You’ve found the right home at the right price. You submitted an offer, and it has been accepted. Now you are “under contract.” What happens next? Your agent that helped you win the home will manage the timeframe for performing the inspections and contingencies to help complete the purchase or advise you the cancel the purchase offer shpi;d there be any deal breakers. Here are the major items in the process from “contract to close” for a successful purchase.
1. Follow up with your lender if purchasing with a loan
Hopefully your lender already knows the offer has been accepted. However, you need to sync up with your lender and make sure the loan contingencies can be completed by the contract timeframe (typically 21 days after an accepted offer for the loan contingency in California). A conversation with your lender should get the ball rolling and make sure any documentation needed for approving your loan is being worked on. The home appraisal is one of the pieces the bank will need for the loan approval. A home appraisal helps determine how much your home is worth. The appraiser is typically chosen by your lender and scheduled by the lender.
2. Get the earnest money to the escrow company, review disclosures/reports
Your agent should be making sure the “earnest money” or deposit is given to the escrow company within 3 days in California after the offer is accepted. Your agent should also be working with the listing agent to get all the disclosures and reports available for the property. The disclosures and reports are key to helping you determine the condition of the home you are buying and useful for helping you further investigate any issues with your future home.
3. Schedule the home inspection
Inspections are highly recommended to help find any underlying issues that may affect the value of your home and how much work it needs. Even if you have a pre sales inspections including the home inspection, you should make time to review the report on the property with your agent.
4. Get Quotes and purchase home insurance
You are required by law to get home insurance when you purchase a home. Escrow will need to have proof of insurance prior to the close of escrow. Don’t let this be a last minute item, if you do it now you will be able to shop around to find the best deals.
Pro Tip: Bundling your home, auto, and other insurance can save you money.
5. Follow up/purchase a home warranty
Home warranties help protect you if large ticket items—like appliances—fail after you have bought the home. If you purchase a home warranty plan before closing, it will be included in your closing costs. Sometimes, the seller will purchase a home warranty plan for the buyer.
6. Completing the purchase
At this point, you will be roughly 14-21 days since you accepted the offer. You should have: be approved for you loan, have a home appraisal, completed any inspections, reviewed disclosures and reports, requested any repairs, and should be ready to either complete the purchase or cancel the contract. Let’s assume everything is a go and you are ready to complete the purchase. You should be working on your move to the new home. In parallel to your actual move, the real estate professionals will be working hard to get the purchase closed. You typically will see the following happening: The seller will usually ask for a release of all contingencies, and your lender will get the loan documents into escrow for signing. The seller will be signing documents to transfer the home to you. You will be signing all documents you need to transfer and purchase the home to you, bring the rest of funds and depositing into escrow that are needed to close. Once everything is done, correct and reviewed by the Escrow company for seller and buyer, the house will released for recording and transferred to you as the new owner by the escrow and title company
7. After closing
You should be transferring utilities as soon as possible into your name for the new home. Security is a big concern so you should be rekeying the home and looking ar home security and automation options as well. This is also a good time to find contractors for any work you may need or want. Hiring a maid service, pool service, and lawn service is also done after you move.
Pro Tip: Ask the Seller who they use to work on the house while they owned it. It’s often a good idea to retain the home pros that worked on the home and learn more about how and what maintenance is being done. The listing agent is often a good resource to ask if you are looking for recommendations as well.