Buying a home is a complicated process. After all, buying a home may be one of the biggest financial transactions in your life. As a REALTOR, I found out that my buyers are more relaxed when they have a good understanding of the timeline and process of buying a home in the Inland Empire. Understanding the process and timeline when buying a home will be a big help for proper planning. Your offer has been accepted by the sellers, but you don’t get the keys yet. We are now in “escrow”. It can take weeks and even months before you can move into your new home, and a lot can happen during the time your new home is in escrow. Typically, a real estate transaction will take approximately 30-45 days once your offer has been accepted by the seller. Your timeline may vary slightly depending on the terms of your contract and the efficiency of your lender.
On Day 1, you must deliver the earnest money deposit to the escrow company. This deposit shows the seller that you are a serious buyer who intends to purchase the property. If you choose to cancel the transaction after a specified period of time, the seller may be permitted to keep your earnest deposit.
Day 1 – 5
The seller is required to disclose all material facts relating to the property. Per California Residential Purchase Agreement, the seller is to provide various seller disclosures, including the transfer disclosure statement and lead-based paint disclosure. As a buyer, you need to review all these disclosures and provide notice for any disapproved item. The buyer should also contact your insurance company during this time to ensure the new home is “insure-able” and order your homeowner’s insurance policy. The escrow officer should order the title report and request HOA disclosures and CC&R during this period.
Day 1 – 10
The first several days of the transaction, the buyer has an inspection period which is part of the California Residential Purchase Agreement. During this period, you and the experts you hire should conduct inspections of the property. You can hire a licensed home inspector to come out and inspect the property and grounds and give you a report of all findings. A good home inspector will visually inspect the house and property and make recommendations for additional specialized inspections, such as roof, HVAC, chimney, pool, etc, if necessary. All inspections must be completed within the time allotted on the purchase agreement. If there are any findings that the buyer has concerns with, the buyer may have the option to immediately cancel the contract and have the earnest money returned to the buyer or ask the seller to make the repairs.
Day 11 – 15
The buyer should request repairs from the seller (if necessary) based on the inspection finding. Submit a request for repairs in writing before the inspection period is over so that you can negotiate repairs with the seller before you sign off on your inspection contingency.
Day 15 or earlier
Meet with your lender to finalize your mortgage. If you are eligible for any down payment assistance programs that require special paperwork, complete those documents as soon as possible. Your lender may ask you for additional documentation from time to time such as updated pay stubs, bank statements, etc. As a buyer, it’s your responsibility to provide all up-to-date information in a timely manner. Your lender should have an appraisal completed or scheduled soon.
Day 15 – Day 25
Your lender should submit all loan documents to underwriting for final approval. You may receive some “conditions” (if any) requested by the underwriter. Your loan will only be approved after all “conditions” are met. Again, it is the buyer’s responsibility to provide information or documentation to satisfy these “conditions”.
Day 26 – Day 28
Your loan should be approved by this time, the loan contingency removed and all loan documents sent to the escrow officer. Once the lender has approved all the documents, you will receive closing disclosures. It lists all the costs you’ll need to pay at closing along with all the money you’ve already put in, such as the earnest money. You and your real estate agent should look over this document to make sure everything on it is correct. Your agent will schedule a final walk-through. During the final walk-through, you will evaluate the conditions of the home compared to the time of your first visit. For example, the AC is still working, appliances and other items are still working as agreed upon. This is also the time to evaluate all repairs agreed upon. After you are satisfied with the final walk-through, you will sign off the walk-through form. This would be a good time to set up all utilities account under your name starting on the closing date listed on the purchase contract.
Day 28 – 30
You will meet the escrow officer or notary public to sign all documents (there will be hundreds of pages if you have a mortgage). You will bring in or wire your down payment as stated inside the purchase contract. Once all the paperwork you signed is completed, your escrow officer will submit everything to your lender for final approval.
Your lender will wire the money to the title company and fund your loan. The escrow officer will complete the transaction and dispersed the fund according to the terms of the contract. Then, the escrow officer will record the property with the new owner with the county recorder’s office. Once we have confirmation that the property has been recorded, the escrow officer will notify your agent, and your agent will pick up the key and hand them to you. Congratulations!!