
3) Visit properties. The step most everyone looks forward to. Now that we know what amount you’re qualified for it’s time get your wants and needs really narrowed down so I can get a short list going of all the homes currently on the market that check all, or almost all, of the boxes on your want need, want, and would be nice lists. then I’ll send you the list of homes I’ve found for you so you can pre-view them online and let me know which ones you’d like to see in person. If we find the perfect home then we’ll move on to step 4, if not… I’ll keep searching every day and we’ll repeat this step for as often and as long as we need to until we find your perfect house.
4) Negotiate. When we’ve found the house you want to make an offer on it’s time to negotiate. First I’ll research the most recent comparable sales for the home so we know what other similar homes have sold for. Then I’ll get in touch with the listing agent and get as much info as I can. Then I’ll discuss with you some recommendations and options to include in our offer to make it as competitive as possible. This step can be stressful because there is an element of uncertainty, a good amount of unknowns, and feels a little like playing a game of chess…. At this point we’re trying to submit the winning offer or at least stay in the game and get back a counter offer.
5) Seller Accepts offer. Congratulations!!! once the seller accepts your offer we now enter the escrow phase. Escrow typically lasts 30 days but can also be longer or shorter. The number of days is agree on in the purchase contract. During the escrow period We’ll be working with an escrow officer and title company to get all the documents in order, the escrow company will also hold your deposit funds until the sale is final. Also be aware that during the escrow phase you will periodically be asked to sign additional documents either by me or my transaction coordinator, and maybe the escrow agent. I always tell my clients to be cautious because there are scammers out there who try to get intercept emails or impersonate agents or escrow officers. Keep your guard up. If any thing looks fishy or out of place text me before you sign anything to verify it really came from me, my TC, or escrow. I want you to be extra cautious so don’t hesitate call and get verbal confirmation.
6) Review the disclosures. You might be able to review some or all the disclosures prior to making an offer, but they’re not always available. If they aren’t available at the time we submit your offer we’ll add into the contract that the seller must deliver disclosures in so many days. It’s a good idea to go over every single page and make sure you understand and accept what’s being disclosed. If you have any questions about anything write it down, note what page of the disclosure you saw it on and let me know as soon as possible so I can get answers to all your questions. Since you’ll have to sign off that you accept whatever is in the disclosures on the disclosures by a certain date the sooner this is done the better.
7) Working through the loan process. Even though you were pre-approved there will still be a lot of documents requested of you by your lender. Truly… it can be very annoying when they ask for docs, you give them what they asked for, and then a day or two later… they ask for more docs. It can feel like it’s never going to end.
8) Inspections. If you’re getting your own inspections done, now is the time to do it. They aren’t mandatory, but are recommended. If it’s something you want to do we need to schedule them as soon as your offer is accepted.
9) Final walk through. Okay so we’re getting close to closing day and we need to go back to the home and do a final walk through. This is to ensure the condition of the property hasn’t changed since you last saw it and anything the seller was supposed to do or repair before closing has been done. People can do some strange things sometimes. I’ve seen people swap out fancy light fixtures and replace them with cheap ones. remove all the shower heads and leave just the bare pipe behind, even swap out nice kitchen appliances for cheaper ones. Don’t skip the final walkthrough.
10) Closing of escrow. Transfer the remainder of down payment funds to the escrow account, lender funds the loan, and you sign all the final closing documents with a notary. Usually by the next afternoon the transfer of title is recorded by the county and you are officially the homeowner! Congratulations! Once we receive confirmation I will meet you and give you your keys, take some few photos in front of your new house, there may or may not be some tasty celebratory drinks flowing, and then I’ll we’ll part ways.. but don’t worry it’s not goodbye! I’m going to check in on you periodically to catch up and see how you’re doing.