Selecting the Right Lender

Picking the right lender will affect both the strength of your offer and how much you end up paying for the house. According to the CFPB , 47% of homebuyers do not shop for mortgages, which is a costly mistake.  Definitely get quotes from different lenders and compare.  You can also negotiate with your lender on the rate.  When comparing different lenders, below is a simple framework I use with 1-4 being the most important: Interest Rate : this is the rate that you'll be paying every month to 'borrow' the money and what you write off on your taxes. APR : this rate includes all fees such as closing cost, points, loan origination fees, etc, on top of the interest rate. This is a more accurate rate to compare than interest rates alone. Relationship Discounts : most lenders will reduce your interest rate if you bring a certain amount of money over to their bank e.g. transfer $250K in savings/401K/stocks will reduce your rate by 0.125%. Time to Close:  how long will it take your

'Ready to Offer' Checklist

Given how fast homes are snatched up in the Bay Area, you need to be ready when you see a home you love!  Below are items your realtor will ask you for to go along with your offer: "Love" Letter Offer Amount Legal name(s) of offeror(s) Decisions on whether you are removing any of the contingencies below.   Financing, if this is not removed, find out from your lender the timelines for the following: Financing Contingency Removal Appraisal  Time to Close Appraisal  Inspection Pre-Approval/Pre-Underwritten Letter.  If all cash, proof of funds. If your offer gets accepted, you need to wire the 3% deposit within 3 days.  It takes stocks about a week to settle so ensure you have the 3% deposit in cash in the bank account you want to wire from. 

Disclosures Cheat Sheet

When a buyer is interested in a house, agents will send along a disclosure packet, which provides more details about the property than what you see when you toured it. Buyers should read all pages in a disclosure packet but there are ones you should pay particular attention to. As an agent in the Bay Area, I pay particularly close attention to the ones below: Disclosures Specific to the Property: Real Estate Transfer Disclosure Statement (TDS ) : filled out by the seller to let the buyer know of any defects with the house - not just physical defects but ANYTHING that affects the desirability of the property, such as loud neighbors, BART/Muni noises. By California law, every seller needs to complete this document. Some sellers are exempt such as if the  successor has not lived at the property for the past year, probate sale, etc . Sellers can be sued for not disclosing a material fact so read this carefully! Most real estate lawsuits revolve around this document. A completed T