Debbie Wilhelm for San Mateo County real estate | Contact (650) 400-3111
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The Home Buying Process

1. Get pre-approved.

This involves meeting with a mortgage broker where you will discuss your financial situation, what mortgage payment you are comfortable with, and what loan products are available. Beware of online mortgage brokers. They may offer a lower rate, but they often make up for it in unexpected fees.

2. Decide where you’d like to buy and what you’d like in your new home.

Realize that you may not be able to afford to get what you want in the area you’d like. You can either change the area you are looking in or modify your requirements for what the home must have.

3. View properties on the market that meet your criteria.

In the beginning this is best done with your realtor, so you can share your likes and dislikes about properties. After this initial period, you can decide what works best for you, whether it is going to open houses, seeing them with your realtor, or a combination of these.

4. When you find the property you like, work with your realtor to write up a purchase contract.

In addition to the price of the home, the following should also be considered when making an offer on a home:

· Property inspection

· Pest report

· Disclosures by the seller

5. Await acceptance, counter offer, or denial of your offer.

If the offer to purchase is denied, then continue to look for a property that meets your needs. Be aware that we are currently experiencing a market where many offers are being made on certain properties. In this situation, it is not uncommon for a buyer to make several offers on different properties before one gets accepted.

6. Upon ratification of the purchase contract (ratification means that both parties have agreed to the terms of the contract and counteroffer, if applicable), the escrow process will begin.

7. During escrow, most of what is going on involves the seller’s and buyer’s agents and not the buyer directly.  It is during this time that any contingencies that were written into the contract are removed. The realtor will be available to answer questions you have during this time and to communicate with you about what you need to do in order for the transaction to close on time.

8. At the end of escrow, the buyer decides how to take title, the closing papers and loan documents are signed, title to the property is transferred from the seller to the buyer, and the keys to the home are passed on to the buyer!


Services Debbie Provides to You

1. Help you develop and analyze your housing needs.

A realtor can help you decide whether a single family house or a condo/townhouse would best suit your housing needs and budget. If you are having a difficult time deciding which city to purchase your home in, a realtor can also be helpful in familiarizing you with what different cities have to offer, including school information. 

2. Showing you properties

This tends to be what most people think of when they think about what a realtor does. However, this is something that any realtor can do for you quite easily. It is the other services in this list where the great realtors get separated from the good realtors. 

3. Assessing a property’s value

Once you are interested in writing a purchase offer on a house, your realtor will help guide you as to what is the best price to offer on a house. This requires research on the realtor’s side on what similar homes have sold for in addition to reviewing the inspections and disclosures on a property. The realtor can give you her assessment of what the property is worth, but in the end, you have to decide what amount you are comfortable with – it is you with the mortgage payment, not the realtor! 

4. Presenting the offer to the seller’s agent

Presenting your offer in person does not take much time but it has huge repercussions!  A realtor who doesn’t do this on your behalf does you a huge disservice and greatly impacts your chance of getting the property. By presenting the offer to the seller’s agent, and hopefully the seller too, the realtor is able to communicate details about you, your interest in the property, and also about the realtor’s ability to complete the transaction. When a realtor is representing the seller, they are very leery about working with an agent who faxes an offer. Whereas when the buyer’s agent presents the offer in person, it automatically shows a greater level of professionalism and gives confidence to the seller’s agent that the transaction will be completed.

5. Negotiating on the buyer’s behalf

Because we are constantly conducting real estate transactions, we have well-developed negotiating skills which we will use to create a transaction in your best interest. As full-time realtors, we are very aware of the current real estate market and know what is reasonably negotiable at a given time and what is not. 

6. Managing the closing of the real estate transaction

Once the purchase agreement has been ratified, the realtor will make sure that all of the specifics of the purchase agreement are met, such as the deposit of the deposit check into escrow and the timely removal of contingencies. The realtor will coordinate with the escrow officer and mortgage broker to have loan documents arrive in time for closing. During this time, the realtor also communicates with you to let you know what you need to accomplish for closing, including obtaining hazard insurance on your property. We can also get you in touch with professionals to help you with your new status as a home owner, such as a CPA and a trust attorney. 

7. A resource for you as a homeowner

When you find yourself in need of someone to help you with your home, we have well-respected vendors for your every need, such as painters, gardeners, roofing and flooring companies.

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