Buyer's Guide

Know the steps in owning your dream home.


Find an Agent

Connect with a licensed
Compass real estate agent
who is knowledgeable
about the neighborhoods
you’re considering and can
help guide your search


Get Pre-Qualified

Before beginning your search,
your first step is to get
pre-approved for a mortgage
loan (unless you will be paying
the full price of your home in
cash). Your Compass agent
can connect you to a
mortgage broker. Based on
your income and credit history,
the mortgage broker will
determine how much a bank
will lend you, which will help
you determine the price range
for your search.


Visit Properties

Now is the time to consider
your ideal home’s location
and amenities. You will
attend viewings and open
houses spanning a range of
areas and property types.
Additionally, your Compass
agent will activate
notifications for exclusive
Coming Soon and Off-
Market properties as they
hit the market.


Packaging and Submitting Offers

Once you identify a home you
like, you can put in an offer,
which is an agreement to pay
a certain price for the home.
This offer is packaged with a
Proof of Funds (POF) and Pre-
Approval Letter. Note: if your
offer is lower than the list price
or with terms not acceptable to
the seller, the seller will likely
return with a counter-offer
price or acceptable terms,
which you can accept, reject,
or make another counter-offer.
Your Compass agent will
provide advice throughout.


Escrow Process
(Life of an Escrow: 30 & 45 day
escrow period)

Day 1 Once offer is accepted,
escrow is officially open and the
clock begins on contingencies*
Day 2 Contact your insurance
agent for homeowners coverage
Day 3 Initial deposit is due per
terms of agreement
Day 1–17 Seller delivers
disclosures to buyer. Buyer
performs inspections (Step 6)
Day 1–21 Loan is in underwriting
and appraisal occurs (Step 7)
Day 7–30 | 21–45 Seller signs
grant deed and staging is
removed, if any (Step 7)
End of Escrow Within final week
of escrow period, buyer signs
loan and closing documents and
wires in closing funds (Step 10)
Day 30–45 Loan funds and
escrow closes (recordation)

*This escrow process is based on a
standard 30–45 day transaction


Home Inspections: 
Review Disclosures, 
Reports & Repairs

It is the buyer’s duty to
schedule all desired home
inspections and determine the
overall condition of the
property within the agreed
timeline and contractual
contingencies. Buyer will also
review the disclosures and
preliminary title report. You
may approve or negotiate
credits/repairs. Prior to closing,
remember to schedule a final
walk-thru of the property to
verify property is still in
acceptable condition and any
negotiated repairs were done.


Loan, Appraisal,
& Closing

Organize an appraisal with
your bank. Your completed
mortgage application with
all supporting documentation
should be submitted to your
chosen lender upon receipt of
the fully signed Purchase
Agreement. The bank
then issues loan approval.
Consequently, the buyer wires
the closing funds with the
homeowner’s insurance in
place, and then the loan will
be funded with clearance
to close.


Welcome Home!

Congratulations! You are
now a homeowner.

Key Terms

Appraisal Assessment of the property’s market value, for the purpose of obtaining
a mortgage and performed by a licensed appraiser.

Assessed Value Value placed upon property for property tax purposes by the tax

Closing Costs Expenses incidental to a sale of real estate,
such as loan fees, appraisal fees, title insurance and escrow fees.

Closing Statement The statement which lists the financial settlement between
Buyer and Seller, and the costs each must pay.

Contingency Certain criteria that have to be met in order to finalize
the sale.

Conventional Mortgage A mortgage or Deed of Trust not obtained under a
government insured program such as FHA or VA.

Credit Money given to a buyer from a seller through escrow at closing.

Escrow A neutral third party that handles the transfer of any money during the
sale of a home from initial deposit to final funding and closing.

Earnest Money Deposit Buyers in California usually deposit 3% of the purchase
price to show that the buyer is serious about purchasing the home. It is usually
refundable in the event a contingency in the sales contract cannot be met.

Fixed Rate Mortgage A loan on which the interest rate and monthly payment do
not change.

Home Warranty A policy that covers certain repairs
(e.g. plumbing/heating) of a newly purchased home for a period of time, typically
one year.

Preliminary Title Report A report showing the condition of title before a sale or
loan transaction. After completion of the transaction, a new title insurance policy
will be issued.

Title Insurance Insurance to protect the buyer and lender against losses arising
from disputes over the ownership of a property.

Recording Fees Money paid to the lender for recording a home sale with the local
authorities, thereby making it part of the public records.

Work With Us

We believe a career is more than a series of transactions. Creating a client for life is our goal. Whether you are buying, selling, developing, or investing we have the experience and the network of professionals to guide you through the process.
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