"Luxury Living, the path To Take"
Lucky Number 14
Below you will find 14 steps of a common home purchase from start to finish, giving you a basic overview of a complex process. Keep in mind that every purchase is slightly different, and our team will be there every step of the way to make sure your experience is as simple as possible. For more information on specific aspects of buying a home, please visit our FAQ's page. Feel free to submit questions of your own, or contact us directly for more information.
Choose an Exceptional Realtor
Choosing a knowledgeable Realtor with excellent communication skills will ensure your home purchase is as fun and stress-free as possible. Buying a home is an extensive process, and the number of tasks managed by your agent is astounding. Our team prides itself in making your needs our priority, and we look forward to offering you first-class service.
Unless you plan to purchase your home outright, getting pre-approved is an essential early step. Your pre-approval will help determine your maximum price range, give you an accurate idea of monthly payments, and is necessary to submit an offer on your dream home. Keep in mind that receiving a pre-approval from a lender does not lock you in to using their services. Great lenders are informative, keep all parties up to date, and communicate well. Visit our Buyer Services Directory page for lender recommendations.
Find "The One"
Finding your home is an exciting part of the process. We will listen to your wants and needs, send you the best off-market/on-market properties we can find, and schedule private showings for the most promising candidates. In addition, it's our pleasure to set you up for auto updates so you are the first to know when new properties hit the market.
Present Your Offer
After we discuss terms, our team will prepare your offer and present it to the listing agent, highlighting your strengths as a buyer. The seller will either accept, reject or counter your offer. Lucky for you, we have a few tricks up our sleeve to help your offer stand out, which is key in this competitive southern California market.
Congratulations, you edged out the competition and your offer has been accepted by the seller. The closing timeline specified in your offer starts today, and you’re most likely 30-45 days away from owning your new home.
The escrow holder is a neutral third party, ensuring the terms specified in the purchase agreement/escrow instructions are met prior to funds being disbursed to seller, and title being transferred to buyer. Escrow will most commonly “open” on the day of acceptance, except for on weekends and holidays, in which case it will "open" on the following business day. Keep in mind that the escrow timeline begins on the day of offer acceptance, not the day of escrow opening.
Earnest Money Deposit (EMD)
Your earnest money deposit plays an important role in the purchase process. It conveys to the seller your commitment as a buyer, and helps to fund your down payment. Your EMD will be deposited into escrow within three days of your offer being accepted, and is customarily 3% of the purchase price in most areas of southern California.
We highly recommend having a general home inspection, and in most cases, additional inspections. Buying a home is a large financial investment, and inspections can save you thousands of dollars in the future. Getting more than you bargained for is great, unless it’s repair bills. By default, the residential purchase agreement (offer) gives you 17 days to complete all buyer investigations, although this time period can be changed. Our team will order, and be present for any inspections you request. It's suggested you attend as well. For recommended inspectors, please visit our Buyer Services Directory page.
If the inspections show the home is in need of major repairs, those repairs may be negotiated with the seller. There are a few different options available; request the seller complete repairs, request a credit for your closing costs, or seek a price reduction. Our team will negotiate on your behalf to ensure you get the best deal possible. After an agreement is reached, or if there are no repairs needed, the inspection contingency can be removed.
An appraisal is a professional, unbiased estimate of a home’s value based on comparable sales and other factors, and is usually completed within two weeks of opening escrow. Your lender will require an appraisal to ensure the home is valued at or above the purchase price. If the appraised value is less than the purchase price, there are a few options available. In most cases, a middle ground is reached between negotiating a lower purchase price with the seller, and increasing your down payment as a buyer. Once we’ve negotiated the best deal on your behalf and all parties have come to an agreement, the appraisal contingency can be removed.
When you received the pre-approval letter in “Step 2,” it was most likely marked as “approved with conditions.” Throughout escrow, you and your lender will work together to ensure all conditions are met and verified. In addition, our team will stay in contact with your lender during the process, helping keep your loan on track and apprising you of updates. Once all conditions have been met, your loan will be fully approved and the loan contingency can be removed.
Likely by this point, all outstanding contingencies have been removed, and you are less than a week away from closing on your new home. The escrow company will set a time with you to sign loan and escrow documents, which will be sent back to the lender. You’re on the homestretch, no pun intended.
The final walkthrough is used to verify the property is in similar condition to the day you wrote your offer, and confirm any repairs negotiated in “Step 9” are completed. It is not a contingency of sale, and is usually completed 2-5 days prior to closing escrow. A member of our team will be there with you to help.
Your New Keys
Congratulations, escrow has closed! The funds have been disbursed to the seller, the deed has been recorded, and you are officially the owner of your new home. We look forward to handing you the keys! Our team will be available to answer any questions that arise, and will offer first-class service to you, your family and friends again in the future.