Are you purchasing a home soon and wondering what surprises are awaiting you in the process? Wondering if there are any significant details your agent left out? Or maybe you’ve purchased a home in the past and felt blindsided in the process. Well, I’m here to make sure that doesn’t happen (or doesn’t happen again).
My name is Emily Berdon and I’m a real estate agent in the Conejo Valley and surrounding areas. I like to prepare my clients for the homebuying process so there are no “surprises” along the way. If you are looking for a buyers agent, or just want more info on the process of buying a home in the Conejo Valley, reach out anytime.
In this blog, I cover 5 things that your buyers agent probably didn’t tell you (or probably won’t tell you) about the homebuying process. Knowing these things ahead of time will set you up for a more enjoyable homebuying experience.
Alright. Without further adieu.
#1 You shouldn’t look at homes without a pre-approval
A couple reasons. First of all, it can be really hard to start looking at homes above your price range, only to later get pre-approved for a lower priced home. It’s home-buying torture actually! Not only that, but all too often buyers start looking “just for fun” and then discover their dream home, but they can’t turn around their preapproval quick enough to meet the deadline for offers, and they lose out on the home. Get pre-approved sooner than you think you need to…
Also- I can’t stress this enough: you should get preapproved with a local lender. Online lenders are fine if you’re just refinancing, but when we are in escrow, time is of the essence and it can be hard to get ahold of lenders at some of these bigger banks. Additionally, if they are not based in California, they won’t understand how our market operates and miscommunications are common. Bottom line, online lenders do not offer the same level of customer service and care that you will get from a local lender.
#2 Once your offer is accepted, you have 3 days to wire your deposit into escrow
The deposit is typically 3% of the purchase price, so on a $1mil home, you’re talking $30,000.
Many people don’t keep that much cash liquid and they need a few days to transfer the money from an investment account. If you’re looking at homes and you think there’s a chance you will make an offer on one, get your deposit money into your checking account, so you are ready to go.
#3 Inspections will cost you around $1000 (maybe more) and you’ll need to pay for them upfront
You should do: a general inspection, a termite inspection, a sewer lateral inspection, a chimney inspection (if there’s a fireplace) and a pool inspection (if there’s a pool).
These reports will be incredibly lengthy, but don’t freak out! The inspector’s job is to find, and point out, every little thing that is wrong with the home. They will find A LOT of things, but most of it will be small handyman jobs. Let your agent and inspector break down the report for you, so you understand what’s really important, and what’s just part of purchasing a used home. When asking for repairs or credits, I advise my buyers to focus on the big items that affect health, safety, and the homes operational systems. The more reasonable we are in our Request for Repairs, the more likely we are to get everything we ask for from the sellers.
Another thing to note – In California, homes are sold “as is” meaning the seller has no obligation to make any repairs or give any credits. As the buyer, you are entitled to your inspections, and you have the opportunity to ask for repairs and credits, but there’s no guarantee your request will be met. It’s another point of negotiation in the transaction. If buyer and seller cannot come to an agreement, you (buyer) can choose to cancel the contract at that point.
#4 You need to start shopping for homeowners insurance as soon as your offer is accepted!
Ask your Realtor for recommendations and referrals of companies that offer coverage in the area where the home is located. As you probably know, California has been hit by some pretty bad wildfires in the past, and it can be hard to find insurance in certain areas. Homes that back up to open space might only have 1 insurance company offering coverage. If there are no insurance companies offering coverage for your area, you’ll have to get coverage through the state’s “California Fair Plan” it will cost more and cover less.
Insurance companies are always coming and going from California. It’s hard to be profitable here, so when the numbers don’t make sense, they leave. Then they come back when they determine they can be profitable again.
#5 In California, there is no “closing table”
In California, there is no “closing table” where you sit across the table from the sellers to sign paperwork and collect the keys. All signing takes place prior to closing, typically with a notary.
You “close” once funds have transferred and title records with the county, making the home yours. Your escrow officer will email you to say “congrats we’ve recorded and closed”.
Your agent will arrange to get the keys from the seller for you.
BE SURE TO READ MY OTHER BLOGS
If you’re considering purchasing a home in or around the Conejo Valley area, reach out so I can get you a copy of my Buyer’s Guide, along with some fun maps that will help you get acquainted with the different towns and neighborhoods.
Also, be sure to read my blog on the 10 Steps to Purchasing a Home in Thousand Oaks.
I look forward to hearing from you and helping you purchase a home!
Aviara Real Estate