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The Process of Home Buying in Arizona

Since I have started with eXp Realty I have been helping more clients from out of Arizona than ever before in my 20 years of selling homes. Which is wonderful as I love to show off our GREAT state to out-of-towners. What I have to remember however is that even the most experienced home buyers may be unfamiliar with the process specific buying process in Arizona.

Many folks coming from the Midwest are expecting to have to hire an attorney to manage the paperwork, offer and closing for them as that is how it is done in many places. Here however , it is not at all common for an attorney to be involved with the buying/selling process (unless it is a short sale and that is a different story!). I have had clients who take the contract into their attorney to review…and that is perfectly fine…but most folks rely on their agent to guide them through the sometimes challenging process.

Just to give a brief overview…the process goes like this:


Prequalify for your financing. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP OF ALL! Please…make sure to get the requested documents to your lender as quickly as possible…and FOR SURE do not make any changes to your fin

Evaluate wants vs. needs and start shopping. This step used to take a much longer time than it takes today. With our super efficient MLS system most clients can help their agent identify properties they wish to look at…as well as “weed out” the ones they don’t like…saving everyone time and gas! The photos on MLS are not ALWAYS 100% accurate…but typically give the client a pretty good idea of what the home is like. As an added bonus you can use Google Earth or other satellite imagery to get a birds eye view of location as well. I also like to give clients a copy of the contract we will be using at this time so they have a chance to review it and ask questions prior to our actually writing the offer.

After we find the perfect home we then prepare the offer. I prefer to do this electronically with digital signatures if possible. Again…saving resources by not having to print and use all that paper is a BIG plus. eXp Realty is all virtual so we try to do everything as efficiently as possible while not wasting paper and toner.

Next, I present the offer to the listing agent who reviews it with the seller. This often leads to a counter offer…and back and fourth until we have a fully executed contract. The day following the day all parties have signed begins the buyer’s inspection period.

At this point we open escrow and deposit the agreed upon earnest money. The title company then starts the title search process to issue a Preliminary Title Report.

Buyer should now be in the process of ordering and completing their inspections. If repairs are needed it is like a second round of negotiation give and take to come to an agreement as to what repairs the sellers are willing to make…and what they are not. If the home is a lender owned foreclosure or a short sale it is most likely that an as-is addendum would have been part of the contract…so the inspections are more for the buyer’s discovery of condition. If the buyer is not happy with something they find during this inspection time they have the option to cancel the contract and get their earnest deposit refunded.

Also during the inspection period it is important for the buyer to shop for homeowners insurance and notify the lender of their choice.

At this point we are waiting for the loan to be processed. After the lender has gathered all necessary documents they submit the file into the underwriting department for final review and approval. It is not uncommon for the underwriter to request additional documentation at this point…so the buyer’s should act on any request as quickly as possible.

After underwriting the file goes into what is termed the“docs” department. This means it has been approved and they are in the process of preparing the actual loan documents…which are then sent over to title.

The title company will prepare the settlement statement detailing costs and charges…applying them to either the buyers side or the sellers side. Once they have everything prepared the clients  (along with their agent…if you are my client) go to the title company and sign. Our contract calls for docs to be to title THREE DAYS prior to the scheduled close date. The escrow officer will give the buyer the final total of funds due to close so they can either wire the funds or get a cashiers check.

OK…we are on the downhill side now! The documents go back to the lender for review. If all is well (and it normally is) they will issue the funds to title and authorize them to close the transaction. But wait…one more step before they can get their keys!

The title company sends the documents down to the County Recorders Office to be recorded. This can take minutes…or hours…but typically toward the end of the day…on the day of closing…we get confirmation that we recorded…and THEN I am allowed to release the keys to my clients!

As always… if you are looking for a GREAT agent to help with your real estate needs please e-mail me at or give me a call (or text) at 602-504-3898 or 888-897-7821 x 114. Plus, I have a GREAT search tool on my web site that gives you the ability to search the entire MLS…just like agents do. Very COOL! ;) Go to Metro Phoenix Homes and check it out! YOU can create and save as many searches as you would like.


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