Step One- Meet Your Real Estate Professional
Let us know your search criteria for your new home and your ideal timeline. The main criteria should include location, the number of bedrooms/bathrooms, and your desired price range. There are many other factors that come in when finding your place but these three are the most important. Some other factors to consider are parking availability, the maximum you would like to pay monthly assessments (if you’re getting a condo), pets being allowed etc.
Step Two- The Pre-Approval
The next step in purchasing a home is getting a pre-approval (unless you’re making a cash offer). For this, contact a lender (we have a few that we highly recommend) and begin the pre-approval process. Getting pre-approved should not take more than 24 hours. Let the lender know your estimated down payment, what you would like to pay monthly (including taxes and assessments), and they will take it from there. Once you have a pre-approval letter you’re ready to start the home search!
Step Three – Go House Shopping
Let us know when you are available to see places and we will set up the showings for you. We will accompany as you go out and look at all the properties you are interested in. On average it takes most clients about 3 to 4 trips out before an offer is placed. That being said we’ve placed offers for clients after one trip and we’ve placed offers for clients after eight trips. Everyone’s scenario is different.
When an offer is placed there are three things that are presented to the listing agent. Number one is the written offer which we will write up in consultation with you and you will sign. Number two is the pre-approval letter saying that you are pre-approved for the amount of the offer. The last necessary item is an earnest money check made out to the listing agent’s brokerage. Earnest money is good faith money that is held in escrow while we go through the attorney review process. There are two times when earnest money is turned in, once the offer is accepted and again after attorney review concludes.
Step 4- Negotiate
Your agent will be your buffer as he/she negotiates with the seller's agent based on your requests. They will negotiate the basic terms of the contract such as closing date, the price, home warranty, earnest money, and closing cost credits. Your offer may be accepted immediately, or there may be many back and forth discussions until everyone agrees.
In a seller's market, multiple offers may be received at once, so it's best to give a respectable offer from the start or risk losing your dream home.
After negotiating a final purchase price we have an accepted offer.
Step 5- You've Got a Deal
The official process begins. Your agent will share all of the documents with your lender and attorney.
Attorney review is a five-day period in which we have the inspection, our lawyer checks to see if there are any liens or lawsuits against the owner of the property, and we make sure that there is a clear title transfer for when we close.
Earnest money check- We will turn in the initial earnest money check to the listing agent’s office. The check should be made out to the listing agent’s brokerage.
Step 6- Inspection Time
We will need to schedule an inspection as soon as possible after the offer is accepted. We will help you in setting up the inspection and recommended trusted inspectors that make the process smooth and comprehensible. Within 24 hours after the inspection, we should receive the inspection report. Share the report with your agent, and after looking at the report yourself, contact your agent to discuss your thoughts about the inspection.
At this point, if the issues that are found during the inspection are extremely dire (building falling apart, serious health or mold issues) then we can walk away from the deal and get the initial earnest money check back. This is a pretty rare occasion but it does occur. The only money we would lose in that scenario is the cost of the inspection.
More commonly there are only cosmetic or small issues found. Once we discuss those issues, your agent will tell your attorney your final thoughts. They will draft a letter to the seller’s attorney on our behalf. We can either ask the seller to fix the issues themselves or give us a credit for the amount of the cost of fixing the problem. The seller then has the option to counter our request, accept our request or completely reject our request. We will negotiate from there based on the seller’s response.
Step 7- Property Details
At this time in attorney review, we will receive all documents from the condo association. If there any questions you have about the condominium’s bylaws or rules now is the time to get a clear answer on them. Let your lawyer know your questions, and they will reach out to the seller’s lawyer to find answers. Once all terms are agreed on and all your questions are answered we have concluded with attorney review.
Typically two days after attorney review (or as otherwise stated in your contract), the balance of the remaining earnest money is due to the listing agent’s brokerage. Final earnest money is usually a much larger amount than the initial earnest money and it is held in escrow by the listing agent’s office until closing. The final earnest money is not additional money that we are paying on top of the purchase price. Final earnest money goes towards your down payment. It’s like a down payment on a down payment. This check is turned into the listing agent’s office within two days of attorney review concluding.
Step 8- Appraisal
Your lender will schedule the appraisal shortly after they receive your Mortgage Application. Provide this date to your agent.
Step 9- Mortgage Processing
Start working closely with the loan officer to make sure that the mortgage will be closed on time. Give them any requested documentation in a timely manner. They may ask for documents verifying your employment, assets, and liabilities.
Step 10- Get Ready to Move
Your lender will update us as the closing deadline approaches letting us know if we will likely meet the scheduled closing date in the contract. You can schedule movers and start packing!
Step 11- Mortgage Requirements
Your lender may ask for Proof of Insurance or other documents before your Mortgage can be submitted to underwriting for final loan approval.
Step 12- Clear to Close
The Lender will issue the Clear to Close. The Sellers’ Attorney will set the Closing time & place. The lender will send wire instructions along with the amount you need to wire for closing. If applicable, schedule the move-in /out access for condo buildings.
Step 13- Final Walk-Through
Your Realtor will schedule a final walk-through when the property is vacant and within 48 hours of the closing appointment. This may even be on the day of closing. We want to make sure that when the seller moved out there were no damages done to the property. We also want to confirm they fixed all the repairs according to the contract.
Step 14- Contact Utilities
Your Realtor will provide utility information for your new home. Contact the utility companies to schedule the transfer of services or to make installation appointments after closing.
Step 15- Schedule Contractors
If you are having work done before you move in, let your contractors know what day and time they can get started.
Step 16- Closing Time!
Closings are usually held at a title company office and can take anywhere from 1 hour to 2 1/2 hours. Fring your picture ID and a blank check in case of incidental expenses. At the closing, you will sit at a table with lawyers and sign a bunch of documents until your wrist is sore. After the title company closer reviews the documents to make sure everything was signed where it’s supposed to be signed they will come back and tell us we are closed! We give you your keys to your new home and you begin your next chapter!
Lastly - Recommend and Refer!
Hopefully, your experience working with us was so exceptional that you are excited to refer us out to all of your friends and family. We will be sending you recommendation requests (from Trulia, Zillow and Yelp). If you would write about your experience working with us that would be highly appreciated. We may even ask to feature your story on our website!
We will be there with you every step of the way to make sure you understand everything and to answer questions. Our goal is to make the purchase of your new home as smooth and convenient for you as possible.