I created this blog to have a place to share information, ideas, thoughts, and experiences, not necessarily just about real estate, but also life in general.

December 3, 2012

Prepare to Close Escrow and Move In. Step #7

YAY! You made it to the FINAL STEP in the Home-Buying process!
Closing an escrow is the most exciting part of the home buying process. It can still be nerve racking, but just the same, EXCITING!

A week before your close of escrow (the day when the ownership is legally transferred in your name):
  • Call your loan officer and escrow officer to confirm your loan documents are in.
  • Contact your real estate agent to arrange for a final walk through at the property to make sure the condition is the same as it was during the escrow period.
  • Set up an appointment with your escrow officer to sign the papers.
  • Arrange for utilities to be turned on the same day as your Close of Escrow date.
  • Start services on the day of you close escrow such as: telephone, internet, cable, garbage, 
  • Notify your local post office of your change of address
  • Make sure the Home Warranty and Fire Hazard Insurance coverage is in place.
  • NOTE: If you’re using a moving company, you should have this arranged by now.
  • Schedule the general house cleaning crew, carpet cleaners, and movers carefully or you’re have chaos on your hands – carpet cleaning and movers don’t like being in the house the same day, if you get what I mean).

Several days before closing
       With your real estate agent:
  • Conduct a final walk-through of the property.
  • Make arrangements on how to obtain keys for the house, garage, and mailbox (if applicable)

      With the escrow officer confirm the following:
  • All your documentation is in order.
  • The exact amount for the certified funds needed for closing
  • Have a picture ID with you when you sign documents with the escrow officer
  • Inform him/her on how or where your final documents should be delivered to you.
Close Of Escrow Day! – Official recordation of the title on the property in your name.
Your real estate agent will make sure you the keys are delivered to you as soon as he/she gets the confirmation from the escrow officer that the property is on record under your name.
  • IMPORTANT: It’s always prudent to change all the locks or re-key the house and reprogram the remote controls for the garage doors (refer to the owner’s manual, call the manufacturer or go on-line for instructions on the make and model of the unit). If you’re using a locksmith, he/she may be able to assist you with the remote controls too.
 A Final Note:
Throughout this house hunting and home buying process, you would not only gain valuable experience, but you would also, most likely, establish trust and rapport with your real estate agent. Make sure you stay in touch even after your close of escrow – he/she would want you to.

Remember, your real estate agent is a great future resource for:
  • Reliable contractors for various home improvements or repairs.
  • Loan Officers or Brokers for refinancing
  • Referral to Real estate or Trust attorneys and/or accountants.
  • Current market value of your home.
  • Tax trends on property tax laws that may save you money.
  • Assist your family and friends to sell or buy their home


And if you’re still in the home buying stageSTAY WITH IT, be organized and follow the steps,  you’ll be closing your escrow on your own dream home sooner than you think!

December 1, 2012

Your Offer Is Accepted - Now, What? Step #6

Reports and Inspections.

Once you and the seller have agreed on the terms of the purchase offer you presented on the property, it becomes a legally binding contract and the escrow process begins.

An escrow account is usually opened by the buyer’s real estate agent. In my area, this is handled through a Title Company which also acts as the escrow holder. As the buyer, you will be expected to send the earnest money deposit to escrow as stated on the contract.

Property inspection and investigation.
Within the period of time outlined in your contract, you will receive property disclosures from the seller. At the same time, you will be expected to exercise due diligence in obtaining the inspections and investigations you deem necessary. Examples are: home and pest inspections; property boundaries for set-backs and easements; covenants, conditions and restrictions; and so on.

There are various inspections available to you as a buyer, but the most important is the home inspection performed by a qualified professional. Some buyers are reluctant to include this expense, especially when they have a friend or family member who “understands real estate or houses”.

Yes, this inspection can be expensive ($375 to $500+), but its well worth it especially for properties sold in “As-Is” condition, short-sales, and REO/foreclosures. You don’t want to buy anything without knowing the problems with the property, which may cost you plenty later on. Focus your attention on structural problems and the major components such as foundation, plumbing, electrical.

“Don’t sweat the small stuff”, in real estate this usually refers to conditions that may be easy or inexpensive to fix. However, if they are important to you, it will be prudent to get an estimate of cost from a qualified trades person to confirm or disregard your concern.

You may be able to convince a the seller to fix the condition, and if all else fails, you can decide to walk away from the transaction. NOTE: Make sure you’re within the inspection period as stated on your contract to approve or disapprove or terminate the agreement to avoid the possibility of liability.

Read and understand the disclosures and reports you receive from the seller, a third party vendor and from the real estate agents involved in your transaction. Ask tons of questions and clarifications before you sign or approve anything. Better to be annoying than be sorry (not too many realtors will like to read this… oh well, I’m sure I’ll hear from them!)

When you are satisfied with the information you obtained about the property, you will be ready to remove the contingencies, except maybe the loan and appraisal conditions which you don’t want to remove until your lender gives you a written final loan commitment.

After you’ve removed ALL contingencies on your purchase agreement, you are in the FINAL STEP: Preparing to close escrow and moving into your amazingly new home! Another good time to do your HAPPY DANCE, just like when a football player scores a touch down!

Watch for my Next Post: Prepare to Close Escrow and Move In. Step #7