Buying a home usually represents your single biggest investment – and debt.

The home buying process is one of the most exciting, and frequently stressful, experiences you’ll ever go through. This holds true whether you’ve bought many homes or you’re looking to buy your first, whether you’re in the market for a new primary residence, an investment property or that perfect 
vacation getaway.

Today’s real estate market can offer more opportunities, yet can be filled with more risks than ever before. There are a multitude of factors to consider and decisions to make. When buying, it’s crucial to have all the available resources necessary to make a well-informed decision, together with the time required to make use of them. It’s important to enlist the help of a trusted real estate professional like ourselves who’ll be able to provide expert guidance at each step of the buying process. We are Full Time Agents Born and Raised in Sonoma County with 41 years and 28 years respectfully and we know neighborhoods. Finding and purchasing a home includes the following steps.

1.) Define your goals, research your options, make your plans

Given that buying a home is such a big step, it’s very important to educate and prepare yourself as much as possible. This means clearly determining the reasons you’re buying and what kind of home you’re looking for. Since buying and financing a home are so closely related, it also means examining your current financial situation and projecting how much you can afford. Once you’ve answered these questions, even tentatively, you’ll be in a better position to research housing and mortgage options, and create an action plan and timelines for moving forward. Although it is possible to do this yourself, you may benefit by consulting an experienced real estate professional right from the start like ourselves. We can educate you quickly on the home buying process and make it a fun experience.

2.) Contact a real estate professional

Buying real estate is a complex matter with many factors to consider since no two homes or transactions are alike. Moreover, with all the unique opportunities and potential pitfalls of the current market, it’s more important than ever to contact a real estate professional once you’ve decided
 to buy. When choosing a real estate professional to guide you through the property search, financing, negotiation and transaction processes, you should consider their local market knowledge, experience, and track record. We have Sold together over 900 homes but would Love the opportunity to be your Realtors.

3.) Get pre-approved for a loan

We recommend that you get pre-approved for a loan before you start viewing homes with the serious intention of buying. The pre-approval process involves meeting with a lender and authorizing them to examine your current financial situation and credit history. On the basis of this examination, the lender will then provide you with a document detailing the amount you can borrow in order to buy your new home. Consider looking online to see what different lenders offer, or contacting your local bank or credit union. However not all lenders are created equal and getting the right loan agent is just as important as choosing the right Realtor. We have used many Loan Agents over the years but now have a Few Preferred Lenders we have confidence in that are local Sonoma County loan agents. Getting lenders outside their geographical area is really a Big Red Flag when trying to sell your offer to the other agents. The reason is local lenders know the market they loan in and out of area lenders do not which just creates another layer of uncertainty in getting the loan approved and closed.

The Benefits of Pre-Approval:

You will beat out other buyers because with a pre-approval you will be considered to be like a CASH OFFER. You will get the lowest price, best terms, best possession arrangements and the most seller concessions like paying for your loan closing costs which are thousands.

4.) View homes and select THE ONE

Simply put, the key to the home search process is knowing what you’re looking for. Among other things, that means distinguishing between “must-haves” and “like-to-haves”. This will help you to target your search and define your home preference priorities. That said, here are a few recent facts about the search process that might put your experience in perspective: 92% of buyers use the internet or mobile apps to search for homes. 
The typical buyer searches for 12 weeks and views 12 homes, 
97% of buyers view real estate agents as important in the home search process. There are many benefits to starting the search process at a real estate website like®. You can view many homes and their details, take video tours and access neighborhood info. However as a Free Service we offer on our Website a lightening fast MLS search engine that can be accessed from any device. Benefits Are: Have access to search the MLS at agent level. 30% More Listings, Accurate Date 24/7 updated every 30 mins.  You can compare walk scores, school ratings, and neighborhood demographics for different listings. Plus get listing alerts & more.  While the property details may seem similar online, homes can be very different in terms of layout, design, workmanship and other aspects. Ideally, you should view homes with the help of an experienced real estate professional like ourselves who’ll notice things you might miss, provide expert analysis, and act as an impartial sounding board. Most agents want to show you 6 to 8 homes and want you to buy one. We show you homes until you find the one you LOVE!!!

5.) Make an offer and negotiate with the seller

Once you’ve found the home you’d like to buy, it’s time to make an offer. Your state or local real estate association likely has contracts that are generally used for transactions in your area. These contracts enable you to specify a sale price and also allow the inclusion of clauses specifying various terms of purchase, such as the closing and possession dates, your deposit amount, and other conditions. You should carefully review these clauses with your real estate professional to be sure that they accurately express your intended offer. In addition to drawing up the contract, your real estate professional will be happy to address all of your questions about the offer process. Once you’ve written the offer, your real estate professional will present it to the seller and or the seller’s representative. At that point, the process will vary somewhat depending on the market you’re in. Generally speaking, the seller can accept your offer, reject it, or counter it to initiate the negotiation process. Successive counter-offers, with deadlines for responding and meeting conditions, may be exchanged between you and the seller until a mutual pending agreement is reached or the negotiations breakdown. Negotiations involve many factors specifically relating to different market conditions, homes and sellers.

6.) Secure your financing

Once you have a pending agreement, it’s time to return to your chosen lender to finalize mortgage details in order to close the deal. This means finalizing your down payment, interest rate, regular payment schedule and all other financial conditions associated with the closing.
As the saying goes, ‘let the buyer beware’. Unfortunately, too many buyers suffer negative consequences from not fully understanding their financing decisions. Thus, it’s crucial for you to work with people you trust. In this regard, a good real estate professional can become a true friend for life and that’s what we pride ourselves in becoming for you.

7.) The Closing and Before:

If you’ve efficiently taken care of everything connected with purchasing your new home by allowing us to guide and help you, taking ownership should be a positive joy with no surprises. Key steps to the closing, also referred to as the escrow settlement include: Getting a title search – you will need a historical review of all legal documents relating to ownership of the property to ensure that there are no claims against the title of the property when it is conveyed to you. It’s also necessary to purchase Title Insurance for protection in the event of errors in the records or mistakes in the review process. At the final walk through you will be given the chance to look at the home one last time to make sure it’s in the same condition as when you signed the sales agreement. At the settlement or escrow closing you’ll meet with ourselves and escrow officer and if you use a lender we suggest she will be there to in order to verify and sign all the paperwork required to the complete the transaction. The settlement will include what your loan closing cost, escrow fees, property taxes and any adjustments including cash credits from us and seller concessions we are trying to get you will be. At that point you’ll receive copies of all documentation pertaining to the purchase. In most cases the Possession Date and Final Closing will fall within a few days after you sign your settlement closing papers and you will then be able to move into your new home and receive your keys.

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