The Bay Area is one of the country's most dynamic real estate markets, and we understand that making the decision to buy a home here can be a particularly overwhelming experience. From mastering the difference between towns to planning for an inspection, there's a lot to learn.
Look for a licensed real estate agent who is knowledgeable about the neighborhoods you're considering and can help guide your search. Compass agents have a depth of experience in negotiations, knowledge of nuanced contract changes, and are highly networked with other top agents.
Before beginning your search, your first step is to get pre-approved for a mortgage loan (unless you will be paying cash for the full price of your home). Your Compass agent can connect you to qualified mortgage brokers. Based on your income and credit history, the mortgage broker will determine how much the bank will lend you, which will help you determine the price range for your search.
Preview Coming Soon properties and listings, and attend viewings and open houses spanning a range of areas and property types. Now is the time to consider your ideal home's location and amenities.
Once you have seen a home you like, you can work with your Compass agent to draft and submit an offer to purchase it. The seller will either accept, reject, or counter your offer. Your agent will guide you through the negotiation process, and once both parties come to an agreement and sign, you will be under contract to purchase the property (with potential contingencies, such as Due Diligence and financing).
After the contract is signed by all parties, you will have a limited number of days to deliver your Earnest Money Deposit - money put down upfront as collateral - to the agreed-upon holder (this may be the attorney, the buyer agent's brokerage, or the listings agent's brokerage). Earnest money is refundable during your Due Diligence period.
It is during this limited time period, commonly called your Due Diligence, that inspections are conducted, including but not limited to a general inspection, sewer scope, radon test, and structural inspection. If something of concern is discovered during this timeframe, you will have the chance to re-open negotiations on the price and terms of the sale, or even cancel the sale and have your Earnest Money Deposit returned to you.
Once you are under contract and often during your inspection timeframe, your loan officer may require additional documentation, and an appraisal will be reordered and completed. Once the loan officer receives all required documents and conducts a successful appraisal, they will be able to issue a clearance to close, meaning you are fully approved for the loan and the bank is ready to execute your mortgage upon successful closing.
Your agent will coordinate with the relevant parties and schedule a date to complete the purchase transaction.
A final walk-through of the property is performed just prior to closing. The walk-through confirms no damage has occurred to the home since the time of the inspection and that the home is in the same condition as it was on the day you placed your offer.
Once all the conditions of the contract have been satisfied, the closing is held. The closing documents are signed, payment is exchanged, and the buyer receives the keys to their new home!