The Home Buying Process
and Getting Started
The process is really not that complicated. It is my job to make the
entire home buying process as convenient as possible for you. Getting
started is easy. Just complete the first three steps listed below and
then give me a call to begin step 4. As soon as you complete the first
three quick-and-easy steps listed below, which are: 1) Check your credit,
2) Determine your
price range, and 3) Check your expectations, give me a call so I can
begin step 4 and qualify you for an exact amount and locate all of the financial
assistance programs that are available for you. I look forward to
hearing from you.
Here are the steps to buying your first home:
- Call Me First
and we will complete the following steps. You can
reach me at my toll-free telephone number:
- Check Your Credit
Report. Click Here. Make sure there are no unknown surprises on your credit
report before you begin the home buying process.
- Determine Your Approximate Price
Range on the
Qualifying Chart. It is very important that your expectations
are realistic right from the start of the process.
- Check Your Expectations. Look At Homes In Your Price Range
by clicking the
Cheapest Home In Each Area.
Do you see anything in your price range that you like?
- Get Financially Qualified.
I will qualify you for an exact amount and I will
also determine all of the
Financial Assistance Programs
that you can qualify for. During
this step I may ask you to provide income documentation such as, for
example, your most recent paystub. I may also ask for other
documentation as well depending upon your specific situation. I will
take a compete loan application from you and also create a credit
report, even if you have already done so. I will also provide you
with a Good Faith Estimate
of the closing costs that can be expected
with the loan. I provide a
Guarantee that the Closing
Costs will not exceed what is listed
on my Good Faith Estimate.
- Decide On The Right Loan. Once we know exactly how much you can qualify to borrow and what
first-time homebuyer financial assistance programs you can qualify
for, we can clarify the loan package that will be used toward this
purchase. We will discuss all of the possibilities of loans that are
available to you. It is my job as the loan officer to make your
fully aware of and completely understand everything about the loans
that you are evaluating. After we figure out which loan or
combination of loans will best suit your goals, we can start looking
at homes. Here is a list of
Homebuyer Financial Assistance Programs,
Conventional Loan Programs, and
Recommended Conventional Loan Programs.
- Start Home Shopping. Once we have the loan package determined, we are ready to begin
home shopping. This is the fun part. We'll get back on the MLS and
every other source of homes for sale and pick out the ones that
appeal to you the most. You'll need to have a good idea of where you
want to live and what major attributes you really need in your first
home. Click here for a
Good List of
Possible Attributes for your first home.
- Research The Best Homes.
When you have determined what homes in your price range appeal
to you the most, I can start researching each one of your choices
and provide you with a complete picture of each home. I will
research the Neighborhoods,
Schools, call the seller's agent, and use every
tool that I as a Realtor have at my disposal to provide you with
every bit of information available about each property that you are
interested. I often visit each property myself during this phase.
Before you even visit any of your prospective properties, you will
be thoroughly informed about each one. Here are some
Tips For Finding The Perfect Neighborhood.
- Visit Your Top Choices. Now it is time to start looking at properties. This is a
very enjoyable part of the home buying process. You will be
surprised at how much better you will like some properties than
others, even though they may appear to be very similar on the MLS.
It is best to see as many properties as possible in the shortest
possible period of time. If all of the properties are seen within a
relatively short time frame, it will be easier for you to compare
them because you will remember each one. Here are links to the
Cheapest Properties In Each Area,
All Fixer-Upper Properties Listed On The MLS,
All REO (Bank-Owner Foreclosure) Properties Listed on The MLS,
and the Actual MLS Itself.
- Put Together Offer Plan. When you have visited three or four properties that you really
like, we are ready to make offers on each one. It is good to make
offers on more than one property in case your first choice doesn't
come through. If you have several properties that you would like to
make offers on, it is best to make those offers at approximately the
same time. The more sellers that you negotiate with at one time, the
more leverage you have with each seller because you have more
- Finalize Offers. We will discuss the offers that we will make to each seller in
great detail. It is the main job of your agent to negotiate the
lowest and best price for you. Price is not the only item of
negotiation. Here is a list of the
Many Other Points Of
Negotiation in a real estate transaction. Ultimately it is my
job to negotiate the lowest and best price for you.
- Submit Offers and Negotiate. I will submit the offers on your behalf to the sellers' agents.
Normally the sellers will reply with counter-offers. The offer /
counter-offer stage of a transaction can sometimes go on for quite a
while until both sides have reached agreement. When either side
accepts the other side's initial offer or a subsequent
counter-offer, we have an accepted offer. The ideal situation is to
have multiple accepted offers at one time so we can choose the one
that you like the best. That is why we try to submit all offers to
sellers as close together in time as possible.
- Begin Due Diligence.
With an accepted offer in hand, we begin the due diligence
process and the loan approval process. Due diligence is your
evaluation of the property. You ordinarily have 17 days to complete
due diligence of the property. This period is called the contingency
period. During the contingency period you can cancel the transaction
at any time and get your earnest money deposit back. After the
contingency period is over, the seller normally has a right to keep
your earnest money deposit. It is not that easy for a seller to keep
the earnest money deposit, but the purchase contract grants them the
right to do that.
- Schedule Your Inspections. During the contingency period, you will have every inspection
performed that you think necessary. You always want to have a basic
home inspection no matter what. You want to be present with the
inspectors during the inspections as well. During the home
inspection, you will learn more about your new home during the
two-hour inspection than you probably would on your own in two
Here's What Your Home Inspection Should Cover. You want to have your inspections completed as soon as
possible in the contingency period.
- Get Loan Conditions Satisfied. During the contingency period you will also be working with your
loan officer to get the loan approved and closed. Long ago before
you submitted your offer to the seller, the loan officer will have
run your credit and verified your income, assets, and employment.
Your choice of loan options was determined by this information. The
loan officer should have a full loan approval from the lender during
the early part of the contingency period. After that, the loan
officer is working to satisfy loan conditions that the lender has
set for your loan. during the loan approval process, it is very
likely that the lender will request further documentation from you.
When the loan officer requests information or documentation from
you, it is very important that you produce the information or
documentation as quickly as you can. The clock is ticking while you
are in the contingency period.
- Prepare For The Close.
When the lender is satisfied that all of the loan conditions
have been met, you will be ready to close your loan. When people
refer to the "Closing," they are speaking about the final signing of
all of the loan documents. Your loan officer will know provide you
with a document called an Estimated Closing Statement. This is
drafted by the escrow company and is the escrow company's best
estimate of all of the closing costs associated with your
loan. If the
Good Faith Estimate that is the loan officer's best
estimate of closing costs that was presented to you at the very
beginning of the transaction was prepared honestly and correctly,
the should be no closing cost surprises appearing on the Estimated
Closing Statement. I provide a
Guarantee of the Closing Costs that I list on my
Estimate. You will not have closing cost surprises if I am your loan
- Review The Estimated Closing
Statement. The Estimated Closing Statement will tell you if you have to
bring any money to the close. If you do, you will have to get that
money in the form of a cashier's check made out to the escrow
- Schedule Closing Appointment.
The lender will draw up your loan documents and send them to the
escrow company. The escrow company will then forward the loan
documents to the notary that will oversee the loan document signing,
sometimes called "the close." The notary will contact you to set up
a convenient time and place for the loan signing. Often the loan
signing will be held at the escrow company's office. You can request
that the notary do the loan signing in your home, but this can cost
you another $50 to $100 in closing costs.
- Sign Loan Documents.
The loan signing will take at least one hour. There are a lot of
documents to sign. The loan officer should be present at the loan
signing to answer any last minute questions regarding the loan.
- Deed Of Trust Gets Recorded.
Within one or two days after the loan documents are signed, the
lender will fund the loan and the escrow company will record the
deed of trust at the county recording office. When people speak
about "The Deed" to a property, this is what they are referring to.
You will receive a copy of this Deed of Trust that was filed at the
- Perform The Final
Walk-Through. Before you officially take possession of the property, you will
want to do a Final Walk-Through of the property with your agent. The
purpose of the Final Walk-Through is to verify that the property is
in the condition you expected and that you negotiated in the
- Take Possession. When you are satisfied with the property's condition, you can
take possession and move in. This is the big moment you've been
waiting for. The Realtor hands you the keys and your first home is
Click on the link below to see a list of every party involved in your
purchase, what they do, and how they get paid:
All of the People Who
Will Work With You During The Purchase Of Your First Home, how each one gets
paid, and what they do.
First Time Buyer In San Diego Home Page For Financial Assistance Programs
Here Is An
to My Next Learning Annex Class On
First-Time Homebuyer Financial Assistance
Check Out The
Brought To You By
Mark Harmon, Realtor ®
CalHFA Preferred Loan Officer
USA Realty and Loans
Brokerage Main Office
3994 Carson St.
San Diego, CA 92117