Proof Real Estate - Beyond Conventional Exceptional Service & Results for SF Bay Area Professionals

Buyer FAQs

Should I have my own agent or will I save money if I use the listing agent?

First of all, you won’t save anything by having the listing agent represent you since the buyer agent commission is already included in the listing agreement. And there’s far more to lose than to gain if you don’t have your own representation. You need someone who is committed to protecting your best interests, has a fiduciary responsibility and is accountable only to you. 

Who pays my buyer agent’s commission?

The seller pays the buyer agent commission per the listing agreement. Especially because you don’t have to pay it, it makes sense to go for top quality and hire the most experienced and highly rated agent to represent your purchase.

What are your top recommendations for buying a San Francisco/Bay Area home?

  • It all boils down to these simple ideas:
  • Make sure you’re working with an agent you like, respect and trust—100%. Vet them carefully and be clear about your expectations. A lot rides on this process.
  • There’s a lot of money involved, so don’t be rushed or pressured by anyone. With time, all your ambitions and objectives will work out comfortably.
  • Be completely sure your financing is secure, well in advance.
  • Don’t compromise—only pursue homes that inspire you.

What are the main things to consider when I tour a home?

  • Does it feel comfortable and mesh with your family’s desired lifestyle?
  • Establish a positive rapport with the listing agent. Ask lots of questions, appear friendly and genuinely interested without criticizing. Leave negotiations and difficult discussions to your agent. 
  • Walk through the entire home and think about how you would live there. What would it be like preparing a meal in the kitchen? Is there enough storage space? From which direction will the sun rise? How much privacy will you have?
  • Be realistic, discriminating and thoughtful.

I haven’t narrowed my target to one neighborhood yet. How should I conduct my search?

Many buyers we represent simultaneously search in competing neighborhoods. In this way, you can comparison shop, a fairly common component of the vetting process. An experienced real estate agent will welcome and support this approach.

I am fully pre-approved to purchase property. This is enough, right?

No! That’s a misleading term. A preapproval is essentially a bank’s educated guess (the fine print says, “not a commitment to lend”). Until your purchase file is fully underwritten the lender makes no guarantees and the loan is subject to many conditions. With so much money at risk and the many buyers you’ll be up against, it pays to get fully underwritten. Please contact me for a list of preferred lenders who will provide you with the security, competitive edge and piece of mind of becoming fully underwritten.

Why do you need to talk to my loan officer?

As a former mortgage company owner and lender, I know we can bring a lot of benefits to our buyer when we all align in pursuit of your goals. 

How reliable are sites like Zillow or Redfin in predicting a home’s value?

These sites have become popular, but their accuracy can be very erratic. Instead of an onsite inspection, they use algorithms to determine property value so they lack a good chunk of information. It’s best to work with your real estate agent to determine a home’s real worth.

Many disclosure packages are 300 pages or more. How can I possibly know what parts are important?

Understandably, the sheer heft of most disclosure packages puts off buyers. Because just 6 or 7 documents contain the most meaningful information, we’ll provide you with an ‘executive summary’ of critical documents and leave the boiler-plated information aside. This allows you to look at the important parts and not waste time on the rest. Be assured, I’ll advise you to run, not walk, from any home that doesn’t meet your stated goals.

What do you mean by acquisition vs. ownership issues?

Many buyer agents emphasize property acquisition while ignoring the challenges, updates and repairs a buyer will face during the ownership stage. I believe in considering both as part of the decision-making process. Wouldn’t you want to take into account an upcoming $60,000 foundation repair or an ongoing issue with garage flooding? The issues you will face during your ownership should be incorporated into your acquisition plan.

What do we need to write an offer?

  1. Your fully underwritten loan status letter
  2. Feeling comfortable with your real estate agent’s assessment of the property’s true value
  3. Careful review of all the disclosures and inspections of the property
  4. Confirmation that you’ve toured the property and have all your questions answered

What about the appraisal and loan fees?

These are paid by the buyer. Rates vary, so please consult your mortgage provider for specific figures pertaining to your loan file.

My lender is not local. Is that okay?

To be most competitive and to increase your likelihood of winning your dream home, you need a local professional. Please allow us to introduce you to a top-tier local lender who has been instrumental in giving dozens of our buyers a competitive edge.

What expenses will I encounter as a buyer?

To be most competitive and to increase your likelihood of winning your dream home, you need a local professional. Please allow us to introduce you to a top-tier local lender who has been instrumental in giving dozens of our buyers a competitive edge.

  • Non-recurring closing costs (NRCCs): one-time expenses
    • appraisal
    • rate lock fee
    • loan fees
    • points
  • Recurring closing costs (RCCs): ongoing monthly expenses
    • loan principal
    • interest
    • property tax
    • insurance

What is the relationship between the asking price and the expected final sales price?

Buyers often struggle to compare these two unrelated attributes. But there is no predictable relationship. Instead, it’s far more meaningful to watch what appraisers focus on: the connections between the last comparable sales (similar homes sold recently) adjusted for condition, location and attributes.

Is our offer price the most important criteria, or are there other ways to be competitive?

While price is critical to sellers, other criteria can also weigh heavily in their decision, such as speed of closing or wanting a family ‘like theirs’ to take ownership. A savvy real estate agent will engage with the listing agent to understand the seller’s criteria and help the buyer make better decisions.

Let’s Talk

By phone, Zoom, or in person. We’ll get your questions answered.

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