The Buying Process

Buying a home is one of the biggest purchases in most people's lives. It is a multi-step process that begins with finding the right person to assist you. Our agents operate at the highest levels of business practice and can assist you through the entire transaction. If needed, they can connect you with a lender who can help you find the right loan for the property. Our agents will help you locate homes that are currently listed on the MLS, privately listed or coming to the market soon. Their knowledge about homes and communities is helpful in selecting the right home for you.

Our agents are able to negotiate on your behalf and manage the transaction through the inspection and escrow process. Finally, our agents will ensure that you have all the information you need to close on the home, and can make recommendations to make your move and transition easier. If you need help selecting an agent, you can call us and receive a personal recommendation.

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Selecting the Best Agent

Choosing the right person to represent you is one of the most important decisions when buying a home.  The job of your Sales Associate is to support you in finding the right home with the best possible terms, and to aid you through the entire process. Your Sales Associate will explain the process of buying a home, and familiarize you with the various activities, documents and procedures that you will experience throughout the transaction.

If you would like personal assistance in finding an agent that meets your needs and exceeds your expectations, contact the Golden Gate Sotheby's International Realty management and let us assist you. Click here to send an email.

Tips For Selecting A Realtor®

Your Real Estate Professional should be:

  • A Realtor®: Members of the National Association of Realtors adhere to a higher level of standards in managing your transaction.
  • Knowledgeable about the communities of interest to you.
  • Aware of the complicated local and state requirements affecting your transaction.
  • Able to direct you to helpful lenders that assist you with getting the financing you need.
  • Effective in multi-party, written and face-to-face negotiations. Respected by other agents in the real estate community.
  • Highly-trained, with access to programs for continued learning and additional certifications.
  • Technology-focused, able to respond to you in a timely fashion and use current technology to expedite your purchase.
  • Supported by professional legal counsel.


Most homes are purchased with financing, and with the historically low interest rates today, even buyers with cash may be better served by financing their home. We can recommend you to a lender that provides a wide variety of options that can assist you in financing your home purchase. Working with a lender will help you:

  • Determine the price range you can afford.
  • Understand the types of loans you qualify for.
  • Determine what your monthly payment will be.
  • Estimate the down payment and closing costs.
  • Get prequalified so that your offer is more attractive to sellers.

The Loan Process

Your Sales Associate will help you to select a mortgage lender. Once you have made your decision, these are the steps of the process:

  1. The Application - All pertinent documentation is obtained. Fees and down payments are discussed, and the borrower will receive a Good Faith Estimate (GFE) and a Truth-in-lending statement (TIL), itemizing the rates and associated costs for the loan. You will be asked to provide certain documents to your lender in order that your loan can be processed in a timely manner.
  2. Loan Submission - Once all the necessary documentation is in, your completed file is submitted to a lender for approval.
  3. Loan Approval (Underwriting) - Loan approval, or underwriting, requires that all documents have been submitted and generally takes 24 to 72 hours. All parties are notified of the approval and any loan conditions that must be received before the loan can close.
  4. Closing - Once all parties have signed the loan documents, they are returned to the lender. If all the forms have been properly executed, the lender sends the loan funds by wire transfer. At this point, the borrower finishes the loan process and actually buys the house.

Finding the Right Home

The San Francisco Bay Area offers distinctive opportunities for home purchases. While the majority of our business is in Marin County, our agents have experience in San Francisco and Sonoma Counties. Within Marin, each city offers unique personalities and benefits. We suggest that you explore some of the communities in Marin.

Your Sales Associate will apply their extensive community knowledge and professional resources to research available properties, and show you the homes that best meet your needs. If you find a property that interests you through the Internet or your own research, let your Sales Associate know so that a showing can be arranged.

As you view different properties, your criteria may change. Open and direct communication with your Sales Associate is a key element of a successful property search.

Making an Offer

Once you have found the home that you wish to purchase, your Sales Associate will apply their professional training and do all the necessary research to help you structure an effective offer.

This is where your agent's negotiation skills come into play. When an offer is made, the seller will have the option of accepting, rejecting or counter-offering. Your Sales Associate will negotiate the best possible terms for you.

Your Sales Associate will draft the purchase agreement, advising you of protective contingencies, customary practices, and local regulations. Home warranty, title and escrow arrangements will be detailed in the offer. Although your Sales Associate will give you advice and information, it is your decision as to the exact price and terms that you wish to offer.

Managing the Escrow

When the purchase agreement is accepted and signed by all parties, your Sales Associate will open escrow for you and your earnest money will be deposited. The escrow is a neutral third party that will receive, hold, and distribute all funds associated with your transaction.

Inspections and Disclosures

Your agent can assist you in finding resources for inspections of all types as well as a company that can provide you with Natural Hazard Inspection Reports. The findings and reports can be reviewed by you as well as any disclosures or documents provided by the sellers or recommended for the transaction based on current real estate practices.

Removing Contingencies

Prior to closing escrow, all of the contingencies of the Purchase Agreement must be met. Your Sales Associate will coordinate this process. Typical contingencies include:

  • Approval of the Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement.
  • Approval of the preliminary title report.
  • Loan approval, including an appraisal of the property.
  • Physical inspections of the property.
  • Pest inspection, home inspection, and any other recommended inspection or certification.
  • Natural Hazards Disclosure Information.
  • Recommendations for the acquisition of homeowner's insurance.

Closing Escrow

When all of the conditions of the purchase agreement have been met, you will sign your loan documents and closing papers. You will deposit the balance of your down payment and closing costs to escrow, and your lender will deposit the balance of the purchase price. The deed will then be recorded at the County Recorder's office and you will take ownership of your home.

Moving In

Our Realtor® is a valuable source of helpful tips for planning and coordinating your move.