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General overview of the
home buying process.

  1. Begin working with a Realtor.
  2. Get preapproved for a home loan (if not paying cash). You and your lender will determine how much home you can afford and what the monthly payments will be (including your property taxes and insurance). Generally, the financing of the purchase is what determines the length of an escrow. 30 days is a common escrow period. However, it is possible to accelerate this process if a buyer is very organized and all are in agreement on a quick escrow.
  3. Decide on appropriate locations with regard to your budget, family/friends, employment, schools, recreation, etc.
  4. Define the necessary criteria of your ideal home in regard to size, number of bedrooms, bathrooms, yard, etc.
  5. Your Realtor will begin sending you listings to view on-line and you will choose the ones are closest to meeting all of your criteria.
  6. Tour the homes and neighborhoods in which they are located. In addition to the home itself, you’re interested to know how the traffic is, where you will be shopping, recreating, etc.
  7. Once you identify homes that could potentially work for you, your Realtor will do further research on these homes including viewing recent comparable sales. The Realtor will contact the listing agents for more information, including how much buyer activity is occurring, whether they have offers, etc. The Realtor will get a better understanding of the seller’s position and get a feel for if there may be room to negotiate on price and other terms.
  8. Your Realtor will have made a concerted effort to present themselves as a professional that the listing agent and buyer would like to work with. Your lender will have contacted the listing agent to convey how qualified you are and how organized they are. The listing agent and buyer will already have an idea about your offer and be waiting with great anticipation.
  9. After discussing and coming to an understanding of what you would like to offer, your Realtor will write up the offer for you to sign and submit to the listing agent. Your offer will include your pre-approval letter, verification of funds for down payment, and heartfelt letter to the seller conveying your appreciation for and commitment to the home.
  10. The seller accepts the offer and we are in escrow!
  11. You will place your earnest money deposit in escrow. The amount of this deposit varies, but around 1% of the purchase price is common.
  12. You will have several “contingencies” in place, which allow a buyer to retain the right to cancel the purchase agreement and receive their full deposit back for various reasons within their contingency period. The most pertinent contingencies are the inspection contingency, appraisal contingency, and loan contingency.
  13. As part of the inspection process, we receive, review, and sign the seller disclosures.
  14. Based on the inspections and appraisal, we may have an opportunity to ask for seller concessions. This could come in the form of the seller agreeing to make repairs, providing a credit in lieu of repairs, or adjusting the purchase price.
  15. All along, we will have been monitoring the progress of the home loan to ensure everything is on schedule. Not long after the inspection contingency is removed, the loan is granted full underwriting approval. With the loan officer’s blessing, we remove all buyer contingencies. After all contingencies are removed, we are totally committed to a successful purchase. If we had to cancel at this point in the escrow, it would be very difficult to get the earnest money deposit back. After hundreds of transactions, Cullen Realty has never had a buyer lose their deposit.
  16. Before scheduling to sign closing documents, we do a final verification of property condition to confirm the home is in the condition we expect, the seller is completely moved out, repairs completed, etc.
  17. Once loan documents are ready, we are notified by the title company and schedule your seller signing appointment. This is done by a mobile notary and can be done anywhere you would like.
  18. Generally a day or two later the loan funds, the property is recorded with the county in your name and you are the new owner of the home. Ideally, we meet late afternoon the same day at your new home to give you the keys.