Buyer Info

Learn more about buying a home.

HOME BUYING GUIDE

This guide has been prepared to help you navigate through the process.  There are many steps in buying a home and the information can be overwhelming. We have outlined some preliminary steps to take to be successful at your home buying.

Interview a Real Estate Agent

Hiring the right agent to represent you and your interest is important. There are many licensees out there, however, only a few are full-time and have experience.  With so many different components that need to come together to successfully close escrow, hiring the wrong agent can mean the difference between getting your offer accepted and also closing on time.

  • Here are some questions to ask the agent you are interviewing.
  • Are you a full-time realtor with at least 5 years of experience?
  • How many transactions have you closed each year?
  • Can you provide a list of the homes you sold and references?
  • How many buyers are you currently working with?
  • Are you available evenings and on weekends?
  • Do you have a team you work with?

 
Another consideration should be is, do they have a serving attitude that makes you feel like you are the only client?
 
In many cases, there is no fee for hiring a buyer’s agent. You get the benefits of your own representation without any cost to you. Having experienced buyer’s agents will work for you by using their negotiation skills to get you the best price, terms and in many cases getting your offer accepted when competing with multiple offers.

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CHECKING YOUR CREDIT AND GETTING QUALIFIED.

Even if you are not ready to buy for the next 3-6 months or even a year it is good to know where you stand financially and understand what you will need to qualify for the home buying process. An experienced agent will immediately refer you to a lender to get pre-qualified. The lender will check your credit and determine based on your income and assets what your home price range will be.

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DOWN PAYMENT

After your initial meeting with your lender you will understand how much money you need to get started. Down payments vary and, in some instances, you only need as little at 3.5% down. There are many factors to consider when applying for a home loan and your lender can guide you with the proper steps you should be taking to achieving the goal of homeownership.

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CLOSING COST

In addition to your down payment, there is a closing cost.  You are probably asking what closing costs are and shouldn’t the seller be paying these costs for you.  The answer is no, however, depending on the offer you could negotiate your closing cost to be paid by the seller.  The closing costs are an expense you pay those fees including but are not limited to, title, escrow, lender fees, home insurance, prepaid interest, prorated taxes, and other miscellaneous fees.  Ask your lender to give you an estimated closing disclosure for a breakdown of these closing costs.  Keep in mind these are approximate and can vary from lender to lender.

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FIND THE RIGHT HOME

Here is where an experienced agent comes in to play.  The realtor will ask you a set of questions to get an idea of what you are looking for, the amount you have been pre-approved for and how soon you need to buy. Giving your agent a list of neighborhoods, must-haves such as bedrooms, bathrooms, and perhaps even schools will help them begin the search using various tools. Not all homes are on the internet or real estate directories.  Experienced agents are networking with agents to get first-hand knowledge of homes that are coming soon. 

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MAKING AN OFFER

If you are prepared to make an offer you will need to also be prepared to give an earnest money deposit.  An Earnest money deposit is also known as good faith money.  This is given as consideration of the acceptance of your offer.  The money is given to escrow via wire or cashier check 3 days after acceptance. The deposit is held in escrow and credited towards your down payment and closing cost at the close of escrow.
 
Along with your offer, you will need to provide a preapproval letter from your lender and proof of funds of your down payment and closing cost.
 
When making your offer here are some things you should consider

  • The amount of your offer
  • Earnest money deposit amount
  • How long of an escrow period?
  • Do you need to sell your current home as a contingency?
  • Are you competing with other offers?

 
The purchase agreement prepared by your realtor will have contingency periods and a timeline that you should be aware of and follow. 

What are Contingencies?

The purchase contract contains contingencies you should be aware of. The typical contingencies are, appraisal, loan, inspections, investigations and review of disclosures.  Discuss this timeline with your agent.  If you fail to meet these deadlines you could jeopardize losing your deposit or the seller canceling escrow. 

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INSPECTIONS

This is an expense that is paid by the buyer.  Your real estate agent will provide you a list of home inspectors. It is important these home inspectors are qualified, certified and insured.  The home inspector will go through the home and write a report for you to review. The home inspector will evaluate the general components of the home and make recommendations if additional professionals specializing in certain areas of the home such as pool, roof, plumbing, electrical or foundation.
 
Insurance also is part of your inspection period.  Some homes are located in the high fire area, or flood zones that can be costly. Knowing your premium as soon as your offer is accepted will avoid surprises. 

Terms To Be Familiar With

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Lyle and Grace Caddell in collaboration with their select group of professional team members are local experts who excel at delivering an unprecedented depth of real estate expertise.

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