1. Establish Goals and Expectations
It is important to create an agreement between the two parties involved in the real estate transaction, setting out the expectations of each party, including what kind of property is being bought or sold (residential, commercial, etc.), time frame for completion of the sale, any contingencies that may need to be met, and any other details relevant to the transaction.
2. Hire an Agent
The ideal real estate agent should have extensive knowledge of the local market, experience in navigating the paperwork involved with real estate transactions, and connections within the industry that can help ensure a smooth sale.
3. Gather Documents
Gathering all necessary documents for a real estate transaction is essential before signing any contracts or closing escrow. Documents typically include proof of identity, proof of income and assets, title deed for the property being purchased (if applicable), loan approval letter (if applicable), tax returns, inspection reports, etc.
4. Have Home Inspected
Having the property inspected by a qualified inspector is a essential step in the real estate transaction process. It allows buyers to get a better understanding of the condition of the property, and may also highlight any potential issues or areas that could be improved upon. Home inspections typically include checks for structural integrity, electrical systems, plumbing systems, HVAC units, etc.
5. Negotiate Terms of Sale
Negotiation is an important part of any real estate transaction, and it is important to ensure both sides reach an agreement on all terms related to the sale. This includes price point and other details such as closing dates and contingencies.
6. Sign Contracts & Close Escrow
Once negotiations are complete and all documents have been gathered, contracts can be signed and escrow closed. It is important for all parties to review the contracts in detail before signing them, as they are legally binding documents.
7. Finalize Loan Approval Processes
If a loan is necessary to purchase the property, it is important to complete any remaining steps of the loan approval process prior to closing escrow. This includes submitting required documentation and meeting with lenders to ensure that all conditions set out by the lender have been met.
8. Conduct Final Walkthroughs
Prior to closing escrow, buyers should conduct one final walkthrough of the property being purchased in order to make sure that all agreed upon repairs or improvements were made correctly and that no additional damage was done during the transaction.
9. Record Deed and Other Documents
Once the buyer has completed all necessary steps, it is important to ensure that all relevant documents pertaining to the sale are recorded with the relevant state or county offices. This includes deeds of trust, loans, mortgages, title insurance policies and other legal documents associated with the transaction.
10. Complete Post-Closing Tasks
The final step in any real estate transaction is to complete any remaining post-closing tasks such as transferring utilities, forwarding mail, setting up homeowners' insurance and taking possession of keys. It's also a good idea to keep documentation of the entire process for future reference.