the home buying process in the South Bay
steps you should take in buying a house in the South Bay
with an agent.
Upon your first meeting with any agent to discuss a specific
house, you will be presented with the California Buyer Broker
form to review. You may elect to sign it or not. The agents
are all working off the same inventory of listings, so any
agent can show you virtually any listing, but not all agents
work as hard or have the same expertise. Looking at houses
is just the beginning of the home-buying process. The services
the Realtor brings to the job are considerable. The following
steps are all things your agent will guide you through. Remember,
buying a house will most likely be the biggest purchase of
a preapproval or prequalification certificate from a lender.
This is a printed or online document that will be referred
to in the offer you make. If you don't have this evidence
that shows the Seller how serious you are, your offer may
not be duly considered. Your offer may be in competition with
another buyer who has this certificate in hand. You will feel
a lot more empowered to buy if you have the security of knowing
that you've got a bank behind you.
here for some links to companies that can provide you with
Work with your agent to write up an offer.
An offer is a legally binding statement of your interest in
buying a property. It spells out the money you are willing
to pay and the time frame for the purchase that is best for
you. You will make your offer conditional upon satisfactory
inspections of the structural and mechanical systems. These
inspections should occur within a week or two of making the
offer. In addition, the offer will have a financing contingency
covering the need for the bank to okay several things about
the house. Legally, your offer must be in writing and with
a "good faith" deposit which is generally 3% in
It may be a matter or hours or days for the negotiations to
come to a conclusion. This is one of the most emotional phases
of the process. Sometimes the negotiations linger into the
home inspection phase, too.
Acceptance of your Offer.
Your offer has been accepted! You now have a legal interest
in the property. The inspections must be set up immediately
and the bank notified that you have found a property. The
bank appraiser's inspection visit will be scheduled by the
bank through the listing agent. Some of the inspections may
include a home inspection, environmental hazards inspection,
title search, insurability, building report investigation
Generally your Realtor will help you find a qualified and
reputable home inspector. The inspector will search and find
both major and minor problems with your home. You will then
fill out a "request for repairs" form. The seller
is not obligated to correct the repairs, nor even required
to respond to your request.
There are generally two types of contingencies in most real
estate transactions. The inspection contingency in which all
inspections are done and satisfied and the loan contingency
in which you get your loan in order. The period of time is
based on the terms of the contract with the standard being
17 days. Once the contingencies are pulled you may be liable
for the 3% deposit money if you cannot complete the sale.
Contact the utility companies to arrange for their services
to be put into your name the day of the closing. The seller
will be contacting them to request final readings and to okay
the transfer to you on that date. These arrangements can be
made 10 days or so prior to the closing if that date is known
for sure. If the house has oil heat, the oil tank needs to
be topped off just prior to the closing. The buyer will pay
the seller for a full tank of oil, and the oil company will
certify the exact amount and price of oil in the tank.
The Final Walk-Through
On a day specified in the contract, you will check out the
house to make sure there are no surprises. Generally, the
house is to be vacant and clean. One hopes there is no trash
or junk left behind. Any work that was to be done must be
completed. This is a time of heightened excitement, anticipation,
and sometimes exhaustion.
This is a meeting generally held at the escrow office with
the escrow officer. The buyer puts down the rest of the money
and signs the mortgage documents. The bank will want to have
proof of homeowner's insurance from your agent. The title
company will put the new deed on record with the Registrar,
confirming that you are now the new owner! You may now bring
in your furniture - the place is yours! You'll get all the
keys, but you may want to change or rekey the locks.