How do I avoid losing my earnest money deposit?

With any offer, you will make an Earnest Money Deposit. This is about 2%-3%of your purchase price. Without this money “at risk” you don’t have a contract. 

This isn’t as scary as it sounds

We understand that you might be worried about risking your money. But as long as we stay within the rules of the contract, the Earnest Money Deposit is almost never at risk.

If you cancel the contract, but follow the rules for how this is done, the seller has no claim to your earnest money, and it should be returned so you can use it on the next offer.

You’re not required to buy the home

The earnest money can be forfeited to the seller if we break the rules of the contract. But as long as we follow the rules of the contract, you don’t have to buy.

A general rule is that you don’t have to buy the house if something is wrong with it, but your inspection period is limited. Download this guide to understand the types of home inspections that are available  and which ones are most commonly used. 

Once we get closer to making an offer, we’ll make sure you understand how this works.

Action steps

We’ve created a Steps to Escrow Infographic to help you understand the process.

From the moment the seller accepts your offer to the day we hand you your keys, this one-page visual guide gives you everything you need to know about escrow at a glance.

Print out this infographic to understand each step and know what to do and when.

 

 

Ready to make an offer?  How to make an offer the seller can’t resist

Want to see some gorgeous houses in Vallejo? Schedule a day to look at homes

 

 

The 8 Most Common Buyer Questions & Answers

Questions and answers for home buyers.

I clearly remember the uncertainty I felt when I bought my first home. The fears and worries were the same when I bought my second home.

I didn’t have anyone to help me understand what was going on and what it meant.

My name is Chris Jacobson. I created Vallejo Historic Homes with the goal of taking the stress and uncertainty out of your home buying process.

I want you to feel confident with your home purchase. I know you need answers. Here are answers to the 8 most-asked buyer questions.

How much money do I need?

The real answer is… it depends. There are a lot of ways to make your purchase work. The two big expenses are down payment and closing costs. 

You can search for a home with confidence once you’ve estimated how much money you will need up front to buy a home. Download this simple worksheet to understand your three biggest expenses.

How do I avoid losing my money?

With any offer you will need to make an earnest money deposit. This is about 2% of your purchase price. 

I know that sounds scary, but it isn’t as risky as it sounds. 

The money can be forfeited to the seller if you break the rules of the contract. As long as we follow the rules, your earnest money isn’t at risk. 

Remember, you’re not required to actually buy the home, you just have to follow the rules of the contract. Once we get closer to making an offer, we can discuss exactly how this works.

What if I don’t have great credit?

Most people have an idea of what their consumer credit score is. However, when buying a home you will use secured credit and the score is generally better.

Pre-approval will uncover credit problems. If you have those, we have people on our team who can help you solve them. 

Don’t let credit fears hold you back.

How will I know there is nothing wrong with the house?

We will have time to investigate the home (usually 17 days). 

Download this brief guide to understand the types of home inspections that are available and which ones are most commonly used.

If the inspection finds something is wrong, we can request the seller make a repair, or give a closing cost credit. You don’t have to buy the house if something is wrong with it.

At what point am I locked into the deal? 

You are generally not locked into the purchase until later in the contract, after you have had time to be sure you want the home.

The rules of the contract include time-based contingencies, which are your way to exit the contract without penalty. As you “release” each contingency, or pass certain deadlines, you become more committed to purchasing the home. 

We’ve created a Steps to Escrow Infographic to help you understand the process.

From the moment the seller accepts your offer to the day we hand you your keys, this one-page visual guide gives you everything you need to know about escrow at a glance.

Print out this infographic to understand each step and know what to do and when.

 

 

Once we get into contract, we will work together to stay on track. If necessary, we can terminate the contract before we pass any deadlines that would lock you into the deal.

 

How much home can I afford?

There are many variables regarding how much you can afford to buy. To understand your three biggest expenses, we recommend this simple worksheet.

How much you can borrow is largely determined by the pre-approval process. One of the biggest mistakes we see buyers make is failing to promptly get pre-approved. 

A pre-approval is easier than it sounds. If you want to start today, click here to get pre-approved.

How can I be sure I don’t overspend?

There is going to be an official appraisal for the lender to feel confident about the value of the home. If the lender feels confident, you can too.

You will receive a copy of the appraisal, which is largely based on the sale of similar homes with similar features.

You won’t overspend, because the lender will not lend more than the home is worth.

How do I find the right property?

You can discover what you need and want in a home by comparing the homes you like. Download this simple organizer to view the pros and cons of each home in one place. 

It is a part of our business process to help you define a target home both in terms of what you want and what you can afford. 

Once we have this target, it becomes surprisingly simple to find you the right home.

We created a Targeting Worksheet to help you get started. Click here to begin.

Do you still need answers?

We created a Buyer Road Map Infographic  to help you find the answers you need.

This simple road map takes you through the process of finding a home, financing, and making an offer.

Start with “Just Looking” and follow the roadmap to the seller accepting your offer. Print out this infographic to see exactly what to do and when to do it at a single glance.

 

 

If you still have questions, check out 30 Buyer Questions Answered, or reach out to us directly

How To Start Looking
For A Home

Young girl plants a tomato plant with father showing hope for the future

It’s normal to feel overwhelmed when you start looking for a home. We’re going to give you a few easy steps. Here’s our best advice. 

Give yourself the freedom to dream!

Before getting bogged down in what is practical, think about the home you really want. 

Is it the private back yard with family dinners or the space in the garage for projects? Is it the charming historic bathroom, a nice view, or your own master bath? 

You don’t need to know everything to start.

It’s OK to be “just looking”

Many buyers don’t know where to start. One of the best things to do is to go and view a few homes. If you are ready, schedule a day to look at homes.  This can give you a sense of context and price. Many questions are answered with this simple act. 

While you’re in the “just looking” stage, you can discover what you need and want in a home by comparing the homes you like. Download this simple organizer to view the pros and cons of each home in one place.

Start your online research

It’s also important to look at homes online, but many buyers feel overwhelmed by the number of homes available. To make things easier for you, we created our own list of preferred historic homes. 

You will not see our list of preferred historic homes on any other website. Local homes which meet our criteria are hand-picked daily. Skip the work of digging through other sites. Click here to view our preferred historic homes.

If you need help getting started, please reach out.

How much can you afford?

You can search for a home with confidence once you’ve estimated how much money you will need up front to buy a home. Download this simple worksheet to understand your three biggest expenses.

A pre-approval is a quick and easy way to know how much you can borrow. This makes it easy to estimate your monthly payments. It takes about 40 minutes to fill out the application and gather documents, and a day or two for the lender to respond. 

Once you know what you can afford, you can narrow your search. Getting pre-approved doesn’t have to be your very first step, but waiting too long is one of the biggest mistakes most buyers make. 

If you’re ready to pre-approve, click here.

Where are you in life?

You’ll need a different kind of home at different stages in your life. Are you planning to have children? If you already have children, do you plan on having more? Are you close to retiring? 

Do you want to stay in your new home for decades? Are you looking to buy, add some “sweat equity,” and then trade up?

The answers to these questions can point you in the right direction.

Start a list of what you want

Is it important to have a big yard? Do you want a fireplace? A garage? A view?

You can’t hit a target unless you have a target. Finding the right home becomes a lot easier once you are clear about what you need and want. The questions on this worksheet will help you identify the home you’re searching for.

Fill out the Targeting Worksheet to find your ideal home.

Use the Buyer Toolbox to do things in the right order

There are a lot of steps to follow, and many home buyers don’t know where to start. We created the Buyer Toolbox to take uncertainty out of buying your home. You won’t need to guess what to do next. The toolbox links each step to the tools you need in the right order. Verify your email to gain access.

Action Steps:

Verify your email to Gain access to the Buyer Toolbox.

Download the How to Find the Right Home Worksheet.

Get Pre-approved here.

I am ready to Schedule a day to go look at homes.