For BuyersHome Sweet Marin

The four main steps you will take in purchasing a home include:

1. Prequalification,

2. Searching and selecting,

3. Making an offer and opening escrow, and

4. Inspecting and closing escrow.

You should start the number 1 step now, which involves looking at how much you want to spend and how a home figures into your financial and life plans. You need to speak with a mortgage professional to determine how much you can borrow and what payment schedule works best for you. Only once you have your loan information should you begin step 2, comparing neighborhoods, schools, homes and prices. With this information, you will compare what you want versus the loan amount and the rate you qualify for.

The next step can come quickly if you find a place you like. In step 3, you will decide how much you want to offer a seller for a property. It may be full asking price, or somewhere below or above the price depending on whether there is competition for the property. As your agent, I write up the offer and present it to the seller and/or the seller’s agent. You supply a deposit check to prove your interest. I try to make you look like the best possible buyer in the world. They may accept the offer, or they may give a counter offer. We would respond to the counter offer in writing again.

If they accept, you are in escrow, (step #4) and your check goes into an escrow account. You will have some time to do rigorous inspections of the property. We will contract a title company to prepare a preliminary report on the property for you to review. The title report will reveal any easements, how the title is held and other historic and ownership information. You will likely want to hire professional inspectors to write up reports about the property. No house is perfect, so you will always find something that is not to your liking, whether it is cosmetic or structural, minor issue or deal breaker. If we find problems, we may ask the seller to adjust the price or pay for repairs. They may decline the request or they may pay. If you find something you really don’t like, you cancel the contract and request the return of your deposit money, but you will have to pay for the inspections. If you find something you can live with, you go ahead with the purchase. Escrow often takes 30-45 days. In escrow there are lots of papers to review and sign. It is a mountain of papers. They go back and forth between the buyers and sellers and everybody has to sign everything.

At the end, all the money changes hands…the loan is paid and goes to the seller. The title company takes their fee for providing the title report and handling the escrow. The seller pays the real estate agent commission. The final papers are signed and the property officially changes ownership. That is the close of escrow.

My job is to help you navigate all the steps and the paperwork, negotiate on your behalf and to look out for your interest throughout the entire process.