I want to buy a house, where do I start?

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Many of my clients have come to me fresh in their home search not knowing where to start. Talking with your Realtor is always a great first move as they can explain the buying process and answer any questions you may have. After speaking with your Realtor you should get prequalified with a trusted lender. If you do not have a lender, your Realtor should be able to refer you to someone they trust. Having a credible lender is crucial in your buying process so it is important that you get a great recommendation and in some cases it wouldn’t hurt to talk to a few lenders to see what kind of programs they offer and compare rates to see which option best suites your needs. 

What is a prequalification?
-Getting prequlified simply can come from a conversation over the phone with your lender. They will ask you general questions to get a rough calculation of the mortgage payment you can afford. This will help set you in the right path as far as which homes to tour. The worst thing that could happen is that you start your home search without getting prequalified and fall in love with a home only to find out you can not afford it. 

What is a preapproval?
-To go a step further in preparing yourself for the moment you find something you love, is to get preapproved by your lender. The difference in a preapproval verses a prequalification is submitting documentations for verification to your lender. Most listing agents will request that you have a preapproval letter in place when making an offer so it is in your best interest to get preapproved sooner than later. In today’s market if a home is priced right it will sell very quickly so you do not want to be scrambling at the last minute or have issues with your preapproval that could potentially make you miss out on your opportunity. 

Some of the basic documents you may need include:
-Tax returns and W2’s from the past 2 years
-Bank statements from past 3 months
-Most recent pay stub
-Authorization to run a credit report 

I recommend to all of my clients to get all of their paperwork into their lender ASAP. Feel free to contact me if you need a referral to a great lender. I work closely with a few lenders that I trust will take good care of you. 

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My New Website and New Listing!

www.LaurenTWeber.com

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The launch of my new website is finally here! I am so happy to be able to offer this additional service to my clients and anyone else that is interested in the real estate market. Here you will find access to search the MLS for current listings as well as helpful information to better prepare for your buying or selling experience. My goal is to be your real estate go-to gal and having this site is just another outlet for me to provide useful information to you.

Also…. I have a new listing! Click HERE for all the details.
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This Gardena condo features:
2 Bedrooms/ 2 Bathrooms
934 sq ft unit
Built in 1975
2 car garage
Upstairs corner back unit with private balcony
Gated complex
Laundry on site
Asking price only $180,000
Located on Magnolia Ave next to Gardena Bowl
Please message me for more information or to schedule an appointment to view the place.

As always, feel free to reach out to me with any questions. I hope you are having a fabulous Weber Weekly Wednesday!

Congratulations Leiton!

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I’m so excited to announce the closing of Leiton’s escrow! Leiton is a part of my Nisei Week Ohana and I am so honored that he has entrusted his real estate needs with me. I’m very happy to say that it was a smooth transaction and Leiton is now the new home owner of an awesome house!

Tip to buyers:
Leiton was one of nine offers and was not the highest bidder. I established a good rapport with the listing agent and sent a little message with our offer giving some history on Leiton and why the house was perfect for him. The listing agent was very easy to work with and communicate with so it may have helped that I spoke with her a few times to get some in site on how to best position our offer. Ultimately they selected our offer because of the initial deposit and down payment. Some agent’s will recommend that you put as little as 1% down for you initial deposit. But in today’s competitive market I recommend putting 3% down to show your commitment.  Wahoo to getting our offer accepted!

Tip to sellers:
When selecting an offer choosing the highest bid may not be the best choice. You want to make sure you pick someone that has a good agent representing the buyer that communicates well and shows they are highly responsive and willing to work diligently with your agent. You also want to review the full offer to see that the buyer shows genuine interest as well as enthusiasm to the property.

Video tour:

If having a smooth escrow wasn’t a gift in and of itself, Leiton treated me to a nice dinner at McCormick and Shmicks. What a lucky realtor I am!

 

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Crab tower with mango and avocado

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Oysters!

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Stuffed Salmon with crab, shrimp, and brie cheese

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Seafood Mix: Scallops, Shrimp, and Salmon

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Lava cake

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Thank you Leiton! You have been an amazing friend and client to work with. And this was definitely one of the best client gifts I have ever received!

Escrow in Detail – From the Buyer’s Perspective

Last week’s video was intended to give you guys a very general idea of what the term “escrow” means. This week I’d like to go into detail about what goes on during escrow from a buyers perspective so that you can be prepared when purchasing your home.

I. Opening escrow
Once your offer has been accepted by the seller and all terms in the contract have been negotiated, the seller’s or buyer’s agent will order escrow through an agreed upon company. An escrow officer will be assigned to your transaction and your agents will be given an escrow number for reference. When you obtain your escrow number you have officially entered escrow and it will be marked as the first calendar day of escrow.
The buyer will then have 3 days to submit their initial deposit, unless a different time frame was negotiated in contract ie: 24 hours, 5 days, etc. Initial deposit can either be wired directly from your bank or you can drop/deliver a check directly to escrow.

II. Opening package
Your lender will be requesting documents from you at this time to complete and submit your loan package however, you will also receive an opening package from escrow.
A standard package will include:
-Statement of information
-Fire insurance info form
-Preliminary change of ownership report
-Vesting worksheet
-Escrow disclosures

III. Reports and Disclosures to review and sign
a. Title
Escrow will order a preliminary title report and will review to make sure that title is clear of any liens, judgments, loans. You will receive a copy of the report for your records and will need to sign off on it. Be sure to review on your own and ask your realtor if you have any questions.
b. HOA
If you are purchasing a home that is part of an association, HOA docs will also be ordered in the beginning of the transaction for your review and sign off. Things to look for are CC&R’s, Minutes, and Reserves.
c. Transfer Disclosure Statements (TDS)
The seller will provide you with a statement of any known material facts that might affect the value, desirability, or safety of the home.
d. Natural Hazard Disclosure
Escrow will order the NHD which will include whether or not the property is locaed in earthquake fault zones, fire and flood zones, or City or County natural hazards such as landslides. Some NHD reports may also supply info such as airport noise zones, Megan’s Law and Mello-Roos tax district.
e. Termite Report
If a termite report has been negotiated in the purchase contract (offer) then any reports will be need to be submitted to escrow.
f. City Property Reports and Inspections
Depending on which city your property is located in, they may require a city report, water conservation, retrofit, or smoke detector.

IV. Clear for Docs
Once all paperwork has been completed and the loan has been approved escrow will order loan documents and will schedule a time for the buyer to come in and sign in front of a notary. Documents will be forwarded to the title company.

V. Fund
After docs are signed and received, the lender is clear to officially fund the loan. Funds are sent to the title company.

VI. Record and Close
When title receives funds they are authorized to record documents and transfer ownership from seller to buyer. Recording happens the next business day after it funds and usually keys are transfered on the same day but depending on the purchase agreement possession of the home may be extended a few days after recording. Closing packages will be delivered to all parties. Close escrow!

Tips to buyers:
-Promptly review and sign all paperwork to not delay the process. Let your agent know if you plan on being out of town at any time during your escrow period.
-Let your agent know if the escrow is part of a 1031 tax-deferred exchange and provide info.
-Be responsive to your lender’s requested information as obtaining a loan is usually the most time-consuming part of the escrow process.
-If fire insurance is not provided by HOA, contact your insurance agent and provide info to your agent.
-Notify your agent if closing funds are coming from another party or country.

Pheew! That was a lot of info so please feel free to contact me with any questions. I’m always here to help in any way possible!

Below is a visual chart of the escrow process:

The Escrow Process

The Escrow Process

What is Escrow???

I’ve been asked the question “what is escrow” quite a few times from my first time home buyers or friends that have never purchased or sold a home before. Below is a brief video that covers the main role of escrow and what it means to “open escrow” or “close escrow”.

Feel free to ask any questions you would like me to answer in future weber weekly wednesdays. Hope you’re having a fabulous day!