1) Hire a Buyer’s Agent
I will represent you and have a fiduciary responsibility to look out for your best interests .You will sign a form to hire me which is called a “Buyer’s broker agreement” which states I will work for you and that the seller will pay the real estate commission as stated in the listing agreement. This is customary in Washington State. You are professionally represented at no cost to you. You should also review The Law of Real Estate Agency .
2) Get Pre-Qualified / Pre-Approved
I will help you get in touch with a mortgage specialist and compare rates offered by various companies. It is your choice who you choose. Obtain a “Worksheet” identifying all of the fees you will pay in connection with your mortgage loan and get a loan preapproval letter, which means you are qualified to purchase a home. Determine your maximum loan amount while choosing a mortgage amount and a payment level with which you feel comfortable. This may be less than the maximum for which you are approved.
3) Look at Homes for Sale
Determine what your home needs and wants are. Where do you want to live? Which school districts? How many bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage, yard size, etc you desire? Are there any other features that are important in your home? I will email you listed homes that match your needs and wants as soon as they come on the market that fit your criteria. Our Property Search is your direct link to the Multiple Listing Service and is very easy to use! Feel free to drive by any of these homes first to narrow down the neighborhoods and outside condition of the homes before we preview the insides of. Tell us which home listings you are interested in previewing and ask for our feedback. Preview the homes that are on your list & let’s have fun house hunting!
4) Write a Purchase Offer
Select a home. What you offer on a property depends on a number of factors including its condition, length of time on the market, buyer activity and the urgency of the seller. Offer a price based on the amount you feel is slightly below what a seller will accept and let us negotiate the sale for you. While some buyers want to make a very low offer just to see if the seller will accept this often is not a smart choice because the seller may be insulted and decide not to negotiate at all. Prepare for multiple offers if the home is underpriced or is in a very desirable location. At this point we will work together to choose a closing date but if you are flexible this can often be a great negotiating tool. Make sure you are clear at this point what, if any, appliances are staying with the property. It is advisable for you to look over a Purchase and Sale prior to actually writing the offer. Click here for a blank Purchase and Sale.
5) Negotiate and Write Counteroffers
Expect the seller to issue a counteroffer but let us do the negotiating, it is what we do best! Our experience and negotiating skills become powerful in representing your best interests. When a counter offer is presented, you and I will work together to review each specific are of the counter offer, making sure we move forward with your goals in mind and ensuring that we negotiate the best price and terms on your behalf.
6) Make an Earnest Money Deposit
When your offer is accepted, We will deposit your earnest money check with the appropriate party. Do not ever make your check payable to the seller. Your offer will contain strict contingencies that will return your earnest money in full to you if you cancel the contract.
7) Review & Approve Seller Disclosure Statement
Read and question items you do not understand on the Form 17, Seller’s Disclosure Statement. Read every document in its entirety and ask questions about all seller disclosures.
8) Conduct Home Inspection
Once your offer is accepted, set up a home inspection. We can give you a list of referrals but you have to make that choice. You should attend the inspection and have payment ready for the inspector upon completion. A detailed report is usually emailed to us within 24 hours. Click here for a more detailed explanation of the Home Inspection. Click here for a List of Licensed Home Inspectors.
9) Analyze and Negotiate for Repairs
Realize no home is perfect, and the inspector will find faults. That is why you are paying them! This is for your protection. You want to go into a purchase with your eyes wide open fully knowing upfront all potential issues with the home. Many if not all of the issues can be addressed by our negotiating with the seller and or adding a home warranty on the home.
10) Open Escrow / Order Title
We will open Escrow and Title if the listing agent hasn’t already done so. Ask for the Escrow officer’s name, phone number, email, and escrow file number. Give this information to your lender and your insurance agent.
11) Comply with Lender Requirements
Lenders may ask for additional financial information. Do not make home buying mistakes such as altering your financial situation or applying for any credit whatsoever while in escrow. When your file is complete with a full acceptable appraisal, cleared title, full title insurance policy, and other investor conditions the lender will submit it for final underwriter approval and loan documents will be prepared.
12) Order Homeowner’s Insurance Policy
Get quotes from different insurance companies for Homeowner’s Insurance. Your loan officer will give you direction when to order this. You can expect to finalize this phase 2-3 weeks before your closing date.
14) Remove Contingencies
Make sure your loan is firm, the house passes inspection and the appraisal is acceptable before removing your loan contingency.
15) Do Final Walk-Through
Do not pass up doing a final walk-through. Inspect the property to make sure it’s in the same condition as when you agreed to buy it. If you find a serious issue, address it now before you close.
16) Sign Loan / Escrow Documents
You will sign escrow documents along with your loan documents just before your actual closing date.
17) Bring a valid picture ID.
If you need to bring funds to close your purchase bring a certified check payable to the escrow company. Consider asking your bank to wire the funds to escrow, saving you the hassle of waiting in line at the bank. Escrow will be very clear in their instructions. We will be walking you through these last steps also.
18) Close Escrow
The sale will record with the County & the transfer of ownership will be updated in the public records. Escrow will notify us when it records. After the notice that the sale has recorded, the home is legally yours! Refer to your purchase and sale agreement terms when you take possession of your new home. The standard term is the buyer has possession at 9pm on the day of closing. You may have other arrangements made in advance.
Enjoy your new home!