Buyer's Guide

Here is an overview of the sequence of events in a typical transaction, once the perfect home has been selected.

A Step-by-Step First Time Buyer's Guide

Buying a home is one of the most exciting milestones of your life. To prepare yourself for this moment, you need to know what to expect during the process. This step-by-step first time buyer’s guide created by your agent will help reduce the stress of buying a home and help you enjoy the journey as much as possible.

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Step 1: Research

Do you already know where you want to buy? If you want a condo, townhome, or single-family home? Which features do you like and dislike? What’s available on the market now? If you answered no to any of these questions, now is the time to start researching. In addition to looking for homes that interest you, also take note of any changes in asking prices. This could give you valuable insight into housing trends in specific neighborhoods and help you when the time comes to make an offer.

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Step 2: Decide on Your Budget

Notice I said to decide on your budget—not determine how much the mortgage company will give you. In many cases, a mortgage company will pre-approve you for more than you’re comfortable spending, which is why you need to determine the monthly payment you feel comfortable with before talking to a lender. This likely includes doing a full household budget and taking into consideration what changes other than a mortgage payment will occur once you move into your new home. If you’ve lived in an apartment or with roommates, you may overlook new expenses like garbage, water, or HOA fees that could easily blow your budget.

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Step 3: Get Prequalified

Just because you think you can afford a certain payment every month doesn’t mean the mortgage company will agree. Just as they may approve you for too large of an amount, they may also approve you for a lesser amount or deny you a mortgage altogether. Lack of time at a job, insufficient credit, past bankruptcies, or other financial issues can cause major problems when trying to secure a mortgage. Before you get your heart set on a home, talk to a mortgage professional to find out what amount you can qualify for. This will also be an advantage when you make an offer on a home, as some sellers won’t entertain offers from those who aren’t already prequalified for a loan.

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Step 4: Choose a Real Estate Agent

Can you shop for, look at, and ultimately make an offer on a home without a real estate agent? Technically yes, but why would you when it costs you nothing for an agent like me to take much of the stress off your shoulders? Not only will I help identify properties you might be interested in, arrange showings, and ultimately handle the offer process, but I also have a knowledge of the market that you don’t possess. I may be able to steer you away from certain homes or neighborhoods, suggest hidden gems, or give you pointers that will help you find your dream home for the right price.

Our goal is to provide you with the most personalized service that is designed to help you buy your dream home.

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Step 5: Find the Right Home

This should be the most enjoyable step of the entire process (other than moving in!). I will arrange showings of homes you’re interested in that are within your price range. Take notes about what you like and don’t like, and make sure to pay attention to details. Turn light switches on and off, open and close doors, and run the faucets in various rooms. Don’t limit your inspection to the home itself. Make sure to take time to explore the neighborhood and keep an eye on traffic at certain times of the day, the parking situation, and how close it is to necessities like schools and grocery stores.

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Step 6: Make an Offer

Once you have selected the perfect home, work with your agent to craft a fair offer based on the value of comparable homes on the market. Depending on what the home is listed at and whether the current environment is a buyer’s or seller’s market, your offer may be below, at, or even above the asking price. I will be able to help you negotiate if you receive a counteroffer and reach an agreement. At this point, the house will go into escrow.

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Step 7: Have the Home Inspected

In most cases, your offer will be contingent on having the home inspected to ensure there is no major structural damage or large repairs needed. I can help you arrange this, and you can schedule it within days of making an offer. If there are no major issues, the process goes to step eight. If there is, you can renegotiate your offer based on what needs to be fixed, or you can withdraw it.

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Step 8: Select Your Loan

Now is the time to go back to the mortgage lender who pre-approved or pre-qualified you and choose your mortgage. You will be presented with various options based on your unique financial situation, including fixed-rate, variable-rate, 15-year, 30-year, or special programs such as VA loans or FHA loans. Work with your mortgage lender to select the option you feel the most comfortable with.

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Step 9: Get a Home Appraisal

Your lender will have your new home appraised so they have their independent value of it. The appraisal is to ensure that all parties involved are paying a fair price for the house.

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Step 10: Finish Paperwork

No one looks forward to all the paperwork involved in buying a home, but it’s a necessary part of the process. Fortunately, everything will be arranged by your lender and title company and, when you’re finished, you’ll know you are the legal owner of your new home.

Congratulations!

After signing the final paperwork to complete the purchase, you are now the owner of a new house. It may take a few days for your loan to be funded once the paperwork has been returned to the lender, but once that check is delivered to the seller, you’ll be all set to move into the home of your dreams. 

Testimonials

See why our clients love working with us.

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Cathie H.

Kirsten had a great reputation in our Cambrian neighborhood as a very knowledgeable and successful Realtor®. We often saw houses that were sitting on the market get sold quickly once they switched over to having Kirsten represe...
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Jan C.

There certainly isn’t a shortage of Realtors®, but I think it is safe to say that not all Realtors® provide the top-notch service that Kirsten Reilly does! Kirsten smoothly facilitated my buying a home in Morgan Hill in August ...
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James

We were lucky to meet Kirsten because she reached out to us with an interested buyer. Immediately upon meeting her we knew she was someone we could trust in the way she worked with and respected us, our home, and her client. Wh...
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Glen K.

We planned to sell our property with Kirsten at the start of the season. She came prepared at our first meeting with knowledge of the area and our property, with a solid plan to market to the right buyers. She had a staging tea...
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Ann B.

Are you looking for an agent who is completely customer service-oriented? Who knows the real estate market and understands the subtle nuances of varying neighborhoods and potential buyers? An agent who will go the extra mile to...
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Mary

My husband and I just had the pleasure of working with Kirsten Reilly to sell our home for 23 years. Kirsten caught our attention as the "one to go to" for help selling a home in Cambrian Park. I started noticing Kirsten when e...
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Doug S.

Having Kirsten Reilly as our real estate agent was the best choice we made when we were ready to sell our home! She truly is a Cambrian specialist as she helped us navigate the local market and make smart choices to prepare our...
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Sarah O.

Mrs. Reilly helped me sell my niece's home in Fremont, CA. The 60-year-old home was in very poor condition and needed a lot of work, in and out, before it could be put on the market. Kirsten stepped in, lined up all the contrac...
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Jordan R.

Kirsten is an absolute dream to work with from start to finish. I first got to know her when purchasing my home in Blossom Valley, and she went FAR beyond the call of duty - even Facetiming me while she walked through houses wh...
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Terry S.

We just sold our home in Cambrian Park and had a great experience with Kirsten. We chose her because she lives in our neighborhood and we received her marketing brochures and felt she was professional and knowledgeable. She mad...
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Vanessa

I am so glad we met Kirsten! She was helpful, knowledgable, friendly, patient, and she was great at explaining things we did not understand about the home buying process. From the time we saw the house, we knew we wanted to put...
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Ann N.

Kirsten was an amazing asset to my family and I buy a home while we were based out of state. Her help navigating through what can ordinarily be such a stressful time was so invaluable. She was incredibly responsive to our needs...
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Michelle H.

Kirsten is a true professional who is highly experienced in residential real estate in Santa Clara County. She is focused on quality representation, service, and accuracy through her transactions. She helps set clear expectatio...
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Christine K.

Kirsten recently helped my client sell her mother's house after her mother had passed away. My client did not live locally, and she appreciated Kirsten's dedicated assistance with preparing the house for sale, supervising worke...
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Blake

We feel so lucky to have had Kirsten as our Realtor® for our recent home purchase. When you are purchasing luxury real estate, you want to feel confident you have the right people on your team. Kirsten not only networked to fin...
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Edmund C.

Trying to find a house in Silicon Valley can be exasperating to say the least, so we are grateful to Kirsten for handling our house search with limitless enthusiasm and thoughtfulness. She is a natural at intuiting what kinds o...
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Jim C.

I’ve worked with Kirsten Reilly for about 3 years now. I meet a lot of Realtors® in my business, and Kirsten is one of the best. She is the definition of a pro! If you are looking for an agent who puts the client's interest fir...
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James T.

Kirsten is just an amazing agent. She is an absolute hyper-local expert, with extensive knowledge and experience in the home buying process. When my clients want to relocate to the San Jose or Silicon Valley areas, Kirsten Reil...
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Sai A.

Kirsten was absolutely fantastic as she helped us navigate the process of purchasing our first home. She was responsive, professional, gave us actionable insight, and was instrumental in helping us seal the deal. We highly reco...
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Lj H.

Kirsten went above and beyond in our recent purchase of a home. We had some very unusual circumstances, and we could always count on Kirsten to be professional, understanding, and flexible. The entire process went smoothly, and...
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Kirsten Reilly

Kirsten Reilly Real Estate Services
Silicon Valley, CA

Kirsten Reilly
kirsten.reilly@compass.com
M: (408) 835-2962

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We understand that each of our real estate clients has a unique set of perspectives and goals. We design custom solutions that protect their time, limit their risk, and maximize their profit at every step or the journey providing peace of mind while accomplishing their goals.