Buyer Information

The Home Buying Process: Step-By-Step

1. Select a Realtor/establish a relationship.
A professional REALTOR with extensive market knowledge will make all the difference in your home search. The right agent will speed your search and save you money. You will work together as a team to find the right home for you.

2. Initial consultation with your REALTOR to evaluate your needs and resources. Southern California is a wonderful place to live and raise a family. When you meet with your agent you will discuss your needs and desires, and analyze your resources.

3.Obtain Financing. Once your needs are established, an agent will provide guidance to financial institutions where you can obtain information in order to get the best financing available.

4. Find the right home for you. Your agent can show you homes based upon the criteria that you have established. The more specific you are with your wishes, the more successful your search will be.

5. Write the purchase offer. After we have found a home that meets all of your needs your agent will do the necessary research to determine the seller's motivation and structure a successful offer. He/she will draft the “Purchase Agreement” for you, advising you on protective contingencies, customary practices, and local regulations. At this time you will need to provide an “earnest money” deposit, usually from 1%-3% of the purchase price. The deposit check is not cashed until your offer has been accepted by the seller.

6. Present the offer. Your agent will present your offer to the seller and the seller's agent. The sellers have three options: they can accept your offer, counter your offer, or reject your offer. Your agent’s knowledge of your needs and qualifications will enable him/her to represent you in the best way possible.

7. Seller responds. Your agent will review the seller's response to your offer with you. His/her negotiating skills and knowledge will benefit you in reaching a final agreement.

8. Open escrow. When the purchase agreement is accepted and signed by all parties, your agent will open escrow for you. At this time your earnest money will be deposited. The escrow company will receive, hold and disburse all funds associated with your transaction.

9. The contingency period. This is the time allowed per your purchase agreement to obtain financing, perform inspections, and satisfy any other contingencies to which your purchase is subject.

  • Typical contingencies include:
  • Approval of the seller's transfer disclosure statement.
  • Approval of the preliminary report from the title company.
  • Loan approval , including an appraisal of the property.
  • Physical inspections of the property.
  • Pest inspection and certification.

10. Obtain homeowner's insurance. Your agent will work with your insurance agent and escrow officer to make sure your policy is in effect at the close of escrow.

11. Make down payment. You will need a cashier's check or money transfer for the down payment several days prior to the closing date of escrow.

12. Close escrow! When all of the conditions of the purchase agreement have been met, you will sign your loan documents and closing papers. You will deposit the balance of your down payment and closing costs into escrow and your lender will deposit the balance of the purchase price. The deed will then be recorded at the County Recorder 's office and you will take ownership of your new home!


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Ellen Swenson

Broker Associate

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