1. Learn the Lingo: Familiarize yourself with real estate terms so that you can effectively communicate with your REALTOR® and negotiate the best terms of your offer. See http://sandiegorealestateca.com/real-estate-terms/ for a glossary of commonly used terms and definitions.
2. Get a Free Credit Report: You are entitled to request a free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the three major credit reporting agencies – Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. You should make this request before you begin looking at homes in order to allow yourself enough time to identify and dispute any inaccuracies in your credit file(s). When you approach a lender, you will need to make sure that everything is correct and up-to-date.
3. Get Pre-Qual’ed: Pre-qualification is different than pre-approval in that it gives you a possible price range that you can afford, but does not guarantee you the loan. Pre-qualification is important because it will determine your buying power and help you narrow your search to include only homes that you can afford. Knowing what you can pay before looking at homes will save you time and prevent disappointment in prematurely viewing homes that may be outside of your price range.
4. Determine Your Criteria: Identify the neighborhood(s) where you would like to live and conduct research on the market value of homes in the area(s). Determine your desired home characteristics: style of home, size of home, number of minimum bedrooms and baths, location within the neighborhood, desired amenities, etc. See http://sandiegorealestateca.com/ for a brief description of San Diego’s popular neighborhoods.
5. Contact The Liberty Team: Nobody knows the real estate market like Mike and Alicia O’Sullivan, leaders of The Liberty Team, a hand-picked group of REALTORS® with Middleton & Associates dedicated to serving their clients with honesty and integrity. Contact Mike and Alicia with your home criteria to begin your property search and guide you through the remainder of the home buying process.
6. Find the Right Home: View homes that fit your criteria, analyzing each property for its pros/cons.
7. Make an Offer: After you have found a home that aligns with your needs and desires, discuss with the Liberty Team a strategy to construct an offer that will achieve an overall best value, taking into account your particular situation. Remember than an earnest money deposit is required to accompany all offers.
8. Remove Contingencies: After your offer has been accepted you will have a certain number of days (as defined in the purchase contract) to remove contingencies. A contingency is some condition that will allow you to cancel closing on the home. During this period you will proceed with a property inspection, review of disclosures, and home appraisal. Your conclusions of these items will determine whether or not you will cancel the contract, renegotiate terms, or proceed to the next step in the process.
9. Secure Financing: After the home appraisal is complete you will continue to work with your mortgage broker to secure financing within the time period specified in the purchase contract.
10. Sign Papers: Prior to the end of your escrow period you will sign all of the necessary papers including your loan documents and grant deed. Knowing the different ways you can take title to a property is very important to protect your home asset and The Liberty Team can provide valuable insight into your options and the benefits of each.
11. Move In: Once your deed is recorded at the County Recorder’s Office, the deal is done and it’s time to move into your home. The Liberty Team will coordinate transfer of keys and any additional items that may have been included in the purchase contract. Then its up to you to move in your belongings, sit back, relax, and enjoy your dream home!