If you’re a first-time Santa Cruz home buyer, you may be looking at the process, scratching your head and wondering exactly how this works. Here’s a quick checklist of the major steps involved in your new purchase:
1. Hire a real estate agent – A professional real estate agent will guide you through the entire process from finding a home to closing on the home.
2. Find a Santa Cruz home – Your agent can help with this. Talk with him or her about the price range, neighborhood and amenities you’re interested in.
3. Consider disclosures – By law, the home seller must disclose flaws in the property and other details about the area (e.g., if it’s in a flood zone). Carefully review the disclosures and consult with your agent to determine if anything you learned in the disclosures makes this house undesirable for you.
4. Make an offer – When you’ve found a home you’d like to buy, submit the offer through your real estate agent. If the offer is accepted, you’ll need to sign a contract. The contract will have contingencies for exit if the house is not all you thought it to be, but it is a legal document, so take your time to thoroughly review and understand everything in it before signing.
5. Obtain an appraisal – Appraisals are required to ensure that the home value matches the home financing so that your loan may be approved.
6. Get an inspection – A home inspection turns up any hidden surprises that may change the value of the home. While the sellers must disclose, they may not know that, for instance, the foundation is cracked.
7. Secure your loan – Unless you are one of the lucky few who can buy a house outright with cash, you’ll need to go through the process of getting your home loan approved.
8. Participate in the final walk-through – The final walk through gives you the opportunity to make sure that everything is as you expected and in line with the contract. For example, if the owner agreed to leave the fancy stainless-steel refrigerator, and then ended up moving it, you want to get that ironed out before closing.
9. Attend the closing – Signing stacks of papers and handing over a cashier’s check or wiring the funds ends with you having a new home! If all the other steps have gone well, there shouldn’t be any surprises at the closing table.
If you're looking for more information on buying a Santa Cruz home, I can help. Give me a call today at 831.662.6522 or email me at Lauren@LaurenSpencer.com.