The steps below are generally what happen after the contract has been accepted by the sellers.
Step 1: Contract Acceptance – Yippee! – Celebrate (briefly, and then let your Realtor get to work!)
Step 2: Escrow Opens – Selecting a title company is most often done by the sellers and the selling agent generally opens the escrow. Occasionally opening of escrow will be done during the listing period. This is when you have three days after acceptance to get your deposit into escrow.
Step 3: Loan Application and Income/Employment Verification: Most buyers have started this process before looking for a home and if you were pre-qualified much of this work is complete. Make sure your Realtor and Lender are working together.
Step 4: Inspections – Most transactions require the seller to provide a Pest Inspection and good Realtors insist their buyers get a Home Inspection to verify the house systems are in working order and the building is in compliance with local regulations. Generally sellers will pay to have all section I items on the pest inspection repaired. Section II items on the pest inspection and items that need repair or replacing as found in the home inspection may be subject to further negotiation.
Step 5: Disclosures and More Disclosures – The mandatory sellers disclosures include California Statewide buyer/seller advisory, Supplemental Statutory Disclosure (SSD), Transfer Disclosure Statement (TDS), Natural Hazard Disclosure (NHD) , Lead Paint Disclosure. Your Realtor will make sure you get and understand each of these.
Step 6: Preliminary Title Report – Provided by the title company this report will alert you to liens, easements, taxes and other items filed on the property.
Step 7: Property Appraisal – This is ordered by and is primarily for your lender to confirm the value of the property. Most often the appraised value will be the amount you have agreed with the seller to buy and sell. Read this report carefully, there is a wealth of information about your new home.
Step 8: Removing Financing Contingencies – Unless otherwise stated in the California Purchase Agreement this happens 17 days after the contract is signed.
Step 9: Removing Inspection/Property Contingencies – You, as the buyer, have, unless otherwise stated, 10 days to have the home inspected and review reports before you must remove this contingency.
Step 10: Deposit Increase – If asked this will happen after the inspection period and removal of property contingencies.
Step 11: Selecting and Obtaining Hazard Insurance – This is coordinated with the Lender and Title Company but it is your task to make happen. If this is your first home your Realtor and Lender will be able to guide you.
Step 12: Home Warranty – If the sellers agreed to acquire a Home Warranty as part of the purchase, now is the time for it to be ordered. If the sellers are not buying the policy, you may order and pay for one. They generally cost between $300 and $400 and are well worth the expense. (This is my gift to you)
Step 13: Signing Documents – This will be scheduled by the title company and most often will be in their office or if you are not is the same town can be done at a title company in your city. If you have a good Realtor or Lender they will be there to help answer any questions you have. You will be signing more documents than you ever imagined!
Step 14: Final Walk Though – This is an important inspection made by you to make sure the home is in the same or better condition as it was when the Purchase Agreement was signed. Make sure your Realtor is with you and has a check list of items to review. This is where you can verify the seller made required repairs agreed to under the contract and subsequent amendments.
Step 15: Close of Escrow – This happens when all conditions of the escrow have been met including the receipt by the title company of “good” funds.
Step 16: Title Transfer – Often referred to as “Recording,” this is when the actual title of the property is transferred from the seller to the new owner. It is at this point, you will have access, unless otherwise arranged, to your new home.
What I have described in the steps above is a typical transaction between a buyer and seller. The steps may happen in a different order or in the case of issues, which are not abnormal, may happen more than once. For example it is not uncommon for a property appraiser to re-inspect the property if there were code or safety violations.
Please call me with any questions or concerns during this process. I am here to help and make this as stress free as possible.