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For Buyers

Select a Qualified Real Estate Agent

Buying a home represents one of the most significant personal and financial decisions you ever make. You want to make sure you have the best professional working for you during this process. In selecting a real estate professional, you want to make sure that this agent

  • Represents your interests
  • Provides properties for you to review that meet your requirements
  • Understands current market conditions in order to provide you with the most up-to-date and meaningful advise when you are evaluating properties and writing an offer
  • Possesses outstanding listening and negotiating skills
  • Is attentive to the details of taking your transaction from offer acceptance to the close of escrow
  • Can assist you in arranging financing, property inspections, contractors and title insurance
  • Is easy to contact and promptly follows up with you on any questions

Provide Property Requirements

The goal of finding a home that meets your needs means that you and your agent need to clearly understand what you are looking for. The critical information that you and your agent need to know includes:

What type of property do you want to buy?

  • single-family home
  • condo
  • loft
  • multi-unit building

What neighborhood do you want to buy in?

  • San Francisco has ten primary neighborhoods or districts that are further divided into many sub-districts.
  • In choosing a neighborhood to live in, driving and walking around the area are excellent ways to get to know it. Your real estate agent can also provide you information about the various neighborhoods that might interest you.

How much do you want to spend?

How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you want?

What are your parking requirements?

What other amenities are you looking for?

  • Hardwood floors
  • Fireplace
  • Views
  • Gourmet kitchen
  • Other

Qualify for Financing

One of the most important aspects of buying a home is figuring out how much you can afford and arranging financing. As a general rule of thumb, financing your home requires a down payment ranging from 10% to 20%, which in some circumstances can be even less. In addition, most lenders allow approximately 30% of a person’s gross income to go towards making mortgage payments and not more than 40% of gross income to go towards making all debt payments, including mortgage payments

In today’s fast moving real estate market, it is critical to arrange financing before you find the home you want to make an offer on. This process is called pre-qualifying for a mortgage and involves determining how much of a mortgage you can afford. The loan amount you pre-qualify for plus your down payment roughly represents the amount you can afford to spend on a home

We can assist you in arranging financing by providing contact information for a number of qualified mortgage bankers and direct banking lenders.

Evaluate Properties and Make an Offer

As you review properties, you will soon become expert at recognizing which properties appeal to you, which do not and why. The answers to “why” will be helpful in refining your search to more specific neighborhoods you like and features of the homes you like.

When you find a home you want to make an offer on, the most important point to developing a competitive offer is determining the price you will offer. This price should take into consideration market value, which is a value based on what others are willing to pay for a similar property under similar market conditions. As your agent, we will provide you with important information regarding the level of sales activity in the neighborhood and recent selling prices for similar homes. In addition to what is going on in the market, you are a factor in determining market value. The most important question to answer is: “What is this home worth to me?”

Offer Acceptance and Close of Escrow

Once you have made an offer, with an earnest money deposit, and the seller has accepted it in writing, you have what is called a “ratified deal”. Getting to a ratified deal may involve an offer and any number of counter-offers if the seller does not simply accept your original offer. Once one party to the deal accepts the other party’s latest offer, in writing, instead of making another counter-offer, you have a ratified deal and you are ready to begin the escrow process.

During the escrow process, the buyer and the seller will be performing all the requirements under the purchase contract. These may include arranging the actual loan for your purchase, getting a pest inspection and a contractors inspection, reviewing disclosure documents and releasing contingencies, among other things. As your real estate professional, we will help you navigate through this involved process, making sure all parties meet all critical deadlines and explaining each step of the process to you.

The escrow process ends when all conditions to closing, as specified in the purchase contracts and through joint instructions of the buyer and seller, have been successfully completed. This includes loan funding and payment of any balance you have outstanding towards your down payment and closing costs. Typically, you will meet with the title officer to sign all the necessary documents to secure loan funding and close the transaction within a few days of the close of escrow date. Escrow closes when money is successfully transferred from buyer to seller and the title officer records you purchase in country records.

Moving Checklist

As you prepare to purchase your new home, you need to remember all the details involved in moving. Making a detailed checklist is the best way to ensure that your move into your new home is happy experience. Some of the things that you should include on your list are:

  1. Cancel existing home owners or renters insurance and arrange for new home owners insurance policy. If you have not had home insurance before, your real estate agent should be able to provide some references. Check with at least two or three providers before choosing a specific one, in order to make sure you are getting the best coverage for the best price.
  2. Arrange for a mover. You should get quotes from a few moving companies and make arrangements as early as possible to make sure you get the time slot you want.
  3. Contact utility companies to cancel existing accounts and arrange for new service
    • Water
    • Telephone
    • Gas & electric
    • Cable or satellite TV
    • Internet access
    • Garbage
  4. Change address for all subscriptions
    • Newspapers
    • Magazines
    • Newsletters
  5. Change address for financial and other accounts
    • Bank accounts
    • Investment accounts, including direct investments in mutual funds
    • Retirement accounts
    • Credit card accounts
    • Frequent flyer programs
  6. Send change of address cards to
    • Family
    • Friends
    • Neighbors
    • Doctors
    • Dentist
    • Pharmacist
    • Gym
  7. Professional associations
  8. Fill out change of address information with the US Postal Service
  9. Change you address with government offices and documents

Relocation

We offer a full range of relocation services and have developed respected relationships with many corporate relocation agents and companies over the years. Whether you are a buyer relocating to San Francisco or the Bay Area for the first time, or a long term resident who has decided to move to a nearby county or out of state, we can assist you with all your real estate related needs. Contact us anytime to discuss your relocation. We look forward to hearing from you.

Whether it is due to a job transfer, corporate relocation, a personal move, or retirement, allow us to assist you.