What is the home buying process for St George Utah?  The State of Utah, like all states in the US, has a process for home buying and paperwork to accompany every step.  Most buyers feel that Utah has a very simplified home buying process, and our State laws favor the buyer thereby making the process less stressful.  It’s nice to have contracts written in such a way that they are simple and easy to comprehend.


St George Homes For Sale Online


Most buyers begin their home search online, from the state they currently reside.  Using a local website (such as this site) will allow you to view ALL MLS listed property for sale.  My site will provide every home listed, from every agent within our Board.  Often, buyers will inform me that other websites show “more” homes.  The reason for this is usually because those sites are not updated daily (or hourly, like this site).  So when you’re seeing homes on other sites that may not be included on this site, are homes that are no longer available (cancelled or pending listings).  Once a home is pending, it will be removed from this site (as soon as the listing agent updates our MLS).  


Paula Smith~Your St George Buyers Agent


Aligning yourself with a local agent is your next step.  It’s important to select an agent and establish a relationship with that agent.  Once you have begun to contact a preferred agent and you’re beginning to make plans to arrive, your agent has already started working for you.  When I speak to a buyer and identify the type of property they are searching for, I set up a preliminary search and populate a list of potential homes.  Together we review the list and add or eliminate to formulate the list of homes the buyer would like to see once they arrive (it’s recommended to do this only a couple of days prior to arrival since our inventory changes so frequently).  It’s okay to call other agents for questions, but it’s important to let them know you’re already working with another agent (more on that in a minute).


Next, your home search really begins.  Viewing homes in person is totally different that looking at them online.  Sometimes they are so much better in person, other times buyers are totally disappointed when viewing in person, their “favorite” home.  It’s important to see homes in different areas so you can really get a feel for the area that suits your needs best.  This process can take hours, days, or months (and I’ve had a couple of clients where it took years!).  Once you find a home you’ve got real interest in, that’s where I begin to research.  I’ll begin to research the home, to try and find any details you’ll want to know about the home.  I run comparable sales and evaluate the price.  I do title research to determine the sellers situation and how that compares to the price on the home.  My buyers are always informed as to what has sold in the area and at what price.  Together we determine a price to make an offer.  


How Much Under Asking Price Can We Offer?

This is always a popular question, and the answer is always “Offers are a case by case basis”.  There is no “magic number” of how much lower you can offer.  In fact, if a home is newly listed and priced really well…while you’re in the office trying to justify a lower offer, 3 other buyers are already involved in a bidding war and the home will sell at or above asking price.  Other times, a rare home comes on the market and it’s probably considered “over priced” but if it has that rare feature…buyer WILL PAY.  This isn't to say you cant offer less on any home…of course you can!  I make offers for buyers on the regular basis under asking price, and often I’m able to gain acceptance.


Can I Make An Offer Contingent On My Other Home Selling

Short answer….YES.  The best situation is when your home is already listed.  If you’ve already got an offer…even better.  You CAN make an offer contingent on your home selling and it will be very little risk to you (if your home does not sell you wont lose your earnest money in MOST circumstances).  


Making the Offer

There are several documents to sign for your first offer, typically I have a few of these signed up front to avoid confusion.  First and foremost you MUST sign a Buyer Broker Agreement.  This allows the agent to work for the buyer, and this is an exclusive commitment (you can not sign this document and then turn around and work with another agent).  The written agreement clarifies buyer and agent relationship and the buyer is confirming they understand the agent will be paid within the transaction (HOWEVER…IT IS NOT THE BUYER WHO WILL PAY THE AGENT…THE SELLER WILL PAY THE AGENT AND THIS WILL NOT ADD ANYTHING TO THE COST OF THE HOME).  When a sellers lists their home, they are already agreeing to an amount to compensate a buyers agent.  So the buyer will be represented and offered information and consultation throughout the entire transaction, with no cost (within a typical transaction).  


The Utah Real Estate Purchase Contract

The details of the contract are very straight forward.  A buyer will not need an attorney present at closing.  The buyer will have a due diligence period which will give them about 2 weeks to really get to know the home, the neighborhood, and do any home inspections they deem necessary (at the buyers expense).  During this Due Diligence period, a buyer can cancel the contract for any reason.  This way if you find a home you love and it’s a popular listing—you can instantly make an offer—once accepted you can get all of the questions answered and if you’re not happy—you can cancel the transaction.  So many times I’ve had buyers tell me “we will go home and think about it”.  They call me a week later and they are ready to make an offer.  Sorry…that home is pending.  You’ll also have a couple of weeks to get your loan in order and an appraisal done (if applicable).  If you realize you are unable to secure financing during the specified period, you can cancel the contract and your earnest money is returned.  Earnest money is typically about 1% of the purchase price, but depending on the situation it may be appropriate to offer more or less. 


If you realized AFTER your due diligence or financing period (both are typically 14-18 days) that you no longer want to purchase the home (or you are unable to) then you may be at risk for losing your earnest money.  The earnest is in place to compensate the seller for taking the home off the market, and it’s designed to essentially be a tool to avoid going to court.  



The most misunderstood time of the transaction is always “closing”.  Closing is the event where the documents are signed and the money is delivered.  You can close here in St Georgeat the title company, or title can set up a courtesy closing in your area, where the documents are sent over to you to be signed and notarized. When you “close” here in town, you are not at a table with the sellers—only the title agent and typically the real estate agent, and sometimes your loan officer will attend.  The element that always becomes a source of confusion is that you DO NOT get your keys at closing.  Perhaps you’ve already wired your down payment to title, you’ve now signed your documents and your moving truck just pulled up in front of your new home.  Well…there is a problem because you’re not moving in and it may be another few days.  While I’ve never personally had this happen to my buyers (because I thoroughly explain the process) it still becomes a point of confusion with many deals.  A few things have to happen before you get your keys.  You first sign your documents (if you’re doing it out of town, they need to be RECEIVED by the title company).  Your funds need to be wired to title (and RECEIVED).  If you wire at 3pm on Friday…it wont be received until the next BUSINESS day (if Monday is a holiday, we’re looking at Tuesday).  The seller must sign their documents.  If you have a loan, the lender must fund the loan.  Typically they fund the same day, but not always.  Then once all of these events have transpired, title will send the documents to record.  Now we must wait for the recorders office…again…if you send this out at 4:55pm on Friday and Monday is a holiday….we wont record until Tuesday.  Once the document records…you are an official homeowner and your keys will be delivered.  


What Fees Will I Pay?

There are very few fees the buyer is obligated to pay.  If it's a cash deal, you'll have title/recording fees which are usually less than $300.  The other costs are pro-rated property tax and HOA fees (if applicable).  The seller will pay for a seller policy title insurance (this will protect your title from any liens if claims are made against former).   If there is a loan involved, your lender will have all of the fees broken down for you prior to making an offer (or soon after) and you'll have the fees already mentioned along with lender fees, appraisals etc....  If you're hiring a Home Inspector, you'll pay him after the inspection so these fees will not be apart of closing. 


As a buyers agent, I’m working behind the scenes to make sure my buyers are staying on top of their deadlines, hiring professional and competent home inspectors, and completing all of their due diligence.  I’m working directly with the title company and their lender to ensure a smooth transaction, while keeping the buyer informed every step of the way.  If you’re ready to purchase a home and you are not already working with a buyers agent, give Paula Smith a call—I’d appreciate the opportunity to assist you.  If you have additional questions