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Steps to Buying

Step 1. Getting Prequalified

When you’re in the market to buy a home, land or commercial property, before you begin shopping, the first step in purchasing is to determine your financial capability to buy. Many buyers begin shopping for a home or land, spending a great deal of time and energy looking for that “right” property, locate it and then lose it to another buyer who already has their financing lined up. In today’s fast-paced market, sellers will only consider offers from buyers who are prequalified for a mortgage loan. So, before you begin shopping, contact a lender and go through the process of getting prequalified for a loan. This will not only allow you to make an offer on a property, but will also tell you how much “house” you qualify for and what property price you will pay within your chosen monthly budget amount for mortgage, property taxes and insurance.  Please look under our FINANCING section for more information about the prequalification process.

Step 2. Assemble Your Team

Purchasing a property is a complex process with many moving parts and individuals participating with you to help it make it all happen. This team includes your lender, Realtor, property inspectors and title company. In the process of getting prequalified for a loan first, chose a lender you feel comfortable one; one with whom you have good communication and who answers all of your questions in a timely manner.

After choosing your lender, the next step is in finding a highly competent Realtor to help you with your “shopping” and then for your purchase. Even if you find the property on your own on the internet, the next step is gathering information about the property to help you decide if you want to visit the property and consider it further. Unless the property is listed as a “for sale by owner”, then it will be listed by a Realtor on the MLS. This brings us to working with “Realtors”.

What exactly does a Realtor do and why is it important for you to find and work with the best one you can find? A Realtor is supposed to be a highly skilled professional who is ethical, honest and service oriented. Sadly, not all fit that description. Many Realtors simply pass their test and then are left to their own devices to figure out the “business” of real estate on their own, with little help from their brokers. Others go through extensive and ongoing training and have many years of excellent experience and dozens or even hundreds of successful escrow closings (as our group does). When choosing a Realtor to work with, don’t be afraid to ask very detailed questions about their experience and training.

They should be someone or a team who demonstrates that they have your best interests first and foremost. They should be skilled in the following:

  1. Assist you in clarifying your purchasing goals and regional areas of interest
  2. Provide detailed and accurate information about any property on the market
  3. Provide you with local market knowledge and neighborhood information
  4. Understand the fair market value of any property you are considering buying.
  5. Be skilled and savvy in negotiating the best deal and terms for your purchase.
  6. Understand purchase contracts and contract law, to protect you and your interests.
  7. Work with your lender to help you achieve your loan goals within the contract timelines.
  8. Understand and manage the inspection process to help you gain knowledge about the overall condition of the property.
  9. Help you renegotiate terms and conditions midway through the escrow if necessary after inspections.
  10. Work directly with your title officer to manage all aspects of your escrow.
  11. Help you achieve and close escrow within the timelines allotted in the contract.

Comparing Realtors is like comparing doctors and lawyers. Not all Realtors are alike anymore than all doctors and lawyers are the same. They are not! If you needed a medical surgery for yourself or a loved one, would you pick a surgeon out of the phone book and leave it to chance hoping he or she had the necessary skill and experience to perform your surgery successfully?

You would do your due diligence to find a competent skilled professional with years of experience performing that same surgery. Purchasing a property will likely be one of the biggest financial decisions of your life. The difference between working with a highly skilled Realtor and one who is not, can mean the difference between a great purchase success or an escrow that collapses in failure with the potential loss of many thousands of dollars.

Michael Fern Group has more than a decade and hundreds of successful real estate closings in Lake and Sonoma Counties. If you would like to learn more about how we can help you achieve your real estate goals, please contact us by phone or email. Your inquiry is completely confidential!