How To Buy A Home


Buying A Home In Sonoma County

If you are a first time home buyer or if you haven’t been through a real estate transaction in awhile then you may be wondering what is going to happen and on what time frame. To make sure this process goes smoothly for you I have laid out the process of buying a home for you in this article. Everything from shopping online to find your dream home to get the keys to your new house and so much more. If you find that you have additional questions please feel free to call me.

Determining A Realistic Price Range

If you are purchasing a home and you are planning on writing an all-cash offer on the home then this part is already complete for you. All you will need to do is get a copy of your latest bank statement and factor in expenses such as closing costs and inspections and then you are ready to begin searching for a home that will fit into that price range. If you are planning on buying a home with a loan then the first step you need to take is calling a lender and talking to them about getting pre-approved for a loan. This will give you an idea about how much the bank is willing to loan to you based on your financials and also will let agents know that you are serious about buying a home.

Who doesn’t love shopping online?

In modern technological age buyers are able to see so much more online; from 3D virtual tours to aerial shots, walkthrough videos and more! Looking online for a home is easier than ever! This is a fantastic tool for buyers because they can get a good idea about what is available and helps them decide what they want before they spend a bunch of time driving around looking at homes. Once you have a good idea about how much you can afford and what you want then it is the to find a local Santa Rosa agent who can get you some appointments to go look at Santa Rosa Real estate.

​​​​​​​Writing An Offer

Once you have found a home that you love it is time for you to submit an offer. Your agent will most likely use the California Association of Realtors form called the Residential Purchase Agreement, which is a standard contractual form widely recognized in Sonoma County and the surrounding areas. Your agent will help you determine how much to offer, what time frames you will need for inspections and possibly to get the appraisal and loan in order. Once the offer has been submitted it will either be rejected, accepted or countered. In the event that you are countered your agent will be able to help you field the negotiations relieving you of a great deal of unnecessary stress.

Opening Escrow

Once you have an accepted offer your agent will contact the title company and they will open escrow. The title company will hold funds for the transaction including the earnest money which is commonly referred to as the EMD and is a typically a small portion of the sales price that is held in escrow in the event that you release your contingencies and then decide not to follow through with your contractual agreement. In this case, the seller would get to keep the money as compensation. They will conduct a title search for any unpaid taxes, liens, easements, etc. that may be clouding the title and they will issue a preliminary title report which will list out anything they uncovered in their search. The title company is neutral acting only with the agreed instructions set forth by the buyer and the seller.

Contingency Period

Your contingencies are set forth at the beginning of the transaction in the contract and agreed to by both buyer and seller and are specific to your needs. If you are planning on getting some inspections done then you will need to have an inspection contingency period that you can use to get all of your inspections done. This is typically the time when you will receive all of your disclosures about the property. If you are getting a loan then you will need time for the appraiser to go out and do the appraisal and for the bank to get loan docs in order so you will need loan and appraisal contingencies. You need to carefully consider everything before releasing your contingencies because once they have been released if you back out of the contract after they have been released you could lose your earnest money to the seller.

​​​​​​​Closing Escrow

Once contingencies have been released then it is time to close escrow. Buyer and seller will both sign closing documents with the title company and they will issue Estimated Settlement Statements that your agent will help you review. Then they will send docs to the bank and the bank will fund the loan if there is one. Then the title company will go and record the title in the buyer's name at the county transferring ownership to the new owners. Finally, my favorite part. You will get to pick up the keys to your new home and move on in!


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Rick's approach with clients is to take a consultant role rather than a sales role. You will know which house is right for you, at the right time for you, and at the right price. He will give you all of the information you need to make an informed decision and share his experience with you to guide you through the process of buying or selling your home. Rick has helped more people buy and sell homes in Marin and Sonoma Counties than 90% of agents.
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