Wow, is this exciting or what? Buying a house has got to be one of life’s biggest thrills – no matter if it’s your first or fiftieth. Sure, it’s a bit intimidating and it’s time-consuming and, yes, at times it can be frightening. But, in the end, it’s all worth it when you’re handed the keys to your home in Silicon Valley and you can move in and begin building memories.
We’ll shop carefully for this home. After all, this is more than just a place to store your belongings and park your weary body after a hard day’s work. It is where you might start a family, celebrate holidays and spend time with those you love most. If this is your retirement home, it is where you will live out the rest of your life, surrounded by all the things that make you happy.
Regardless of your motivation, buying a house – especially if it’s your first time – can also be confusing. But it doesn’t have to be. There is a system – a step-by-step process — to take you from making the decision to purchase a home to the settlement table, with the least amount of frustration and fewer bumps in the road.
This system requires that you take no shortcuts; most of all, it demands that you go into the buying process armed with knowledge — which is exactly where we come in.
We have been assisting clients with buying homes for a long time, on a daily basis, so we naturally have a wealth of knowledge about the process. We believe it is our duty to share this knowledge with our clients. Once we do, will make a formidable team when we place that offer on your dream home.
We are going to ask you to put your emotions aside for a short time and treat the purchase of your house as a business deal. After all, for most buyers, their homes are their largest financial investment as well as a symbol of a life lived, a safe harbor, and dreams — both dampened and achieved.
Ready for the trip to your new home? Your first stop involves choosing your real estate team – what to look for and questions to ask.
Buying a home is probably one of the most exciting events in a lifetime. No more sending your landlord the money to pay his or her mortgage payments, no more pet restrictions, and saying goodbye to bland, boring, vanilla walls. There’s little like the feeling of freedom that comes with home ownership.
This home is also a financial investment, though, and the purchase should be treated as such. So, let’s take off the party hats, put the champagne back on the ice and get to the “heavy lifting” aspects of buying a home in Silicon Valley.
Why should you work with the ArignaTeam?
It may seem obvious, but buying a home isn’t at all like buying groceries. It’s unlike purchasing a sofa, appliances or a car as well. After all, these are items you may purchase repeatedly over the course of your lifetime.
But not a home.
This may be a once-, twice- or three-in-a-lifetime opportunity, with long stretches of time between each purchase. So, naturally, you’re not an expert on the process, nor do we expect you to be.
But, just as you hire an expert to fix your plumbing or car and to represent you in court, so should you hire expert representation when you purchase a home. After all, over the next 30 years you’ll be spending hundreds of thousands — maybe millions — of dollars to purchase the home. And, unlike a refrigerator, you can’t return a home if it doesn’t work for you. You’re stuck with it until you sell it.
Did you know that many homeowners won’t even entertain an offer from a buyer who isn’t pre-approved for a mortgage loan? It’s hard to take someone seriously when whether or not he or she can afford to buy the house is a mystery.
A loan pre-approval letter gives you street credibility – it shows the seller that you are a serious shopper and you have what it takes to buy the home.
But that’s not the only reason to pursue mortgage pre-approval. In a fast-moving market, especially one in which multiple offers are common, you’ll need to act quickly when you find a home you like. If you haven’t started the loan process you may miss out on that home.
So, after choosing your agent, the next stop on the road to home-ownership involves shopping for a lender, comparing loan products to choose the best one for your circumstances and obtaining a loan pre-approval letter.
What happens when we grocery shop without a list and on an empty stomach? We impulse shop, right? Our stomachs take control of the outing and whatever looks good at the moment ends up in the shopping cart – whether it’s something we need or not.
Shopping lists are the road map for a shopping trip. They keep you on track, help you save money and protect you from frivolity.
You’ll need a shopping list – or a wish list – to determine what you need, as well as what you want, in a neighborhood and a home for the same reasons. So, decide where in Silicon Valley you want to live and then get clear on what you want and need in a home.
Once you share this list with us, we can get to work finding homes that fit your criteria. And, rest assured, we will listen to you and won’t waste your time showing you homes that don’t match your wants and needs.
Once we find the home you want to purchase, our team will get busy crunching the numbers to ensure that the home is priced appropriately. We’ll compile what is known as a CMA (short for Comparative Market Analysis) by researching recent sold real estate transactions in the area.
We will also reach out to the listing agent (the seller’s agent) to identify any needs the seller’s may have (such as a longer or shorter escrow period) that might help us construct the best offer possible.
Once you’ve analyzed our CMA and determine that the home is priced right, it’s time to make it official and submit the offer to the seller.
The seller will either accept your offer, reject it or counter it with different terms or a higher price. This is where our experience and skills really come into play. When the ArignaTeam goes to bat for you, negotiating on price is where we typically win.
Congratulations! Your offer was accepted. Now, escrow opens and the clock starts ticking on the timeline we’ve agreed to. Here are some of the items we’ll need to accomplish in a timely manner:
- We will submit your earnest money deposit to escrow.
- We will request certain documents from the seller. These “seller disclosures” will provide you with pertinent information about the condition of the home.
- Home inspection — While a general home inspection is limited to only areas of the home that are visible (meaning, the inspector won’t have knowledge of anything lurking behind the walls), it’s one of the most important processes of buying a home.
- Pest inspection — You may also hear this referred to as a “termite inspection.” This, too, is a visual inspection which seeks to find evidence of wood-destroying pests, such as powder post beetles, fungus and termites.
- Roof inspection – One of the five most common problems found in the whole-home inspection, the roof is a notorious trouble-maker. Since repair and replacement of a roof is quite costly, it pays to have it inspected before going through with the purchase.
- Review HOA documents – If you’re purchasing a home in a managed community, you are entitled to review all pertinent homeowner association documents, including the HOA budget, minutes from recent meetings, the Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (basically, the rules for living in the community) and more. It’s a lot of paperwork but it’s important to read and understand all of it.
- Review the title report — The title report will reveal various liens, encroachments, easements and anything else recorded against the property. The title company compiles this report from a search of county records in order to issue title insurance.
As we work through the timeline, removing contingencies, we’ll be ever closer to the end of the line, when you’ll be handed the keys to your new home.
Final details of the purchase include:
- The escrow company will request a closing estimate from your lender.
- You’ll receive a Closing Statement, outlining the financial details of the purchase and all of your closing-related expenses. Go over this carefully and call your lender immediately if you notice mistakes or discrepancies.
- Your lender will issue what is known as a “clear to close,” meaning that you’ve sailed through underwriting.
- The escrow company will coordinate a time on closing day for you to sign papers.
- You will have the opportunity to view the home one more time before closing. Typically, this is done about three days before closing. Known as the “final walk-through,” it’s your chance to ensure that the home is in the same condition as it was when you agreed to buy it, that agreed-upon repairs have been made and that the sellers haven’t left personal belongings in the home or on the property. This inspection is not meant to reveal items you may have missed before.
All that is left to do now is sign the stack of paperwork at the closing table.
We will be notified when the purchase is on record at the County recorder’s office. That’s when we’ll hand you the keys to the house, mailbox and pool keys (if these apply) the garage remote and access codes (if any).
Congratulations! You are a homeowner!