Get Ready to Find Your Dream Home

Home Search Consultation Steps

Getting to know each other

The listing appointment is the first step in selling your home. During this meeting, I discuss your situation, your needs and wants. Every situation is different, so no two selling plans are the same.

Deal breakers and must haves

The buyer consultation is the first step when getting serious about buying a home. During this meeting, We discuss your situation, your needs and wants. Every situation is different, so no two home search plans are the same.

Pre-qualify and financial discussion

Examine your budget to determine how much home you can afford. I that your mortgage not exceed 28 percent of your income, and that your total debt -- mortgage, car payments, credit cards and other debt -- not exceed 36 percent of your income. Thus, if you have lots of debt, you may need to take a mortgage that is less than 28 percent of your total income. If you've never bought a home before or are unsure whether you'll be approved, it's also a good idea to get preapproved for a mortgage before you begin looking so you'll know exactly how much you can spend.

Where do you want to live?

If you find the perfect home in the wrong neighborhood, it can be a deal breaker. Luckily the San Francisco Bay Area has many different neighborhoods to fit all types. When you work with me I'll ask questions that will help me get to know you and understand your lifestyle. I have a huge resource of neighborhood information that I can provide so that you find that perfect part of the world.

Local amenities are very import. Parks, Schools, Neighborhood events and activities, and future developments will have an impact on your home search.

My job is to create an efficient plan so that you can see the most homes in the shortest amount of time. After our initial consultation I should know enough about you so that I can make a home search list.

I make arrangements to visit the homes on our list with all the selling agents. We will then plan to go see all the homes

Buying contract overview

I make sure that my clients are prepared and have all the documents ready so they present offers that all have a high chance of getting accepted. I can also provide a lot of resources to improve things like credit scores and debt to income ratios.

Escrow and inspections

The escrow is the process of having a neutral party manage the exchange of money for real property. The escrow holder is known as an escrow or settlement officer or agent. The Buyer deposits funds and the Seller deposits a deed with the escrow holder along with all of the other documents required to remove all "contingencies" (conditions and approvals) in the purchase agreement prior to closing.

I make sure that this process is handled in a timely manner. Contingencies that the buyer places on the contract will have time deadlines and must be completed in order to move forward with the sale. Sometimes the contingencies cause issues between the buyers and the sellers and we have to negotiate the contract.

Closing the Sale and moving in

We will discuss moving into to your new home. Getting the recorded documents and most importantly, getting the keys

Finding a Good Neighborhood is Very Important

Neighborhoods are just as important as features of the home. The Pleasanton Fall Harvest Festival is fun for the whole family.

If you find the perfect home in the wrong neighborhood, it can be a deal breaker. Luckily the San Francisco Bay Area has many different neighborhoods to fit all types. When you work with me I'll ask questions that will help me get to know you and understand your lifestyle. I have a huge resource of neighborhood information that I can provide so that you find that perfect part of the world.

I'm also trusted by many relocation companies that move employees of fortune 500 companies. I help them find homes all over the bay area, many times with limited time to move. I have to provide the best neighborhood information so they can make confident, smart decisions on their new neighborhood.

Neighborhood Features you Should Consider When Looking for a home.

Schools and Crime Rates

Neighborhoods with access to good schools are in high demand. I understand the importance of safety for you family. I have a family too. I moved to Pleasanton so that my children would go to good schools. I can provide information about good schools for all cities and have details crime maps that will help you choose a safe location.

Activities and Amenities

Whether you're a family with young children, a retired couple or a single bachelor, local amenities are important to where you live. Make sure your new neighborhood has everything you're looking for to suit your lifestyle.

Families with children might be interested in swim/tennis communities with parks, as well as libraries and ballet and karate lessons nearby.

Retired couples, however, may be more attracted to a neighborhood that is devoted to active seniors, or one that is close to family, or even a social club that hosts weekend parties or dances.

A young single person with a dog might want a dog park or bike trails within walking distance, plus an active nightlife scene with bars or restaurants close by.

Parks and Playgrounds

Seeing a lot of parks and playgrounds in a city is a good thing. It means the city cares about the health and well being of there residents. If you're looking for an active place to live, sidewalks can be a good indicator that there are places like parks and other amenities nearby and within walking distance. Sidewalks also make neighborhoods safer.

Convenience and Walk-ability

Traffic in the bay area can be tough at times, so the ability to get outside and walk to the store can be really convenient. Not to mention that you will save money on gas and get a little exercise.

The Bay Area as great public transportation to major work hubs from almost every city. Skip the traffic and get in some good reading on the ride into work.

Future Plans for the Neighborhood

I'll keep you updated on future plans for cities and neighborhoods that can have impacts on home prices.

How to Do an Effective House Hunt

The average home buyer searches for 12-16 weeks and looks at 12 homes before making an offer.

I don't recommend hanging out the car window when looking for homes. But, if you do make sure you wear protective goggles

Most people start there home searches by going to open houses and looking around, but eventually, you will want to get serious and go with a professional agent and get into homes that are not open to the public.

My job is to create an efficient plan so that you can see the most homes in the shortest amount of time. After our initial consultation I should know enough about you so that I can make a home search list.

Home Search Tips

Make a list of the features your home has to have

These are the non-negotiable items such as number of bedrooms, home size and any other features you need. Don't look at any homes that don't have any of these features.

Often during the home search, buyers can't help but want to look at homes because they see a for sale sign. Only to find that the home doesn't fit their needs or is out of their price range. This use to happen a lot to me, and it's a big waste of time. Of course now with home search tools on smartphones, it's easy to see if the home for sale sign will lead to a dead end trip.

Start Broad and Narrow Down

I recommend starting in a few neighborhoods and discovering which appeal to you the most. This might make the first few home searches with me take a long time, but eventually we will narrow our search down to one or two neighborhoods, saving us time in the long run. We will also be able to visit homes faster when they hit the market if we are only looking in specific areas.

Take Notes and Make Comparisons

After you have seen a dozen or more houses, it becomes very difficult to keep track of the features in each one. Make things a little easier by creating your own comparison chart or checklist to bring along to each home, and make notes on it during or immediately after each tour.

When you get surprised by a cool feature of a house, make a note of it, and look for other homes with that feature at night. Do not change you house hunting plans for that day just because you now want something you didn't realize you wanted before.

Make Each Visit a Short One

Take a tour and let is soak in. remember to take notes. you can always come back later. You can even cme back later that day, when you are done with looking at the homes on your daily search list.

Contracts, Contingencies and Negotiations

The Bay Area real estate market is very fast paced. Many homes get multiple offers and the competition to get your offer accepted is very hard.

I have the experience and knowledge to make your offer stand out from the others and get accepted. Many times it is not the only the price that is a factor in getting accepting.

I make sure that my clients are prepared and have all the documents ready so they present offers that all have a high chance of getting accepted. I can also provide a lot of resources to improve things like credit scores and debt to income ratios.

The Purchase Contract

The purchase contract is the written contract buyers use to make an offer on a property. I go over the purchase contract in detail in my buyers guide. In general this contract states how much you are willing to pay for the property, terms for sale and any contingencies on the sale.

Counter Offers

Making counter offers can be tough. You don't want to lose an active buyer, but you also do not want to leave money on the table. Money you need to buy your next home.

I have years of experience with counter offers. I will make sure you are not out-negotiated and more importantly make sure you do not over pay for the house.

Contingencies and Buyer Protections

A contingency is a statement or stipulation that is added to your contract that will allow the buyer the right to back out of the deal without penalty under specific circumstances.

Some Common Contingencies Include the Following:

Financing Contingency

This is one of the most common types of contingency. Basically, it says that your offer is contingent on you being able to procure financing for the property. It will often be specific about the type of financing (FHA, Conventional Loan, etc), the terms (interest rate, down payment, etc), and the time period.

Appraisal Contingency

The appraisal contingency is usually implemented by a third party hired by the lender to evaluate the fair-market value of the home. In the instance the appraised value is less than the sale price, the appraisal contingency lets you back out of the deal.

In hot markets, eager buyers might feel pressured to waive it, but they could end up paying more. However, the lender will only put up a certain amount of money for the appraised cost—not the asking price—and the buyer will have to cover the rest.

Home Inspection Contingency

A home inspection contingency could well be the most important one. It gives the buyer the right to have the home professionally inspected. If something is wrong, the buyer can request it be fixed or they can back out of the sale. It’s rarely advisable to waive an inspection contingency.

There are many other contingencies that can be used on a purchase contract, but, the more contingencies, the weaker the offer becomes. I can offer advice about which contingencies are important for each property you make offers on.

Closing and Moving into Your New Home

I recommend you keep all records pertaining to your home together in a safe place, including all purchase documents, insurance, maintenance, and improvements.

Home warranty repairs

Home warranties can help cover the costs of major repairs that might happen after you close. You can get a home warranty anytime, but it is especially helpful when you move into a new home. Why bother with repairs when you don't have to.

Home Warranties cost a few hundreds dollars a year. The plan's cost varies depending on the property type e.g., single-family detached, condo, townhome, duplex, and whether the homeowner purchases a basic or extended plan. Size of home usually does not matter. Some companies vary the plans pricing based on age of home.

Recorded deed

The original deed to your home will be mailed directly to you by the County Recorder, generally within four to six weeks.

Title insurance policy

Title will mail your policy to you in about two to three weeks from the escrow company

Property taxes

You may not receive a tax statement for the current year on the home you buy; however, it is your obligation to make sure the taxes are paid when due. Check with your mortgage company to find out if taxes are included with your payment. For more information on your property taxes, visit your County Auditor/Controller's Web site.