Home Buying Guide


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Determine your budget

Even before you start searching, you should determine how much you can afford with our online Mortgage Payment Calculator. Just enter some basic information to get an estimate of how much your monthly payments will be.

A big part of your mortgage will be determined based on how much you have in the form of a downpayment. In order to get the best rates you will need at least a 20% downpayment of the home’s final sale price, but you can certainly buy a home with less.

Generally, the higher the down payment, the better the interest rate will be. If you decide to put down less than 20%, you’ll likely need to pay "Private Mortgage Insurance or PMI". Speak with your agent and lender to understand what your options are, and determine which down payment and loan type will be best for you.


Apply for pre-approval

Sellers will only consider offers from pre-approved buyers, because it shows that the buyer has the financial resources available to get a loan and close on the home.

Get quotes from several lenders and go with someone reliable. Read reviews of each lender and consider their responsiveness, transparency, and estimated closing timeline.

If you need some recommendations of lenders who have performed well for past clients, just ask and we can send their contact details to you. We have no financial ties to any of them, and recommendations are made purely on how they have performed for multiple clients.

Your lender will check your credit and ask for all of your financial documents—tax returns, pay stubs, bank statements, credit card statements, student and auto loans, etc. so they can accurately assess your financial situation.

Once you’re pre-approved, don't make any big purchases or life changes, such as changing your job, opening or closing credit cards or buying a car, that could negatively affect your credit score. Lenders like to see stability during the home buying period.

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Find an exclusive buyer’s agent

An Exclusive Buyer Agent represents the home buyer in a real estate transaction, and only the home buyer. They work within a company that never represents sellers and never takes listings. They always work and negotiate to protect the best interests of the home buyer.

Purchasing a home is a major investment in your life, so it makes sense to have someone who represents only you and your best interests in your home purchase.


Start looking at homes

Once you’re pre-approved and have an agent, you’re ready to look for a home.

If you’re like most homebuyers, you’re browsing homes for sale day and night online. At this point, it’s a good idea to narrow down your search. Determine your ideal neighborhoods, and make a list of must-haves vs. nice-to-haves. If you’re having a tough time narrowing down, talk to us and we can guide you as to what is realistic for your price range.

Once you have a list of homes you want to view, we schedule all the appointments and pick you up on the day. We provide printouts containing all the information on each house.

How many houses can I see? - there is no limit, but for scheduling purposes plan on 30-45 minutes per house or 10-12 homes/day.

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Make an offer

Once you find the home you like, it's time to make an offer. In the current hot market it is usual for there to be a deadline by when offers have to be submitted. This is normally 7-10 days after the house has been listed. Some homes are still however on a first come /first served basis - so it is important to know how and when the seller will review offers.

Most homes receive multiple offers with selling prices substantially higher than the listing price. Houses that have been on the market longer than 12 days or so, can have some downward price negotiation.

It is important to make your offer as strong as possible to compete against the other offers. This may well include waiving the inspection contingency (or doing a pre-inspection) and waiving, or partially waiving, a low appraisal contingency.

We have submitted hundreds of multiple offers and have the expertise in crafting your best competitive offer.


Inspection, Appraisal, Title & Escrow

Once the seller accepts your offer, this is called "Mutual Acceptance". All dates are calculated from this day - so if you have 7 days to do your house inspection - it is 7 days from the date of "Mutual Acceptance".

You will be depositing the earnest money with the Escrow Company, who will hold it for you as part of your downpayment. The Escrow company's job is to make sure that the property gets transferred into your name and is responsible for handling all the monetary aspects of the home purchase. This is also where you will sign your closing documents a few days before the closing date.

The Title company is responsible for making sure that there are no extraordinary debts or liens on the property which could affect you in the future. They also protect you against third parties having claims on the property.

Your lender will arrange an appraisal on the home. This normally takes 7-10 days. This is to make sure that the home appraises for at least the selling price.

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Closing & Keys

A few days before the closing date, your lender will send the loan documents to the Escrow company. They will then contact you to schedule an appointment for you to sign your loan documents and Escrow paperwork.

You will provide the Escrow company with the balance of your downpayment and closing costs in the form of a cashier's check or an electronic wire.

On the actual closing date, Escrow will record the home purchase with the County.

Congratulations - your home has now officially "closed" and you receive the keys to your new home.