First-Time Homebuyer 101

Being a first-time homebuyer and buying a house in the Bay Area is equally thrilling and nerve-racking. Learn the home buying steps so you can dive into house hunting with confidence. Let’s get started!

Home Buying Steps

Your first-time homebuyer journey won’t be daunting if you can see the road ahead – and know that it ends with keys in your hand and a glass of celebratory bubbly! Here’s an easy-to-follow map of all the home buying steps.

1) Interview real estate agents. Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions, including how well they know your target neighborhood, their fees, and what services they offer besides negotiations and escrow. Also request references from past clients.

2) Meet with a lender to get pre-approved and learn what you can afford. (See our article, Get All Your Docs in a Row.) Don’t know any lenders? Trusted agents have great lenders to recommend.

3) Set search parameters with your agent so you are on the same page.

4) Attend open houses. The more you see, the more you learn about the market.

5) Request and review disclosures. When a property piques your interest, your agent can request the disclosures and review them with you.

6) Check the comps. Your agent will review comparable properties that sold recently to get a better valuation on an offer price.

7) Write buyer letter. You fell in love with a house and now it’s time to make it personal. Write a heartfelt letter to the sellers about why you want their home. (See our article How to Write a Winning Love Letter.)

8) Submit offer. Your agent will package your letter, pre-approval documents, and your offer and submit it all to the listing agent.

9) Congratulations! Your offer is accepted. Now you are in escrow, the length of which can vary.

10) Drop off a security deposit. A security deposit is due in escrow three business days after your offer is accepted.

11) Inspections. Your agent will set these up, and you’ll want to attend them.

12) Negotiate. Review the inspection reports and negotiate as appropriate.

13) Remove loan/appraisal contingency. Loan or appraisal contingencies can be a major negotiation point in a competitive market like the Bay Area. Talk to your agent about how to structure your offer’s terms to get a competitive edge.

14) Final walkthrough. You have the right to inspect the house prior to closing.

15) Sign the closing docs. Coordinate with your escrow officer to sign your closing docs (roughly 3-5 days prior to closing.)

16) Get the keys. That’s it. You can move in! (See our article about how to eliminate moving day stress.)

17) Uncork the bubbly!

Ready to start your home buying journey?

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