Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Making An Offer Can Be Scary - This May Help!

For home buyers, nothing is scarier than making an offer. It's understandable and can be attributed to basic human nature. We see it in people gathered around a pool, each waiting for the other to jump in first so they can gauge the temperature. Funny thing is - once somebody jumps in and finds the water pleasant, everyone else wants in too.

So let's say you finally found a great place - now what? Well if you haven't already done so - get your approval letter. An approval letter from a direct lender is one of the basic requirements in making an offer and can take anywhere from a few hours to one day to get depending on your lender. We recommend getting one at the very beginning of your search since you'll need this information to set a realistic search goal. Besides, well priced homes sell quickly in just about any market so why lose out being unprepared. Next, make sure you have a copy of your FICO scores. Many lenders will include them on their approval letter but not all so make sure to check. Lastly, you will need proof of funds for your stated deposit submitted with your offer. This can be in the form of your latest bank statements, 401K or any other fund that is in your name that can easily be accessed.

After your offer is accepted -what's next? Well, if you're buying in Southern California you will usually have up to 17 days for a physical inspection period to investigate what - if any risks are associated with the home. At the very least, Realtors advise having a general inspection of the property done then scheduling additional tests, depending on personal concerns and what might have been found during the first inspection. Many people have concerns about mold, lead, asbestos, and radon gas so schedule inspections by trained and licensed inspectors if you have any fear. Some buyers choose additional inspections for the foundation, chimney, or sewer line. It is also not unheard of to even have a geological survey of the property - especially for those located on hillsides.

 If you suspect that something may have been done to the building structures without the proper permits, schedule a visit to the city permit department and pull permits. It's a fairly easy process and usually free to do. Lastly, finish any other investigations that may be important to you such as searching the Megan's law database or local crime records. The goal is to be comfortable with your purchase knowing you did all the necessary research. If you had any doubts making your offer -hopefully they have all been alleviated by the end of the inspection period. OK, best of luck - now get out there and make some offers!