What to Expect
Know your FICO and credit score. If you have credit issues or negative marks on your credit report, take care of them immediately. Eliminate any revolving credit (typically credit cards where you are paying off a little each month). Finally, do not close any existing accounts, and do not apply for any new credit (for a big purchase).
Evaluate your personal finances. Purchasing a home is a huge investment and commitment. Look at your monthly expenses and make an honest evaluation regarding where your money is going. Can you make reasonable reductions in spending if necessary? Have a healthy savings account that shows you can save. If you have the opportunity to use gift funds, get those funds into that savings account as soon as possible.
Create a home buying priority list. This list should be in order of importance, should focus on your particular lifestyle and should include both features you want inside your home like number of bedrooms and bathrooms, square footage, orientation, attached garage, views, one or two story, turnkey or fixer; and then features you want outside your home - do you want to be close to transportation, parks/trails, schools, shopping, day care, medical, employment, recreation, or the beach.
We recommend talking with a mortgage advisor as soon as possible. We want to make sure we focus on properties that meet your budget. Home mortgage financing has gotten extremely complex and confusing, with a host of potential loan programs and options. But your advisor will guide you through this process and will recommend a loan program that they feel is best for you based on your income, debt and credit worthiness. If you are a veteran or on active military duty, click Here to see our NEW program where you can get up to $5,000 of your closing costs covered as a gift from us, for your service.
I will meet with you to discuss your home buying priority list. I will identify what housing options are available to you based on your budget and your specific lifestyle. You may be considering a home like a condo or townhome in a Common Interest Development (CID). If so, I will discuss with you the differences between the various home types available and how they may or may not meet your needs. As we go through this evaluation, I will give you critical information that will allow you to compare each property, so you can make the decision which home is the ONE for you.
Once you have selected a property, all relevant Comparative Market Data will be provided to you, so you can make an informed decision on a potential offer price. The final decision on price will be yours. I will submit a formal offer to the seller on your behalf. There are a number of documents that you will need to sign as part of the Residential Purchase Agreement. Click Here to see a sample of a Purchase Agreement. There may be several rounds of offers and counter offers before a final purchase agreement is agreed to. I will be representing you during these negotiations, always acting in your best interest.
Once your offer has been formally accepted by the seller, "escrow" will be opened, and your initial deposit will be given to the escrow company. Escrow typically takes 30-45 days. Escrow is a neutral, third party entity that is responsible for collecting all required contractual documents. They protect the interests of all parties to the transaction. Sellers are required to provide a number of disclosures about the property. Typically a home inspection and pest inspection will occur, and if there are repair issues identified, those are normally negotiated with the seller. A Title report will be prepared, along with an appraisal of the home. Your loan will go to underwriting for final approval. Contract contingencies will need to be removed. A new deed will be prepared. We will then be ready to close! The number of documents that are involved in a typical transaction will seem endless and sometimes confusing, but they are all necessary to protect all parties. We will be there by your side to explain everything. Click Here to see a typical escrow flow chart.
After all conditions and requirements of the transaction have been fulfilled, escrow will initiate the "closing" process. You will be asked to sign final loan documents. Actual closing does not occur until the Title company goes to the County and records the deed. You will then be the owner of your new home! We will make sure you receive all keys, garage door openers, warranty info, utility providers, etc.. We will also assist you with any additional needs you may have during your move, assuring that your possession of the home goes smoothly.