In San Francisco, the “getting to know you” phase of your relationship with your new home typically starts well before you write your offer.
Meet the Disclosure Package
Compared to most markets, we “front-load” the delivery of disclosure documents in a group of documents known as a disclosure package. It’s standard practice in the city, but not mandatory (and sometimes not possible), to have a disclosure package available during the marketing period for potential buyers to review before making an offer. In other markets, buyers go into contract without having seen any disclosure documents from the sellers, then they conduct inspections and review seller disclosures, then they negotiate repairs to be completed by the seller, then work gets done, then eventually they close escrow.
“Front-loading” the disclosure package by providing it during the marketing period instead of during escrow helps everyone: buyers have more information about the property before deciding if they want to make an offer, and sellers typically get offers with fewer contingencies. Reviewing disclosures early helps you as a buyer to set an offer price and strategy based on property condition, repairs, or other items of note that are important to you from the disclosure package.
No Really, Read This First
In his twenties, Matt enjoyed assembling Ikea furniture without looking at the manual. Hilarious, but Ikea. Buying a home is not an “Ikea-cost” decision. It’s typically the largest purchase in an adult’s life. While Matt could make a badly assembled futon disappear in five seconds on Craigslist, homes don’t work like that.
Read the disclosures, ask a zillion questions, pester your agent for more information, consider conducting your own inspections prior to writing your offer, ask your agent even more questions. You need to understand what you’re buying. – Britton Jackson
A good agent (clears throat, looks around) will read a disclosure package and offer their client a roadmap to review. Our roadmaps help you to understand which documents to start with, and what we see as the good, the bad, and the ugly in a property. However, the things we highlight might not be the most important to you, and this is a home purchase, not a futon. Read the disclosures, ask a zillion questions, pester your agent for more information, consider conducting your own inspections prior to writing your offer, ask your agent even more questions. You need to understand what you’re buying.