Real Estate Buyers Schedule

You want the buying process to be as organized and simple as possible. Below is a suggested schedule of events you will want to prepare for and act upon in a timely manner when asked by your agent or loan officer.

Buyer's Schedule

The time tables vary depending on the dates established for you to close escrow on the home and on the market your are in. Often a 30, 45, or 60 day escrow can be used depending on your market and your brokerage. Keep in mind, your agent and loan officer will be doing many things behind the scenes during the process. This list is suggested as an aid to keep you on target.

Print out this form. Put a check mark for items completed. Put an "X" for items that do not pertain to your situation. Assign someone to each item and follow up with them at the end of the week.

Stage 1: Research
Assignment Status Task
____________ Personal: Determine your motive for buying. Understand the responsibilities of owning a home.
____________ Personal: With your loan officer determine your financing options, budget, and limits.
____________ Personal: With your real estate agent investigate housing areas that fit your needs. Discuss topics regarding locations for schooling, child care, work, commute, shopping, doctors, hospitals, entertainment, etc.
____________ Personal: Discuss housing options and weigh out possibilities. Determine the top 5-6 specifics needs you have for your home. Share these criteria with your real estate agent.
____________ Real Estate Agent: Ask trusted family and friends who they refer as a qualified professional. Call from the phone book or other advertisements. Interview several over the phone to narrow down the possibilities. Interview the remaining candidates in person and choose the one who will get the job done and treat you well. Ask you agent what fees you will see from their brokerage and from other services.
____________ Loan Officer: Call referred lenders. Interview them and get good faith estimates to compare fees. Find out what guarantees they give as a company. Ask them to break down the fees they will receive. It can get tricky so make sure you understand how they are getting paid so you don't end up paying for it for 30 years.
____________ Loan Officer: Review fees and processes to ensure you are treated fairly and to ensure your loan will close. Have the loan officer give you a check sheet of the things that must occur during escrow. Track them religiously.
Stage 2: Property Search
Assignment Status Task
____________ Personal: Select one to three areas in which to live. Try to keep them within proximity to minimize overall travel time.
____________ Agent: Use your real estate agent's search resources like the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) to find potential homes. Make sure the homes are currently available and narrow the search to 3-5 homes max while in the office by searching with specific criteria. Many buyers spend a lot of time viewing houses already under contract or already sold. If you see too many homes in a day they begin to blur together.
____________ Personal: Once you have seen the homes ask for a short time to yourselves to talk things through and make a decision. Be realistic and honest about what you have seen. If there is a home that fits your needs and draws your attention let your real estate agent know immediately. Schedule an appointment to visit with him/her.

You have already done the preliminary work of narrowing down the available possibilities while in the office and you have previewed the best homes for you in person. If the house fits, you will want to make an offer sooner than later to compete with other potential offers.

____________ Agent: If none of the homes you previewed will work for what you need then set another appointment and make use of the search tools once again. Discuss with your agent what you didn't like and find out if there are other properties that fit your needs without the inconveniences or issues of the other properties. Narrow your search to 3-5 houses again and preview them.
Stage 3: Negotiate a Contract
Assignment Status Task
____________ Personal: Once you have decided on a house act in a timely fashion so you don't miss an opportunity. We don't recommend rushing or sacrificing something very important necessarily but we suggest considering the time frames surrounding a new home purchase.

Frequently home seekers miss out on the first couple of homes because they held out for something better when the agent had done a great job of determining what they want. However, since the houses were the first they had seen they thought there might be something better and allowed another offer to be accepted on that property. Don't miss out on a property that is right for you.

____________ Personal: If you took care of business in stages 1 and 2 then you will be able to make a great offer. Work with your agent to find comparable homes in the area. Be realistic when determining value. The home is likely priced in the ballpark of where it will actually appraise (that is if the agent and sellers on the other side did their job). Attempt to write a fair offer just enough in your favor that it makes the sellers grit their teeth but enough on the side of fair that they don't counter you.
____________ Agent: Once you have written the offer your agent will present it to the other side. He, she will do a lot of negotiating behind the scenes on your behalf.
____________ Personal: If your team receives a counter offer approach it objectively and don't become emotionally offended or over excited. Keep a level head and make a decision. If there is room to work keep at the negotiations until the contract is in place. If the offer is outlandish you may need to reject it.
Stage 4: Escrow
Assignment Status Task
____________ Loan Officer: Put candidly, if a real estate transaction falls apart it is very often because of something related to the financial aspects. This is the time for your loan officer to shine. They will need to do certain steps pretty much daily to get the loan to close.
____________ Personal: Hang in there! These days of escrow have been called "hell month" for very valid reasons. Plan to hit one major road block and three smaller ones. Be creative and use your team to get over, around, or through them. It is easy to get emotional because of all of the events that happen. Try to keep the emotions at bay or deal with them constructively. Make objective, well educated decisions. Stay in contact with your loan officer every couple of days if not daily to track progress. If your loan officer or agent ask you for something (usually documentation for something) get it to them as soon as possible. Don't be the one holding up some step of the closing process.
____________ Agent: Technically your agent has done his job and found you a home. However, quality agents should serve like glue to hold a deal together. They will continue to help you negotiate, control paper flow, and provide advice and suggestions.
____________ Title Officer: Different regions manage title transfer and fees differently. However, you will have someone managing escrow and investigating the title of the home. You will likely see little of this process but your agent will be in contact with some type of escrow/title rep to make sure everything is spelled out for the close.
____________ Personal: Hang in there (again)!!!! You can do it.
Stage 5: Closing
Assignment Status Task
____________ Loan Officer: Once your loan has gone through underwriting your officer will order the docs and send them to title. Congratulations loan officer!
____________ Title Officer: Once your docs are in you will set an appointment to sign. The other party will sign. The title office will submit the docs for recording and the loan will fund.
____________ Personal: You are officially the homeowner once the loan funds. Congratulations!
____________ Agent: Delivers house keys. Congratulations!


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