BACK TO HOME ~
:: PREMIER BUYERS
WE CAN SHOW YOU ANY HOME LISTED IN THE MULTIPLE LISTING
SERVICE (MLS) - NO REALTOR FEE TO THE BUYER!!
Before the mid
1980's, which was when buyers advocacy first started to evolve, all
real-estate brokers and agents represented the seller. Back in those
days when an REALTOR® showed you a property, that person was doing
so as the seller's agent, looking out for the sellers best interest
- not yours! The buyer had to literally fend for themselves under
the principle of Caveat Emptor - Let the Buyer Beware!
Fortunately, we have evolved in a positive direction. Now home
buyers enlist the services of a BUYERS AGENT. Most real estate
transactions nowadays have the Listing Agent representing the
Seller, and the Buyers Agent representing the Buyer. And most people
choose a Buyers Agent as carefully as they choose a Listing Agent.
The Buyers Agent has a fiduciary duty to look out for your best
interest (among other things), will show you ALL active listings
within your parameters, no matter which company has the home listed.
And best of all, it costs you nothing to use the services of a
Buyers Agent, and many time SAVES you money because the Buyers Agent
is legally obligated to negotiate to get the best possible price on
your behalf. I hope you'll consider interviewing me when you are
shopping for an excellent, experienced Buyers Agent!
HERE'S A HANDY GUIDE TO THE HOME BUYING PROCESS – ARIZONA STYLE!!
IT'S A BIT LENGTHY, BUT THAT'S BECAUSE IT'S FULL OF VALUABLE
Whether you are buying
your very first home, or you are an experienced veteran of home
buying, the process is unique in every state - and Arizona is no
exception! Understanding the home buying process is the key to
making it a pleasant experience, and will very likely reduce the
stress levels considerably! Even if you don’t read this whole
article right now, don’t hesitate to use it as a reference at any
point in the real estate transaction. This article will be based on
the assumption that you will be obtaining a mortgage to buy a home.
Cash buyers can just skip the steps that don’t apply.
A) Interview a few Mortgage Lenders
This is an important first step. When it comes to buying a home, you
may be ready and willing, but you must find out if you are able! You
may be in for a big disappointment if you skip this step. I can tell
you from experience that it’s no fun to go out and look at resale
homes and brand new homes, fall in love with one, only to discover
you are unable to afford a home in that price range!
Get a copy of your personal credit report. This can be obtained
online or locally for a nominal fee (see the Yellow Pages under
Credit Report). You can skip this step and let the Lender obtain it,
but having it in your hand as you interview a couple Lenders, is a
real advantage – especially when it comes to sharing personal
financial information with someone you are not yet sure you are
going to do business with!
Get pre-qualified. Choose a couple Lenders that you want to
interview. Some Lenders charge a very small fee for this, but most
do not – especially if you have your own credit report! Call each
one and tell them…”Hi, I’m <your name>, and I am beginning the
process of buying a home, and I would like to get pre-qualified”.
Some Lenders will handle this over the phone and some will ask that
you meet with them in person. In general you can expect the Lender
will ask you questions about your income, your debts, and your
assets. Be honest and accurate. Don’t be afraid to mention you are
interviewing a few Lenders – they want to earn your business!
Pre-qualification is the step that determines;
a) how much down payment and closing cost money you will need
b) what interest rate options and loan programs are available
c) how much home you can afford
d) how much your monthly payments will be
Choose ONE Lender. After you have interviewed a couple Lenders,
decide on one that you feel has the best to offer, and that you are
most comfortable with.
B) Interview a few Realtors –
Choose an experienced Buyer Agent. There are two sides to a Real
Estate transaction – the Sellers side and the Buyers side. Typically
the Seller lists their home through a Listing Agent using a Listing
Agreement Contract. The Listing Agent is representing the Sellers
best interest and focusing on negotiating top dollar for the Seller
– the Sellers Advocate! A Buyer can contact the Listing Agent about
their listing, but in doing so, there is a risk of a potential
conflict of interest for the Listing Agent. The good news is that
the Buyer has an advocate too, in the form of a Buyers Agent! The
Buyers Agent is representing the Buyers best interest and focusing
on negotiating the home for the least possible price! There is no
fee to the Buyer for this valuable service. At the very least you
will be well represented by your own Realtor! And it is highly
documented statistically that in almost every Real Estate
transaction, a Buyers Agent will save the Buyer money. For more
details about the services of a Buyers Agent, click here.
After you have chosen your Buyers Agent, talk to you Mortgage Lender
and have the loan officer provide you with a Loan Status Report (LSR).
Another option is to have your Lender fax it directly to your Buyers
Agent. This is an important document that will be necessary at the
time of writing an offer on the home of your choice. Your Buyers
Agent will need a copy of the LSR before presenting an offer.
TIME TO GET STARTED!
Note: typical out of pocket costs incurred by the Buyer, prior to
the Final Stages of Closing Escrow, are highlighted in green.
Step 1) Go out looking at homes
a) In my experience, the average is 5 – 20 homes before Buyers find
what they are looking for. Keep in mind that this is just a
guideline, and it could be less and it could be more.
b) How quickly you find the “right” home depends a lot on how strict
your parameters are, and the current market conditions. Purchasing a
home in a Buyers market is FAR different than purchasing a home in a
c) Trust your Realtor, and listen to your Realtors recommendations.
Think about it….Just like you do with your job, your Realtor lives
and breathes Real Estate day in and day out every day of the year.
It’s extremely unlikely that you or your friends or relatives, know
the local real estate market better than your Realtor! Use your
Realtors knowledge and experience to your advantage!
Step 2) Writing an offer on a home
All offers to purchase a home should be in writing. Realtors have a
saying; “verbal means nothing”. Terms and Conditions are not legally
binding unless they are in writing.
a) Offers are typically written on an Arizona State approved
Purchase Contract, which is 9 pages long!
b) There are additional documents that are incorporated with the
Purchase Contract, so please expect at least 2 hours to write an
c) Bring your Checkbook! Typically you will give your Realtor a
check for what is known as the Earnest Money or Earnest Deposit.
Typically the check is made out to an Escrow Company or Title
Company of your choice. Typically this money is applied towards your
down payment at Close of Escrow. Your Realtor will explain this in
d) After all documents pertaining to the written offer are complete,
it's the Buyers Agent right and obligation to present the Buyers
offer to the Seller by going through the Listing Agent. Ideally, the
Buyers Agent is obligated to present the offer in a face to face
meeting with the Listing Agent and Seller. However, this scenario
requires the Sellers written permission and is less common in our
area. More commonly the Buyers Agent will fax the Offer, all
pertaining documents, and a carefully written "pro Buyer" cover page
to the Listing Agent. The Listing Agent will then present the Offer
to the Seller. Contract negotiations between the Buyer and Seller
are strictly done through the Buyers Agent and Listing Agent - much
like the function of a Lawyer in legal matters. And again I
emphasize that all contract negotiations should be done in writing.
Remember, in a real estate transaction, verbal agreements mean
Step 3) Contract Acceptance – a
meeting of the minds
a) When an Offer is presented to the Seller, the Seller is given a
specific time frame to reply. The Seller has three choices when
receiving an offer.
1) Accept the offer as written
2) Counter Offer the Offer
3) Reject the Offer
b) In the event there is a Counter Offer, the Buyers Agent will
present it to the Buyer. The Buyer is given a specific time frame to
reply. The Buyer has three choices when receiving a Counter Offer.
1) Accept the Counter Offer as written
2) Counter Offer the Counter Offer
3) Reject the Counter Offer
c) At some point in this process either an acceptance or rejection
will be achieved. Rejection means going back to step 1. Acceptance
means to proceed to the next step!
d) The offer has now become the Purchase Contract between the Buyer
and Seller. Both Buyer and Seller are legally bound by the terms and
conditions agreed upon in this contract.
Step 4) Opening Escrow –
a) The Escrow Period begins at Contract Acceptance and ends at the
Close of Escrow. Close of Escrow (commonly referred to as COE) is
technically the moment the home is legally recorded in your name.
However, the phrase “Close of Escrow” is used often to refer to the
final stages of closing the transaction (details in step 8).
b) An Escrow or Title Company is employed to essentially take care
of the accounting part of the Real Estate transaction. They function
as an unbiased party in the transaction, using the existing terms
and conditions of the Purchase Contract as the Escrow Instructions.
An Escrow Officer will be assigned to handle your transaction, with
assistance from their associates.
c) There are a number of fees incurred by the Escrow or Title
Company. The party responsible for paying some of these fees is
negotiated and agreed upon in steps 2 and 3.
d) During the Escrow period, both Buyer and Seller will receive many
pertinent documents relating to the transaction. Contact your
Realtor and Escrow Officer for guidance and recommendations as to
how to properly fill these out.
e) Some documents from the Escrow or Title Company may require the
Buyer and/or the Seller to employ a legal professional or tax
professional. However, this is more common when there are complex
personal legal and tax ramifications involved. The party employing
these services would pay the cost.
Step 5) Time is of the Essence -
means that there are specific time frames identified in the Purchase
Contract that are strictly adhered to. “Days” are calendar days
unless otherwise noted.
a) Escrow opened at the Escrow or Title Company and Earnest money
deposited – typically within 24 hrs or one business day from
b) Buyer begins completing loan process upon contract acceptance. If
not already done, Buyer will give money to the Mortgage Lender for
ordering the Appraisal.
c) Home Owners Association (HOA) documents delivered to Title.
d) Sellers Property Disclosure Statement (SPDS) delivered to the
Buyer within 5 days of contract acceptance. Buyer responds within 5
e) Insurance Claims History (or C.L.U.E.) delivered to Buyer within
5 days of contract acceptance. Buyer responds within 5 days.
Step 6) Inspection Period –
Buyer’s opportunity to perform any and all inspections that are
material to the Buyer. Be sure to discuss the Buyers Inspection
Period with your Buyers Agent at the time of writing the Purchase
f) Buyers Inspection Period begins upon contract acceptance, and
expires as identified on line 182 of the Purchase Contract. Typical
Inspection Period is 10 days after Contract Acceptance.
g) At a minimum, the Buyer will order and have performed a
professional Home Inspection and Wood Infestation (Termite)
Inspection during this time frame.
h) Buyers Inspection Notice delivered to Seller prior to the end of
the Inspection Period. Be sure to discuss the Buyers Inspection
Notice with your Buyers Agent at the time of writing the Purchase
Offer. Form used - Buyers Inspection Notice & Sellers Response (BINSR)
i) Seller has 5 days to respond to the Buyers Inspection Notice. Any
party in receipt of additional Inspection Period Notices has 5 days
to respond to the other party.
j) Buyer applies for Homeowners Insurance. If not done already,
Appraisal should be ordered at this point.
k) Buyer to approve/disapprove Preliminary Title Report within 5
days of receipt.
l) Buyer to approve/disapprove HOA CC&R’s within 5 days of receipt.
Step 7) Appraisal
m) In the event of a low Appraisal, Buyer may elect to cancel within
n) If not done already, Buyer should finalize packing and moving
Step 8) Final Stages of Closing Escrow
– The Closing Date is identified in the terms and conditions agreed
upon in the Purchase Contract.
o) Buyer should arrange for utility company connections to be placed
in their names 10 days to 2 weeks prior to the Close of Escrow date.
p) Buyers Final Walkthrough should take place 3-5 days prior to the
Close of Escrow date. Seller to have all repairs that were agreed
upon in the Inspection Period completed by this time.
q) No later than 3 days prior to Close of Escrow date, Buyer will
review the HUD Settlement Statement, sign loan documents, and
deliver closing funds to the Escrow or Title Company
Step 9) Close of Escrow Date –
This is the day that the Escrow or Title Company will properly
disperse funds and Record the new Deed, to complete the Real Estate
r) Title Company properly and officially disperses Buyer and
s) Title Company will record the new Deed in the new Buyer’s name,
with the County Office where the property is located.
t) Title Company will notify the Buyers Agent that Recordation has
u) Buyers Agent will notify the Buyer, and arrange for house keys
(and garage door openers – if applicable) to be delivered to the
The Real Estate Transaction is behind you and it’s time to move into
your new home!
REAL ESTATE SERVICES AT YOUR REQUEST:
SUN LAKES REAL ESTATE & ALL EAST
Direct: 480.895.6895 or