The first thing we recommend is find yourself a good, local real estate agent. A good real estate agent doesn't just write a contract, they can SAVE you money. The next thing you will need is a good lender. Your lender will tell you the amount you qualify to spend on a home.
Now you are ready to ask your agent for a tour of the area. Even if you have lived in a place your whole life it is quite likely your real estate agent knows a few neighborhoods you haven’t seen. Lastly, ask for a sample copy of the Purchase Contract you will be asked to sign. Ask your agent to walk you through the contract, review it and become familiar with what you are saying by signing that contract.
California leans towards a seller’s market. In a seller’s market your best source is anywhere you can find information. Check out Compass.com, MLSListings.com, Zillow.com, and Realtor.com. Ask us and we will start you on an app which sends properties as soon as they hit the market.
Looking at homes, especially in the Silicon Valley, is a unique experience. You must decide quickly in our competitive market or you might lose the home to someone else. With home prices going up on a weekly basis the pressure can be relentless. Pre-planning can help calm things down.
Click here for Home Buying Wish List. Take the time to fill this out and share it with your agent.
To present the offer to the seller, your agent will need to have the following:
• Pre-approval letter from your lender
• Proof of funds – that is the money you will be using for your Earnest Money Deposit as well as balance of your down payment
If the home has been pre-inspected, be sure you have read and understand all of the inspections. The time to negotiate is now.
Next, have your agent contact the seller’s agent and find out if there is something special the seller is looking for. Knowing what is important to the seller and including them in your offer gives you an advantage.
Finally, put yourself in the shoes of the Seller. What would you want to know about someone making an offer on your home? Plan to write a compelling letter to the seller about yourself and your family. Tell them about you and why you want to purchase their home. We have seen this swing the deal in more than a few situations.
Here is a broad outline for the process once you are under contract:
1. You must put your initial deposit into the escrow account and make sure your lender gets a copy of the contract so they can get started on the loan process. 3% of the sale price is the customary deposit but is spelled out in your contract.
2. You learn about the home by conducting or reviewing the inspections and disclosures.
3. Your lender calls for an appraisal and agrees to loan the money. Even if the lender requires an appraisal, you customarily pay for it.
4. You release your contingencies.
5. You signoff with the escrow company.
6. You take possession.
YES! There are tons of reasons why you should talk with a lender and get pre-approved before looking at homes. First and foremost, talking with a lender before looking at homes can help you understand exactly how much you can afford. There is no reason to look at homes that are listed for $950,000 if you can only afford up to $900,000. For a list of lenders we have had good experiences with Click Here.
When buying a home, it is strongly recommended you have a Realtor. Sellers generally pay the commission so it is free to you the buyer and a good Realtor will protect your interests, make the process easier and save you money.