Over 25 years of assisting home buyers I find the same questions come up again and again. Scroll down and see if YOUR question is here.
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COVID 19 update - You probably have concerns about the virus and how how purchasing a home will work in the age of social distancing. Please be assured that we have written policies in line with the latest CDC guidelines. We have rules for showings, inspections and document signing. Many tasks can be completed online, and anything that needs to be done in person will be done with all the latest recommendations in place.
How many homes does the average buyer look at?
This varies a lot, sometimes buyers buy the very first home they view. With the availability of photos and listings on the Internet it is easier for buyers to feel that they understand the market.
How often do you find the perfect property on the first day?
This happens more often than you may think. NO home is going to have everything you want. It is important to know what things are essential and where you will be willing to compromise. If you try to wait for a “perfect” home you will be frustrated.
Will I be able to find the perfect home?
It is unlikely you will find a home with every single feature you want. I advise my buyers to use the 80/10/10 rule. If you find a home with 80% of what you want, 10% you can easily change, and 10% you can live with anyway then it is the home for you.
When should I make an offer?
This depends on whether it is a buyers or sellers market. Currently the inventory is critically low and if you wait you will miss out on a great home. The saying is “if you sleep on it you will not get to sleep in it!”
How much should I offer?
When we find the right home we will look at all the recent comparable homes and you will be able to decide upon a fair price. Naturally you want to get the best possible price, but you do not want to insult the seller and have him and reject you as a buyer.
What is the likelihood of a multiple offer situation?
In the current market it is almost assured that if a great home is listed there will be more than one potential buyer. It is important that we are well prepared with proof of funds and loan approval, and ready to move quickly to write an offer before the home sells to another buyer.
When do I have to bring in my money?
A good faith deposit is required when you write the offer and will be held in the escrow account until closing. This will be applied to your downpayment.
How much is the deposit?
Most sellers ask for a deposit of 3% of the purchase price though this can be negotiable. You should make sure that you have funds available for the deposit, it will need to be submitted to escrow three days after your offer is accepted.
Will I get my deposit back if I cancel the contract?
As long as you cancel due to one of your contingencies you should receive the deposit back. If all your contingencies have been removed you could lose the entire deposit.
What is the process to get my deposit back if the contract is accepted and the home inspection finds an issue?
As long as your contingency is still in place you will sign a cancellation of contract and the seller should sign to release the funds back to you. This can take a few days.
How much is my down payment?
This is really a question for you and your lender when you decide which loan is best for you. Remember there will be other costs that you will be responsible for at closing. These will include escrow fees, loan fees and pre paid items such as insurance and property taxes.
How long does the buying process take?
From the time you identify your home and write the offer it will usually take between 30 to 60 days before you get the keys. We will negotiate a “closing date” in the contract.
Is the closing date on my contract guaranteed?
No, while everyone will make their best effort to close on the selected date there are many things that can cause delays. Your agent will keep you informed of progress but be prepared to be flexible.
What is escrow?
In California we use a neutral third party “escrow” to collect all the documents, reports and monies noted in the contract. When everything is received and signed they record the documents and release the funds to the seller.
What happens at the closing?
In California all documents have to be signed and at escrow well ahead of your closing (or recording) date. You do not have to be present on the actual closing date.
So when do I sign my loan documents?
The documents will be sent to escrow well ahead of closing. Because of the loan approval process we never know precisely when they will be issued by the lender. We hope they will be available 5-7 days before closing, but sometime there is a hold up and they are only received a day or two ahead.
Where do I sign the documents?
It is usually best to come into escrow to sign the documents as they need to be notarized and the escrow officer will be available to assist you. If it is not convenient for you to come to the escrow office we can send a mobile notary to your home or office.
How much money do I need to bring in to escrow?
Right at the very beginning your lender will give you a “good faith estimate” of funds needed to close. When you sign your loan documents at escrow they will let you know the final amount you will need to bring in to cover the balance of your down payment and closing costs. This money should be wired to escrow 2-3 days before closing.
Do I really need a home inspector?
Absolutely. The seller has to disclose everything they know about the home, but there could be many underlying issues that they are not aware of. The only way to be sure you are buying the right home is to get an inspection by a qualified professional.
How long does the home inspection take?
Depending on the size of the home it can take anywhere from 3-7 hours. You do not have to be present the entire time, but we do encourage you to be there at the end of the inspection so that the inspector can walk you around the home and discuss his findings. This is also a good opportunity to measure and plan any upgrades.
Will the seller fix everything?
No! In California all homes are sold “as-is” in the condition you see them unless something is stated in the contract, such as smoke detectors and water heater strapping. If a major issue comes up in the inspection we can go back to the seller and see if we can negotiate a solution but we cannot force them to fix anything. You do have the right to cancel the contract if the condition of the home is not acceptable.
Can I have contractors come to the home to give me quotes before closing?
If you would like contractors to come during the inspection that is acceptable. During the inspection period you can have as many inspections as you feel necessary. Once the inspection contingency has been lifted the seller does not have to agree to any more appointments.
When will I get the keys?
Unless something else is negotiated, the contract calls for you to get the keys by 5:00pm on the closing date. Sometimes you will receive them earlier in the day if we have confirmation that recording has taken place.
If the home is vacant can I move in early?
No, this is not good practice as the home is still owned by someone else and there are insurance liability issues.
Is there anything I should NOT do during the house hunting process?
Do not make any major changes as this could jeopardize your loan. Do not change jobs or make any large purchases. This includes new cars and even things for the home like appliances or flooring deposits. Wait until after you have moved in.
If you did not see your question here – call or text me 805-402-0117 or email me firstname.lastname@example.org. I am always here to help