If you have never bought a home, or if your purchase was a long time ago, it would help you to look at the typical sequence of events. I have devised this simple “bullet” list of 18 actions in the order that they usually occur in California:
Meet with Your Agent to Set Goals and Strategy
Meet with Your Lender to Get Pre-Approval Letter
Search for Homes
Make an Offer to Purchase
Negotiate the Terms
Accept the offer to Purchase
Deposit the Earnest Money (minimum 1% of Purchase Price)
Order the Appraisal (typically your lender does this on your behalf)
Review all Disclosures from Seller and 3rd Party Agents
Request Repairs if appropriate
Obtain Insurance Commitment
Obtain Mortgage Commitment
Review and Approve Settlement Calculations
Close on Property
Take Possession of Your New Home
Live Happily Ever After
In some states title insurance and escrow are handled in a different manner, in fact, in Southern California, title and escrow are different companies. In some states lawyers handle matters relating to the transfer of title. But, the list above is a logical and typical sequence for almost anywhere you buy a home.
If you go back to the top of the list, you see that the first item is to hire a real estate agent to guide you through this process. There are lots of different opinions about hiring real estate agents. “How to Hire a Real Estate Agent for Dummies,” and so on. Most agents have impressive presentations with lots of bells and whistles. Whoo Hoo! But if I had to zero in on one single quality you should look for when hiring an agent it would be this:
Hire a real estate agent who listens to you, really listens to you, deeply, with complete focus and concentration.
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