HomeSmart Evergreen Realty
Tricia Ebert & Ernie Sheesley, Realtors®

7 Steps to Home Ownership

by Tricia Ebert, Realtor®, CSA®, ABR®, BPOR®, CDPE®


Last week we discussed what to do when you find your ideal home, the one that makes you feel "in love." Now we'll discuss the escrow process and buying your new home!


(6)  Once the price and terms are agreed to, and everyone has signed the Purchase Agreement, you will open escrow with the seller. This means you will give an “Earnest Money Deposit” to an escrow company or title company to start the purchase process. Now the clock is ticking. You will have a specified number of days to do your physical property inspections, get the appraisal done (this is ordered by your lender), and get your loan approved.


       Trust your Realtor’s guidance on choosing a good property inspector who knows how to look for problems with the house you want to buy. If possible, take the time to meet with the inspector at the house during the inspection in case they want to point out something to you. They will give you a written report with photos, usually a day or two after the inspection is complete. Review this thoroughly with your Realtor and see if you are happy with the condition of the property. If not, you may want to send a “Request for Repairs” to the seller. In this request, you may ask for cash at closing for you to do the repairs yourself, or you may request that the seller have the repairs made. If the seller is making the repairs, you should state in writing that you will have your own contractor or repair person verify that those repairs were made.


       The seller may agree to make all of the repairs or just some of them. Or they may offer to give you cash at closing rather than making the repairs themselves. You have to decide if what they agree to do is okay with you.


       In addition to the property inspection, the seller is required to give you a list of disclosures about the house. This should specify everything the seller knows about the condition of the house and the neighborhood. Keep in mind, the seller may not be aware there is a plumbing leak under the house until your property inspector finds it. The seller isn’t looking for leaks unless he has a reason to think he has one. Disclosures are based on only what the seller knows about his own house and his own experience of the neighborhood. He should note if there is airplane noise or traffic noise that he has noticed. Keep in mind, however, that what bothers you may not bother him. Be sure to spend some time at or near the house at different times of the day. It might be really quiet during the day, but at night you can hear a band playing loudly at a nearby park. Pay attention to these details to make sure this is the right house for you.


       While you’re doing your inspections and reviewing the disclosures, you will also be working with your lender to give him all the paperwork required to fully approve your loan to buy the house. Please get organized BEFORE you apply for a loan. The bank will want to see your last two or three tax returns, your last few bank statements, pay stubs, and on and on. You need to get copies of these documents to them as quickly as possible. You have a limited amount of time to get your loan approved. It’s important to cancel escrow if you find out you cannot get your loan within this time period, or you risk losing your deposit which can be thousands of dollars. So keep on top of the paperwork and the requests from your lender. Get that loan approved as soon as possible.


Next week: Now that you understand the escrow process, we'll discuss closing escrow, getting title to the house, and getting the keys to your new home! See you next week! :-)



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What my clients are saying  

"When my wife and I separated, we of course needed to sell our house. It was a very tough time for both of us. But despite our stress and grief, Tricia was really great understanding our difficult situation, and was able to work with both of us to satisfy our needs. We had to sell the house as fast as possible and get the most possible from the sale. Tricia was able to accomplish both! She is VERY knowledgeable about the market, and treats each sale (both buying and selling) as if it is her own home. It made our difficult situation less stressful knowing she was taking care of us. We are both very grateful she was there for us. Tricia is the best!"


~ M., Burbank, CA

Tricia is a great person to work with. She was very familiar with the process, and she was very patient. Tricia did help us find the right townhouse for us. Highly recommended!


~ Aristos & Suzanna Theoharides, Burbank, CA

Tricia is AMAZING! We had to do a short sale with our property, and Tricia's expertise made the process so easy, and dare I say, even enjoyable! We will definitely work with her again and refer her to everyone we know who needs a knowledgeable, patient, and professional agent.


~ Bowe & Gina K., Burbank, CA

I love Tricia! She really helped me through everything. Very knowledgeable and thorough. So glad she was on my side!


~ Mari Helgeson, Hollywood, CA

I call Tricia my Angel. She genuinely cares about her clients and goes out of her way to help them. She helped my family do a short sale on our house, and we felt completely taken care of throughout the process. I highly recommend Tricia to all of our friends and family.


~ Fides D., Van Nuys, CA

Tricia is truly a hands-on Realtor whose attention to detail takes the stress out of house hunting. She has helped me buy two properties over the years, and I would recommend her to anyone looking for a real estate agent. Tricia is hard-working, caring, and guides her clients through the buying and selling process step-by-step. A consummate professional!


~ Kari Wahlgren, Burbank, CA

Tricia: Impeccable professionalism, humor and good spirits. Constant cheerleader and positive force of nature. Not only our Realtor but our teacher, our guide, our guardian angel. We feel so fortunate that Debi found you and led us to you. You encouraged us from the get go. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you. It goes without saying but, we could not have done it without you! Hugs and Happy Dancing!


~ Sarah & Chad Wiley, North Hollywood, CA

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