Home Buying Timeline

8 Steps to Buying a Home

Let me support you during the home buying process from start to finish. Buying a home typically takes from four weeks to six months. It can be quicker if you make a firm offer right away in a fast-moving market or slower if you have a hard time finding just the right place. Transparency between you and me will also make this process quicker and swifter. If I know your exact needs I can hunt and network with better precision. Most buyers can expect to spend about six months purchasing a home. I’ve broken down the home buying process into eight steps. Each step on the home buying timeline includes a summary of the process. Following each step puts you one step closer to your goal of homeownership.

Step 1: Call Me

I’m telling you straight. Call me. I’m the first person to contact, and I mean this in the most humble sense. I’m your resource on all the facets and steps it takes to purchase a property, purchase your home, or sell your house. I will guide you from start to finish and be your first line of defense and support.

Meet Jacqueline

Jacqueline is dynamite. She brings a seasoned network to the table. Buying, selling, flipping, house hacking, investments, lots, development, syndication, joint ventures, residential construction, commercial construction — you name it — She’s ready to help!

Step 2: Hire Your Agent

Real estate agents help consumers by simplifying buying and selling a home. When I represent you, it means that I will put your interests above my own. In short, I use my local knowledge and experience to help you in every way possible.

With the results you can count on, I will help you understand the home buying timeline. Below is a list of services you should expect from me.

  • Education on the current conditions of the market.
  • Analyze what you want and what you need in your next home.
  • Coordinate the work of other needed professionals throughout the process.
  • Guide you to homes that fit your criteria and budget.
  • Negotiate on your behalf to get you the best deal possible.
  • Check and double-check paperwork and deadlines.
  • Inform, discuss and suggest solutions to solve any problems.

Buyer’s Consultation

A buyer’s consultation is helpful to clarify the home buying process, set the expectations on both sides, and lay the foundation for a happy client/agent relationship. The home buying process often has a unique set of opportunities and challenges, and setting the expectations on both sides is productive.

Execute a Contract

I will provide you with a Buyer’s Agency Agreement. We both sign in agreement to an exclusive working arrangement, typically six months.

Step 3: Secure Financing

I will introduce you to my preferred financing consultant to make the financing process as painless as possible. This professional will work with you and your agent to make sure the financial aspect of your home purchase is stress-free. Servces that your consultant will help you with on the home buying timeline include:

  • Review your current financials.
  • Discuss the options available to you during the home purchasing process.
  • Guide you to an appropriate price point.
  • Negotiate on your behalf to get you the best deal — price, interest rates, loan approval.
  • Keep you informed and updated on the entire financial process throughout your purchase.

Inform, discuss, and suggest solutions to solve any problems.

One of the first big steps to buying a home include getting your finances ready and finding the right mortgage lender. The pre-approval qualification is complementary.

Mortgage Pre-approval

Mortgage pre-approval is the process of determining how much money you can borrow to buy a home. To receive your pre-approval letter, lenders do their due diligence in looking over your financial means which include your income, income to debt ratio, assets, credit score, and employment timeline. With this information lenders decide what loans you could be approved for, how much you can borrow, and what your interest rate might be.

Step 4: Find Your Home

Now you’ve met with your trusted advisors and you’re ready to begin your search. I will help you pinpoint homes that fit your criteria more accurately. The right home will meet all your essential needs and as many of your additional wants as possible. Some questions you might ask yourself during your journey on the home buying timeline include:

  • What amenities are crucial for me and my family?
  • How much space do I need and why?
  • Which is more critical: location or size?
  • Is a fixer-upper something I’d consider?
  • How critical is home value appreciation?
  • Is neighborhood stability a priority?
  • Is accessibility to main routes a priority?
  • For your new property, what features are not negotiable?

Keep in mind as you look at homes, you’ll learn that your preferences will probably adjust along the way.

Viewing Homes

  • Keep appointments and be on time.
  • Do not contact the listing agent directly or approach properties without me as your buyer’s agent.
  • Be prepared to submit an offer and act fast according to the market.

Step 5: Make an Offer

It’s important to remember that a home is an investment. I can give you pertinent details on other properties in the neighborhood to help you confirm you’re making an informed decision when it comes to price. You can be sure to rely on me to explain and guide you through the offer process. When deciding on the best price we’ll consider list price, market analysis, and required improvements.

  • List Price — The list price will give you a starting point when looking at the home’s value.
  • Market Analysis — I will provide you with an idea of comparable home values in the neighborhood to help you decide if you are comfortable with the price point and if it is on par.
  • Improvements — I am able to assist with a list of improvements made to the home and help you determine its market value.

Negotiating Offer

When you make an offer, in most cases, you’ll be required to submit a deposit — called earnest money — that a neutral party, such as an escrow agent or real estate title company, will hold in escrow as good-faith money. This deposit is 3% of the total purchase price and usually due 3 days after the offer is signed and accepted.

Home Warranty

A home warranty is a contract covering repairs and replacements on systems and appliances in your home, usually for one year. A home warranty is generally paid for by the seller regardless of whether it’s a seller or buyer’s market.

Seller Disclosures

A seller disclosure statement is a form disclosing the seller’s knowledge of the property’s condition. The seller disclosure notice or statement is reported and does not substitute for any inspections or warranties the purchaser may wish to obtain.

Step 6: Offer Process

Offer to Purchase

A California Residential Purchase Agreement and Joint Escrow Instructions is a legal document outlining a potential real estate transaction between two parties (seller and buyer). It’s typically used when someone wants to purchase a house or other private residence for sale. Before the deal is final, there are usually some conditions to meet. The residential purchase agreement paperwork states those conditions.

Offer Accepted

After your offer is approved, you will have the opportunity to inspect the home and conduct walkthroughs before closing. In some cases, sellers may be willing to make repairs free of charge before closing. But many sellers sell homes “as is,” meaning that they are not required to make any repairs to them.

Earnest Money

Earnest money, or good faith deposit, is a sum of money you put down to demonstrate your seriousness about buying a home. In most cases, earnest money acts as a deposit on the property you’re looking to buy.

Home Owners Insurance

Homeowner’s insurance pays for losses and damage to your property if something unexpected happens, like a fire or burglary. When you have a mortgage, your lender will want to ensure your property is protected by insurance.

Step 7: Inspections and Appraisals

I will provide you with a list of improvements and challenges within your home while using the Home Inspection as my guide. If needed I will reach out to my professional network to help verify and clarify items on the Home Inspection report. Together we will also pay close attention to any of the seller’s disclosures. A Home and Pest Inspection and Appraisal are part of the home buying timeline, and allow for a transparent escrow. My goal is to help facilitate and understand what you are getting into before completing the purchase. While updates can increase your home value, damages can cost you. With this in mind, your primary concern is the possibility of structural damage coming from water, shifting ground, or poor construction.

Lender Inspection

A licensed appraiser analyzes the property’s condition, any upgrades/additions made to the property, the size of the lot, and “comps” or recently sold properties of comparable size and condition in the same market. With the result the licensed appraiser creates a final appraisal report and offers their professional opinion.

Home Inspection

A good home inspection report is extensive, containing checklists, summaries, photographs, and notes. With this intention, a home inspection aims to uncover issues with the home that even the sellers might not know about. Inspectors won’t tell you if you’re getting a good deal on the house or offer an opinion on the sale price. The inspector will check that major appliances are functional, scrutinize the heating and air-conditioning system, examine the plumbing and electrical systems, and inspect the attic and basement if accessible. A home inspection may estimate the remaining useful life of major systems and equipment as well as that of the roof and structure. The critical information will include recommended repairs and replacements, too.

Appraisal Results

The appraiser creates a final appraisal report and offers their professional opinion on the home’s market value. In other words, they have considered the home’s condition, any upgrades or additions made to the property, the size of the lot, and “comps” or recently sold properties of comparable size and condition in the same market. The final estimation of the property’s value, based on this information — reports back to your mortgage lender.

Final Loan Approval

Final loan approval means the lender has reviewed your signed documents, re–pulled your credit report, and made sure nothing changed since the underwriter’s last review of your loan file. In the final analysis, the lender and I advise that you don’t put the property purchase at risk. How do you do this? Stay in control of your credit and finances. More specifically, do not make any large purchases during this time. It’s essential to keep your finances steady throughout the buying process.

Repair Requests

Homebuyers can request house repairs before buying, which is standard across California. A buyer’s agent can request repairs for consideration to the seller’s agent. If you request a repair, the seller has the right to ignore, deny, agree to the request, or attempt to negotiate a compromise.

Repair Completion

Once the property repairs have been completed, a final inspection will verify that the work is satisfactory. In general, the best way to confirm that the repairs are correct is by having the original inspector re-inspect the property.

Step 8: Closing

You’re in the ‘home’ stretch of the home buying timeline! It is important that you, me and your financial consultant stay in close communication during this process.

Final Walk Through

A final walkthrough is an opportunity for homebuyers to inspect the house before the official closing. In summary, the final walkthrough also allows the buyer to see that the seller has made any repairs they promised to make.

Wire Funds

After the mortgage loan has been approved, your lender will wire the funds to escrow. To cover the rest of the closing costs you will send a wire transfer to escrow one to two days before closing. The transfer includes the down payment and any closing costs that you haven’t already paid. On closing day, all documents are reviewed and signed.

Loan Signing

Escrow companies, mortgage companies, and real estate agents work with a notary signing agent to complete the loan signing process. The borrower(s) (you the buyer) and the notary meet in person in order to verify your identity. The most important documents (usually the promissory note, transfer deed, and deed of trust or mortgage) are signed with a pen, and the rest are generally digitally signed.

Close Escrow

Escrow protects all the relevant parties by ensuring that no funds or property change hands until all conditions in the agreement have been met. In summary, once both parties complete the agreement’s requirements, escrow is closed.

Welcome Home

Congratulations, and welcome home! Or if relevant, congratulations on closing on more real estate! The home-buying process is complete!

Home Buying Process

The decision to purchase a home is one of the biggest and best choices we make in our lifetime. What’s more, the benefits of investing in a home include appreciation, home equity, tax deductions, and deductible expenses.

Find A Real Estate Agent

Simplify the home buying process — Jacqueline (REALTOR® license #02115987) is happy to interview for the job as your Realtor. Looking forward to supporting you in your real estate endeavors is at the heart of my business.

Jacqueline: 408.612.5969

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