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Escrow Inspections and Appraisals

The Process, Step-by-Step

The Initial Agreement and Deposit.

An effective agreement is a legal arrangement between a potential purchaser and the property’s seller.

Some important tips to keep in mind to streamline the process:

  • Keep written records of everything. For the sake of clarity, it will be extremely useful to transcribe all verbal agreements including counter-offers and addendums and to convert them into written agreements to be signed by both parties. We will assist you in drafting all the paperwork for your purchase and make sure that you have copies of everything.
  • Stick to the schedule. Now that you have chosen your offer, you and the seller will be given a timeline to mark every stage in the process of closing the real estate contract. Meeting the requirements on time ensures a smoother flow of negotiations so that each party involved is not in breach of their agreements. During the process we will keep you constantly updated, so you will always be prepared for the next step.

The Closing Agent. Either a title company or an attorney will be selected as a closing agent. The closing agent will hold the deposit in escrow and will research the complete recorded history of the property to ensure that the title is free and clear of encumbrances by the date of closing and that all new encumbrances are properly added to the title. Some properties are subject to restrictions which limit various activities such as building or parking restrictions. There may be recorded easements and encroachments, which limit the rights to use your property.

How to Hold Title. You may wish to consult an attorney or tax advisor on the best way to hold title. Different methods of holding title have different legal, estate and tax implications, especially when selling or upon death of the title holder.

Inspections. Once your offer is accepted by the seller, you will need to have a licensed property inspector inspect the property within the time frame that was agreed upon in the effective contract to purchase. You may elect to have different inspectors inspect the property, if you wish to obtain professional opinions from inspectors who specialize in a specific area (eg. roof, HVAC, structure). If you are purchasing a commercial property, then you will need to have an environmental audit done on the site for the lending institution. We can recommend several different inspectors.

Depending on the outcome of these inspections, one of two things may happen:

1. Either each milestone is successfully closed and the contingencies will be removed, bringing you one step closer to the close, or

2. The buyer, after reviewing the property and the papers, requests a renegotiation of the terms of contract (usually the price).

Appraisal and Lending. It is imperative that you keep in close communication with your lender, who will let you know when additional documents are needed to approve your loan application and fund your loan. If the agreement is conditional upon financing, then the property will be appraised by a licensed appraiser to determine the value for the lending institution, via a third party. This is done so that the lending institution can confirm their investment in your property is accurate. Appraisers are specialists in determining the value of properties, based on a combination of square footage measurements, building costs, recent sales of comparable properties, operating income, etc. When you are within two weeks of closing, double check with your lender to be sure the loan will go through smoothly and on time.

Association Approval. If the property that you are purchasing is conditional upon an association approval, request the rules, regulations, and other important documents from the seller as soon as you have an effective agreement to purchase. Make sure that the application documents and processing fees are submitted to the appropriate person at the association by the required time. Fill out all of the information completely and legibly so there is no delay in processing the application. If you are required to meet with the association for your approval, make an appointment as soon as possible for the interview. Most associations require a certificate of approval before move-in. Your closing agent will request that the original copy of this approval letter be brought to the closing, so that it can be recorded with the deed in the county public records.

Property Insurance. If you are obtaining a loan, you will be required by your lender to purchase a certain amount of insurance on the property. The value will depend on the lending institution and the purchase price of the property. You may be able to save hundreds of dollars a year on homeowners insurance by shopping around for insurance. You can also save money with these tips.

  • Consider a higher deductible. Increasing your deductible by just a few hundred dollars can make a big difference in your premium.
  • Ask your insurance agent about discounts. You may be able get a lower premium if your home has safety features such as dead-bolt locks, smoke detectors, an alarm system, storm shutters or fire-retardant roofing materials. Persons over 55 years of age or long-term customers may also be offered discounts.
  • Insure your house NOT the land under it. After a disaster, the land is still there. If you do not subtract the value of the land when deciding how much homeowner’s insurance to buy, you will pay more than you should.
  • We will be happy to recommend experienced knowledgeable insurance agents for every property type.

Testimonials

"Dorit and Joel Cooper are excellent Real Estate brokers. They listened to our needs and worked with us tirelessly for over a year to find the perfect home for our family. They helped us re-envision homes that needed updating and they spent hours guiding us, as first time home buyers, to make the right decision. While getting to know our growing family, Dorit and Joel helped us navigate the home search process to incorporate the needs of all of our family members. They were always available to answer questions and worked around our crazy schedule to arrange viewings. The end result is that WE LOVE OUR HOME!" - Eitan & Cassie W. -

"We want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your great efforts in working out everything beautifully and timely with our new home! Your professionalism and willing to go above and beyond to help truly warmed our hearts! We felt so lucky to have the opportunity to work with you on this project, and we certainly want to work with you in the future. We have not seen anyone who could be this responsive, attentive, professional, resourceful and helpful like you. You left a great impression onto us. We cannot thank you enough for what you did for us. " - Juming Z. & Su C. -

"I cannot rave enough about the experience of working with Joel and Dorit to buy a home in Encino. They were incredible business partners, very respectful of our needs and wishes, unbelievably organized and professional, and willing to get down into the weeds on anything- even if it was not a part of the job. I will definitely use them again in the future." - Bryan S. & Bethany S. -

"Joel was amazing to work with to buy a home. He was able to get me in to see homes immediately, and was extremely responsive when I called or emailed. I was able to find a home within two-three months and when the home of my choice fell through Joel was there to find other options. I love my home, and would use Joel again for any future purchases I do in the future. I recommend him to all my friends." - Miriam G. -

"Joel is a broker of great integrity. His knowledge of the market is very good and he was always available to us during the buying process. He worked very hard for us and I would highly recommend him." - Brian K. -

"Joel and Dorit are a powerhouse team -- pleasant to work with and very thorough. They went out of their way to not only make sure I found what I wanted in the price point I wanted, but they made sure I understood what my options were and walked me carefully through each stage of the process. I'm a first time homebuyer who was referred to them by a friend who also had a great experience with them buying his first home. I had an idea of what area of the city I wanted, generally the kind of place I wanted, what I thought I could afford. Right away, in our first meeting, they had pulled comprehensive market reports on the neighborhoods I was targeting as well as nearby neighborhoods. I got a bird's eye view of what inventory was like, how much places in the last year sold for, etc. When I was ready to begin searching, they were happy to let me set the tempo. How many listings do I want to receive? How many places would I like to see each week so I get a good sense of what's available without becoming overwhelmed? Given that I was kind of learning as I went, this was exactly what I was looking for in an agent. Someone very knowledgable about the marketplace, equally concerned with my satisfaction and enjoyment of the search as they were with closing a deal. When it came to making offers, Joel went out of his way to make himself available to what worked best with my schedule. He was helpful in my search for a broker, navigating the tricks that selling agents and developers try to get away with, and gave me perspective on the big picture. I have already began referring Joel and Dorit more clients and wouldn't hesitate to work with them again when I'm ready for the next stage of home ownership." - Theo T. -

"As a first-time homebuyer I had no idea what to look for in a realtor. Joel Cooper made buying a home painless and in some ways fun. Throughout the entire process of picking out a home and signing paperwork Mr. Cooper definitely made me feel as if I was always in the drivers seat. He was also more than happy to give his professional option whenever I wasn't sure of something. Joel Cooper has all the characteristics of a great realtor. He is honest, determined and most import VERY PUNCTUAL. I had worked with 3 realtors before I found Mr. Cooper and there is nothing more frustrating than waiting at a home you are interested in buying and your realtor calls you and says, "I'm on my way". I highly recommend Joel Cooper when deciding on a realtor and I will definitely request his services again when the time comes to either buy another home or sell my current one. " - Felipe A. -

Joel Cooper

(310) 968-2401 joel(at)joelcooper(dotted)com
Joel Cooper - Joel and Dorit Cooper
Dorit Cooper - Joel and Dorit Cooper

Dorit Cooper

(310) 990-4655 dorit(at)doritcooper(dotted)com