1 . Initial Consultation
At the initial meeting, you will gain a basic understanding of the home buying process. Your Realtor will discuss different areas and types of property that interest you. Knowing average prices for particular properties and areas is an important foundation upon which to build your home search. With this information, your Realtor can begin identifying appropriate properties for you to view.
2 . Pre-Qualification
It is critical that you truly understand what the costs of owning a home are and subsequently how much you feel comfortable spending on your new home. After meeting with a lending professional, you should have a basic understanding of the types of loans available to you, and the costs associated with each loan program. This step allows your Realtor to fine tune which properties they should identify for you to view. It is also important for your Realtor to present any offer you make on a property with a pre-qualification letter.
3. Viewing Property
You and your Realtor will view properties together to further define what you are looking for.. You may also want to visit Open Homes in the areas you are considering. This is an excellent way to learn the market and see property. Make sure you carry your Realtors card with you when you visit a open house to show you have representation.
4. Writing the Offer to Purchase
Your Realtor will draft the offer to purchase with you, explaining the contract as you proceed. There are many ways to write a purchase offer- your Realtor ensures that your interests are represented in the contract. Allow yourself time to write an offer, the process can take up to two hours. Your Realtor knows it is important that you understand all of your options. Your Realtor will also review any unique circumstances which might affect the handling of your contract.
5. Presenting Offer & Negotiating Terms
Your Realtor will present your offer to the seller and the seller's Realtor. Your Realtor will discuss anything they feel might affect how your offer is viewed by the seller, and prepare for any objections they anticipate. The seller will either accept your offer, reject it, or make a counter offer. If the seller does not immediately accept your offer to purchase the property, they most probably will counter your offer. It is not unusual to counter back and forth for several rounds. You are at all times apprised of any developments that may affect the acceptance of your offer.
6. Opening Escrow
When the Purchase Agreement is accepted and signed by all parties, or ratified, your Realtor opens escrow with the Escrow/Title company. At this time your initial deposit money is sent to escrow. The escrow company holds all funds until instructed by buyer and seller to disperse them. As a neutral third party to the transaction, the escrow company carries out the instructions from both parties to complete your transaction.
7. The Title Search
The Escrow/Title company will search the chain of title for the property you are buying, and prepare a "Preliminary Title Report". This document will show who owns the property, what liens have been placed on it, including tax liens and trust deeds for mortgages.
8. Conducting Inspections
Normally you will have 17 days to inspect the property and determine it's condition. Your purchase is contingent upon your approval of the inspections. It is also customary to review any disclosures the seller has made during this period, along with any other general disclosure information provided by the Brokers in the transaction. Actual contract deadlines will vary, depending upon your situation.
9. Obtaining Loan Approval
After you have been approved for your loan, you will remove the loan contingency and proceed with your purchase. It is customary to wait for written loan approval before removing this safeguard. After a few days your loan papers will arrive at the escrow/title company.
10. Close Escrow
Several days prior to closing you will review and sign your loan documents and closing instructions at the Escrow/Title company. Your Realtor will review your closing documents for accuracy prior to signing. Arrangement will need to be made for the balance of your funds to arrive in escrow, and the Escrow/Title officer arranges for the lender to fund your loan. Normally, the Deed will be recorded at the County Recorder's office the following morning. At this point, you are the proud owners of your new home.