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A Step-by-Step First Time Buyer's Guide

Buying a home is one of the most exciting milestones of your life. To prepare yourself for this moment, you need to know what to expect during the process. This step-by-step first time buyer’s guide created by your agent will help reduce the stress of buying a home and help you enjoy the journey as much as possible.

01

Find an Agent

Connect with a licensed Compass real estate agent who is knowledgeable about the neighborhoods you're considering and can help guide your search.

02

Get Pre-Qualified

Before beginning your search, your first step is to get pre-approved for a mortgage loan (unless you will be paying the full price of your home in cash). Your Compass agent can connect you to a mortgage broker. Based on your income and credit history, the mortgage broker will determine how much a bank will lend you, which will help you determine the price range for your search.

03

Now is the time to consider your ideal home's location and amenities. You will attend viewings and open houses spanning a range of areas and property types. Additionally, your Compass agent will activate notifications for exclusive Coming Soon and Off-Market properties as they hit the market.

04

Packaging and Submitting Offers

Once you identify a home you like, you can put in an offer, which is an agreement to pay a certain price for the home. This offer is pckaged with a Proof of Funds (POF) and Pre-Approval Letter. Note: if your offer is lower than the list price or with terms not acceptable to the seller, the seller will likely return with a counter-offer pricec or acceptable terms, which  you can accept, reject, or make another counter-offer. Your Compass agent will provide advice throughout.

05

Escrow Process

(Life of an Escrow: 30 & 45 day escrow period)

Day 1: Once offer is accepted, escrow is officially open and the clock begins on contingencies.
Day 2: Contact tour insurance agent for homeowners coverage.
Day 3: Initial deposit is due per terms of agreement.
Day 1-17: Seller delivers disclosures to buyer. Buyer performs inspections (Step 6)
Day 1-21: Loan is in underwriting and appraisal occurs (Step 7)
Day 7-30 | 21-45: Seller signs grant deed and staging is removed, if any (Step 7)
End of Escrow: Within final week of escrow period, buyer signs loan and closing documents and wires in closing funds (Step 10)
Day 30-45: Loan funds and escrow closes (recordation)

06

Home Inspections: Review Disclosures, Reports & Repairs

It is the buyer's duty to schedule all desired home inspections and determine the overall condition of the property within the agreed timeline and contractual contingencies. Buyer will also review the disclosures and preliminary title report. You may approve or negotiate credits/repairs. Prior to closing remember to schedule a final walk-thru of the property is still in acceptable condition and any negotiated repairs were done.

07

Loan, Appraisal & Closing

Organize an appraisal with your bank. Your completed  mortgage application with all supporting documentation should be submitted to your chosen lender upon receipt of the fully signed Purchase Agreement. The bank then issues loan approval. Consequently, the buyer wires the closing funds with the homeowner's insurance in place, and then the loan will be funded with clearance to close.

08

Welcome Home

Congratulations! You are now a homeowner.

Testimonials
Kate was always available to help us any time and any day. She provided us with a ton of useful information and went above and beyond! We found our perfect home all ...
Amanda & Matthew
Carly is AWESOME. She really shines in her communication skills and enthusiasm. She’s always got a smile on her face and is genuinely passionate in helping people. I...
Erik G.
Carly Potter is a go-getter! She is extremely knowledgeable, resourceful and a great person who has her clients best interest at heart. I would highly recommend Carl...
Marina A.
Carly is not only professional but she is personable. Her effective communication as an agent has made my experience effortless. She is well informed and prompt with...
Alexis G.
Carly sent a buyer referral to me for a family member, yet continued to interface as the primary communicator. She was responsive and easy to deal with, creating a v...
Chris C.
Carly is just amazing! She is a local expert of the South Bay and has knowledge of the buying and selling process. She's kind, hardworking, and patient. Carly works ...
Marcie G.
Carly is not only a great real estate agent, but she is also educated, friendly, down to earth, kind, and professional. Her personality shines the second she walks i...
Alyssa C.
It was such a pleasure working with Carly Potter. Being new to Southern California and renting a home in general, Carly was there with us every step of the way. Whe...
Juan R.
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Common Terms to Understand for Buyers

Appraisal
Assessment of the property's market value, for the purpose of obtaining a mortgage and performed by a licensed appraiser.

Assessed Value
Value placed upon property for property tax purposes by the text collector.

Closing Costs
Expenses incidental to a sale of real estate, such as loan fees, appraisal fees, title insurance and escrow fees.

Closing Statement
The statement which lists the financial settlement between Buyer and Seller, and the costs each must pay.

Contingency
Certain criteria that have to be met in order to finalize the sale.

Conventional Mortgage
A mortgage or Deed of Trust not obtained under a government insured program such as FHA or VA.

Credit
Money given to a buyer from a seller through escrow at closing.

Escrow
A neutral third party that handles the transfer of any money during the sale of a home from initial deposit to final funding and closing.​​​​​​​

Earnest Money Deposit
Buyers in California usually deposit 3% of the purchase price to show that the buyer is serious about purchasing the home. It is usually refundable in the event a contingency in the sales contract cannot be met.

Fixed Rate Mortgage
A loan on which the interest rate and monthly payment do not change.

Home Warranty
A policy that covers certain repairs (e.g. plumbing/heating) of a newly purchased home for a period of time, typically one year.

Preliminary Title Report
A report showing the condition of title before a sale or loan transaction. After completion of the transaction, a new title insurance policy will be issued.

Title Insurance
Insurance to protect the buyer and lender against losses arising from disputes over the ownership of a property.

Recording Fees
Money paid to the lender for recording a home sale with the local authorities, thereby making it part of the public records.

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Tony and his team set out to be not just the best possible realtors but also trusted resources. Their experience goes well beyond their years as South Bays top-producing Realtors®.
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