With every undertaking, we understand the two most important things a real estate agent can know: your needs and your location. Our superb listening and negotiating skills translate into finding the right property and price for you. Our street-by-street knowledge of San Francisco and Marin gives us the insight to help you make informed decisions fast.
Buying a Home: Five Key Steps
- Meet and Greet. Our first consultation is all about listening. You tell us what your needs are for your family and we share our strategy to help you be successful. We answer any questions you have about the buyer/agent relationship and the set expectations for the buying process.
- Stamp of Pre-Approval. You meet with a lender to determine what loan programs may be available and which programs meet your short and long-term plans. Once you get a pre-approval letter, this puts you in a more powerful position when presenting an offer to a seller.
- Your Next Address. We pre-select homes that fit your wants and needs and tour them with you until we find a winner.
- Writing the Offer. We do the necessary research to help you structure a strategic offer. When the Seller responds, we explain your options and negotiate on your behalf.
- Closing the Deal. When all of the conditions of the purchase agreement have been met, you sign escrow instructions and deposit the balance of your down payment and closing costs to escrow. The ‘escrow closing’ signifies the change of ownership from the Seller to you and usually includes the execution and recording of the Grant Deed and Deed of Trust.
Frequently Asked Questions about Home Buying
What does it cost to buy a home?
There are three key expenses a buyer is responsible for:
- Down Payment: Your cash outlay typically ranges from 20-100% of the purchase price.
- Inspections: A general inspection can cost several hundred dollars and, depending upon what is uncovered, could lead to further inspections at additional costs.
- Closing Costs: Costs vary depending on the purchase contract and may include items such as various escrow fees, insurance, loan points & fees, transfer taxes, and prorated mortgage interest and real estate taxes.
What is ‘escrow’?
Escrow is a process for handling the details of the transaction from the time the purchase agreement is accepted until title is transferred to the buyer. An escrow is a temporary deposit of assets, such as funds and documents, with a neutral third party that makes sure that the terms of the purchase agreement are carried out. The money is released when the conditions of the contract between the two parties have been met.
How long does escrow take?
An escrow averages about 30 to 45 days. It varies due to terms of the purchase agreement and can range from a few days to several months.
How are real estate agents compensated?
The commission amount you negotiated with your agent is usually divided among her and her Brokerage, the Buyer’s agent’s Brokerage, the Buyer’s agent and any referring agents. Real Estate commissions are traditionally paid at the close of escrow from the Seller’s proceeds.
Do I have to work with the agent that is on the sign or at the open house?
No, you are free to choose any agent you wish when buying any home. Home information on the Multiple Listing Service is shared and available to any licensed agent.