The Purchase Process


Fifteen Contract Contingencies You Should Be Aware Of

Following is a list of fifteen contract contingencies that any seller should be aware of in regards to a purchase contract for their home. Many of these contingencies can make or break any transaction.

  1. Building inspection contingency
  2. Survey and flood plain contingency
  3. Stigmatized property contingency
  4. Accountant review and approval contingency
  5. Environmental hazards contingency
  6. Planning department approval contingency
  7. Lead paint contingency
  8. Loan approval contingency
  9. Attorney review and approval contingency
  10. Title inspection contingency
  11. Occupancy permit contingency
  12. Sale and/or closing of current home contingency
  13. Appraisal contingency
  14. Termite/pest inspection contingency
  15. Subject to someone else’s signature contingency

Home Buying: Location

Are you a urban, suburban, or rural type of person?

Urban lifestyle: city living, being designed around the density of population. Tend to be located near central business districts and feature more of the multifamily type housing (row houses, condominiums, and co-ops).

Suburban lifestyle: Extensions of urban neighborhoods, but with more room for homes and less density. Usually located near schools, parks, and amenities that are family focuses and kept separate from work.

Rural lifestyle: Living in a country or farming type of lifestyle. Tend to be more focused on the land itself, away from the densely populated areas and business sectors.

When deciding the right lifestyle for you, taking the following into consideration:

  • Proximity to jobs/schools
  • Proximity to friends/family
  • School district
  • Shopping
  • Parks/recreation
  • Planned community
  • Entertainment venues
  • Public transportation
  • Proximity to airport
  • Health facilities

When looking for that perfect neighborhood, make a list of the activities (movies, health club, church) you engage in regularly and the stores you frequent; check out the school district; find out if the neighborhood is safe; determine if the neighborhood is economically stable; see if you’ll make money; see the area for yourself (talk to neighbors of homes you visit; drive around the neighborhood at different times of the day and night, particularly at peak traffic times, and try out the neighbors’ suggestions for places to eat, shop, and play; drive to and from work to the neighborhoods you like the best; look at how the neighbors maintain their homes; examine your own attitude; have in mind at least three things you must have in your neighborhood and three things that you do not want, and see how it matches up).

Home Buying: Online Shopping

What’s great about the internet, is that you can do a lot of your shopping online. Did you know that almost 3 out of 4 home buyers actually do their home shopping online!?! What is great about these online searches is that a consumer is able to narrow their search by shopping for specifics, for example the number of bedrooms, number of baths, square footage, garage/parking, lot size, and so much more. They can even narrow down by price range. Homes can be located by ZIP code, price, special features, video tours, pictures. The neighborhoods can be explored via aerial maps, crime statistics, school ratings, and so on.

Shopping online is not as easy as it may sound. (1) There is no single online location with all the listings available in a certain area. (2) You are not always seeing the “freshest” data, it some times takes time for these listings to update to the most current/recent information.

The most and the most recent listings can be made available via a real estate professional. Even if you find a listing through your internet search, confirm with your agent that all of the information for that property is current and correct. With the agents ability to access the local Multiple Listing Service, they will be able to research the necessary information quickly.

The internet is a great place when conducting home research. You can gain information about neighborhoods, home features, and other pertinent factors. It can help in eliminating or adding certain homes and with that research in hand, you’ll be better equipped to make a decision when it comes time to purchase.

Home Buying: Wish List

We have been covering so much information over the past couple of days, that it can be a bit overwhelming. So, lets go ahead and move forward to the fun part – creating a property wish list.

You may find that your opinions may change over time the more you view and shop for a home, so here is a list to help in prioritizing and in making the shopping less time consuming:

  • How close do you need to be to the following: Public transportation, schools, airport, shopping, other
  • What neighborhoods do you prefer
  • What school systems do you want to be near
  • What architectural style(s) of home do you prefer
  • Do you want a one- or two-story house
  • How old of a home would you consider
  • How much repair or renovation are you willing to do
  • Do you have special facility needs that your home must have
  • Do you require a fenced yard or other amenities

Next you should create a priority list, with taking into consideration some of the following items (as either a must have or a would prefer):

  • Yard (size)
  • Garage (size)
  • Patio/deck
  • Pool
  • Bedrooms (number)
  • Bathrooms (number)
  • Family room
  • Formal living room
  • Formal dining room
  • Eat-in kitchen
  • Laundry room
  • Fireplace
  • Spa in bath
  • Air-conditioning
  • Wall-to-wall carpet
  • Hardwood floors
  • View
  • Light – windows
  • Shade

Home Buying: The Adventure

The first initial step when it comes to purchasing a home is to simply understand your need to buy a home – why do you want to buy a home? Your answer to that specific question will help you to learn something about your needs, such as space requirements or the number of rooms you may need. Over all, you need to be able to fully analyze the reason behind why you are wanting to put out the expense of purchasing the home, moving, and the problems that can be solved with such a purchase. Following are some great questions to ask yourself:

  1. Where do you want to live?
  2. What characteristics do you want in a home?
  3. What activities will you be able to do?

Once who have answered those questions, and the answers are to your liking, it is then time to move forward on the grand adventure of home buying. Here are ten tips to assist you with the home buying process:

  1. Be picky, but don’t be unrealistic
  2. Do your homework before you start looking
  3. Get your finances in order
  4. Don’t wait to get a loan
  5. Don’t ask too many people for their opinions
  6. Decide when you are able to move
  7. Think long-term
  8. Don’t let yourself become house poor
  9. Do not be naïve
  10. Get help

Not only can the home buying process be exciting, it can also be very intimidating as well – with this being one of the largest investments you will possibly ever make. You need to decide how much home you can afford, you need to develop a wish list of what you’d like your home to have, you should select three or four neighborhoods you’d like to live in, you need to determine if you have enough saved to cover the down payment and closing costs, you need to get your credit in order, you need to determine how large of a mortgage you can qualify for, you should organize all documentation a lender will need to preapprove you for a loan, you should do some research to determine if you qualify for any special mortgage or down payment assistance programs, you should calculate the costs of home ownership (including property taxes, insurance, maintenance, and association fees – if applicable), you should find an experienced agent who can help your through the process.

Before buying a home, though, it is important to consider your finances. There are many financial factors to consider when you become a home owner. Some are significant to a lender (employment history, down payment amount, gross income versus debts, and credit history), but it is important to look past that mortgage and at the whole picture. Outside of the mortgage, you will still have your monthly obligations to meet – monthly payment of principal, interest, homeowner’s insurance, and property taxes; home operating expenses; transportation costs; revolving credit card accounts; other monthly costs (for example student loan, car payments, electronics, phones); and savings and retirement (401ks, investments, savings).

It all seems pretty intimidating, but it is very much achievable. Here are eight steps to help you get those wayward finances in order:

  1. Develop a family budget
  2. Reduce your debt
  3. Get a handle on expenses
  4. Increase income
  5. Save for a down payment
  6. Create a house fund
  7. Keep you job
  8. Establish a good credit history

Home Buying: Introduction

Buying a new home can seem like a daunting task. It will most likely be one of the largest investments you will ever make. When it comes to starting the process of purchasing a home, there are several things that you need to ask yourself and options that need to be considered. For example:

  • Hiring a real estate agent
  • The costs and rewards of homeownership
  • Deciding how much home to buy
  • Preparing your finances
  • Finding the right lender/loan program
  • Shopping for homes
  • Choosing the right community/lifestyle
  • Advantages an disadvantages of new homes and existing homes
  • Making an offer
  • Steps of a typical transaction
  • Who pays for what?
  • Moving day

Over the next couple of weeks, I am planning on covering most of these topics for you. In the hopes that you are able to gain a greater understanding and to become comfortable with the whole home purchasing process.



Written By: Jan Walker

Imagine a community where families make their homes from generation to generation. A community in a setting so beautiful that people love coming home to it each day. A place that fosters friendliness, where neighbors know each other by name and greet each other with a smile and a wave. A place where people can live in harmony with nature, look out over a pristine landscape, and celebrate the sunrise and sunset every day.

A Norman Rockwell fantasy? No. It’s called Monterra, and you’ll find it nestled in the gently rolling hills overlooking Monterey Bay.

Monterra, an exclusive development on nearly 2,000 acres on the Monterey Peninsula, consisting of just 168 homesites.

The first homesite at Monterra turned out to be the founder Mills’ own.

Per the project manager, the house had already been designed and the foundation had already been laid, so Little worked to modify the existing plans and expand on the design. Mills’ original home plans encompassed approximately 7,000 square feet. Little added an upstairs bedroom and apartment with a separate entrance, a wine cellar, and additional bedrooms, among other changes.

Mills’ home has indeed become the first place most potential homebuyers at Monterra see, and he makes it available as an inspiration source for their home designs.

Mills’ home began as something of a Craftsman-style huse.

The lay of the land plays a vital role in home designs at Monterra. Preserving a sense of surrounding and enhancing the natural environment is a key factor in the structure of the community, with its limited number of lots. Residents enjoy looking out from their homes and seeing the countryside, and not feeling as though they’re living on top of their neighbors.

The exterior of Mills’ home echoes the landscape.

The landscaping plans called for a rich variety of indigenous, drought-resistant plants. About 30 trees were planted or relocated to the property, which blends seamlessly with its natural surrounding.

The entrance to Mills’ home is enhanced with a trio of dramatic arches and a 12-foot-high front door. A statue of a woman trumpeter by renowned sculptor Richard MacDonald welcomes guests.

Inside, the goal was to achieve a warm and inviting atmosphere.

Touches like the beautifully hand-painted ceilings in the foyer and dining room add a classical appeal to the home. The color scheme for the house is anchored with tan and expands into muted green with some complementary brown and red tones added.

The size of the rooms, with the varying ceiling heights, called for oversized furnishings that wouldn’t be overwhelmed by the sense of space. Textures, including grasscloth wallpaper in many of the rooms and handcrafted plasterwork, add depth and character to the interior.

Wool rugs and upholstery provide additional weight and texture. Hand-hewn floors of hickory and pecan add inviting warmth to the dining room and kitchen. Cobblestone from France was used in the hallway and reclaimed lumber for the home’s beams and trellises.

A wine cellar below the kitchen also serves as an intimate dining spot. Food is delivered downstairs by dumbwaiter.

A Crestron Smart Home system allows Mills to electronically control lighting, temperature, security, and audio-visual equipment at the touch of a button.

Just outside the living room, a large outdoor fireplace serves as a focal point and gathering place.

Entertaining is a large part of Mills’ life at Monterra. In addition to fundraisers for local non-profit and community organizations, he also opens his home to host activities for residents.

Outside the attached three-car garage, there’s an additional detached three-car garage and a spacious motor court. Mills makes use of the space by inviting luxury automobile makers including Bently and Bugatti to come and showcase their newest models. Residents are invited to test-drive the cars around the Monterra community.

Mills often hosts cooking classes in his kitchen, taught by well-known chefs. After the class, guests stay for lunch and enjoy the meal they watched being prepared.

On the second Wednesday of each month, Mills hosts a family movie night at his home for residents with children. Monterra residents also enjoy photo walks in the surrounding countryside hosted by professional photographers and nature hikes led by local naturalists who introduce newcomers to the region’s flora and fauna.

Questions to Ask Yourself

  1. Why do you want to buy a home?
  2. Where do you want to live?
  3. What characteristics do you want in your home?
  4. What activities will you be able to do?

Neighborhood Factors

Most buyers view neighborhood quality as the most important factor. Other factors include:

  • Proximity to jobs/school
  • Proximity to friends/family
  • School district
  • Shopping
  • Park/recreation
  • Planned community
  • Entertainment venues
  • Public transportation
  • Proximity to airport
  • Health facilities