What happens after you get into contract? | Bay Area Real Estate Tip #25

Every Tuesday, I go into detail about a question I frequently get asked. This week, I'm going to discuss what happens when you get your offer accepted. Do you start celebrating? Not just yet..

So you spent weeks if not months finding a new property, and you finally got your offer accepted! Now what! Now the real journey begins. The close of escrow process will always feel like a roller coaster because you are not out of the woods just yet! The typical length of the close of escrow time is about 30 days.

First thing that happens when you close a home is that you will need to wire 3% of a deposit called earnest money deposit typically within 1 business day to a 3rd party escrow account. The title and escrow company will be the checks and balance entity to ensure the transaction is facilitated appropriately. Next the bank will go back and forth with you collecting additional documents and scrutinizing your history. The process of getting your loan approved typically takes about 2-3 weeks. This can all be front loaded if you actually got underwritten prior to getting in contract which is why I recommend everyone that is remotely serious about buying a home, to go through the underwriting process so they minimize the risk of a loan not being fulfilled. Simultaneously, a 3rd party appraiser will be ordered by the bank. They will provide their valuation of a home by looking at the condition of the home and comparing it to others that have sold in the area. Throughout the 30 days of the close of escrow, there will be different documents typically sent out to be docusigned. Most of these are disclosures that you have already read prior to making an offer but certain documents may have been missing that are cookiecutter templates but needed for a Realtor’s broker, and internal files.

2 weeks leading to the close of escrow, you want to schedule a change of utilities for your close of escrow date. You will also want to decide on a home insurance policy at that time. About 1 week leading to the close of escrow, we will do a final walkthrough of the property called the Verification of Property. Typically homes in the Bay Area are bought as-is but if there are very notable things different than when we get into contract, we can ask the sellers to repair those items. Doesn’t hurt to ask though as most sellers want to also ensure a smooth handoff to the next family.

Around 1-2 days prior to the close of escrow, you will arrange a time to meet with a notary and sign alot of paperwork including loan documents, and the documents related to the transfer of a property to you. That same day or the following day, you will wire the remaining amount of your down payment + closing costs in one bundle to the escrow company. Once again, always be sure to call and verify the account information prior to wiring to prevent wire fraud. Delays do happen so it is up to your real estate team to help resolve those situations. If there are no delays, at the close of escrow you will meet with your agent to do the key exchange typically in the late afternoon. It’s all over! You now become the owner of a home!

I hope this was helpful to understanding what happens after you win a bid! There is a lot that happens so choosing the right Realtor will help with the overall process. Leave a comment below as to how your experience was when closing on your home!

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Born and raised in the Bay Area, I spent 11 years in Startup Technology Sales before becoming a full-time Realtor. Having personally invested and done renovations in the Bay Area, I wanted to help busy colleagues in the Bay Area technology industry find their dream home by leveraging tech, data and insights. I specialize in educating my clients on the process of buying, selling, and investing in the Bay Area. I have helped 23 families within the last 12 months for $30MM in happy transactions!

Spencer Hsu, MBA Tech Realtor
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EXP Realty DRE #02077253

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