Overview: buying a house

When new clients first approach me, I often realize that they need an overview of the entire process of purchasing a home or investment property. It can seem quite overwhelming, even if you have been through the process before. Don’t worry though! That is exactly what I’m for. We will walk through each step together. (Please note, below is an overall explaination — there will be lots of additional nuances particular to different circumstances.)

  1. Our initial sit down meeting.

I invite new clients to come by my office at 205 East Olive St in Newport, Oregon. Meeting face to face allows me to get a great feel of what your wants and needs are in your new home. I will give you a packet of information, answering any questions that come up as we go through it. I also have a survey that we can fill out to outline what is necessary for your home and what would be a bonus.

2. Secure funding.

Of course, if you have enough liquid funds to cover the purchase of a home that is the easiest way to go. However, most people need to secure a loan. The company and person you choose to provide your loan is very important for a smooth transaction. I have three lenders that I love to refer people to, just ask! I refer to these people because I have worked with them before and I know that they will be great communicators throughout the process. Your lender will hold your hand through all of the financial aspects of buying a home.

3. Start the search!

I will set up an automated search for you on RMLS — a tool that real estate brokers use to get up to date information about listings. Once we’ve found a few properties that you think are worth seeing in person, we’ll make an appointment to view them in person.

4. Viewing houses.

Viewing houses is really fun! We will go together to see what the spaces are like and try to imagine you owning them. I will do my best to point out great features, but I will also make sure to mention things that are potential issues to be aware of. Many homes in Portland are quite old. There are some issues that are fine to live with, but there are others that could be too much to take on. I’ll encourage you to snap some photos as we go so you can recall the houses later. You’ll see that they tend to blend together after you see a few!

5.  Making an offer.

We will work together to write a really strong offer. I will caution you to keep in mind that we might have to offer on more than one house. After we send one, we will usually get a response relatively soon after. They can accept, counter, or reject it.

6. Counter offer.

Many agents send a counter offer to make the deal a bit sweeter for the seller. We can either accept the counter or send another counter back. Depending on the particular circumstance, we will decide what the best way to proceed is.

7. Mutual acceptance!

We love mutual acceptance! This means that we are officially under contract for you to buy the property. All timelines start from here. (See below for more information about this.) Closely following mutual acceptance escrow will be opened. (Escrow is a third party neutral company that holds the funds and deeds during the deal.)

8. Earnest money to escrow.

After we are under contract, you will need to send a check or wire funds to escrow in the amount of the earnest money promised. Earnest money is utilized for a few reasons. First, to show the seller that we are serious about our offer. Second, to compensate the seller for the time they have the property off the market if the sale falls through by fault of the buyer. However, if we decide to terminate the agreement during an agreed upon contingency period, you will have the legal right to get the earnest money back. (Please note that it is not automatic, the seller will still have to agree to release the funds from escrow.)

9. 10 day inspection period.

From the day of mutual acceptance, we will have 10 days to perform professional inspections and negotiate for repairs/compensation. I recommend obtaining a general inspection, radon test, sewerscope, and then also additional other tests depending on the specific property. For instance, if there is no record of a decommissioned oil tank, I would suggest having a professional search done. As a buyer, you are responsible for paying for these tests. I am happy to suggest companies to perform the tests, schedule them, and also coordinate their entrance into the home as needed. We’ll also take some time to review the title and any other documentation that relates to the property.

10. Repair addendum.

Once we have all of our inspections in hand, I will write a repair addendum that lets the other side know what we would like them to address. Often this includes some back and forth negotiation.

11. Appraisal.

If you are getting a loan, your lender will schedule an appraiser to check out the property and make sure that it is worth the sales price. If it comes in low, we will negotiate with the other side to try to get them to cover the difference. However, in this competitive market sometimes they will not be willing to in which case we might split the difference, or you might have to cover it.

12. Waiting to close.

After the inspection period we wait for repairs to be done (as needed) and for the loan to come through. I will be in close contact with your loan officer to make sure everything is proceeding as planned.

13. Closing Disclosure.

Due to a new law, known as TRID, you’ll get your final closing disclosure from your lender at least 3 days before closing.

14. Signing.

You will sign with escrow in person. (So many signatures!)

15. Closing.

Time to celebrate — the property is yours! I will meet you there to give you keys.