Getting Started

Let's face it. Buying a home, especially for the first time, is scary. No one (okay, maybe SOMEONE, but not many people anyway) just rolls out of bed and says, "I think I'll buy a house!" - and then has everything work out perfectly, promptly and without any stress at all. That's because buying a home is one of, if not THE biggest purchase you will ever make in your life. It is a solid investment that can not only build memories that last a lifetime, but also builds EQUITY that can help you out in a pickle if you ever need to tap in to it.

We know people think that it's easier to rent. You can move whenever your lease is up, you don't have to worry about repairs or upkeep. Well, all of that may be true. But did you know that it is no longer (and hasn't been in a while) cheaper to rent than it is to buy? Surprising, but true... and a lot of people have no idea.​ By the time you put together the security deposit and pay admin and application fees, you might as well have used that for a down payment! Not to mention, there are NO security deposit assistance programs. There ARE down payment assistance programs! Of course, there are terms and qualification requirements... but they are out there.

Want to build your home from scratch? We love working with custom builders! In recent years there has been a shift in the industry... you no longer have to spend an arm and a leg to get a quality built home with all the extras. We can negotiate to get you the best deal possible and help you customize your dream home exactly the way you want it, either in the city, or out in the suburbs. 

How it Works

by Monica Pineda

One of the most common questions I get is, where do I start? So, I have decided to give a short outline of what happens when you begin the home buying process.

1. Contact me. We will discuss what type of home you are interested in. What part of town you prefer, the size, budget, and any other specifications that apply. I will gather information about your current job and credit history, and build a plan of action based on that information.

2. Contact a lender. If you do not know one personally or have a great referral from someone you trust, I urge you to let me suggest one for you. I say this for your own protection... I have seen it happen so many times where a client called the first guy they saw on TV and ended up getting a crazy high interest rate, no personal assistance and our closing was held up over a month due to issues with the lender. A personal referral is always going to make a difference when it comes to real estate. Of course, you are always free to use whoever you like! But if you shop around, remember, be careful about who you let run your credit. Too many inquiries will bring your score down.

3. Get pre-approval from the lender. In today's market, it is very important to show sellers that you are serious about buying their home. If we submit an offer to them, and we don't have a letter of pre-approval, they will likely move on to the next offer that does have proof that they can get a loan. If for some reason the lender is unable to qualify you as is, then we would need to work on your file to get you where you need to be. See Credit Building for more information on how we would do that. If you do receive pre-approval, then it's on to step four.

​4. Time to shop!! We get to do the fun part... get out and find the perfect house. I pride myself on the fact that even though my license says "salesperson", I am far from that. I won't open the door to the very first house we see and showcase the 'beautiful countertops' while ignoring the huge crack in the wall. My role when it comes to house hunting is to make the appointments, unlock the door, and be as honest as possible about the structure of the house while you decide whether you can picture yourself living there. If you're looking for a buyer's agent who has your best interest in mind, you found her!

5. Submit an offer. Okay, so you fell in love with the perfect home. Now it's time to get to work! We will write up an offer that you feel comfortable with, and that I know will give us the best chance at acceptance from the seller. I turn it in, and we wait for a response. This can take an hour, or three days... so try to stay calm and keep those fingers and toes crossed!

6. They accepted! Now, this is when the out of pocket expenses happen. Once we get a signed contract back from the sellers, we need to turn it in to the title company. In order to execute the contract (make it binding), we will need to pay the agreed upon earnest money (like a deposit, shows the seller we are serious.. this can range from as little as a few hundred dollars to around 1% of the purchase price) and option fee (this is a no questions asked, right to cancel for whatever reason within a specific time frame. Typically 5-10 days and $50-$200 fee). These fees are negotiable and may vary.

7. Inspection and appraisal time! In almost every case, it is extremely important to get both an inspection and appraisal done before buying a home. The inspection is done by a licensed professional who will check the entire property for evidence of defects, and will alert you if a specialist is needed for certain issues like foundation, plumbing, etc. that may save you from costly repairs in the future. A typical inspection costs $200-$300 and should include a termite report. An appraisal is done by a different licensed professional who specializes in determining the value of the home in its current condition. This protects you from paying too much, and most lenders require it before issuing a loan. Appraisals range from $400-$600.

8. Due diligence - Once everything else is done, you get to sit back and relax for a couple weeks while we get all of the paperwork done. The mortgage company will process your information, verify work history, credit, funds, etc and put your file through underwriting for approval. The title company will work up the title policy, verify the home is free of all liens and prepare closing documents. This will typically take 1-3 weeks.

9. Time to sign your life away! Once all the paperwork and legal mumbo jumbo is taken care of, we schedule a date and time to go to the title company and complete the sale. You will need to bring the agreed upon down payment and any other items or documents requested by title or lender. It takes about an hour to review and sign all of the required paperwork. Once both buyer and seller has finished, the title company will request funding from the mortgage company. That also takes at least an hour, sometimes longer, but once the mortgage company "funds" the file, it's a done deal! The process is complete, and the home is yours! Congrats!!

10. You guessed it.... it's moving time! Sorry, I'm busy that day or I'd totally help. :-)