HOme Buying Overview

Your home is many things: A feeling, an investment, a hobby, a refuge. But it is above all a physical entity with characteristics that make it strong or weak, more or less valuable and more or less able to withstand the dramatic events that are inevitable in life on the edge of our continent.

How do you buy a home in earthquake country? What does it mean to buy a home in the Special Studies Zone? How do I evaluate the resilience and environmental sustainability of a purchase?

When I meet with Buyers, I want to help them understand the technical realities of a potential purchase. The quality of the earth a house is standing on, the characteristics of the foundation that connects it to that earth, the structure and design of the home itself are prominent in our evaluation of places to live.

I use all the information I have in construction, soils geology and design, along with my general knowledge of the neighborhood you have identified, to this end. Your home will be one you love. I work hard to help you make an outstanding choice in every way.

Curious about Bay Area geology? These sites are provided to help you understand San Francisco Bay Area geology.

U.S. Geological Survey Earthquake Hazards Program

Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) Earthquake Maps & Information

Alan Kropp's Landslides of the Berkeley Hills

Ready to begin your home search?  I can help you sign up to receive Property Updates when homes that match your search criteria come on the market. Please feel free to contact me.

"We cannot recommend Candace highly enough for anyone looking to buy a home in Berkeley. We were first-time buyers, and Candace worked tirelessly to make sure that we got the first house we made an offer on, amidst 11 other offers. We are certain that we would never have been able to buy the home we wanted without her.

Candace is extremely knowledgeable about the market in Berkeley (the East Bay), yet brings so much more to the stressful experience of buying a home -- including her experience as a planner/architect, her skill in communicating even the most complicated details in plain language, her esteem in the community, and her connections with highly competent and efficient people. She goes above and beyond the call of duty to take care of every last detail -- she even sent over a plumber our first day at our home to take care of a small leak. She regards this as the life-transforming event that it is, and treats the experience of buying a home in this holistic manner. She inspires the utmost confidence, and, truly, she is the difference between buying a home or not."

S. Mackenzie

The Home Buying Process

Step 1: Choose a Realtor
Having decided to buy a home, the first step in the process is to select the Realtor® with whom you will be comfortable working with to get the job done. During our first meeting, I will listen to your wants and needs and walk you through the buying process.

Step 2: Get Pre-Qualified
A lender pre-qualifies you by determining what loan programs may be available to you and suggests programs that meet your short and long term plans. You will also find out what your monthly payments and down payment will be. A letter of pre-qualification (or pre-approval) from a lender enhances your position when presenting an offer.

Step 3: Find a Home
I will help you find a home that fits your requirements. I have the tools to help you find the right property in the right location at the best possible price.

Step 4: Make an Offer
Having found the home of your choice, I will do all the necessary research to help you structure an offer. I will draft the purchase agreement and explain all clauses and contingencies so that you are well informed to make decisions.

When the seller respond to your offer, I will explain your options and negotiate with the seller. When the price and terms are accepted by all parties, the next step is to open escrow.

Step 5: Manage the Escrow
Escrow is a process for handling the details of the transaction from the time the purchase agreement is accepted until title is transferred to the buyer. The neutral third party receives, holds, and distributes funds and documents and makes sure that the terms of the purchase agreement are carried out.

When all of the conditions of the purchase agreement have been met, you will sign escrow instructions, typically in the week prior to the anticipated closing date, and deposit the balance of your down payment and closing costs to escrow.

Step 6: Close Escrow
The ‘escrow closing’ signifies the change of ownership from the seller to the buyer and usually includes the execution and recording of the Grant Deed and Deed of Trust. This completes the real estate transaction, and you receive the keys to your new home!

Home Buying: Frequently Asked Questions

How are real estate agents compensated?
A commission amount is negotiated between the Seller and the Seller's agent, and that amount is usually divided among the Seller's agent's Brokerage, the Seller's agent, the Buyer's agent's Brokerage, the Buyer's agent and referring agents, if any. Real Estate commissions are traditionally paid at the close of escrow from the Seller's proceeds.

Do I have to work with the agent that is on the sign or at the open house?
No, I can assist you in buying any home. Home information on the Multiple Listing Service is shared and available to any licensed agent.

I'm not ready to buy, should I establish a relationship with an agent at this time?
The earlier you partner with an agent, the better prepared you’ll be to make an offer when you find a home.

What does it cost to buy a home?
The major costs in the purchase your new home are:

  • Price of Home: Your expense depends on your downpayment, from 0-100% of the purchase price.

  • Inspections: A general inspection can be several hundred dollars, and this may lead to specific inspections at additional costs.

  • Closing costs: Costs vary depending on the purchase contract and may include items such as various escrow fees, insurance, loan points & fees, transfer taxes, and prorated mortgage interest and real estate taxes.

How long is an escrow?
The length of an escrow is determined by the terns of the purchase agreement and can range from a few days to several months. An escrow often takes an average time of 21 to 3 days.

Please contact me with other questions.


See What Candace’s Clients Have to Say