Buyer's Guide

Buyer’s Guide

 

Working with a knowledgeable and professional real estate agent is the best way to find the right home while simultaneously reducing stress. Laura Parker is a passionate and devoted San Francisco native who has lived all over the Bay Area. 

With more than 14 years of experience, Laura is well-equipped to help you find the right property. Matching clients with their dream home is what drives her, and she's happy to work 12-16 hour days for her clients. The following guide will help you understand what buying a home entails and how Laura assists in streamlining the process.

 

Pre-Approval

Before you can start looking for a home, you need to define your budget and stick to it. What might be affordable for one person isn't for another. Everyone is different. However, regardless of your budget, buying a home is still a significant investment, one you need to be prepared for before diving headfirst into the search.

Laura can connect you to some of the area's most qualified lenders and experts to begin the mortgage pre-approval process. Most sellers will not entertain offers from buyers who do not have a pre-approval letter. 

 

What you need for the pre-approval process:

  • Proof of your assets and your income, meaning recent W-2 wage statements, year-to-date income, recent tax returns, and evidence of any additional income like alimony or bonuses. 
  • Good credit is always a plus, as most lenders usually require a minimum FICO score in the upper 600s before they will consider you for a loan. 
  • Lenders need to verify your employment, likely by calling the employer and looking at a pay stub. 
  • You will need to bring your driver's license and social security number to the initial meeting.

 

Critical things to keep in mind:

  • Besides the house, ensure you calculate other expenses such as repairs, property taxes, closing costs, and homeowner's insurance.
  • Experts recommend having at least 20% of the down payment available upfront.
  • Even if you can afford the mortgage payment, that doesn't necessarily mean the property is feasible within your budget. Think carefully about your debt-to-income ratio and monthly expenses.

 

Searching for the right home

Laura offers extensive knowledge of the local neighborhoods, restaurants, community events, schools, and more. By hiring a realtor with in-depth expertise in the area you intend to purchase real estate, you're setting yourself up for success. Not only can Laura significantly narrow down your search based on specific criteria, but she has also cultivated important contacts with other agents and might even be able to offer you insight into off-market properties.

Here are a few things you should think about before you start your search:

  • What size house are you looking for: how many bedrooms, bathrooms, etc. would you prefer?
  • If you have children, consider the best area schools and how far you're comfortable living from them.
  • If you work from home, do you want extra space in your house for an office? Officer workers will need to consider commute times.
  • What kind of floor plan most appeals to you?
  • What are your deal-breakers and must-haves?

Making an offer

The pandemic housing market has significantly leaned toward sellers, making bidding wars more commonplace than ever. Thankfully, experts predict this will level out soon, but in the meantime, it's essential to look to your realtor for advice and assistance on pricing strategies. 

Laura’s team will have vital information on local market trends and recent comparable trends to assist you in making the best possible offer. Try to keep your emotions in check as you make your bid. Don't max out your budget, but you also don't want to underprice your offer. They will help guide you through this process. Laura also makes sure you have a beautiful professional photo to submit with a compelling letter added to the offer. She's been able to get clients the winning bid on homes even when they didn’t offer the most money.

 

Closing

Closing is the final stage in the home buying process and one of the most important. The closing phase includes final walkthroughs and inspections to ensure everything in the house is as the seller described. 

If the inspector finds significant damage or other problems, you might be able to renegotiate your offer. Once the interest rate is locked in, and the paperwork is completed, congratulations! You are now a homeowner.

 

Work With Laura