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Buyers FAQ

The home buying process is one of the most important decisions one can make in life. One must take into consideration many factors before they can start the process. Here are some tips and information for someone who is looking to buy a home.

Deciding To Buy

  • Base your decision to buy on facts, not fears.

  • If you are paying rent, you likely can afford to buy.

  • There is never a wrong time to buy the right home. All you need to do in the short run is find a good buy and make sure you have the financial ability to hold it for the long run.

  • The lack of a substantial down payment doesn't prevent you from making your first home purchase.

  • A less-than-perfect credit score won't necessarily stop you from buying a home.

  • The best way to get closer to buying your ultimate dream home is to buy your first home now.

  • Buying a home doesn't have to be complicated—there are many professionals who will help you along the way.

Buying Your Dream Home

1. Hire a Buyer's Agent

Choosing a real estate agent is huge! Your agent will guide you in choosing the right home and assist you in everything that goes into the home buying process. Make sure you take into account the resume of your agent, their knowledge about the market and the areas you're interested in buying your home, and testimonials of their past clients. The most important step in choosing your agent is the face-to-face you should have to see if they really are the right fit for you.

2. Get Pre-Approved/Pre-Qualified for a Loan

  • Order a credit report and fix mistakes, if any.

  • Compare rates by a few different banks, credit unions, and mortgage brokers.

  • Obtain a pre-approval letter—it verifies your income and credit report.

  • Determine your maximum loan amount but choose only a mortgage type that you understand and a payment level with which you feel comfortable which may be less than the maximum for which you are approved.

3. Looking at Homes For Sale

Let your agent know your budget, and the areas you are interesting in buying a home. Ask your agent to present to you comparable sales in your targeted neighborhood. Also make sure to consider all homes on the market—this includes fixer-uppers, Real Estate Owned (REO), foreclosures, short sales, and homes with longer Days On Market (DOM).

4. Write a Purchase Offer

After you decide on which home you want to purchase, work with your agent to decide on a price you feel the seller may accept. If the home is considered desirable in a good location, be prepared to compete with other buyers' offers and seller's counter offers.

5. Make an Earnest Money Deposit

Congratulations! When your offer is accepted by the seller, deposit your earnest money check with the appropriate party. Make sure to never make your check payable to the seller and your offer should contain contingencies that will return your deposit if you have to cancel the contract.

6. Escrow Process

  • Your agent will open escrow and title—make sure you note the escrow officer's information.

  • Pay for the appraisal of the property.

  • Comply with lender requirements

  • Approve seller disclosures with your agent.

  • Expedite this process by ordering homeowner's insurance.

  • Conduct home inspection

  • California Association of Realtors (CAR) contracts give you 17 days to remove contingencies after escrow. Make sure your loan is firm and the appraisal is acceptable before removing your contingency.

  • Do not pass up doing a final walk-through of the home and address any issues before closing.

  • Sign loan/escrow documents and deposit funds.

  • Close escrow—your property deed, seller's reconveyance, and deed of trust will record in the public records.


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