6 STEPS TO BUYING
1. INITIAL MEETING
This is where we’ll talk about your Real Estate Goals. We’ll dig into ROI, neighborhoods, architecture, aesthetics, compelling events, milestones and timelines. I have created a framework that does a great job of touching on the critical points that will be the foundation of a productive search!
Key Deliverables from this meeting will be:
Market Data: Using the information on neighborhoods and budgets we talk about in the first meeting, I’ll then provide you with micro and macro market data and more importantly provide the context which will help ground you in the data so you are confident in what you can expect by neighborhood. The data will help you to understand the reality of the house hunt and help to guide the process.
Start Building Your Team: You will leave the meeting with key contacts for mortgage brokers that my clients love working with. I will give you a couple of options to make sure you find the right fit. Your money person will not only provide you with lending options they will also help you understand debt/income ratios and the impact home ownership can have on your monthly cash flow.
Review the Basics:
Getting you familiar with the purchase contract is a key step. I’ll review the 7 page SFAR (SF Association of Realtors) contract with you long before we write your first offer so that you are ready to go. You can ask all the questions you want and it’s my goal to help you get your arms around the key components
Disclosures Galore! I will provide context on the “disclosure package” which is a 200 pages + of mandatory disclosure items involved in a sale/purchase of property in San Francisco.
2. START THE SEARCH
I will scour the market to find properties that meet your criteria. It’s my goal to preview as many as possible for you to help you narrow things down. However, prepare yourself to become a little obsessed with searching on your own as well. As much as I will do for you, it’s amazing how addictive the search (in some cases) becomes for buyers. Rest assured, I will tap into various channels, from MLS to the Top Agent Network Listings to Pocket Listings to my industry network to uncover properties that meet your criteria.
Search Tip: Whatever your budget is, take 10% off the top and use that number as your top end search. List price is just marketing and the majority of homes go for over list price so the 10% cushion provides you a more realistic number to target. Example, if your budget is $1M, you should search for properties $900Kish and under since a home priced at $900K will likely go for $1Mish. The percentage over list price varies by neighborhood, 10% is a good baseline. I will give you details on the average % over list specific to neighborhoods you are interested in.
Search Tools in Addition to Me!
3. CHECK OUT THE INVENTORY
This is the super fun part! We will view properties together via private appointments and/or open homes and in some cases you’ll go out on your own (back to that obsessive part). Most open homes are Saturday and Sunday 2-4 and Thursday night 5:30 – 7 pm. I bring clients along with me on Broker Tour which is when all the agents preview properties, it’s a great way for you to see A LOT of properties in a condensed timeframe.
Broker tour is Tuesday from 9 – 4:30 pm and is broken out by districts, starting on the north side of town in the morning and ending on the southwest part of town at the end of the day.
4. NARROW DOWN, SELECT, STRATEGIZE & PRESENT OFFER
As we find properties that you really like and meet your criteria, I will put together offer an offer strategy with detailed scenarios supported by data that will give you an idea of what it will take for your offer to be selected. We will discuss, debate and you will decide on your offer and terms. This is where science meets art!
The Offer: I will pull all the offer components together in a tight package and present the offer on your behalf direct to the listing agent. I lean on you to ensure all the necessary docs are read and signed by you and I take it from there.
5. ESCROW PERIOD
The escrow period begins once the purchase contract is ratified, basically this happens when the last signed doc on the last counter and/or original offer is delivered to the parties involved. The escrow period is called out in the contract typically by number of days. On average here in SF the shorter the escrow period the stronger your offer. For cash deals, you can see escrow periods as short as 5 to 7 days, for deals with financing on average you see 18-25 days.
In more normalized markets, 30 days is the benchmark. The Escrow period is a busy time and it’s critical for you to respond to inquiries in a timely manner to keep the transaction moving forward. Key deliverables during the escrow period include but are not limited to: inspections, loan conditions are removed, disclosures are read/signed, appraisal completed, title insurance issued, you deposit your funds into escrow, both the buyer and seller sign closing docs, the bank funds the loan and you get your closing statement which you will need for taxes.
6. PACK YOUR BAGS!
The home is officially yours when the escrow officer records the deed with the city. Notification of deed recordation is typically around 2pm on the day of “close.” Recording can happen after the closing documents are signed and funds are deposited into escrow. This day is known as “close” or “close of escrow” but what it really means…YOU GET YOUR KEYS!!