Advice for First-Time Buyers
- One or more detailed maps with your areas of interest highlighted.
- A file of the properties that your agent has shown to you, along with ads you have cut out from the newspaper.
- Paper and pen, for taking notes as you search.
- Instant or video camera to help refresh your memory on individual properties, especially if you are attending a series of showings.
- Location: Look at a potential property as if you are the seller. Would a prospective buyer find it attractive based on school district, crime rate, proximity to positive (shopping, parks, freeway access) and negative (abandoned properties, garbage dump, source of noise) features of the area?
- Include inspection & mortgage contingencies in your written offer.
- Have the property inspected by a professional inspector.
- Request a second walk-through to take place within 24 hours of closing.
- You want to check to see that no changes have been made that were not agreed on (i.e., a nice chandelier that you assumed came with the sale having been replaced by a cheap ceiling light).
Once you find the right home, you and your agent will fill out an "Offer to Purchase". This will include the amount you are willing to pay, the date for the purchase and sales agreement as well as date for closing. The offer will also include, typically, contingencies to protect you:
- Inspection contingency: this should be completed as soon as possible after the offer to purchase is signed so that you can have a professional inspector confirm that the home is in the condition you think it is.
- Financing contingency: once the contract is signed, you have a period of time to secure funding. If, for any reason, you are unable to secure funding during the period of time granted to you by the contract (and the seller will not provide a written extension of time), you must notify the seller in order to protect your deposit.
- A requirement that the seller must provide marketable title. Your attorney will review the title report. The title must be "clear" to ensure that you do not have legal issues regarding your ownership.
All the above may seem rather overwhelming. That is why having a professional real estate agent represent you and keep track of all the details for you is highly recommended. Please email us or call us directly to discuss any of these matters in further detail.
If you would like assistance in purchasing a property or just want information regarding the home buying process, please complete the following: