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Process of Buying a House

Step by Step Process for Buying a House 


Step 1: House Hunting

We have identified your search criteria and will begin looking at homes, below are some helpful tips for you will make the house hunting process go smoothly.

  • Always make sure to ask your Realtor for a printout of each home you are going to see.
  • Keep a file of the properties that your agent has shown to you.
  • Paper and pen, for taking notes as you search. This will help you remember specifics about each home, especially if you are seeing multiple homes in one day.
  • Instant or video camera to help refresh your memory on individual properties, especially if you are attending a series of showings.
  • Location: Look at a potential property as if you are the seller. Would a prospective buyer find it attractive based on school district, crime rate, proximity to local shopping, parks, freeway access etc.

Realtor Making Offer Bakersfield CAStep 2: Making An Offer and Escrow

During this process, we discuss the Residential Purchase Agreement. Price and Concessions are usually what the buyers care most about.

When making an offer we always run comparable properties on the house you are interested in to determine if the price is accurate and to evaluate sold properties in the neighborhood to see what activity has taken place.

Once we have determined price and concessions we then go on to explain the standard California Association of Realtors Purchase Agreement to you. 


  • The most important sections of the contract are your contingency periods. Once your offer has been accepted by the seller, Escrow is now open and your contingencies time frames go into effect.

Appraisal Contingency: 

  • Ordered by your lender the appraiser’s job is to determine fair market value and call any Health and Safety repairs that would need to be addressed by the seller.

Inspection Contingency:

  • Your time to hire a home inspector to conduct an inspection of your potential home. The most common type of inspections is a Home Inspection and a Termite Inspection.  You are allowed to do any type of inspection you want but it comes at your expense.

Loan Approval Contingency:

  • Once the appraisal is in your lender will get your file ready for Underwriting, which is where your file is reviewed as a whole and is issued formal loan approval either with or without conditions.

Report and Disclosures:

  • Any reports on file that the seller needs to provide us, i.e. Home Owners Association (HOA) Documents or Covenants Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs).
  • Real Estate Disclosures are required by law and are standard for every transaction we do.  They need to be filled out by the seller to disclose any information or material facts about the property.
  • All buyers have 17 days to conduct an Appraisal, Inspections, and review Real Estate Reports & Disclosures.  Buyers have 21 days to obtain formal loan approval.  It is your agent’s job to ensure you move along in the process and complete your due diligence within these time frames.  Working with an inexperienced Realtor could cause you to operate outside of your contingency periods and put you or your Earnest Money Deposit at risk.

The Escrow Process: 

What exactly is escrow?  Great question and here is our definition:

The neutral third party who acts as an agent for both buyer and seller, legally bound to carry out the written provisions of an escrow agreement.

  • Once your offer is accepted we move into “Escrow” and collect your Earnest Money Deposit (EMD).  This deposit is held in good faith and can be used towards your cash to close or down payment.  The deposit becomes nonrefundable at a certain point in the transaction, it is important to always operate within the time constraints of your transaction.  There are a few ways you can lose your deposit so it is imperative to understand how the process works and make sure your Realtor is well versed with the CAR Residential Purchase Agreement.
  • During the escrow process is when your contingency periods begin and you start completing parts of the process.  Once these periods pass and you have completed your responsibilities in the agreement we move closer and closer to closing.  This is a lengthy process so it takes time, sometimes 30-45 days if everything goes right, could take 45-60 days for a more difficult deal.   Once your contingencies have been removed and your lender and escrow officer are ready for loan documents it goes a lot quicker and soon you start to realize home ownership is near.

Closing a Real Estate Deal Step 3:  Closing

Your Loan is Approved, Contingency’s Removed, and everyone is ready to go.  Your lender will order loan documents, these will be the final set of paperwork you have to sign in the transaction.

This is where you meet with a Notary and begin signing all your loan documents, the most important information, in my opinion, is the rate, price, payment and when your first payment is due and ultimately signing the deed to your home.

Once loan documents are signed, escrow and the lender coordinate more paperwork between one another and work towards FUNDING.  This is the last step of the process, as soon as your loan funds, escrow releases the file to the county for recording.  As soon as we receive recording confirmation it’s a done deal!

Living Room After Real Estate Deal ClosedStep 4:  Home Ownership

Congratulations you are now a homeowner!  Life has changed for the best!  At this point, you deserve a round of applause as you have endured one of the most difficult processes of your life, but hopefully, it was all worth it!

At A & A Realty we always encourage our clients to stay in contact with us, it’s always great to hear from our past clients.