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What are the steps to buying

a home in Today's Market?  

  1. Call, Text or Email me

  2. Get Pre-Approved by a good lender.

  3. Find your dream home

  4. Review Market Trends and Activity

  5. Make Offer

  6. Offer Acceptance

  7. Open escrow

  8. Order home inspection

  9. Review and sign disclosures

  10. Loan Funding

  11. Sale Records

  12. Get keys and take possession!


Get Pre-Approved. Often, when an agent tells a buyer this, they respond  with "But I haven't even found the house yet!". The fact is, the best properties may have multiple offers from preapproved buyers. Please be aware that it is best to use a lender referred by your Realtor or someone who has had a positive experience. Internet lenders can be problematic. Mortgage loans are more complex and uncertain than other loans and not all lenders are created equal.


To show you the reality of the market, here are some excerpts copied and pasted straight from the MLS showing offer requirements. They are found in the area that only Realtors can see:

  • "Please submit offers with desk top underwritten approval, fico scores, and proof of funds to both the listing agent and (lender)" Note: Some agents require buyers to cross qualify with agent's lender. This is because the primary reason sales fall apart is that the buyer ultimately does not get the loan. Not all lenders are knowledgeable or experienced enough to deliver on their promises so the agent is seeking reassurance that the buyers pre-approval is solid and they have a viable sale.

  • SELLER WILL REVIEW ALL OFFERS MONDAY OCT 8th PM. Please, email offer's along with POF, EMD and Pre-Approval, Thank you for showing my listing. :) Note: EMD is "Earnest Money Deposit"-the deposit check written when the offer is made. It is held un-cashed until acceptance, then deposited in escrow. POF is "Proof Of Funds"; a bank statement or other proof that buyer has funds to close

  • Please, email offers w/ POF, EMD & Pre-Approval. . :)

  • Include AD, RPA, POF, and Pre-qual. Note: AD is "Agency Disclosure"-a mandatory disclosure required of every agent before writing any contracts with a client. RPA is Residential Purchase Agreement-the offer.

As you can see, if you're serious about purchasing a home, you need to be prepared with a pre-approval before your find the home. Otherwise, you'll lose it to someone else while you're getting your loan pre-approval together.


The other reason for getting pre-approved first is that 95% of the time, what a person thinks they can afford doesn't line up with what a lender is willing to loan. Looking at homes in the wrong price range is both a time waster and a heartbreaker.



Call, Text or Email me:


Elise Timpe (E leees....Tim pee)





Find your Dream Home: When you contact me, we can go over what you are looking for. I will set you up to receive an email the instant a property fitting your parameters comes on the market, complete with map and payment information.


You can also browse the active MLS right HERE.


It's usually more effective for you to review the homes for sale online and decide which ones we'll go see. After all, nobody knows what you like better than you do. I can assist you with understanding the pros and cons of different areas and home types.



Review Market Trends and Activity: I will help you with this. Any good agent will make sure that you are aware of what kind of market you are in and make sure that you are aware of the market value of the home you are making an offer on.

At First Team, we have a proprietary Market Trends report showing some "inside information" on the current market.

I'll also do a brief Comparative Market Analysis on the home to determine current market value.

This information will  assist you in making the best offer.



Make Offer: We'll sit down and write up the offer on your new home. IWe can also do it electronically on the internet, unless the home is owned by an investor or bank that doesn't allow electronic signatures.



Offer Acceptance: A negotiation takes place. Once you make the offer, the seller can either accept, reject or counter offer. If they accept, we open escrow and proceed to closing.


If they counter offer, we now have the decision to accept, reject or counter offer back. Sometimes, we'll receive a "multiple counter offer". This means that the seller is sending a counter offer to more than one buyer. The counter offers don't have to be identical and we won't know the details of the other counter offer(s).

If you accept a multiple counter offer, it is now up to the seller to accept yours or another accepted counter offer, reject, or make another counter offer on one, some or all accepted counter offers. It usually doesn't go this far. There is a place in the multiple counter offer for the seller to sign signifying acceptance.


The thing to know is that until both parties have fully accepted an offer with all of it's related counter offers, the property is still on the market. This means that during the negotiation phase, anyone can still make an offer and get it accepted over any other offers being negotiated. We don't have an accepted offer until both parties have signed in full agreement. The legal term is a "meeting of the minds".



Open Escrow: We've all heard of "opening escrow", "fell out of escrow", etc. but what is "escrow"? An escrow company is a "neutral 3rd party" who handles the transfer of funds in a sale. They don't have authority to do anything unless signed instruction from both parties are in their possession.

 When we open escrow, usually the listing agent or selling agent will contact an Escrow Company and give them copies of the sale agreement and names and numbers of all parties involved in the sale. They will get to work ordering demand statements from the current lender on the property, Homeowner associations, etc. They will also print up escrow instructions for buyers & sellers to sign clarifying what the terms of the sale are and what the escrow company needs to do and that they are authorized by all parties to handle the escrow. HERE is a Q&A.



Order Home Inspection: A home inspection is an important part of the purchase. An inspector will inspect all accessible areas of the home and give you a report outlining any problem areas.

Realtors, agents, brokers, appraisers, and termite inspectors do not have the training or knowledge to do a home inspection or advise you as to the condition of a property. You may have a termite inspection, an appraisal inspection, etc., but that is not a home inspection.


Home Inspectors aren't licensed in California, but those that are members of ASHI and CREIA undergo continuing education and adherence to certain codes. Also important is to check on their insurance coverage. More on Inspectors



Review and sign disclosures: There are many disclosures the seller and other companies will give you to sign. The sale is contingent on it, as outlined in the offer form.



Loan Funding: During escrow, the thing that takes so long is getting the loan processed. Cash buyers can sometimes close inside of a week.

Every Real Estate loan has conditions. Your lender will be working with the underwriter to get all the documents required by the underwriter from you, escrow, title, etc. As it proceeds, there may be more items that are demanded. Eventually, all the conditions will be met, you'll get final loan approval and the lender will be ready to "draw loan docs". They are written up and usually emailed to escrow, where you will go in and sign them. Once signed and returned to lender, they will be reviewed and if everything is correct and a final review is good, the loan will be funded. BUT, it's not officially yours yet.....



Sale Records: Once escrow gets notice from the title company that the loan has funded, they set the sale up to record. This may happen on the same afternoon or the next business day. Once escrow gets "notice of recording", everyone gets notified that the home is now yours! This is the official closing.

If you are from another state, you may be anticipating an appointment to go to a closing table. In California, this doesn't happen. Your last appointment to meet somewhere will be when signing loan docs. Everything else is coordinated by escrow and everyone is notified when it is done.



Get Keys and Take Possession: It's done....time to celebrate!!!





PMI is only for less than 20% down payment

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THE dance we were going to was formal.  Elegantly dressed, I headed downstairs, picking up in passing a wastebasket that needed to be emptied and a mop that had to be put away.  The door bell rang. I answered it, still clutching mop and wastebasket     

  The young man gave me a startled look. 

"My wife and I were interested in

buying a

home in this neighborhood," he began, "but if this is the way everyone dresses to clean house, I'm not sure we want to live here."