Santa Cruz County Home & Community Information


Tips for a First Time HomeBuyer - Basic Outline of the HomeBuying Process


If you are a first time home buyer or it has been many years since you have purchased a home, the process can seem daunting.  In this post I will provide a simple outline of the steps to buying a home and what you can expect.  (Well in Real Estate I have learned to expect the unexpected but that is another story)


Contact a local lender to find out price range you qualify to buy a home in.  Ask your local lender about what loan is the best for you, FHA, VA, FHA 203k loans, Conventional loans . . . 

Make sure you have the funds to cover both your downpayment (which can be as low as 3.5% with an FHA loan) and your closing costs (closing costs vary depending on loan and typical fees for your particular area)

If possible get recommendations from friends or family who have had a positive experience with a local Realtor.  Read their blog and get to know them and make sure that they are experienced and you would be a good fit for working together.  Check out their reviews!

Contact your local Realtor to find out what homes are available in your price range.  Arrange a time to meet with your Realtor and view some homes.

After you have found a home you would like to put an offer on, sit down with your Realtor and look at recent comparable sales nearby and discuss what a good offer price would be for the home.  Make your offer and get it accepted!



You will want to have inspections done on the property.  Arrange to have any and all inspections done like Home, termite, roof, mold, chimney, soils, water, septic . . . to satisfy you as to the condition of the home.  Be prepared to pay for these inspections up front unless you have negotiated with the seller in the contract for them to pay for it.  Currently I am seeing home inspection prices range from $350-$450 depending on the size of the home.  Termite inspections can range from $150 -$200

Once your inspections are complete and you have reviewed all the disclosures (and understand them, don't be afraid to ask a lot of questions) like the Preliminary Title Report, HOA documents, Transfer Disclosure Statement, etc . . . and are satisfied with the condition of the property then be prepared to release your Physical Contingencies.  If you find an issue that you would like the seller to repair or provide you with a credit, have your Realtor negotiate that for you.

If you are getting a loan, an appraisal will be done of the home by the lender.  Once the appraisal has been completed and has come in at value your loan package will be submitted to the underwriter for final review.  Many times they will come back and need additional documentation from you.  Provide your lender with any needed items as soon as possible.



A few days or a week before closing you will do a Final Walk Through of the home with your Realtor to verify that the condition of the home has not changed.  You will need to get the rest of your funds to the escrow company and the lender will fund your loan and get their monies in.

Once escrow closes and the home is sold you should receive the keys to your new home that day!

Not such a complicated process after all right?  Of course there are many branches and off shoots this process can take but with the help of an experienced Realtor to navigate you successfully to the closing table you will be living in your new home shortly!


For help buying a home in the Santa Cruz County area, feel free to contact me anytime with all of your questions - Jessica Wallace, Realtor - 831.419.9345 


For First Time Buyer options read my posts:  FHA Approved Condos in Santa Cruz and FHA 203k loans

Santa Cruz Homes for sale under $300,000  and  Santa Cruz homes for sale under $500,000

Santa Cruz First Time Home Buyer Programs

For those looking to downsize check out 55+ Senior communities in Santa Cruz


Authored by Jessica Wallace, Santa Cruz Realtor

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Jessica Wallace
Coldwell Banker
831 419 9345
Licensed In: Ca
License #: 01455690
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Comment balloon 2 commentsJessica Wallace • October 01 2010 12:57PM
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