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Buying with Kelly Kemp

The home buying experience will always be different for every person, depending on their specific needs and wants. Sometimes it’s budget. Other times it’s timeline. No matter what the variables are, it’s important to have a solid process you can rely on throughout the experience.


Think of a recipe for baking cookies. An adjustment here and there can always be made, but certain aspects of the procedure must be performed in a particular sequence in order for the desired results to be achieved. For example: you can’t really bake flour on its own and expect a satisfactory outcome.


Navigating through the home buying process is no different. Therefore, regardless of your specific needs and wants, you can rest assured that because of her expertise, attention to detail, and tried-and-true process, your buying experience with Kelly will always yield the best results possible.


No matter how many properties you’ve purchased, you’re sure to find valuable resource here. Whether it’s regarding the home buying process, traditional timelines associated with certain processes, typical scenarios you often encounter, or simply frequently asked questions, Kelly has made sure it’s all as available as can be.

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The Buying Process

Home Purchase Timeline

Case Studies


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The Buying Process

Buying Process

- Step 1: Let's figure out the money, honey! -

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Got cash? Fantastic! Need financing? Read on!

If you’re able to purchase your next property with cash, then you can skip this part. But in the event you’ll be seeking financing in the form of a home loan, this section will be helpful to know.


In order to know how much home you can afford, you’ll need to complete the pre-approval process with a reliable lender. This is usually a quick, painless process, and will provide an estimate of what you can expect your budget to be in only a few minutes. Even though this is normally a quick, hassle-free experience, here are a few key takeaways to keep in mind: 

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The lender at your bank is probably not your best bet.

No, there’s nothing wrong with them, per se, it’s just that big-box banks don’t tend to incentivize their loan officers with any sort of compensation that will ensure they’re working as hard as possible to get your home loan over the finish line.


In other words, independent mortgage officers typically don’t earn any income unless the house officially closes (same with real estate agents and their commission). This, of course, isn’t always the case, but it’s something to consider. 


Monthly Payment vs. Purchase Price

Once you have your approved amount, you can start shopping! However, another thing to keep in mind is that you don’t always have to consider the overall amount/purchase price you can spend. It’s helpful, but something much more powerful is considering the actual monthly payment you’d like to take on for your new purchase.


For example: you might be pre-approved for up to $600,000 - congratulations! But if you’re looking to keep your total monthly house payment (including mortgage, property taxes, and home insurance) around $2,500 total, you’ll be looking at a much different financed amount - roughly +/- $420,000 (considering a 30-year, fixed rate mortgage rate 4.0%; does not include the addition of your downpayment). 


Again, your loan officer will be the best person to consult regarding these numbers. However, the main takeaway is that considering the monthly payment you want for your new home is equally as important (if not more) as the overall purchase price. 

- Step 2: What are you looking for in your new home? -

What sounds good?

Now that you’ve got the money part figured out (which absolutely needs to happen first), it’s time to begin exploring the options you can expect to find given your budget and the area you’re looking to purchase in. There are, of course, the traditional attributes like number of bedrooms and bathrooms, as well as the overall square footage and even type of property, but there are other components to consider as well. For example: 

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How long do you plan on staying? 

How long do you plan on living there? If it’s not long, consider the property’s future resale value. Life throws many curveballs at us, no question, but overall, we typically know how long we’d like to stay in certain properties at specific points in life.


If the home you’re looking to purchase is one that will serve as more of a transitional place, keeping future resale value in mind is essential. If the house will be used as a more permanent residence, this consideration isn’t as important. 


Traditionally, a property’s resale value is mostly determined by the area in which it happens to be located. In addition to this, the school district associated with the home tends to be rather influential as well. Of course, these attributes will be different for every house, so when in doubt, ask Kelly and she’ll provide the best guidance. 

- Step 3: It's a perfect match! -

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So you've found THE one!

Now that you’ve found the right home, it’s time to begin the process of legally securing it as your own. This is where things like real estate law and contract negotiations come into play. Don’t worry though - working with Kelly will undoubtedly clear up any possible  confusion and streamline the transaction overall. But before a transaction can occur, your offer must be accepted.  

Structuring your offer - your winning offer, that is.

What creates a “winning” offer, you ask? The truth is, it’s the gajillion dollar question everyone would like to know the answer to.


Do you need as much money as possible in order to get the house? Maybe.


Does the seller need all the time in the world to occupy the house even after closing has occurred? Perhaps. 


Will the inclusion of your first born child guarantee that they choose you as the next owners of the house? For sure! (Actually, we don’t know…)


Unfortunately, there is no sure-way to promise that any one component of the offer you make will end up ensuring the contract is mutually signed and accepted. You never really know what it will take to entice the Sellers - it could literally be one of a million possibilities. 


What is essential, however, is working with an Agent who knows - that the best way to find out what will help your offer rise to the top - is to ASK. 


Whenever Kelly lists homes for sale and represents the Seller, she is utterly shocked at the number of Buyer’s Agents who don’t even ask her what’s important to her clients, and just blindly submit offers on behalf of their Buyers. What an odd thing to do, right? 


That’s why Kelly takes the time to be as professional, respectful, and tenacious with the listing agent of your potential new home as humanly possible. She’ll make sure to ask whether or not the Seller is looking for massive amounts of time to close in the winning offer; if they want the most money more than anything; or an ideal Buyer who will love and cherish the property as much as they have. You never know (unless you ask). And Kelly always asks, guaranteed. 

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How much time does it take? When will we know if our offer was chosen? 

For many reasons, time is of the essence for all parties involved, and everyone wants to know what’s going on as soon as it’s going on. Finally learning whether your offer was chosen or not, and if the terms have been agreed to or countered, all depends on the actual contract itself.


No matter, as soon as Kelly knows, you’ll know. Until then, cross those fingers!   

What if we have to waive contingencies like financing or the home inspection?

We are for sure experiencing challenging market conditions - for Buyers especially, and unfortunately that has meant the need to waive contingencies from their offer throughout the last few years. 


What are contingencies? The easiest way to think about them is to equate them as “if” additions to your offer. For example: the actual Purchase and Sale Agreement is what constitutes the offer to purchase the property, and any additional addenda are what tend to be considered contingencies. This means, using the “if” example, that the offer states how much you agree to pay for the house and when it will close, and the contingencies indicate that you’ll make sure that offer stands IF… you get financing. IF… you inspect and approve the condition of the property. IF… it has a clean and clear title report. There are a lot of contingencies. 


The problem with contingencies is that the more of them there are, the easier it is to get out of the contract and call off the sale. If you switch roles for a moment and consider the Seller’s perspective, you’d want to guarantee that the offer you’re accepting is as clear of possibilities that the Buyer could back out as possible. 


So, due to the nature of today’s competitive market, it is likely you could end up needing to waive certain contingencies when you draft and submit your offer. But do not worry - Kelly will always explain the benefits as well as the drawbacks of doing so, and will do her best to help you understand the nuances of each contingency should they end up not being included.


It sounds scary, but with a little grit and determination, it almost always works out in the end. 

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4. Signed, Sealed, Delivered - It's Yours!



You did it - you’re almost homeowners!


But before you can collect the keys and make it officially yours, the escrow process will need to happen. 

What is escrow?

Put simply, escrow means to hold money. That’s it. A little deeper explanation reveals that not only does the escrow process in real estate refer to the activity of holding money, it also encompasses the act of receiving that money in the first place, and disbursing it to the correct parties at the end of the transaction, and in the correct amounts.


For example: the escrow officer (commonly referred to as the Closer or LPO [Licensed Practical Officer]) will review the contract, order payoffs for the home, and begin following the procedures necessary to close the transaction. This includes receiving the downpayment from the Buyer as well as their purchase funds from their lender or financial institution, prorating all necessary taxes and utilities, and cutting checks in the accurate, final amounts for all parties involved - Buyer, Seller, Title company, Real Estate Firms, and any other associated entities.


Because of the scope of responsibility this process demands, a neutral, third party is almost always the entity that oversees Escrow. Sometimes escrow companies are standalone entities, but more often than not, they are part of and/or associated with a Title company. 

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How long does escrow take?

The escrow timeline is always determined by the dates agreed upon in the contract by Buyer and Seller. 

When do we get the keys?

On the official day of closing, three distinct things will occur:


1.  All documents associated with the transaction will be (or have been) signed in their entirety by all parties.


2.  All funds required for the purchase will have been received as well as disbursed.


3.  The new deed to the property will be recorded at the County courthouse in conjunction with the location of the property. 


After these three activities have occurred, you are the official owner, and can receive the keys at 9pm on the day of closing per the contract. 

Taking the Key

- Step 5: We're closed! -

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Now what?

Just because your home buying process is officially over, your experience with Kelly is not and will continue to last for years to come! After you’ve closed, Kelly will make sure your possession of the house and transition to move in are both as seamless as can be. 

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What if something Buyer and Seller agreed upon hasn’t happened?  

In the event a specific agreement has not been met or fulfilled per the mutually agreed upon contract, Kelly will get to work immediately to ensure that it happens as quickly and efficiently as possible. 

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That about does it!

In conclusion, the Home Buying Process is different for everyone, and the outline listed here is by no means a static method for every transaction. However, each of these points hopefully serves as useful information that will assist you in your next purchase.   

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- Typical Home Purchase Timeline -

Buying Timeline

How long does it take?

While very transaction is different, as well as the overall Buying Process, there are a few timelines that are more or less fairly accurate in defining the anticipated length of each step throughout the experience. (Event  —>  Typical Timeframe). For example: 

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Pre-approval Process for Home Financing

1 to 2 weeks
(or sooner)

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Almost always...

Again, every transaction is different, and throughout your buying process, Kelly will ensure each timeline is clearly presented and explained as soon as they’ve been identified and defined. 

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- Case Studies & Typical Home Buying Scenarios -

Buying Scenarios

Not just reviews.

Instead of only providing client testimonials for review, Kelly believes in offering a variety of “what if” scenarios to help her Buyers better understand the Home Buying Process overall, compiled both from past experiences (case studies) and culminated expertise. 


Following are a series of case studies to help gain deeper understanding of buying your next home. 

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Case Study #1

In a recent transaction, Kelly represented Buyers who really wanted to buy in a specific area - as did so many others. Whenever a home came up for sale there, it was common for multiple offers to stream in, resulting in several parties losing out to the competition. For these specific Buyers, the exact right home finally came on the market, and after quickly showing it to them, Kelly knew there was only one way to ensure she had done everything possible to help them get it: communicate with the Listing Agent. Endless calls, texts, and email were exchanged, relentlessly asking where her client’s offer stood amongst the others, and how they could improve and/or resubmit it. In the end, because of her determination and grit, Kelly’s Buyers won the house - not specifically because of putting up more money, but because Kelly had steadily asked what mattered to the Sellers, and how her client’s offer could accommodate everything they were looking for.   

Case Study #2

There’s no denying that sometimes, Buyers are simply unable to compete with the sort of attributes that can often arise in competitive offer situations. Perhaps they don’t have the same budget, or don’t feel comfortable waiving the same contingencies. Additionally, typically because of escalating prices, their overall dollar does not go as far when it’s mostly used to continue bidding up the offer. It was this exact scenario that led Kelly to encourage her recent Buyers to consider looking in a different geographic area. Even though it was not the specific neighborhood they wanted to be in, Kelly knew (because of her extensive knowledge of the local area) that her other recommendation possessed all of the same components they desired. At first they were reluctant, but decided to give in and take her advice. After only one neighborhood tour and a few showings of nearby homes, they were more than convinced, and ended up purchasing a home that was nearly twice the size of houses they had been looking at previously, and for less money. The takeaway: looking elsewhere is never a bad idea. 

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Case Study #3

In one case, Kelly gained a new Buyer that needed to purchase as quickly as possible. They had received a job transfer to the area, and did not feel comfortable wasting their money on a rental situation. With swift determination, Kelly took their budget and overall wish list, and helped them distinguish which local area would provide them everything they were looking for. Knowing that time constraints would not really allow for bidding wars and other lengthy, multiple offer situations, Kelly encouraged her buyers to tour homes that were slightly under their budget so that they could offer competitive amounts that would immediately standout to the Sellers. Her strategy paid off, and because the Buyers were already pre-approved with their financial institution, Kelly was able to find them their new home, and close the transaction in a total timespan of only 5 weeks. 

Case Study #4

Conversely, it sometimes takes a little longer for certain Buyers to locate and secure the home of their dreams. Take, for example, clients of Kelly’s who had such strict requirements for their new home, that it took nearly 2 years to find! Both patient and persistent, Kelly did not give up whenever a home came close but did not seem to match exactly what they needed, and continued to search for properties that would work. At times, it was a challenge to convince her Buyers to go take a look at potential candidates due to so many which had previously not been a match. Nevertheless, they trusted her expertise, and because each home she found checked nearly every box - but not all of them, they were genuinely convinced that Kelly knew exactly what they were looking for, and would therefore show them nothing that was not a match. Finally, after touring over 100 homes, the exact right property surfaced, and - because of her diligence and continuous efforts, Kelly was able to place her Buyers in the home of their dreams.  

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Buying FAQs

When is the best time to buy?

There are many ways of answering this question, and the most direct one is by saying: the best time to buy is whenever you end up buying.

Yes, it’s a cliché answer, but it's completely true. If you’re selling a home first, the best time to buy is as soon as your current home sells. If you’re looking for the very best deal, the best time to buy is when there is more inventory available, making the market overall more favorable to Buyers than to Sellers. And, the list of possible scenarios goes on and on. 

For more information regarding your specific situation, reach out to Kelly and she’ll be glad to guide you. 

How do we know if the house we purchase is
worth what we paid for it? 


The best way of answering this is to offer the benefits of a home appraisal (in the event one is not available during the transaction).


Another way of answering this question is by recognizing that a financial institution would not ever lend money on a home that was worth more than the amount they were providing in the form of a loan (hence the need for an appraisal).


Finally, there is no official way of truly knowing until it comes time to resell the property, at which point the market will determine the current, approximate market value. 

Do we have to pay Kelly a Buyer’s Agent commission? 

The best way of answering this is to offer the benefits of a home appraisal (in the event one is not available during the transaction).


Another way of answering this question is by recognizing that a financial institution would not ever lend money on a home that was worth more than the amount they were providing in the form of a loan (hence the need for an appraisal).


Finally, there is no official way of truly knowing until it comes time to resell the property, at which point the market will determine the current, approximate market value. 

How can we make our offer as attractive and competitive as possible in order to win? 

Understandably, structuring the best offer possible is the goal of every home buyer, with the hopes of winning over the competition and securing the house as theirs. But, due to the unique nature of real estate and its ever-changing landscape, there is no for-sure way to know whether the offer you submit will eventually win.


Each scenario is different, and intentional, consistent communication between Kelly and the listing agent of the home being offered on is possibly more important than anything else that can happen during the process - something that Kelly is both known and respected for.


At the same time, having as much for a downpayment as possible, submitting as few contingencies as you feel comfortable moving forward with, and shortening every possible timeline within the contract are the most likely attributes to consider for a winning offer. 

If we’re paying cash, does that mean our chances of
getting the house go up? 


It’s an amazing feat to be able to purchase without the assistance of financing, and should be highly commended. At the same time, because the Seller will end up receiving their proceeds from the sale no matter what, paying with cash doesn’t always increase the likelihood that your offer will be viewed as better or more attractive. 

However, paying with cash does allow for the opportunity to eliminate the need for certain contingencies, such as Financing and accompanying addenda, and can - in that regard - help an offer become more attractive to the Seller. 

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Need more info? Get in touch!

Kelly Kemp, Realtor®


Windermere Real Estate / Central, Inc.

1302 Market Street, Kirkland, Washington 98033  /  425.766.1847

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