Determine your Needs and Wants
Decide what type of property you would like to live in, and make a list of essential features you are hoping for, and another list of things you are willing to compromise on. Here are things to keep in mind when compiling your lists:
- Condo, Townhouse or Single Family Home
- Bedroom / Bath count
- Parking requirements
- Neighborhood considerations (are you more urban or suburban?)
- Transportation needs (do you hope to be near a Gold Line stop?)
- Outdoor space – room for pets, balcony, deck, yard
- Condition of home – are you willing to make cosmetic improvements?
Financing Your New Home
- How much cash do I have available for a down payment?
- What is my credit score?
- Arrange to meet with a highly recommended lender whose specialty is in financing home purchases.
- Complete a loan application, and have a lender check your credit in order to get a loan pre-approval letter.
- Ask the lender about loan closing costs.
- Have a lender help you determine a target purchase price that fits best with your budget.
Begin Your Home Search
- Describe for me your ideal home situation.
- Browse through listings I email to you and let me know which are your favorites, and I’ll make arrangements for you to see them.
- Go to weekend Open Houses, but be sure to write my name as your agent on the sign-in sheet, or you may lose your opportunity to have representation.
- When you see homes on various web sites or by driving through neighborhoods you are interested in, email me and I’ll research the property for you, and show you the homes.
- Learn about the neighborhoods you’d like to live in by driving the streets at different times of the day, touring the local public schools, and visiting local businesses.
Make An Offer
- Decide what price to offer. I will coach you in this process, by providing information on recent sales in the neighborhood.
- Be prepared to write a check. Earnest money deposits are typically 3% of the purchase price, and funds need to be in escrow within 3 business days after acceptance of the offer.
- If there is personal property you would like to have included in the sale, be prepared ahead of time so these items can be included in the offer. Anything that is not hard-wired in or permanently attached is considered “personal property.”
- Determine when you would like to close escrow. Most escrows in our area are between 30-45 days long.
- Bring your loan pre-approval letter with you. Having a strong letter from a reputable lender goes a long way in terms of leveraging your negotiating power.
- Bring proof of funds for your down payment and closing costs. This can be in the form of copies of bank statements showing monies on deposit, or a letter from your lender stating specifically that they have verified funds on deposit. Again, this helps put you in a strong position to negotiate.
Once your offer is accepted, escrow will be opened. Here is a brief outline of buyer’s responsibilities once escrow opens.
- Transfer funds to cover your earnest money deposit check.
- Arrange for a home inspection. You may select any inspector your are comfortable with; I will be happy to give you a few references.
- Notify your lender that escrow has been opened. Work closely with your loan rep in providing necessary documentation as this is critical to ensuring escrow closes as scheduled.
- Approve disclosures and reports as they become available.
- Arrange for hazard insurance. I can provide references so you are able to shop for the best policy that fits your requirements.
- Loan documents are signed about 5 days prior to closing. Be prepared to go to escrow and sign as soon as docs are available.
- Arrange to have your closing funds wire transferred to escrow two days prior to closing.
- Arrange to have utilities transferred into your name at the time you take possession.