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SOME HOME BUYING BASICS


Buying real estate has a fairly complicated process. It's wise to have a pathfinder to make sure you avoid potential potholes on your road to home ownership.

A qualified and experienced Buyer's Agent Specialist has the best road-map. Since having a Buyer's Specialist look out for your best interests and represent you costs buyers absolutely nothing—zero, it makes little sense to go it alone.

Quite a few home buyers think that if they don't have an agent to represent them that it is cheaper for the seller—and they might get a better price. Not true at all. Here's why.

When a seller lists a property with a Listing Agent right in every standard required listing agreement the seller agrees to a total commission to get the home sold. Usually 6% of the final sale price. Out of that 6% the Listing Agent has to pay the commission of the "cooperating broker" (i.e. the buyer's broker and agent) which is usually half, or 3% for the buyer's representation by their Realtor.

Now, why it is NOT cheaper for the seller? If the buyer (you) is not represented—has no Realtor— then the Listing Agent gets to keep the 3%, not the seller. That 3% that the seller has paid for cooperating brokers/agents—your representation—goes right into the pocket of the Listing Agent. A listing Agent that has no fiduciary responsibility to you or to look out for your best interests. The seller gets no break or benefit whatsoever.

To understand the complete Buying Process and the fiduciary relationships of all parties read on below. Understanding the Buying Process will go far in getting you successfully to where you want to go.

Into your new home !

THE HOME BUYING PROCESS

A change is desired—or necessary. To move up. To downsize. To re-locate. To retire. To buy your first home. To live in a lifestyle property. So, you hit the "GO" button. It's going to get exciting now !

At the outset of the home-buying process, it's often unclear when you and your real estate Agent are "going steady." As with all relationships, making assumptions on this without clear communication can end up awkwardly. Why? Let's examine...

Q. Why will a Buyer's Agent need exclusivity to work with you anyway?
A. Because Buyer's Agents get paid solely via commission. So when showing you properties, keeping you informed before you have to ask, negotiating on your behalf, and providing you a really high-level of service a Buyer's Agent is essentially "working off the clock" and absorbing the expenses.

Most Agents will ask you to sign a buyer's agent agreement before they start working for you or showing you homes as an insurance policy to make sure they get paid for their work. Luxemark never does this or requires this because we know we can meet expectations and deliver the desired results and everyone will ultimately benefit.

A good place to get a general market education on your own is the internet. Although there is unprecedented access to more information in the housing market than ever, without the proper training and experience to evaluate, filter and process it all without overload, it likely won't help you accomplish a true bottom-dollar buy.

Your Agent assisting you is the best method of getting yourself educated on what's out there and the actual price properties sold for—not the listed price. More importantly, how you can take a shot at a bottom-dollar buy and have a legitimate chance to WIN.

A real Buyer's Agent can completely investigate a property you may be interested in and ultimately give you an educated professional opinion on value, and a whole lot more. You will be amazed at what an experienced Buyer's Agent can find out! Buyer's Agents use what they discover about the area, property history and the sellers themselves as the basis of how they will negotiate on your behalf in getting your offer accepted.

They can also help you "fast track" the process of educating yourself on the market and searching for and finding available homes that precisely fit your criteria. Your Agent can actually setup a monthly, weekly, any-day(s)-of-the-week "auto emails" that come directly from the MLS that will notify you literally the very instant a home comes on the market, an asking price is lowered or increased, goes under contract, or is sold. Timing is a major factor in real estate and being immediately informed on market changes can make a big difference in delivering you a WIN.

Buyer's file. Your file should contain copies of all of your important financial documents. Lenders will require information about you and your finances. Make copies of the normally required financial documents:
- any financial statements
- bank account statements
- investment account statements
- credit card statements
- auto loan statements or payment coupons
- recent pay stubs (at least 60 days)
- and two years tax returns.
Click here to see a complete Financial Overview
Check your credit rating & FICO score.
Choose your lender and get pre-qualified or pre-approved (There's a big difference between them.)

Pre-Qualification: Consult with a mortgage broker or bank and find out how much you can actually pre-qualify for. Ask for a "pre-qual" letter. You will need either a Pre-Qualification letter or an actual Pre-Approval to make an offer on a home these days. Sellers generally require one or the other. If you are a cash buyer, you will need Proof of Funds to make an offer and have it considered by a seller.
Pre-Approval: Sellers will be far more receptive to potential buyers who have been Pre-Approved rather than just Pre-Qualified. With Pre-Approval, the buyer actually applies for their mortgage in advance and receives a loan commitment in writing from a lender. This way, assuming the home you're interested in is at or under the amount you are pre-approved for, the seller knows immediately that you can get the loan to buy their home, and there should not be any "snags" it getting the transaction closed.

Your initial goal or first step in this area is to identify properties that pass all, most, or an acceptable level of your pre-set criteria for "must-haves" as well "like-to-haves" and even the "cannot-haves". This can include, but certainly will not be limited to, things like some the following:
- How many stories? Do you want to avoid stairs as much as possible?
- Master Bedroom on the lower level?
- Attached or detached garage? How many cars?
- Number of bedrooms
- Number of baths and half-baths
- Corner lot or cul-de-sac. Fenced back yard?
- Swimming pool, or is a community acceptable?
- Type of flooring you prefer
- Architectural styles. Contemporary, traditional, Florida style, Mediterranean, etc.
- Lifestyle home? Lakefront, golf, can have horses, and more.
- Screened in patio or pool.
...and on and on.

You likely will make compromises on some of your initial criteria and even change your mind on some as you start touring available properties. In any event, once you have this basic foundation the goal is to make the home search as efficient as possible. You will see why as you read on. An efficient search process can really help you with the all-important timing factor if you happen to become aware of a home that you are excited about. Timing in real estate is everything. It can send you over the rainbow, or it can crush your dream. It can be stressful to some buyers.

Let's look at how that works. Common sense can tell you that a really great property that ticks all the boxes is sure to appeal to other house hunters too, especially if it is priced right & fairly from the outset in the current market and just went onto the market, or very recently went on the market.

Now, let's look at another property that enters the market over-priced (sellers often make this kiss-of-death mistake with the flawed logic that they can just lower it later if it doesn't sell), has languished on the market for many months, giving wise buyers a red-flag indication something might not be right.

Which property is going to get the most attention and have the most serious suitors? Which one will likely get the most offers? Which one will likely be sold to a disciplined prospective buyer with a clear plan to WIN. Are you beginning to see why the timing factor has a part to play? Which property will get sold faster and likely leave one or more buyers that really wanted the property out in the cold? That's why an efficient search process is vital. It helps you be first, or at least to be very early to get off the bench and into the game—giving you a decided advantage that often can deliver you a WIN.

How do you make your search efficient? Well thankfully, an experienced Buyer's Agent can do most of the "heavy lifting" for you on this one. You need the fastest, freshest, newest, most visual, most accurate, real-time information possible about the entrance of hot properties onto the market or changes in them if they are already on the market. Changes can include price-reductions, "back-on-the-market" properties usually from a failed transaction or other snag, a "pending" status (property went under contract and is now in the closing process), or other events that allow you to either take action on something or stop devoting time and effort to something. Your Buyer's Agent will do much of the tracking of these events, keep you posted and make recommendations on what action you should take.

Enter the King of Real Estate in the modern digital world. The internet. But not the consumer real estate websites, their information is delayed—and you know who they are—but the gold-standard for the most accurate and up-to-date information possible. The true source of all that coveted information. The MLS. Best of all, you will be getting it direct from the MLS instantly in real-time as events happen. You just moved to the front of the line. Cool !

How your Agent does it. Efficient searching is identifying available homes first or very early that precisely fit your criteria and you screening them to find the "gems" you are interested in actually touring. You may be watching too much real estate un-reality TV if you believe that any Agent just introduces you to 3 or more properties you really know nothing about that they have selected based on your budget and you pick one. Maybe 25 years ago, but there's a much better way now. Your Agent can actually setup an instant daily, time-of-the-day daily, monthly, weekly, any-day(s)-of-the-week "auto emails" that come directly from the MLS that notify you of all available homes for sale and literally the very instant a new home comes on the market, an asking price is lowered or increased, a particular home goes under contract, or is sold. How is that for efficiency? Wow.

What you do next. Discipline yourself to open those emails in a timely manner. Look through them (including the picture galleries) and get familiar with what information is relevant to your factual wants and needs and what visually appeals to you. Either check the box in your MLS concierge feed or note the MLS number or property address to pass onto to your Agent. Inform your Agent about how you are ranking the properties you have identified. #1 being the most exciting and desirable property and thereon to the least exciting property worthy of your attention and valuable viewing time. Congratulations! You are now an efficient searcher and you have upgraded your chances for a big WIN.

But what is the process for viewing properties?

Your Agent efficiently choreographs a viewing plan. Here's how that works. And it might seem simple, but it can get challenging. For every property you have identified for viewing, your Agent has some work to do to make that possible. All viewings must be requested from the seller and listing Realtor. Everyone has to agree to the details, date and time for you to tour the property. Most sellers will require a minimum of 24 hours notice to schedule a viewing, and the Listing Agent will will ask the sellers to leave during your visit. Sometimes your Agent can negotiate around "notice times" for an earlier time or one convenient to you. Many buyers are not aware of how difficult it sometimes can be for your Agent to get a mutually acceptable date and time to get access to the property for you to tour it—especially if you are expecting to tour 3, 4 or 5 properties on a given day in some logical order. Sometimes it is not difficult at all. It just depends. I guess the point here is that you have to be somewhat flexible. Your Agent will always pursue your preferred time, or a mutually acceptable time in the alternative.

Your dream is in sight. It could really happen! But for now, it's back to the business side of making it happen. It's critical that this phase of the Buying Process is as mistake-free as humanly possible. Contracts, addendums and other documents associated with a successful real estate transaction must be carefully crafted to get your offer accepted and to prevent legal issues down the road. Knowing how to write it up correctly the first time helps to avoid snags and issues as the transaction moves along. Knowing what to look for in other Realtor's documents is essential.

That's why choosing a Buyer's Agent that has a very high level of intelligence with the legal paperwork and factors that go hand-in-hand with the purchase contract and following process is vitally important. Some level of legal acumen in a Buyer's Agent is a lot more than just desired—it is pretty much mandatory nowadays. A vast majority of Agents just don't have this skill set.

Seller's Property Disclosure - Residential If it has not already been provided, your Agent should formally request a Seller's Disclosure before submitting your offer contract. If the Seller has knowledge of any visible or latent defects, or anything else that materially affects the value of the property or its use for the intended purpose, the Seller is required by Florida law to disclose that information to the Buyer.

In some cases, when a Seller has not lived in the property or really has no knowledge of any such issues with the property, one may not be provided. Still request one. Ideally, you as a potential Buyer, should have the opportunity to obtain and review the Seller's Disclosure before you make an offer on the property. Once you declare your interest in a specific property, your Buyer's Agent will automatically request this disclosure from the Listing Agent if it was not attached to the listing documents in the MLS that Agents and Brokers can access if they exist. Address in the offer contract, or inquire about anything negative discovered from the Seller's Property Disclosure.

OK, you have decided to submit the offer that you and your Buyer's Agent have crafted for the home you want. You and your Buyer's Agent have carefully considered the amount of your offer and any other terms and/or conditions (contingencies). Your Agent has carefully written up the offer contract, reviewed it several times, and has gone over it with you explaining in detail what everything means. Next, your Agent has emailed it to you for your final form review and for eSigning (electronic signature).

The two (2) most important steps in the Buying Process are the crafting of your written offer and the potential negotiations that generally follow. You and your Agent will likely consider the following and more before initial negotiations get started:

Prepare ! You have educated yourself on the housing market in the target area. You have some relevant specific information about the subject area. Now, you focus on the specific property you will be submitting the offer on and want to buy—and the seller too. Many run-of-the-mill agents never take an informative look at the sellers themselves and what's going on in their lives. You'll be looking for answers to questions like:

Why is this homeowner selling?
New job?
Divorce?
Financial problems?
Already bought another home?
Buyer's Agent's are experts in digging deep for these insights. It's extremely important in the Buying Process.

How long has the home been on the market?
What are the property negatives?
What are the property positives?
How much did the seller pay for the home compared to your offer price?
When did they buy it?
What were the real estate trends since they bought it?
Did values in the neighborhood go up or down since they bought it?
What can be learned about the seller's time frame for selling and moving?
Are they moving locally or long distance?
Is there a mortgage on the property?
How much?
Are the sellers parties in any lawsuits—property related or otherwise?
Are there any glaring defects in the home or problems with the surrounding neighborhood?
Roof leaking? Other major defects?
New homes being built close by?

And there's always more... your Buyer's Agent is trained and experienced on how to investigate and smoke out information you can use as leverage in the negotiations.

As a Buyer, you want all the advantages you can get. Yes, your Buyer's Agent will inquire about appropriate, pertinent information related to the seller. But, please keep in mind, your Agent will only want you to reveal very little about yourself and your current circumstances—unless your Agent sees doing so is an advantage for you. It's an intricate ballet of often subtle moves coupled with impeccable timing and experienced positions. It's not a time to be too open about yourself. Your Buyer's Agent will know how to present only what's necessary for now.

Also, do not let the seller see how much you want the property. Remember, in reality this is a business decision—so try not to let it become an overly emotional decision. Bring your best business face because your are making a giant financial decision here. No ooohing or awwwing in the presence of people not on your team.

You cannot forget, this is the digital age. There are cameras everywhere, even if you don't see them. They're cheap. They are impossible to detect. Everyone has them. When you tour a home, assume the sellers and the listing Realtor are listening to everything you and others say while you are in the property. Believe it or not, it's more the norm than you might think.

If you appear desperate or overly enthusiastic, you are handing the seller the upper hand in the negotiations. When in the presence of the seller or listing agent, keep your emotions in check—because it is like handing the seller your wallet if you don't.

A Buyer's Agent's best advice: Your are engaged in a business transaction—control your emotions so they do not work against you.

One final note about your offer contract. More likely than not the seller will specify that all offers be submitted on the "AS IS" Residential Contract For Sale And Purchase, an approved form of the Florida Realtor's Association and the Florida Bar (The "AS IS" Far-Bar, as it is more commonly known.). It is the form most residential real estate transactions use. Don't let the contract title mislead you into thinking that when you sign it you are locked into taking the property just as it is without any opportunity to do a home inspection, negotiate repairs, get termite inspections and other things like that. You will have the right to do all those things to your satisfaction or you can exercise your right to cancel the contract under the terms & conditions specified in the contract and obtain a full 100% refund of your earnest money deposit.

Well that's good news for sure! But it's still a bit away from a completely "done deal". That only comes at closing. So, let's be really happy about getting to this clearly exciting point in this process. But, we will keep the cork in the champagne for the big celebration a little later on.

At this point we have a contract in place. Likely containing one or more contingencies for things like a satisfactory home inspection, a lender's appraisal, a final loan commitment, or even repairs that may have been discovered during the home inspection, or were part of the offer "AS IS" Residential Contract For Sale And Purchase that all parties have just signed.

We have reached a point that the next path we take can go in several different directions depending on many factors, including the type of transaction, the contract, the financing, the property and so on. But generally, the real work in any real estate transaction begins here with the goal of getting us to a "clear to close" and then the actual closing. This phase can get a bit complicated and there is a lot more involved than most Buyers realize or are expecting.

Things like getting everything your lender's underwriting department will be asking for and you will have to give them. Home inspections and the problems that could arise from the reports and any repairs agreed upon by the parties. There are plenty of other potential issues that can arise like survey problems, appraisal problems, missing building permits, homeowner's insurance requirements, contractor liens and even municipal liens for things like code violations, etc, etc, but we will not address every possibility here.

A word of caution to the wise. Don't try to navigate this phase without some kind of expert assistance, even if you decide to go it alone without an Agent representing you.

In Florida, in a residential real estate transaction, usually the Seller and/or the Seller's Listing Agent will choose the title and escrow company—pursuant to the contract terms & conditions, because whoever gets to choose the title and escrow company also pays for the title insurance policy, which can be thousands of dollars. The Buyer has the right to go to any title and escrow company for the closing they choose, but they will also have to pay for the expensive title insurance policy themselves. Buyers will almost never step over many dollars to get a few nickels. Understandable, right? Generally, this is not a significant problem, and there is not a good argument for doing it any differently then the customary way. So assume we will be sticking to the normally accepted way of doing things for your transaction.

Here's where having an experienced Buyer's Agent starts to be really valuable, because they will not write an offer contract that requires an earnest money deposit from you with the submission of the contract, but only IF the Seller accepts your offer. Is that possible? Yes. And it makes your position stronger rather than weaker. If the Seller accepts your offer, then you submit an earnest money deposit to the escrow company—usually within 48 to 72 hours. More importantly, you need to know that your earnest money deposit does not go directly to the Seller. It goes into escrow to be held by the escrow agent/title company until closing. If something would happen to go wrong with the transaction along the way, Florida law dictates how to distribute that deposit money—NOT the Seller.

The Buyer must make a formal mortgage loan application with a lending institution, mortgage broker, credit union or the like—usually within a few days—or as specified in the contract's financing contingencies. This sets the official loan process in motion. If a Buyer has been pre-approved rather than just pre-qualified, this loan process is far less challenging.

Home Inspection ordered. Completed. Seller notified of inspections results. Inspection contingency removed if the results are satisfactory and acceptable to Buyer. Your Buyer's Agent notifies the Seller's Agent of Buyer's intentions and how the Buyer plans to proceed. If you, as the Buyer are not satisfied with the home inspection results, you can choose to cancel the deal and request a refund of your earnest money deposit, or proceed with/or without certain new contingencies based on repairs to be performed or amounts of money to be allocated and credited to the Buyer by the Seller for repairs or as compensation for the Buyer's acceptance and removal of the inspection contingency.

Title & escrow company does a thorough title search—including a municipal lien search— and for any liens and encumbrances on the clear and marketable title to the property that may exist upon the public record, or elsewhere if recorded or known. This can include mortgages, contractor liens, claims by third parties and even code violations of municipal ordinances. Additionally, if any renovations or additions to the property were done without a permit being issued, this can be a matter that could need to be dealt with.

Title company issues a title commitment for title insurance policy on the property that the Buyer receives at closing. That title commitment can contain "exceptions" based on what was found in the title search and other factors.

Potential additional negotiations between the Buyer and the Seller, conducted by the Agents for situations that may include the status of repairs made by the Seller and the acceptance or rejection by the Buyer on followup inspection. It is not uncommon for followup inspections to create these problems. It depends on the Seller and whether they acted in good faith in performing the repairs, or just did a "band-aid" job to get a contingency removed. Buyer's Agents will often try to negotiate a credit allocation from the Seller so their Buyer can perform the repairs after closing to their exacting preferences. As pointed out previously, an Agent that is a formally trained and experienced negotiator—with a proven track record of success is important at any phase where the process requires critical negotiations. Especially if you are faced with a "tough" or really challenging deal. In these matters the stakes are usually quite high and more often than not have substantial financial ramifications.

Appraisal. Your loan process has already been initiated. Earlier, rather than later in that process your lender will coordinate with the Agents and the Seller to gain access to the property to conduct the lender's appraisal. The lender will order an appraisal to be performed only by one of their approved appraisers. If their appraiser does not find the value to be at least at or above the sale price, a buyer cannot get a mortgage loan through that particular lender. (Changing lenders at this point will create huge problems, and the chances it will kill the deal entirely are great.) In the vast majority of lender's appraisals the dollar amount of the appraisal is extremely close to the sale price—usually within a thousand dollars or two of the contract sale price, but almost never much more—regardless of the true market value of the property.

Survey. A survey is generally required either by the lender or the title insurance company, or both. And in some cases, like certain multi-family properties, neither may require a survey. Surveys are needed to identify things like boundary encroachments by neighbors, location of fences, walls, gates, code setbacks, etc. Title companies and lenders want verification of certain things because it can have potential liability for them. If encroachments or other issues are discovered by the survey they have to be resolved or some action has to be taken to minimize the risks of third-party claims or devaluation of the property.

Other undertakings are also now in motion that will lead to a successful closing. Among them is homeowner's insurance. If you have not done so already, armed with the property address and a few property specifics you should be evaluating and getting quotes for homeowner's insurance. You cannot close without having a homeowner's insurance policy on the property that is effective on the day of closing.

Potential or additional negotiations between the Buyer and the Seller, conducted by the Agents for situations that may include appraisal results, survey results, loan requirements (FHA and Conventional), changes in positions of the Seller, unforeseen closing "road-blocks", status of any agreed to repairs, and more. This is a critical time and many transactions bite the dust during this late-stage phase of the Buying Process. The skill of the primary negotiator, once again, is extremely important.

Once these issues can be worked out to everyone's satisfaction through negotiations and/or explicit performance of relevant contract terms and conditions, some or all of applicable contingencies may be removed or altered as part of completion of any required performance or a resolution is reached that is agreeable to all parties.

The path to closing is now beginning to clear a bit. But don't pop the cork for the celebration just yet.

Now, the phase in the Buying Process that Buyers and their Agent (and Sellers and their Agent too) seem to dislike the most. Underwriting. Everybody—and that literally means everybody—wants hear those magic words "we have a clear to close", which in essence is the final loan commitment and the signal for you to go find that bottle of champagne and get it ready.

But, let's not get too far ahead of ourselves. Underwriting has not performed their part in this saga yet and they are the only ones that get to say the magic words. You might want to scoot up to the edge of your seat, because it seems to always create some head-scratching moments. Underwriting is the lender's judge and jury. They perform a very important role. And they will want to hear and see all the evidence that proves as much as humanly possible that a Buyer can repay the loan.

The underwriters are not the least bit bashful—they will ask you for things you might think that you have already provided that should have demonstrated the same thing they are asking for. Take that first head-scratch now. So, you provided documentation you think should easily satisfy what they asked for. Well, be prepared to provide even more if they ask. Providing information or documents in response to their "requests" quickly can help stave off more demands. Demonstrating a high level of cooperation works big-time in your favor. Remember, this is the Supreme Court for lenders. Their decisions are absolute and final. With that in mind, always strive to be cooperative and accommodate their requests, even if you feel the information they are asking you for should be unnecessary or was provided in a different form.

Then, you get a call from either your lender or mortgage broker, your Agent or from the title company and notify you "we have a clear to close".

Hooray! You just heard the the magic words. Now, you are very close to realizing your dream.

By this time most, most of the preliminary documents have been assembled by the title/escrow company (or agency, if you prefer). Documents like appraisals, surveys, HOA documents including estoppel letters, title searches, title insurance documents and more. The title/escrow agency may have issued a "prelim CD" (preliminary Closing Disclosure) for you to review with probably everything but the lender's numbers and fees, that your lender has to provide to the title/escrow agency.

Next, your lender will prepare and send directly to the title/escrow agency the "lender's loan package". The lender's loan package, contains a substantial amount of documents related to your mortgage loan, loan fees and rates and several financing disclosures.

Then, pursuant to Federal law, the title/escrow officer will prepare the "Final CD" (final Closing Disclosure)

What is a Closing Disclosure? A Closing Disclosure is a five-page form that provides final details about the mortgage loan you have selected. It includes the loan terms, your projected monthly payments, and how much you will pay in fees and other costs to get your mortgage (closing costs). The lender is required to give you the Closing Disclosure at least three (3) business days before you close on the mortgage loan. This three-day window allows you time to compare your final terms and costs to those estimated in the Loan Estimate that you previously received from the lender. The three days also gives you time to ask your lender any questions before you go to the closing table. See a sample Closing Disclosure form with interactive tips and definitions provided by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. ...click here

Preparing for Closing. If closing funds are being wired, which is usually the case, "wiring instructions” specify the exact details and direct the electronic transfer of money between buyers, financial companies, lenders, and escrow/title companies. Always arrange to have the wiring instructions in place ahead of time and checked for accuracy AND VERBALLY CONFIRMED VIA TELEPHONE by both the sender and recipient of the expected wire. It is critical that these instructions be exact, and even so, delays are all too common if each of these recommendations are not followed.

Verbally verify these wiring instructions at least twice. First, when you receive them from the title/escrow company. Secondly, always personally follow up with one last phone call with a live person you would recognize to verbally re-confirm all of the wiring instructions just before you wire your funds for closing. Call while you are at your bank setting up your wire transfer if you like. This is vitally important because it prevents fraud. After your funds are wired, again call the title/escrow company and verify your loan funds went where they were supposed to go and were received by who was supposed to receive them. It is mandatory you keep perfect records of this critical phase of the transaction once completed. Next, either your loan officer or mortgage broker, the escrow/title company, your real estate agent, or maybe more than one of them, will contact you to confirm that the money has been wire transferred and received.

Everything is really getting exciting now ! The real estate transaction you have worked so hard to achieve is ready for signing at your closing. That's where you will have you sign the final loan and other documents in front of an escrow officer at the title company. If it is to be a remote closing, or what is commonly called a "mail away", that will typically take place in front of a notary at the designated remote location. The title/escrow company will arrange for the notary to go to the remote location and meet with you for the signing. It is always a good idea to ask your loan officer or mortgage broker as well as the escrow/title company if there is anything you need to do to prepare for this closing. Things like like bringing a photo ID or perhaps a cashiers’ check for some small amount to make everything balance out at closing. Allow yourself enough time for closing to review the documents for accuracy. If it is not a remote closing, your Buyer's Agent will attend the closing with you and use their experience to look out for your best interests. You can also have your attorney attend the closing if you want.

The closing is scheduled. Start chilling that champagne !

It's the day of your closing. You sit down at the closing table with your Buyer's Agent at your side and wait for the escrow officer to appear in the room with the closing documents for you to sign. Time seems to be creeping at an unusually slow pace. The escrow agent walks in and the closing gets started. You will probably never sign as many documents at one sitting as you do at a real estate closing. After signing all the documents, the Escrow Officer turns the last document over face down on the completed pile and declares "That's it. We are done. Congratulations!". At this point, you might not want to know anything about "funding" but it is part of the Buying Process, but we will keep it short.

Funding by the title & escrow company. They are responsible for "funding" or finalizing the real estate transaction. But, you likely will not see this part or participate in it. It will take place after you have left the closing and are onto far more exciting things. The title/escrow company performs this final task on their own. They make sure everyone involved in your transaction gets their proper due and appropriate amount of money. Not more, not less. The Buyer. The Seller. Brokers and Agents. The HOA. The Lender. Taxing authorities. County recorders. Insurance companies. Lien holders. Whoever is rightfully supposed to get paid. The title & escrow company undertakes the responsibility for all of that.

One last step... the BIG one.

The seller delivers to you at the conclusion of closing the keys to your new home. They may also give you mailbox keys, garage door openers, appliance manuals, the contact information for the lawn and pool company or other things they think you would like to have.

The order of the final events in this last step are optional:
Pop the top on that champagne and celebrate!
Move In.

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OK, maybe it's not Cinderella's castle and maybe it's not located in the magic kingdom—because it's your personal castle. And, in reality a magic kingdom can be created for you at the right time and in the right place and environment with a bit of expert guidance and dedicated effort. That's where we come in.

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LEGALLY SOUND & TRUSTED

It's important. Contracts, addendums and other documents associated with a successful real estate transaction must be carefully crafted to prevent legal issues down the road. Knowing how to write it right the first time helps to avoid snags and issues as the transaction moves along. Knowing what to look for in other Realtor's documents is essential. Then there is the closing process which demands close monitoring and explicit performance. Our knowledge and experience will help safeguard your interests.

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Real Estate is Complicated


A real estate transaction is no place to trust an inexperienced Broker or Agent. The modern day real estate transaction has many complex parts and processes that need to be carefully prepared, monitored and performed. If we see something that requires legal advice from a licensed attorney, we will know when to recommend that you consult one for a legal opinion. *No Realtor is permitted to give you legal advice. Only an attorney can do that.


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Closings Can Be Challenging


Though it may seem like a closing is a lot of complex work, its worth the time and effort to get things right without last minute hurrying and stress. It involves many steps and procedural formalities. A lengthy list of things has to happen--mostly in the proper order--before you can close. We will carefully guide you through the entire process keeping your best interests in the forefront.


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Our promise to you

"We will keep your best interests in the forefront.
Ahead of all others. Ahead of our own.”

- Rick Brunsman Principal Broker