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PREPARING TO BUY A HOME

PREPARING TO BUY A HOME

STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE

Whether this is your first home purchase, or your tenth; having a professional real estate expert, like myself, to confidently guide throughout the process can be essential. Most people buy only a few homes in a lifetime, with usually quite a few years between purchases; so even if you’ve bought a home before, it is important to recognize that laws and regulations change.

As a seasoned buyers agent, I have refined expertise in every aspect of the home purchasing process. I know what is required in our market, to help you avoid delays and costly mistakes and can guide you through your home search with an unbiased eye to meet your objectives. My negotiation skills will help ensure that your needs are achieved, and I will aid you in completing your do due diligence before you’re bound to a purchase. Always an advocate and trusted advisor, you can rest assured, know that I will work tirelessly as your dedicated partner. You can expect my full guidance from start-to-finish, helping you successfully achieve your goals.

BEGIN HERE:

Please be sure to fill out the above Buyer Questionnaire so that I can learn a bit more about you and what is important to you; so that I can better assist in helping you achieve your goals.

INITIAL HOME BUYER CONSULTATION 

We will have an initial home buyer consultation; this is a brief conversation to get to know one another. We will discuss your unique situation, goals, ideal timeline and our roles and responsibilities in the home buying process.

COMPLETE A BUYER BROKER AGREEMENT​

Once we have decided  that we will work together. You'll receive an email from me with a link to sign all the forms we will need to get you started and set up on your home search.

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TALK TO A MORTGAGE LENDER & SECURE FINANCING

If you will not be paying cash for your home, you will need to work with a mortgage lender to get approved for a loan. If you do not have a lender that you know you want to work with, I can refer you to one my trusted lending partners.

 

A lender will help in determine the exact amount you can qualify for on your home purchase, provide you with different loan options/scenarios, as well as various programs that may be available to you.

 

Ultimately, your selected lender, will provide us with pre-approval letter which we will use when we later submit any offers.

PRO TIP:  A good lender, will go a step further, and assist you in determining what you're actually comfortable spending on a monthly basis for housing, so that your new housing expenses fit your needs/desired lifestyle. This will save you time home shopping, and enable you to confidently shop for a home within in your budget.

Documents each applicant can anticipate needed to provide a lender to get pre-approved...

  • Paycheck stubs for the past 30 days

  • W-2’s for the past two years 3. Federal income tax returns for the past two years.  ​If self-employed this will include Corporate, S-Corp or Partnership federal tax returns.

  • Statements for the last two months for all checking, savings, investment and retirement accounts.  This will be all pages and PDF copies of actual statements. Web based printouts are not acceptable.

  • Valid ID

Oftentimes, buyers don’t take the time to ask clarifying questions to their chosen lender. It’s imperative that you to ask plenty of questions and make sure you have a complete understanding of the home loan process. I am always happy to sit in on any meetings (in-person or digital) or calls with your lender. 

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DEVELOP YOUR HOME/NEIGHBORHOOD WISH LIST​

We will work together to develop and prioritize your neighborhood and home wish list. We will start by selecting three or four neighborhoods you’d like to live in, taking into account what is most important to you, such as, nearby schools, recreational facilities, freeway access, area expansion plans, and safety. These items will be ranked from most important to least; allowing us to focus on the features and needs most important you and your loved ones.

BE INFORMED & EMPOWERED

I aim to demystify, the rather complex home buying process for my buyer clients. Because I never make decisions for you;  it is so important to me, that you have a good knowledge and understanding of all documentation, options and possible outcomes in the homebuying process. We will thoroughly review and get you familiar with important real estate documentation that you can anticipate completing when submitting an offer; such as a California Residential Purchase Agreement (RPA) contract, along with several other equally important local and statewide disclosures, addendums and advisories. I am a firm believer that the first time you see these documents, should not be when you are signing them.

 

We will also discuss negotiation and strategy tactics, disclosures and sellers disclosure packages, how to read inspections, talk about customary practices (such as transfer tax fees and point of sale ordinances) and much more. I will be available to answer any questions that you have, so that you are fully informed and therefore empowered as a buyer. 

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BEGIN YOUR HOME SEARCH

Next, we will set you up on your first property search. I will invite you to a "collection" that will be tailored to the areas, price range & features you are looking for. This search will also include listings that are Coming Soon, as well as Compass Private Exclusives which regular consumers do not have access to, giving you an advantage.

PRO TIP: 

It’s easy to get wrapped up in your present needs, but you should also consider a homes resell potential. According to the National Association of REALTORS®’ 2013 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the average first-time buyer expects to stay in a home for around 10 years.

  

WE WILL START TOURING PROPERTIES

The fun part: As homes become available, we will set up showings to tour the homes that could be a match for your home buying goals. You will also have the opportunity to attend any public open houses that pop up during our search.

PRO TIP:  Be ready to act quickly.

It’s very common for home buyers to miss out on a home they wish to purchase because they don’t act quickly enough. Sadly, by the time they’ve made their decision, they may find that someone else is already in contract to purchase the house. This is especially true in markets like ours, where there is a low inventory of homes for sale.

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WRITING & SUBMITTING A GOOD OFFER​

O​nce we have found the home of your dreams, I will research recent comparable sales of similar homes in the area to help determine a fair price range. Price ranges will be based on comparable sales, as well as other factors like inspections, condition, repairs needed and market demand. 

 

I will then help you structure a highly strategic and competitive offer. Negotiating on the terms as necessary to get you the best scenario - and seal the deal. I will create good will and rapport with the listing agent.  Once your offer is accepted, and we are "under contract", if we have contingencies in place, we may have an opportunity to continue negotiating on things like inspection repairs if needed and/or if new information arises. 

PRO TIP:  Write your best offer. 

It’s very common for home buyers to feel reluctant to write their best offer. I will guide you on pricing; but you need to be prepared to write your best offer. Our market is highly competitive and it is very unlikely that your offer will be the only offer on the table. Therefore, you will want to ensure your offer is competitive and stands out to a seller. 

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Moving In

THE PROCESS - TITLE & ESCROW​

I will liaise and work diligently with the chosen title company, your lender, the listing agent and sellers, along with any other vendors that may be necessary for your transaction. Ensuring we meet all necessary timelines and guiding you through to closing. If you do not have a preferred title company, I would be happy to refer you to a trusted tile/escrow partner. 

SETTLEMENT / WRAP-UP THE HOME BUYING PROCESS

I will help coordinate the signing of required documentation, funding and recording of the sale. This will conclude the purchase of your home. Commonly called "Closing Escrow".  I will coordinate getting you the keys to your new home and we will celebrate. Congratulations! 

AFTER SALE SERVICES

As your trusted real estate advisor, I extend to you my continued support. Whether you need a vendor referral, want an update on what your home is worth or talk about future place - I am always going to be here for you and your family. You can expect to hear from me, receive invites to special events and receive valuable information as well. I like to say, I'm your real estate partner for life. 

 

It truly brings me great satisfaction, helping my clients create wealth through real estate. I am constantly humbled, honored and just overwhelmed with gratitude for the opportunity I have to guide and serve my clients through this important life event. 

How to Prepare to Finance a Home

Develop a Budget.

Instead of guessing what you’d like to spend, using receipts, create a budget that reflects your actual habits over the last several months. This approach will better factor in unexpected expenses alongside more predictable costs such as utility bills and groceries. You’ll also probably even spot some ways to save, whether it’s cutting out that morning trip to Starbucks or eating dinner at home more often.

Reduce Debt.

Lenders ideally look for a debt load of no more than 45% of your income. This figure should include your mortgage; therefore when possible, reducing monthly payments on the rest of your installment debt - such as car loans, student loans, and revolving balances on credit cards can be tremendously helpful.

Increase Your Income.

If you're considering buying a home, now may be the time to ask for a raise! If that’s not an option, you may consider taking on a second job or side hustle, to get increase your income to a level high enough to qualify for the home you want.

Save for A Down Payment.

Designate a certain amount of money each month to put away in your savings account. Although it’s possible to get a mortgage with a low down payment, you usually have access to better interest rates and/or can save on other fees, if you are able to put down a larger percentage of the total purchase. When possible a 20% + down payment can return some of the most favorable loan terms.

If you do not have 20%, you are NOT disqualified from buying a home. That is right, you CAN still purchase a home with less than 20% down payment. There are many programs available offering low down payment options, and some even have no money down. You read that right ZERO. 

 

Note: You will want to factor in closing costs, which can average between 2.5% - 3.5%  of the home price. 

But again, there are programs available that also aid with closing cost assistance.

Keep Working.

While you don’t need to be in the same job forever to qualify for a home loan, having a job for less than two years may make a pre-approval more difficult  to obtain (not impossible) and could also mean you will pay a higher interest rate.

Keep Track of Your Credit.

Obtain a copy of your credit report, make sure it is accurate and correct any errors immediately. A credit report provides a history of your credit, bad debts, and any late payments. Having good credit will give you access to the best loan products and rates available.

A low credit score doesn't mean you cannot purchase a home, flawed credit will just mean you may see some impact on the loans and rates available to you. I also partnered with some excellent credit repair companies that can help you work on adjustments and errors to your credit score as needed. 

 

TIP: Avoiding maximizing credit cards. Try to consistently make payments by the due date. Pay down, or pay off entire balances as promptly as possible for positive impactful results to your credit score. 

Get Familiar with Real Estate Vocabulary & Understanding How a Mortgage Works.

Gather the documentation a lender will need to preapprove you for a loan, such as W-2s, pay stub copies, account numbers, and copies of two to four months of bank or credit union statements. Connect with a trusted lender who can assist you in getting familiar with how a mortgage works. They can also help you determine exactly what (amount) you can qualify for, help you determine a budget (what you feel comfortable paying for your housing expenses), and provide you with different loan options/scenarios, as well as various programs that may be available to you. 

 

Determine what kind of mortgage (30-year or 15-year? Fixed or adjustable rate?) is best for you. Consider additional expenses such as, property taxes, insurance, maintenance, utilities, and HOA fees, if applicable.

If you do not have a lender that you know you want to work with, I can refer you to one my trusted lending partners. 

Consider Down Payment & Closing Cost Assistance Opportunities

Your lender and I, can help you seek and find down payment assistance, closing cost assistance and special mortgage programs that may be available to you. We can help determine whether you qualify for these programs and assist in applying for them as available.

 

TIP: If you have an IRA account, you may be able to use the money you’ve saved to buy your first home without paying a penalty for early withdrawal.

Preparing for House Hunting

Know that there’s no “right” time to buy.

If you find the perfect home now, don’t risk losing it because you’re trying to guess where the housing market and interest rates are going. Those factors usually don’t change fast enough to make a difference in an individual home’s price.

Don’t ask for too many opinions.

It’s natural to want reassurance for such a big decision, but too many ideas from too many people will make it much harder to make a decision. Focus on the wants and needs of the people who will actually be living in the home.

Accept that no house is ever perfect.

If it’s in the right location, the yard may be a bit smaller than you had hoped. The kitchen may be perfect, but the roof needs repair. Make a list of your top priorities and focus in on things that are most important to you. Let the minor ones go. Also, accept that a little buyer’s remorse is inevitable and will most likely pass.

Don’t try to be a killer negotiator.

Negotiation is definitely a part of the real estate process, but trying to “win” by getting an extra-low price or refusing to budge may cost you the home you love.

Remember your home doesn’t exist in a vacuum.

Don’t get so caught up in the physical aspects of the house itself that you forget about important issues such as noise level, access to amenities, and other aspects that also have a big impact on your quality of life.

Plan ahead.

Don’t wait until you’ve found a home to get approved for a mortgage, investigate insurance, or consider a moving schedule. Being prepared will make your bid more attractive to sellers.

Choose a home first because you love it; then think about appreciation.

A home is still considered a great investment, but its most important role is as a comfortable, safe place to live.

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