Home Buyer Basics - Fancy realtor website providing you with lots of stuff you'll need to know to be an educated buyer. A simplified version is below:

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  1. First things first, a Realtor - When beginning the process of buying a home (or investment), you need to find yourself a fabulous Realtor, a knowledgeable, skilled negotiator. I like to think you already did! For clarity, the SELLER pays commission to both listing and buyers agents. It's FREE to you to have your own representation - someone (ahem, me) looking out for your best interests!

  2. Loan Prequalification - You must obtain written prequalification (aka: Loan Status Report/LSR) prior to house shopping. You're welcome to use a bank or mortgage broker you're familiar with or I can recommend someone.
    This will help us to:
    1. Determine the price range we should be shopping in, eliminating surprises and/or disappointments
    2. Understand the loans/programs you qualify for
    3. Ensure you're comfortable with your estimated monthly payments
    4. Effectively write a contract - we need to predict some financials & an LSR must accompany a contract to be submitted to the listing broker

  3. House Shopping - The fun part!!! This part of the process can often take numerous outings, but it's also not uncommon to find (cue singing angels) the house the first time out. This is where communicating your needs and wants with me beforehand is key so that I can make best use of our time.

  4. Submit Contract - When we find your potential home sweet home, we'll submit a contract at which time two things can happen:
    1. Accepted contract:
      1. A check for earnest money (typically $1,000 - $3,000, depending on price of home) must be made payable to named title company and given to myself. The check will only be cashed once escrow is opened.
      2. Once seller signs contract, it is a legally binding document.
    2. Declined contract:
      1. The seller will either decline or counter.
      2. Counter Offer: Renegotiation takes place. We can either accept the Counter or initiate another Counter until we come to an agreement.
        1. If an agreement cannot be reached, we keep shopping!

  5. During Escrow
    1. HOME INSPECTION
      1. This is a ten day period (unless otherwise negotiated) and begins the day both parties have signed the contract.
        1. Hiring an inspector is not required; however, it is HIGHLY recommended. If you choose not to have the property inspected, you must sign a waiver.
      2. This is a cost of the buyer (actual cost depends on square footage, presence of pool, etc.) and can often be paid one of two ways:
        1. Through escrow
          1. Some companies charge an additional $50 for this service.
          2. A secured credit card is required. If they are not paid within a certain period of time through escrow, they will charge the card. It is non-refundable.
        2. At time of inspection via a check or credit card
      3. Buyers are encouraged to attend the end of the inspection so that you can talk with the inspector and fully understand any conditions that may exist in the house.
        1. It will help you determine what, if anything, you would like to ask the seller to repair.
        2. If you cannot attend the inspection, if you would like, I will attend (schedule permitting) in your stead. If you request my presence at the inspection, you must sign a waiver of responsibility.
      4. A "Buyer Inspection and Seller’s Response" form is completed.
        1. If there are no repairs requested, the buyer signs off on the form and a copy is given to seller. PLEASE NOTE: Most properties that are bank owned or Short Sales will require an "As-Is" Addendum; they will not make repairs.
        2. If repairs are requested, they will be listed and a response will be expected from the seller within 5 days.
          1. If seller does not respond or refuses to make recommended repairs, buyer has the option to cancel the contract and earnest money will be refunded OR buyer can agree to purchase the home regardless.
    2. APPRAISAL
      1. The lender will order an appraisal on the property. The appraisal must come back with a value of at least the sales price.
      2. Some appraisers will bill escrow; others will require you to pay the appraisal fee up front (approximately $350). The lender chooses the appraiser. Ask your bank/mortgage broker about this.
    3. TERMITE INSPECTION
      1. This is typically required from lenders (always by government loan programs). If not, it's still a good idea to obtain one. The old saying is there are three kinds of houses in Arizona - the kind that had termites, the kind that has termites, and the kind that’s going to get termites! It's relatively simple to get rid of termites, but we'd like the seller to absorb the cost (it can get expensive depending on the damage)! The inspection should cost about $65.
    4. HOME WARRANTY
      1. This is negotiable as to if it is purchased and who purchases it. We generally ask for one from the seller, but it does somewhat depend on the current market.
      2. The warranty is good for one year and will cover most things that may go wrong at your new property for a small service charge.
    5. GENERAL INFORMATION
      1. The escrow officer from the title company will contact you to ask for any pertinent information they need to complete the transaction. They may ask via phone, fax or mail. Please respond ASAP when information is requested to avoid any delays.
      2. Now is a great time to set up the turn-on of your Utilities!
    6. SIGNING
      1. Once your loan documents have been received at the title company, they (or I) will call to set up a time for you to come in to sign. This will most likely occur within a couple days of the scheduled close of escrow (COE). Please bring your drivers license with you for the notary. If you have a spouse that will not be holding title with you, your spouse will have to sign a disclaimer deed and should also have a license.

  6. Closing
    1. After all documents are signed, the loan will either be funded immediately or once the hard copies are received at the lender (this varies by lender).
    2. Once funded, the county will record the deed and it's official - I'll call you to tell you the good news!! The keys are yours!

  7. JUMP FOR JOY!! Congratulations!