Buying a Home – Do You Know the Way?

Buying a Home – Do You Know the Way?

Fear of the unknown is common among all ages.  Kids, at night, imagine monsters in their closets or under their beds and adults are unsure of what the future might bring.

It may be natural for first-time buyers to be unsure of the process because they haven’t been through it before but even repeat buyers need to know changes that have taken place since the financial housing crisis.

The steps in the home buying process are very predictable and generally follow the same pattern every time.  It certainly makes the move stay on schedule when you know all the different things that must be done to get to the closing.

  • In the initial interview with your real estate professional, you share the things you want and need in a home, discuss available financing and learn how your agent can represent you in the transaction.
  • The pre-approval step is essential for anyone using a mortgage to purchase a home to assure that they’re looking at the right price of homes and so they’ll know what they can qualify for and what the interest will be.
  • Even with lower than normal inventory, it is difficult to stay up-to-date with the homes currently for sale and the new one just coming on the market.  Technology has simplified this process, but the buyer needs to implement them.
  • Showings can be accommodated online through virtual tours, drive-bys and finally, a personal tour through the home.  Your real estate professional can work with you to see all the homes in the market through REALTORS?, builders or for sale by owners.
  • When a home has been identified, an offer is written and negotiation over price, condition and terms takes place.
  • A contract is a fully negotiated, written agreement.
  • Escrow is opened to deposit the earnest money from the buyer as a sign they’re acting in good faith.  The title search is also started so that clear title can be conveyed from the seller to the buyer and that the lender will have a valid lien on the property.
  • 88% of home sales involve a mortgage.  The lender will require an appraisal to be sure that the home can serve as partial collateral for the loan. If the buyer has been pre-approved, the verification’s will be updated to be certain that they’re still valid.  The entire loan package when completed, is sent to underwriting for final approval.
  • When the contract is completed, at the same time the title search and mortgage approval are being worked on, the buyer will arrange for any inspections that were called for in the contract.
  • After all contingencies have been completed, the transaction goes to settlement where all the necessary papers are signed, and the balance of the buyer’s money is paid.  This is where title transfers from the seller to the buyer.
  • Possession occurs according to the sales contract.

One of the responsibilities of your real estate professional is to make sure that things are done in a timely manner so that the transaction will close according to the agreement on time and without unforeseen or unnecessary problems.

Even if you’re not ready to buy or start looking yet, you need to be assembling your team of professionals.  Let us know and we’ll send you our recommendations, so you can read about them on their websites.

If you have any questions, download this Buyers Guide and call us at (707) 467-3693; we’re happy to help.  Informed buyers lead to satisfied homeowners and that is better for everyone involved.


Are You Wasting Energy at Home?

Are You Wasting Energy at Home?

By John Voket
With inevitably higher energy consumption for most of the country in winter, the energy experts at Eversource are reminding consumers that it’s also a great time of year to assess ways to better manage energy use to save money and protect our planet.

Eversource isn’t just talking about turning off the lights or taking shorter showers. They’ve identified three of the biggest silent energy-suckers:

Flip a bigger switch. Most common appliances, from your microwave and TV to your computer and game console, continue to draw power from electrical outlets even when you’ve turned them off. According to Eversource, you can save as much as $150 a year by simply unplugging each appliance when it’s not in use. Or, use a power strip so that you can power down multiple appliances all at once by flipping a switch.

Think ‘smart’ thermostat. With big temperature swings from season to season, it’s time to consider setting your thermostat to a lower temperature while you’re out of the house or heading to bed. You can stay in better control of your home’s overall temperature with a smart WiFi thermostat. You’ll be able to access your thermostat controls right on your phone and set the temperature to your liking for any time of day.

Wrap your water heater. has identified water heaters as the second-highest energy vampire in any home, and its usage tends to rise as you use more hot water during colder months. Make a difference by installing insulation around the tank and surrounding pipes. Reducing heat loss can save 7 to 16 percent in water heating costs per year. If you’re ready to replace your aging unit, Eversource notes that heat pump water heaters can save two to three times more energy than conventional electric models.

John Voket is a contributing editor to RISMedia.