Thinking about buying? We've compiled this checklist to help you become a savvy buyer and find your ideal home.
Before you embark on your search for the perfect house, it is important that you make a realistic "shopping list" in an attempt to narrow your choices of properties. Hunting for a home can be a time consuming process, especially if you have not determined in advance the parameters of your search. Many homebuyers make the mistake of misinterpreting a WANT as a NEED. As a result, they often dismiss homes that perfectly fit their needs in search for one that has their wants. This is not to say that you cannot have what you desire in your home-just that you must be able to differentiate between what you truly need and what you would like to have. Your budget must be the determining factor here, not a "wish list."
Before you go shopping and apply for a home loan, it's a smart idea to obtain a copy of your credit report from the three major credit bureaus and review the information:
If there are errors that need to be addressed, it's easier to address them before you have found a house.
Before you start your search, you must get pre-approved for a mortgage. In today's real estate market, it is advisable to accompany any offer to purchase a home with a pre approval letter. When the seller sees your offer, they will know you are a serious prospect. We work with both experienced mortgage brokers, as well as, direct lenders. Contact us, for a referral to an experienced mortgage broker.
When you're ready to buy, we're ready to guide you with research, analysis, negotiation strategies, and real estate therapy. We will help you get the home of your dreams for the best price and terms. We have our finger on the pulse of the market, and can alert you not only to homes on Multiple Listing, but also those not yet on the market. Buying a home is a complicated process. From choosing the right mortgage, to finding the best home inspectors, there are many steps involved. Working with The Richmonds, who have over 35 years combined experience in Marin County Real Estate, you will have at your fingertips - experience, knowledge and access to the best service providers.
Do a MLS SEARCH
The Richmonds will help you to become an informed buyer. You will familiarize yourself with the various types of housing available: Single family, townhouse, and condo. Learn about the neighborhood. The value of a home is greatly affected by the surrounding homes. Always think resale. The desirability and resale value of your home depends in large part on location. People want a desirable community that includes character, quality of schools, access to work, major transportation arteries, recreational facilities, etc.
A CMA is an analysis which compares homes in the neighborhood. It shows you the recent sale prices of comparable homes in the neighborhood, along with asking prices of other homes in the area currently on the market. With this valuable information, you'll be able to make an informed decision on the price you want to offer.
Many agents in our area prepare disclosure packages for prospective buyers. If a disclosure package is available on the property you are considering, we will get it to you before you make an offer. Legally, sellers must disclose all known material defects of a property. Disclosure packages should include any inspection reports the sellers have, as well as, mandatory disclosure documents which should comprehensively discuss all aspects of the property. This information could help you to decide if you want to offer on the property and, if so, at what price. This information does not necessarily take the place of your own inspections.
When you're ready to buy, we will guide you through the 10 page purchase agreement. We will help you to determine your offer price, timeframes for inspections, loan approval and closing.
Once your offer is accepted, we recommend that you start with at least two inspections - a pest inspection and a contractor's inspection. A wise investment, these inspections are a good way to protect yourself. A proper inspection will cover all areas of the house including foundation, electrical, heating, plumbing, floors, walls, ceilings, attic, roof, siding and trim, porches, patios, decks, garage. The inspector will let you know if you need further expertise in the investigation of the property. A pest inspector will tell you if there is active pest infestation and areas of damage due to dry rot. A professional inspector can give you an objective view of the property, with a written report, indicating the present condition and items that will need repair.
Before you sign any document related to your escrow, be sure the property you are considering is free of all encumbrances. You will receive a preliminary title report which will ensure there are no liens, debts, undisclosed owners, or other clouds on the title.
After you have found a home, ratified the contract, inspected the house and negotiated any repairs, the mortgage is in place and loan documents have been prepared, the focus turns to closing.
In California, Escrow acts as the clearing house and performs all of the operations necessary to consummate the real estate transaction to the satisfaction of all of the interested parties. Escrow is handled by a neutral party - usually a title company, which safeguards the interests of all persons involved in a real estate transaction - the buyer, the seller, the new lender, the old lender, etc.
All monies and the changing of title to the property are handled in the escrow. Escrow performs a title search to assure that the property is free and clear of all adverse claims - i.e. liens, judgments, etc., and then issues title insurance to protect the new property owner.
Escrow begins when the seller has accepted your offer and you have placed a deposit on the house. Escrow ends when your purchase is recorded by the county and you become the legal owner of the house. The Richmonds will help you select the title company where you will place your escrow and an escrow officer whose job is to act as a neutral third party that will help you through the purchasing process.