Buying Real Estate
What it means to work with a buyer’s agent is that you will have a person dedicated to educating you about the area, helping find you a property, and guiding you through the purchase process. Brody’s agents know the area & the neighborhoods and have community ties, a combination that is priceless in researching your new home. They work together and share any knowledge that might be beneficial to the overall buyer’s experience, giving them a distinct advantage especially when it comes to zoning laws, city and county regulations, and permitting.
What happens when your offer is accepted? First, congratulate yourself because you and your agent might have just spent months or years looking for the right place. This is where your due diligence starts to make sure the home or land you’ve chosen is in acceptable condition. This by no means is a complete list… but a general guide.
Your agent will get in touch with the escrow company to open your transaction and will provide you with instructions for depositing your earnest money. He also will order a title report showing the legal history of the property and will go over it with you and make sure you understand each part of the report.
For a home purchase it’s always recommended to schedule a home inspection. Usually a buyer pays for this, and any additional inspections that are performed by specialists. Your agent will attend with you or will meet the inspector if you are not able to. It is highly recommended that you participate in the inspection because this is your chance to ask questions and really get a good look at the home. You’ll receive a report about the interior, exterior, and systems of the house with attention to items that need to be repaired or addressed; GFCI outlets needed, roof issues, evidence of rodents or ants, presence of mold, leaks, etc. Based on his findings, the inspector will recommend further action.
Your agent will assist in preparing an Inspection Response where the Seller is asked to take care of all, some, or none of the items before closing. These items are negotiated between both agents with their respective buyer and seller until all sides are satisfied.
You may also have reason to cover contingencies such as a survey, perc test, septic inspection, and well test. Typically, remember everything is negotiable, a buyer pays for a survey, perc test, and well test. The seller typically pays for the septic inspection and pumping if needed. Knowing when and why to use these and addendums will be explained by your agent.
Why would you need a survey? It’s the only way to know for sure where the boundary lines are. Maybe you think the neighbors might have their fence on the property. Maybe it’s a 10 acre parcel that hasn’t been surveyed in quite a while and the original markers are no longer visible.
A perc test simply tells you whether or not the soil will support a septic system and if so, what type. If you are buying property inside city limits chances are there will be a sewer system hooked up, or the possibility of one, but there are areas that still rely on septic.
A seller is required to have their septic system inspected within 12 months of the property legally changing hands. Never lived in an area where septic is standard? Ask your agent for information about the how’s and why’s and he can direct you to the right entities. If the property has a well, a well test tells you how many gallons per minute the well produces and also if the quality of the water meets Department of Ecology standards. Need a new well installed on a piece of land? There are rules and regulations in place in Clallam County. Issues can arise when it comes to septic systems and wells and you’ll need to rely on your agent to navigate through it all.
You might also include time for a feasibility study to check water rights, easements, critical area maps for wetlands, etc., road access, and whatever other information you need to gather to determine if the land is suitable for what you want to do with it. Again, your agent will help determine time frames and points to research.
The seller will fill out a disclosure statement for your review and signature where he answers questions about the property regarding its water, sewer, title, structure, systems, HOA, and environmental status. Your agent will review that with you before you sign that all of the answers are acceptable. This applies to both homes and land.
- Was the home built before 1978? Then you’ll also receive information about lead based paint and have the opportunity to test for asbestos.
- If there are covenants/restrictions, by-laws, or association regulations you’ll have a time period to review them.
It’s a good idea to have contact with a lender prior to working with an agent. It may change your search criteria and it will definitely give you a picture of what you can afford. More so, while all of the inspections are happening, you hopefully have already provided your lender with a lot of the information they need to begin the mortgage application process. Better yet, maybe you’re pre-approved. But, once your offer is accepted you do need to apply right away. If you need, your agent can give you names and numbers of appropriate lenders for land, construction, homes, etc. You’ll benefit from their relationships and knowledge of the various programs that are available for purchasing property.
Your lender will call the listing agent to schedule an appraisal to assure the value of the home. All through the fact-finding and information gathering process your agent will be in constant contact with the listing agent and escrow officer to make sure everything is in order.
- The escrow officer will keep in touch and schedule a time to sign the closing paperwork. He will provide you with a closing statement showing the debits and credits of both the buyer and seller.
Time is of the essence when working with real estate contracts, the escrow company and your lender. That light at the end of the tunnel is your closing date, and everything must be submitted and complete by the dates stated in the contract. Your agent will help keep everything on schedule.
Once the transaction has been recorded at the County by the escrow company your escrow officer will call you and right afterwards your agent will call to arrange delivery of your keys.
A transaction can last anywhere from 2 weeks for a simple cash transaction with no contingencies to 3+ months for more challenging loans or more difficult properties and agreements. There are many forms in the Northwest MLS library to protect both buyer and seller. Issues sometimes come up and whether or not they do, your agent’s time to shine is throughout the entire process. Choose local knowledge and experience for the best results. Brody and his partners are honest in their efforts to do the best job they can for you.
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