Buying a home is one of life’s most important investments and exciting adventures. As your Allison James Estates & Homes Sales Associate, I will guide you every step of the way by:

• Helping you get pre-approved and establishing your purchasing power
• Helping you determine your home preferences
• Helping you determine your offer
• Negotiating the offer and contract
• Facilitating the financing process
• Initiating the property evaluation and inspection process
• Explaining the title search process
• Preparing you for the close of escrow and associated costs

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The Importance of Getting Pre-Approved

In today’s real estate market, it’s essential to get pre-approved before starting your home search as it allows you to:

• Understand your financial condition
• Understand how much home you can afford before you begin your home search


• Getting pre-approved helps put you in a better negotiating position by letting the seller know you are committed and the financing is not in question
• In cases where there are multiple offers for homes, buyers who are pre-approved have a better chance of an accepted offer on the house they wish to buy—versus those buyers who are not pre-approved. I will work with you from start to finish on the Pre-Approval process to help this transaction be as fluid as possible.

Determining Your Home Preferences

The more I know about your preferences, needs and priorities, the better I will be able to focus our search on properties that most closely match your criteria. We will work together to sort exactly what you are looking for from aesthetics to your dream yard or the perfect kitchen you have been dreaming of. Remember, unless you are building your dream home from the ground up, there are often compromises involved in deciding whether or not you will be satisfied with a given property.

Determining Your Offer

Many factors influence the asking price of a home. To help you decide how much you feel comfortable
offering for a property, I will gather critical information for you regarding the factors that impact how much you should consider paying for the home, including:

• How long the home has been on the market
• If the price has been reduced
• The prices for other comparable homes in the area
• If there are multiple offers
• Why the seller is selling
• Whether the seller is offering an assumable loan or financing

Negotiating the Offer and Contract

You may make your offer subject to certain terms or buyers_handbook (1)-2contingencies, including securing of financing or perhaps the sale of your current home. You may also make the contract subject to various inspections by both you and professional inspectors. Most contracts include some standard provisions, such as property taxes, insurance costs, utility bills and special assessments that will be prorated between buyer and seller. Others outline what happens if the property is damaged before closing, or if either party fails to go through with the sale. I will review every aspect of your offer and contract with you. Together, we will plan a strategy for getting the most advantageous terms for you, the buyer, at the price you are willing to pay for the property.

Navigating the Financing Process

Once your offer is accepted, the financing process continues—and already being pre-approved makes this process go much quicker and smoother. While it can take anywhere from 30 to 60 days, it typically runs 45 days. I’ll be involved throughout the process to help it run smoothly. The basic timeline for what will happen along the way is as follows:
• You submit the completed application and any required supporting documentation to the lender (when you are pre-approved, this is already done)
• The lender orders an appraisal of the property, a credit report and begins verifying your employment and assets
• The lender provides a good faith estimate of closing and related costs, plus initial Truth in Lending disclosures
• The lender evaluates the loan package with all of your supporting documents, issues a letter of commitment, loan approval and list of conditions, if any
• You sign the closing loan documents and the loan is funded
• The lender sends its funds to escrow
• All appropriate documents are recorded at the County Recorder’s Office, the seller is paid and the title to the home is yours

Property Inspections

Real estate contracts often contain contingency clauses that allow buyers to inspect the property. Certain inspections are required by lenders and others are a matter of observation and what is particular to a region or area. Which party pays for these inspections is negotiable. The two most common types of inspections are:


The Title Search Process

A title spells out who has the right of ownership for a property. It is considered “clear” if there are no claims or liens against it. In order to make sure nothing will prevent transfer of the property to you, a title company will conduct a title search and prepare a preliminary report that indicates what recorded matters affect the title to the property and if the title insurance company is willing to insure the title. At the close of escrow, the title company will issue an Owner’s Policy of Title Insurance to protect you against losses that might arise from covered claims on the title.

Preparing for the Closing Costs

A home purchase is a complex transaction buyers_handbook (1)-4 involving many parties and associated fees. In addition to your deposit and down payment, there are a variety of other costs involved in the close of escrow, including:
• Loan origination fees, appraisals and reports
• Surveys and inspections
• Mortgage insurance
• Hazard insurance
• Taxes
• Assessments
• Title Insurance, notary and escrow fees
• Recording fees and stamps

The lender will provide a good faith estimate of these costs prior to the close of escrow, so that you will know in advance what to expect. Some of these costs may be negotiable items with the seller. Naturally, I’ll walk you through each item in your closing to make sure you understand every detail.

I look forward to having the opportunity in helping you find the perfect property, whether it be your first home, second home or an investment in this beautiful place I am lucky enough to call my home.  Please feel free to contact me anytime.

    –Dionne Pope

Photo credits: Rachael Boling Photography • Linda McDougald Design | Postcard from Paris Home