Located north of the Bay Area and San Francisco, beautiful Santa Rosa is considered one of the best places to live in California. It is an excellent place to enjoy the wine country and experience a rich social culture. The area is surrounded by mountains and rolling hills, creating the most picturesque scene. Santa Rosa offers residents a small-town feel despite its ever-growing population and makes it an ideal place to raise a family, move for work, or settle down roots for retirement. The city offers a highly-rated educational system, which significantly benefits those seeking higher education. In addition to post-secondary institutions, such as the Santa Rosa Junior College, there is an abundance of excellent public schools, private schools, and charter schools for younger students.
Randy Waller has developed this beginner’s homebuying guide to help new home buyers search for homes for sale in Santa Rosa, California. Everything they need to know from start to finish in the home-buying process is right here.
Make a list of non-negotiables
The first thing a prospective home buyer needs is to establish their list of non-negotiables. These are all the essential features their new home must have to satisfy their needs. They will need to consider how many bedrooms and bathrooms are necessary to accommodate the entire family now and in the future if they plan to welcome new family members. If they have children, they may want a yard to play in, while others may want to skip having a yard because they do not want to deal with the upkeep. The number of floors should be considered in addition to the type and size of the garage. Home buyers will want to look for included features that would otherwise cost a lot to install after the home is purchased to make the most out of their investment.
Choose the ideal location for the home
When looking for homes for sale in Santa Rosa, CA, another important consideration is choosing the ideal neighborhood. Because the city has so many great things to offer, this might be one of the more difficult decisions to make. If there is a specific school the home buyer wants their children to attend, that could affect where they decide to purchase their home. Additionally, being close to shopping centers and other points of interest can impact the decision-making process.
Explore mortgage options
Once the non-negotiables and neighborhood are identified, it is time to obtain the mortgage. The new home buyer will not want to settle for the first mortgage offer without researching. Shopping around and learning the differences between the different lenders’ offers is essential to finding the best loan rates available. Every mortgage has different terms, interest rates, and payment options. They will need to find the best option for them, meeting their needs over the time they plan to live in the home.
Hire a stellar real estate agent
Buying a home is not an easy process, and a first-time home buyer will want to have a seasoned real estate agent by their side. Their agent will be there to negotiate on their behalf and help them find the ideal luxury home that meets all their requirements. They should ask their agent about experiences assisting first-time buyers in purchasing their first homes in the Santa Rosa market. Scrolling through listings is one way to find homes they may want to view, but having an excellent real estate agent is a much better and more efficient option. The agent has access to better connections and can help filter through the homes that are not ideal.
Find the perfect home
The home buyer will then work with their hired real estate agent to identify their dream home. They will visit open houses, tour available properties, and discuss with their agent the pros and cons of each. Ultimately, the home buyer will find their ideal house and be ready to make an offer.
Make an offer
Once they find the home of their dreams, it is essential to move quickly to avoid another buyer swooping in and taking the house. They will partner with their real estate agent and make an offer to the seller’s agent. This is where having an agent becomes essential. They will advise the home buyer on how much the initial offer should be and will be the one to help handle counteroffers from the seller. Negotiations can be challenging, and it is best to leave it to a professional with experience.
Pay for a home inspection
Routine inspections do not always cover everything necessary to ensure the home is safe. The new home buyer will want to pay for an inspection that identifies problems such as mold, mildew, radon, and pests. Access to the roof and crawl space should be given for the inspection. If possible, the home buyer should attend the inspection to ask questions as the inspector finds potential issues. Reading the reports afterward may be confusing without context. If anything serious is found, they can rescind their offer or request that repairs be made on smaller defects.
Close on the home
Once the offer is accepted, there may be contingencies that have to be agreed on by all parties involved. Sometimes these include the seller paying some of the closing fees. It depends on what was decided during the negotiations. At this time, the mortgage will also be finalized. This may be the lengthiest part of the home-buying process. Getting a mortgage can be quick or take a few months. It depends on how quickly the home buyer responds to requests and returns any required documents. All paperwork will be signed, turning the home over from the seller to the buyer. After the paperwork is signed, the home buyer must pay the closing fees. Then it is time to receive their keys.
When you’re ready to start the home-buying process, trust a real estate agent like Randy Waller to help you find your dream home. Randy has been the number one real estate agent in Sonoma and Napa counties for the past five years and is the founder of the largest independently owned real estate brokerage in the North Bay. He looks forward to taking your call!