Strategic Home Buying

At DeLeon Realty, we make the home-buying process easier on our clients because our agents are highly trained, experienced, and salaried. Buyers will have access to a plethora of services and specialists for post-home purchasing assistance.

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Complimentary Service for Buyers

DeLeon Realty is committed to providing exceptional service to its clients. We invest time, energy, and money in all our clients. Below are the complimentary services DeLeon Realty offers to each of our buyers.

Enhanced Market Knowledge

Finding the right property, paying the right price, and closing escrow on the property of your choice are the most important elements to a successful real estate transaction. Our buyer consultants, who are on salary and not on commission, have enhanced market knowledge within their specialized cities and neighborhoods. Our agents are required to regularly monitor and tour the areas in which they specialize. You will not find any of our agents espousing knowledge “from Morgan Hill through San Francisco.” Before we permit our agents to work outside of our core area, they must demonstrate specific knowledge of our local communities because we believe that localized knowledge is paramount to a successful transaction.

As a client, we will match you to one or more of our buyer consultants who are specialists in your city, or cities, of interest. Moreover, our agents work together to find the best house for you because they are motivated by your satisfaction, not by their commission.

Access To Ken DeLeon’s Market Insight And Connections

Ken DeLeon, founder of DeLeon Realty and a previously practicing attorney, is one of the top agents in the nation. In June 2012, The Wall Street Journal and REAL Trends, Inc. announced Ken as the nation’s #1 real estate agent because of his impressive $275 million in sales for 2011.

With a background in mathematics and economics, Ken has profound market insight into the various neighborhoods in Silicon Valley. Additionally, as the top agent in Silicon Valley, Ken has extensive connections with other top agents in the Bay Area. Oftentimes, top agents share their upcoming listings with Ken before the properties go on the market. Further, Ken’s team receives incredible clout and name recognition when submitting offers for their clients.

As a client, you will have access to Ken’s market insight, connections, and off-market listings.

Detailed Negotiation and Deal-Structuring Advice

The homebuying process is not simple. There are many intricacies involved and only the best agents can understand the complexities and use them to their clients’ advantage. At DeLeon Realty, our knowledge and expertise give us the ability to weave through the homebuying process and negotiate the best purchase price for our clients.

To ensure that our clients receive the best service, all of our buyer agents are required to undergo formal training in the art and science of negotiation. Our buyer agents are trained in-house by Michael Repka, the managing broker and general counsel of DeLeon Realty, and by Ken DeLeon himself. Michael, with two law degrees, one of which is a graduate law degree (LL.M.) in taxation, has both theoretical knowledge and applied experience: he completed a comprehensive graduate-level program in dispute resolution and has served as a court mediator. In addition, Ken took classes in advanced negotiation while attending UC Berkeley School of Law, and his education provides him with the necessary analytical skills perfect for negotiating and deal-structuring.

As a client, our buyer agents will work with you to understand your specific circumstances, needs, and financial situation. Prior to making an offer on a chosen property, we will have a detailed negotiation and deal-structuring discussion with you. In our experience, being prepared, anticipating the seller’s actions, and having a negotiation plan prior to submitting an offer often put our clients at a great advantage, particularly in multiple-offer situations.

Persuasive Offer Presentations

Listing agents and sellers consider many factors when reviewing offers. Certainly, the offered price and terms are important, but other intangible factors weigh in the analysis as well. For example, the professionalism and reputation of the buyer agent and the organization of the offer tend to indicate the likelihood of a smooth transaction. DeLeon Realty agents pride themselves on putting forth persuasive and powerful offers. From personal delivery to the material presented, everything is top quality.

Superior Understanding Of The Contract

A contract, once executed by the buyer and seller, is legally binding on both parties. Knowing the terms in the contract and its meanings are important. Clients should not accept “you have to speak with a lawyer” when asking agents basic real estate legal questions. Case law supports the position that real estate agents are expected to understand and explain the legal consequences of a real estate transaction to their clients. Agents should be expected to know the ins and outs of the contract and all of its implications, particularly since they are paid very well, generally in commission, from the sale of a home.

At DeLeon Realty, all of our salaried buyer agents are required to undergo formal training on the purchase contract–both in-house and through external sources. In fact, we believe that it is simply not enough for an agent to know and understand what the contract says. What sets a great agent apart from a good agent is knowing what the contract doesn’t say, how it can be changed, and what risks are being assumed. The ability to utilize the real estate contract as a tool for better results further sets us apart from our competitors.

As a client, our buyer agent will work with you to answer questions relating to the contract and how best to use the contract to increase the chance that your offer will be accepted at the best price.

Post-Home Purchasing Assistance

Interior Design

DeLeon Realty clients receive three free hours of interior design services from our professionally accredited interior designer. With years of experience, our interior designer will help you plan and design your new home. For example, our interior designer could make suggestions regarding potential improvements, find styles that fit your personality, transform your home living space with the furnishings you already own, and find ways to make your home more functional and aesthetically pleasing.

Handyman Service

With most home purchases, some home repairs are needed either before or after moving into the house. In order to allow our clients to comfortably settle into their new home, we provide seven hours of free handyman services. With just a phone call, our handyman is ready to help you with any home tweaks you may need.

Advantageous Pricing From Preferred Vendors

Due to our high volume of home sales, we have negotiated special pricing with many local vendors. More importantly, many of these vendors have worked with us for several years, so we feel confident in their integrity. As such, they are responsive and trustworthy, always putting our clients’ needs before others. There is no markup or other referral fee from any contractor who works with DeLeon Realty’s clients; all savings are passed on directly to you.

Step-by-Step Buying Guide

Because a real estate purchase is one of the largest investments in your life, it is important that you select the right agent, know the neighborhoods, and thoroughly understand the real estate transaction process.

Select The Right Agent

The first step in finding a house is to select the right agent. Purchasing a home is a big investment with many legal and financial ramifications, so you should not choose an agent merely on “personal connection” or because that agent is “nice,” without further investigation. Just like lawyers and doctors, the best agents tend to specialize in certain types of sales, certain market segments, or other special areas.

Here at DeLeon Realty, we offer just that. We require all of our salaried buyer agents to have specialized knowledge within particular cities and neighborhoods. While no agent is “right” for everyone, we believe that experience, training, education, background, and specialization all contribute to success.

Nowadays, it is easy to locate properties through a combination of open houses and online searching. It may not, however, be in the clients’ best interests to wait until they locate a house to select a specific agent.

Our experienced agents can help identify the right neighborhood, coordinate financing, explain the tax consequences of home ownership, filter out inappropriate properties, identify off-market opportunities, and answer questions that come up along the way. Additionally, our agents will help screen properties during broker tour and notify you when suitable properties come on the market.

Know The Neighborhoods And Marketplace

Clients generally have an initial idea of what cities and neighborhoods appeal most to them. However, you should examine your criteria to determine the areas within the neighborhoods you feel are a good match.

Our agents will personally take you to some of the neighborhoods, give you an overview of the area, and show a few representative homes. More importantly, our agents will provide you with information about local schools, parks, and appreciation potential of each area. Generally, clients should not purchase a home until they are familiar with the neighborhoods and have seen enough properties to truly recognize an excellent fit.

Get Pre-Approved

Getting pre-approved by a local lender or mortgage broker is one of the first things you should do for many reasons. In Silicon Valley, a pre-approval letter is a prerequisite for serious consideration of your offer. Knowing the available loan amount will aid in determining how much you intend to spend on your home and which neighborhoods to consider.

Generally, you should begin the pre-approval process immediately after meeting with your agent. If any issues come up, such as inaccuracies that make your credit score lower than expected, you will have time to resolve them. Our agents can help you through this process and recommend excellent lenders and mortgage brokers. Our recommendations are completely free of any conflict of interest; our agents do not benefit monetarily from providing recommendations.

Find A Home And Review Disclosures

Once you have located the desired property, carefully review the disclosures that the seller and listing agent provide.

Disclosures contain many important items, most notably the property and pest inspections, the seller’s disclosures, and the title report. Our agents will provide you with a summary of the important issues to help in your review of the disclosures.

Property Inspection Report
The property inspection is the inspector’s opinion on the home’s plumbing, electrical systems, foundation, roof, and overall condition. This report will list all issues the inspector finds. The property inspector does not provide the cost estimates. Generally, items found in the property inspections are not addressed by the seller, but they are your responsibility to repair.

Pest Inspection Report
The pest report will look for any damage to wood, most likely caused by termites, as well as any water damage that may be found in the home. Unlike the property inspection report, the pest report will usually list the costs required to alleviate these issues.

The pest report describes damage as a Section I or Section II issues. Section I issues are current problems with the home, such as active termite infestation or dry wall damage in which water has rotted away at the wood underneath the flooring or walls. Section II issues are future problems with the home, ones that could lead to pest or water damage in the future, such as a lack of caulking by the bathtub that could lead to future water damage.

Generally, the seller is responsible for Section I issues, and the buyer is responsible for Section II issues. However, if you purchase the home in “as is” condition, you are responsible for addressing the Section I issues. In a seller’s market, such as the one we are currently experiencing, the vast majority of homes are taken “as is.”

Seller’s Disclosures
The seller’s disclosures contain answers to questions, such as whether any remodeling has been done, and if so, whether the remodeling was done with permits. California is very protective of homebuyers and requires sellers to disclose all known material problems a property may have.

Title Report
The title report is issued by a company, such as First American or Chicago Title, and insures that the seller can convey clear title without any liens preventing a smooth conveyance. All liens that may be on the property, such as unpaid property taxes, are listed in the title report. Problems with conveying title are rare.

Homeowners Association (HOA) Documents
If you are considering a townhouse or condominium, it is likely that the HOA documents will be included in the disclosures or be quickly forthcoming. Important issues to consider include the size of financial reserves, whether any litigation or special assessments are looming, and whether there are plans to heavily increase HOA dues. Unlike the interest on your mortgage, HOA dues are not tax-deductible. Together, you and our agent will review the disclosures and discuss any concerns either of you may have with the information contained therein. Only after you feel comfortable with the disclosures should you consider making an offer.

Make An Offer

Next, our agent will work with you to draft an offer. Our agent will speak with the listing agent ahead of time to ascertain the seller’s desires and to see if you can offer any items of value to the seller with little cost to you. This shows your desire to work with the seller and can optimize the situation for both you and the seller. Regarding what price to offer, our agent will provide you with a comparable market analysis, showing the selling price of recent comparable properties and what the market value is of the current property. Additionally, our agent will update you on the interest level of other parties and whether you may be in a multiple-offer situation.

Acceptance, Rejection, Or Counters

Once an offer is made, it can be accepted, rejected, or countered. A counteroffer accepts all the terms of the contract, except the terms that are mentioned. For instance, a counteroffer may increase the purchase price or shorten the escrow period. A counteroffer can be made to one party or multiple parties. If there is only one counteroffer and that counteroffer is accepted, then a binding contract has formed. On the other hand, if there are multiple counteroffers, which may all have the same or different terms, the counteroffer must be accepted by the buyer and reaccepted by the seller, ensuring that the home sells to only one party.

During Escrow

After the parties formed a contractual agreement, the escrow period begins. An escrow company is a neutral third party that acts as an intermediary between the buyer and seller. In Northern California, title companies handle both the title and escrow duties of the same transaction. The most important job of the escrow company is to properly take the buyer’s money in exchange for the seller’s property. An average escrow period is 30 days, with the vast majority ranging from 15-45 days.

If your purchase contract has contingencies, such as a property contingency, then your agent will find inspectors to view the home during the contingency period. During this period, you can determine whether you want to proceed with the purchase. If you back out of a contract for a reason related to a contingency during the contingency period, then you are entitled to a full return of your “good faith deposit.” Our buyer agents can assist you and ask the seller to credit you for any new problems. Usually, an agreement can still be reached if the seller accepts your requests. If your findings uncover a major issue, such as bad foundation, then you will likely want to back out of the deal without seeking a credit, as this involves a lot of risk. If you have a loan, as most homebuyers do, then an appraiser will appraise your home. Also, our agents will work with your loan officer to ensure that the loan proceeds arrive on time and with little hassle.

Day Of Closing

On the day of closing, the escrow company transfers your funds to the seller and records the deed in your name with the county. Once you are on record with the county, our agent will provide you with the keys, garage opener, and access codes, if any. Other information, such as manuals for appliances, are usually left at the property. While you are the owner of record when escrow closes, you generally will not receive the official deed from the county until three months later.

Enjoy Your Home

Enjoy your new home! DeLeon Realty is here to serve you for all of your housing questions or issues during the escrow period and even after you close.