Buying With Kathy

A Step-by-Step First Time Buyer's Guide

Buying a home is one of the most exciting milestones of your life. To prepare yourself for this moment, you need to know what to expect during the process. This step-by-step first time buyer’s guide created by your agent will help reduce the stress of buying a home and help you enjoy the journey as much as possible.

Online Searches

Most people start their home search online through Zillow, or
a similar site. When you’re entering the criteria for your dream home, 4
bedroom, 4 car garage, etc., the less specific you get, the better. There can
be mistakes made when the homes information is being entered into the
local Multiple Listings Service (MLS), or when the information is pulled from our MLS to these big sites. You can miss a nice home because the button for two bath was hit instead of three bath, so keeping your search simple will give you the best results.

Quite often these sites show a Real Estate Agent next to the listing and it makes us think it’s the listing agent, it is not. It is the agent who is paying them for leads. By contacting this Real Estate Agent, you could end up with someone that doesn’t live in the area and knows nothing about the property, although
they may say they do. If you find something you really want to look at, it's
always best to call a local Real Estate Agent that you know and trust. See below
“Finding a Real Estate Agent”.

Finding a Real Estate Agent

The best way to find a Real Estate Agent is word of mouth, ask friends and family
who they've used and respect. You need someone who is knowledgeable
about your area, easy to contact and will be beside you throughout the
entire transaction. You’ll be spending a lot of time with your Real Estate Agent and
sharing a lot of personal information, so choosing someone you connect
with, and one you can trust, is very important.
If you start with a Real Estate Agent and don’t feel they’re the right fit, tell them it’s
not working for you, and move on.

Getting Pre-Qualified for a Loan

Before you can make an offer on a home, and in many cases even before
you can go out looking for a home, you will need to be pre-qualified by a
lender. Our AZ Contracts state that a pre-qualification letter must be
attached with any offer made.
Being Pre-Qualified ensures that you will be ready to make an offer when
you fall in love with a home. It also gives you peace of mind knowing you
have a good working relationship with a lender, who has already
provided you with a cost sheet showing you all the facts, how much you
qualify for and what your monthly payment will be, no surprises.

Loan Calculators you find online don’t have all your personal information,
so their calculations may be incorrect.
Your Real Estate Agent should be able to provide you with a list of local lenders they
work with and trust.

Finding Your New Home

One of the best ways to find the right home is to have a Real Estate Agentworking
for you. A big part of a Real Estate Agent job is to know the areas and the
inventory, including some homes that may not have hit the market yet. We
also work with you directly, getting to know your needs and helping you
find the home that fits your lifestyle, and we don’t charge you a thing.
When a seller is ready to list their home with a Real Estate Agent, the seller agrees to
pay that Real Estate Agent a commission when the home sells and closes escrow.
That Real Estate Agent then puts the home on the Multiple Listing Service, inviting
other Real Estate Agent to show the home and sell it to their own buyers. When that
happens the listing Real Estate Agent then shares the commission with the buyers
Real Estate Agent, that’s how buyers Real Estate Agent get paid.
Most buyers have a list of homes they have found online that they would
like their Real Estate Agent to show them. That’s great, but be open when your
Real Estate Agent suggests that you also look at a few homes that you may not have
on your list. Your Real Estate Agent will be working diligently for you and will be
familiar with many of the homes on the market. They may know things
about the house, the yard, or the neighborhood that can’t be seen, or
smelled online. What you see online and what you see when you’re
physically in the home can be very different.
When you do go out looking at homes, it’s best to limit the number of
people going into the homes with you, and please don’t bring your pets
inside. The less distractions you have when viewing a home, the more
you’ll notice and remember about the property.
When you’ve found a home and need to decide on a price to offer, don't
believe everything you see on the internet. Many of the big sites that show
you what they think a home is worth, do this without seeing it or knowing
the neighborhood, and are quite often wrong. A computer program
cannot take in all the variables, such as using properties in a 2 mile radius
for comparisons, but not knowing the difference between the
neighborhoods. A good Real Estate Agent knows the market and can give you a good

idea of the homes value. If you’re getting a loan, your lender will have an
appraisal done and will only loan up to the appraised value. My Opinion
is “A home is worth what someone is willing to pay for it”.

Open Escrow

Once you and the seller have come to an agreement on the sales price and
terms of the sale, your Real Estate Agent will send the contract to your lender, so
they can start the loan process. They will also take the contract and your
earnest deposit (a good faith deposit) to the title company, and the escrow
officer will start escrow. The escrow officer follows the contract, doing
everything it says, they make sure all the paperwork is filled out and filed
with the correct state and county agencies. They get the sellers loan
payoff, build the deed, work with your lender and take in all the money
and disperse it, per the contract.
The Escrow Officer will also send everything to the Title Department so
they can start their research, they check all deeds dating back to the first
owner, to make sure the seller has the authority to sell the home. They pull
all liens, such as mortgage, lines of credit, etc., make sure there are no
assessments from the city and check to make sure all taxes are paid up to
date. You will be given a Title Commitment, a guarantee that the property
was free and clear of all liens the day it went into your name.


In most cases you have 10 days from contract acceptance to have an
inspection done on the property. You can do your own inspection or hire a
professional. Your Real Estate Agent should be able to supply you with names of
local inspectors for you to choose from. The seller must allow you or your
inspector in the house and on the property to do all inspections that are
Once your inspector is finished, they will supply you and your Real Estate Agent
with a full inspection report. After reviewing the report, you have a choice
to take the property as is, pull out of the sale completely or ask the seller to
make repairs.
If you decide you would like repairs made, it’s totally up to you if you
want the seller to repair everything, or a few things that you’re very
concerned about. Your Real Estate Agent will write this up on what we call a
“BINSR” (Buyer Inspection Sellers Response) and send it to the sellers
Real Estate Agent. The sellers then have five days to respond. They have the choice
to say yes, I’ll repair all, I’ll repair a few things, or I’ll do nothing. The

BINSR will then be sent back to your Real Estate Agent for your response, you’ll
have a choice to accept it, or reject it and cancel the contract.


If you’re getting a loan, the lender will send an appraiser out to your new
home and that appraiser will report back to the lender with their findings.
The lender will only loan up to the amount of the appraisal, so if the
appraisal comes in lower than the sales price, your Real Estate Agent will write an
addendum asking the seller to lower the sales price of the home to the
appraised value. If the seller refuses to lower the price, you have the
option to either stay with the sale and pay the difference between the
appraised value and the agreed upon sales price, or you can cancel the
contract and your earnest deposit will be returned to you.

Closing Escrow

The contract usually asks for a 4 to 6 week close of escrow, so the lender
has time to get the appraisal in and their paperwork done. When the
escrow officer has paperwork signed by all parties, the lender’s funds have
arrived and you have delivered your portion of the funds needed, they will
then record the deed from the seller’s name, in to your name. Once we
have confirmation that the deed has recorded with Mohave County, the
property is yours and your Real Estate Agent will hand you the keys.
This is a quick overview of the process. If you have any questions, please
feel free to call me any time, at (928) 536-5360

Find Your Dream Home

Home Search


After signing the final paperwork to complete the purchase, you are now the owner of a new house. It may take a few days for your loan to be funded once the paperwork has been returned to the lender, but once that check is delivered to the seller, you’ll be all set to move into the home of your dreams. 

Work With Kathy

Get assistance in determining current property value, crafting a competitive offer, writing and negotiating a contract, and much more. Contact me today.