Benicia Home Buying Process
If you are considering a home purchase in today’s market, we recommend you follow our “Home Buying Steps” as detailed below.
The process for buying Real Estate or a Home for Sale in Benicia has certainly changed. Home prices were at record highs in the mid-2000’s, then with the housing crash of 2007-2008, home prices in Benicia and surrounding areas lost 35-40% of their value.
Over the last 5 to 6 years, the housing market has recovered. Interest rates continue to be at record lows, which makes it for a great time to purchase a home or condo in Benicia.
Due to low inventory, many homes for sale get multiple offers within days of a home going live in our Multiple Listing Service (MLS). We strongly suggest you are fully prepared to make an offer as soon as you find a home that meets your requirements. This means to have your financing nailed down – first and foremost!
Benicia Home Buying Steps
Getting Ready to Own a Home
- The most important activity in getting ready to purchase a home is to build good credit history.
- Locate and work with a lender / mortgage broker and find out what you qualify for.
- Have your lender / mortgage broker give you a pre-approval / pre-qualification letter.
- TIP: We strongly suggest you are fully prepared (pre-qualification/approval letter and proof of funds) before making an offer on a home. In this market most if not all sellers will require a pre-qual and POF with a purchase agreement or they won’t even consider an offer.
- Save your down payment (conventional loans are typically 10%-20% of the purchase price and FHA loans are typically 3.5% to 5% of the purchase price).
- Consider the closing costs, points, transfer fees and other costs to close on a property.
- Consider the estimated property tax, insurance and mortgage insurance (if FHA) into your monthly mortgage payment.
What to Look for in a Real Estate Professional
- Work with a REALTOR® who has plenty of experience with representing buyers.
- Make sure the REALTOR® explains the process, contracts and agreements and help you understand the terms.
- Explain your needs and expectations to the REALTOR® you choose to represent your interests.
Search for the Right Property
- Determine what is important to you and your family: schools, views, lot location, lot size, #beds/baths, yard size, landscape, interior condition (fixer-upper or move-in ready), amenities such as hardwood floors, stainless appliances, pool and other attributes that will make the property your dream home.
- In todays market, some homes are getting snatched up quickly. Using Zillow and other big-box real estate search websites sometimes show stale info (Zillow shows the home as active when in reality our MLS has it as contingent or pending and is in contract). Using our search engine that pulls accurate data from our MLS will be more efficient and less frustrating.
- When looking at home or condos for sale take into consideration cost of repairs, updating, HOA fees (if a condo), utilities and such.
Write the Offer
- Read all contracts and documents before you sign. As buyers agents we will go over the forms so you understand all the terms. Ask plenty of questions.
- Always include in the contract for a seller to provide and pay for a 1 year home warranty. Sometimes a seller will deny this and some buyers agent will pay for this for their client as a closing gift. This is really important as it will protect the unforeseen event of a water heater failing or a stove breaking down. Discuss with your buyers agent what a home warranty covers.
- Place a competitive offer and be prepared if necessary to make a counter offer if requested and in your budget.
- If your offer is accepted as buyers agents we would go over the timelines for closing and recommend a pest inspection, home inspection or any other inspections that the buyer would order to make sure any issues with the home are noted and dealt with. Your lender will be notified that your offer was accepted and forward the signed acceptance and purchase agreement to you lender to start working on your loan. You lender will order an appraisal to make sure the offer price matches up with a fair market price of similar homes they are lending on.
- During this time we recommend to keep your credit score in-check and stable and waiting to purchase any big ticket items like a car or boat on credit until long after the home has closed.
- Only one offer will result in a sale, so be prepared to move on if your offer is not accepted.
Closing Escrow and Life as a Home Owner
- Protect your new asset by obtaining insurance such as homeowner’s, flood, disaster, and fire.
- Weatherproof your new home.
- Maintain files—digital or print—for all warranties, insurance documents, contracts, home warranty, etc.
- Keep original closing documents in a safe place, preferably outside the home (such as a safety deposit box).
- Set up utilities bills in your name, maintain files.
- Implement desired aesthetic changes such as painting, minor construction, and re-flooring.
- Set a move date and hire movers or plan a move party with your friends.
- Get to know your neighbors and explore your new neighborhood.
If you’re happy with the work of your real estate professional, be sure to recommend your agent/team to friends and family and write a review!