Buying or selling a home in Salinas? Donna Ingraham can help.

Buying a home is intimidating for many people, but with a bit of planning ahead of time, it isn't very hard. So you'll know exactly what to expect, I like to supply my buyers with a road map of the whole deal. Below are my nine steps to buying a home.

When you're ready to get started, simply contact me here or send me e-mail. I'm glad to answer questions you have regarding this information.

Step 1 – Prepare to purchase a home
There are a lot of things you should take into account before commencing your home search. When you start your search, you'll want to put together an index of items you want to have, get an idea of what neighborhoods and school districts you'd like to live in, and start planning around your budget. Keeping your mortgage payment around 30 percent of your monthly income is a good principle to follow.

Step 2 – Get in touch with a real estate agent in Salinas
That's where I can help. I'd love to set up a time to meet with you and talk about your real estate needs and get an idea of your future plans. We'll talk about neighborhoods, school districts in the Salinas area, the mortgage and housing industries, and any additional economic factors that may affect your purchase today or in the future.

In addition, I'll help you facilitate the loan process. I partner with some of Salinas's best mortgage professionals, so you're in great hands. They'll assist you with figuring out which kind of loan is best for you and help you get approved.

Step 3 – Start your home search
After we meet, I'll start finding houses on the market that best suit you. I'll research many of the houses and reject the bad ones, and then we'll book appointments to view the houses when it's most convenient for you.

When we tour houses, I'll call attention to good features and negative ones. I'll also ask you what things you like and don't like. It's common for buyers to change their must-have list as we view homes and some items become more necessary than others. If that happens, I'll look through the listings once again and trim it down to the house of your dreams.

Step 4 – Understand the housing market
Your agent's awareness of the Salinas housing market is a crucial component in your home search. And I can assure you I'm informed of all the schools and neighborhoods, and I'll alert you to what areas are "hot" and require prompt action and the others that are "cool" and allow for thoughtful analysis.

When we view houses, I'll make sure to communicate when the list price has room for negotiation and also when I trust the home is "priced to sell." Trust your instincts and make sure you ask plenty of questions, as any real estate agent will tell you they know the market. If things don't add up, just call me at 831-443-2121 or e-mail me at, and I'd be happy to answer any questions you may have. My market expertise will keep you a step above the rest through the entire deal.

Step 5 – Find your dream home
I'm positive we'll find your dream home in the Salinas area. When we do, I'll meticulously create your real estate purchase offer. The offer will be tailored keeping your needs in mind, including some contingencies. A few examples are obtaining financing, carrying out the home inspection, and a clear title.

Let Donna Ingraham guide you through finding your dream home in Salinas When we send in your offer, you'll probably need to submit "earnest money." This is a cash deposit made to the home seller to secure an offer to buy the property, and it's typically applied to the cost of closing. If your offer is accepted by the seller, we should close about 30 to 60 days afterward. This allows necessary time for your mortgage financing.

Step 6 – Negotiate the deal
Most deals don't close on the beginning offer, and it's extremely common to receive a counter offer. Don't let it discourage you. We'll discuss whether or not to agree to the counter offer, submit our own counter offer, or decline the seller's offer and go on.

How aggressively we negotiate the deal depends on the state of the market. We'll also work within your budget. And when it's all said and done, we'll compose a contract that is best for you.

Step 7 – Secure your loan
Upon completing the deal, you'll start working with your lender to close the loan. It won't take much time at all if you're already pre-approved, but you'll want to stay in close contact with your mortgage lender. And I'll care for all the property information your mortgage lender will need to close the loan.>

Step 8 – Close the deal
You'll get a Good Faith Estimate (GFE) of closing costs from your mortgage lender within three days of taking your application. The estimate rests on the loan amount. RESPA requirements require that it has to involve all closing costs and be within a narrow range of accuracy, and I'll examine the estimate and let you know if everything looks all right.

Then it's time to close on your home. This will most often occur at a title company or escrow office and will most likely be a smooth and pleasant occasion.

Step 9 – Move in
Congratulations! Now you can move into your new house. Enjoy it. And if you have any questions, make sure you call me at 831-443-2121 or send me an e-mail.

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