An escrow is a financial instrument held by a third party in transactions such as a home purchase transaction. To enjoy the benefits of escrow, you have to open an escrow account and include all the details. Then find the home of your interest, and you can embark on the purchase. It is a smooth and secure process, and I would advise you to try it about when you are interested in buying or selling a home in California.
WEEK ONE: INSPECTION AND DISCLOSURE
Week 1 is usually packed with many activities and is often the busiest week in the whole process of house purchase.
Before you finally accept to move into a house, you need to do thorough inspections on the property to determine the necessary changes. Why is the inspection necessary? The main reason for the inspection is to reveal the details that you should know so that you plan. When you are planning to move into a house located around California, I will recommend that you do the following inspections during your first week of escrow
• HOME INSPECTION
When you hire a home inspector, you and the house owner will pay for a home inspection. His or her responsibility will be to check for any faults in the various house systems such as electrical, plumbing, air conditioning, fireplace, insulation, landscaping, and others. The report from the home inspector will help you make purchasing decisions and suggest areas for further inspection, such as the roof, floor, and tiling.
• AGENT VISUAL INSPECTION
An agent representing the Buyer should visit the property and conduct a visual inspection to ensure all the aspects of the house conducive. An agent usually conducts his inspection alongside the home inspector to ensure none of them leaves any detail. Then the agent will prepare a disclosure document that is to be signed by you and the seller of the house.
• LENDER APPRAISAL INSPECTION
The party offering you a mortgage to purchase the home must also inspect the property. You will have to pay for the lender’s appraisal since it is an essential element required to purchase a home. You do not have to attend the appraisal appointment. During the inspection, the appraiser’s role is to determine whether the value of the property is worth the purchase price.
• PEST INSPECTION
Pest inspection should occur within the first week of the escrow timeline. The seller is usually responsible for the cost of such inspections, and the Buyer is not required to attend. The pest inspection will include the following, among others: termite and wood-destroying pest inspection. The inspector will then send a report to you and the seller after the inspection.
To conclude, week one is the seller’s disclosure to the Buyer. In California, the disclosure should be done within the first week of the escrow timeline. The agent and the escrow company on your behalf will order the disclosure forms. There are various types of forms used to disclose more about the home. Such as
• COMPREHENSIVE QUESTIONNAIRE
This questionnaire has various subsections that aim to reveal different information about the property. The first part is the transfer disclosure statement: this section shows the appliances coming with the home and the safety requirements of a home as stipulated by the law. It also reveals other material facts that have to be accurate and very sincere. The second part is the seller property questionnaire, which requires the seller to disclose the following details. Warranties, inspection, disclosures, maintenance recommendation estimates, and survey documents regarding the house. It should also reveal whether there has been a death of any occupant in the past three years.
• GENERAL SELLER DISCLOSURE FORMS
These forms consist of the following subsections:
Statewide Buyer and seller advisory. This section reminds the seller and the Buyer to inspect the property before the transaction is completed. It gives various aspects to be considered when doing the inspection, such as hazards, HOA rules, soil conditions, and permits.
Water-conserving plumbing fixtures and carbon monoxide detector notice. This section serves to remind the Buyer that should the home be burning any fossil fuel for different purposes. There should be a functioning smoke detector, carbon monoxide detector, and they should be installed on various floors.
Lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards. This is not very common in most homes since it is only applicable to the homes that were built before 1978. The reason for disclosure is to keep the Buyer safe and aware of cancer hazards.
When selling the property, you can also provide additional reports to the Buyer, such as natural hazard disclosure reports, preliminary title report, and HOA documentation report.
After having a very intensive week one, week two will give you some breathing space by shifting the majority of the work to the homebuyer and the escrow company. This week is usually a week of decision-making. This week, the loan company decides whether to approve or deny the loans, the Buyer goes through all the disclosure forms and reports and makes a final decision on whether to proceed with the deal or turn it down.
Your lender may need extra documentation to approve your loan, so you should always keep in touch with your loan officer. The process may be detailed, and sometimes, the lender may advise for additional requirements and documents. Therefore, be ready to provide any necessary information.
When the lender receives the appraisal reports, other decisions will have to be made regarding the property. Remember, the appraisal report has three results, the proper is at value, the property is above the purchase value, and the property is below the purchase value. When the property is at value, the deal will go through, and the lender offers the mortgage. When the property appraisal value is below the purchase price, the seller will lower the purchase price of the property, or the Buyer will pay for the difference between the appraised value and the purchase price.
You will go through the seller’s forms, and all the documentation makes the final decision on whether to purchase the property or turn it down.
Based on the home inspection report, you can request for the necessary repairs, which must be completed by the seller before the escrow closes. The seller can decide to accept, reject the request, or offer you credit instead of repairs.
This week is all about repair completion and contingency releases. After all the week one and two procedures, you will sign a contingency release, which expresses your unwavering interest to buy the seller’s house. This release should be signed after loan approval and repair negotiations are complete. In California, most contingency should be released on the 17th day of the escrow process, and the final loan contingency release should be on the 21st day of the escrow process.
In the last week of the escrow timeline, the repairs are completed, and receipts are handed to you for review. At this point, I would advise on a final walk through the house to ensure the repairs are according to your instruction, and the home is intact as it was when you first showed inspected it. You should also ensure the appliance in the forms and reports are intact.
THE SIGNING OF THE LOAN DOCUMENT
If you financed the purchase through a mortgage, the escrow officer would schedule and contact you about a loan document signing meeting with a notary public. You can choose to go and sign the document at the escrow office or seek the mobile notary to come to your premises.
Once all this is complete, you will get the key to your new house. Congratulations!