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What Will Homebuying Look Like in 2024

There are some changes that new prospective buyers should be aware of if buying their home in 2024. Those changes are imposed by law and new requirements from Department of Licensing in Washington state.

It all happened initially because of NAR lawsuits and wish from Washington lawmakers to be proactive.

Washington’s most recent efforts to promote transparency, choice, and negotiation opportunities are revisions to the Washington state “Agency Law” that were effective January 1, 2024. The new law requires brokers to enter into a written services agreement to represent either a buyer or a seller.  All services agreements must comprehensively address the broker’s compensation, the scope of representation and all related terms.

buying a home

So let me explain to you, step by step, how the homebuying process now looks like.

  1. Something I always recommend buyers start with is getting pre-approval letter. It's basically buyer going to see a loan officer and provide some required financial information in order to get a pre-approval letter. It will state current mortgage rate loan officer will offer you based on your credit score and much more info, and top sum of the loan offered. This letter is required by most listing agent with submitting an offer.

  2. Contacting your real estate broker. They expert in market trends and invaluable asset at your side in this complicated process. It is recommended buyer's consultation, where you will sit with your agent and discuss everything you want to find in your home: location, size, age, school info, transit info, and many more features and criteria.

  3. Your broker should give you real estate pamphlet (sample attached at the bottom of the article) where you will learn about real estate brokerage relationships. It explains a real estate broker's duties to the seller/landlord and buyer/tenant. If you, after reading the pamphlet, have any questions, you should ask your broker for any clarifications.

  4. As soon as practically possible - enter into written buyer's brokerage agreement. This is main change started in this year! See Important Information for Homebuyers sample at the end of the article. You can even watch my video HERE if it's that format you prefer. The agreement includes term, name of the broker, type of the agency relationship, consent for limited dual agency, the amount of compensation, and any other agreements. This agreement is NECESSARY for filing any offer. Broker's compensation is not possible without existence of this agreement.

  5. Touring homes. Now comes the fun part, which many prospective buyers want to start with (but this is not advisable). Your broker, or you, can set up automatic notification of new listings that match your criteria. Scheduling is mandatory, even though the home is vacant. Open houses are also times when you may enter certain property without scheduling or bringing your broker (though I like to accompany my clients even on open houses).

  6. Making an offer. Offer contains all your conditions to purchase desired property. It comes with all the addenda (attachments) necessary. It expires after 24 hours.

  7. If your offer is accepted by seller, then we have mutual acceptance. Offer becomes valid contract, with all its addenda, and all the timelines and conditions must be watched for and fulfilled. If any of the conditions and timelines are not met, then a party of the contract is in breach. But don't worry, your broker is there to watch everything for you and warn you of the timelines.

  8. Escrow is opened and all pertaining documents are sent to escrow officer.

  9. Within 2 days of the mutual acceptance, earnest money should be deposited. Earnest money is good faith deposit, showing seller your seriousness to buy the property, and it goes towards your down payment at closing.

  10. If applying for loan, that should happen within 7 days of mutual acceptance. Cash purchasers will skip this step.

  11. Inspection, if you put it in the contract (and you should), is to be performed by licensed inspector within 10 days from mutual acceptance. Buyer independently pays for inspection, to see what condition the property is in.

  12. Up to a week before closing, final walkthrough can be performed, to make sure home is in transferable condition.

  13. Closing! This is the day of finalizing any transfers (financial and legal). Recording is done at the county and you are officially the homeowner. Your broker will confirm with you the keys of the home takeover.

REBrokerageInWA_Pamphlet_sample (2)
Download PDF • 146KB

P7_ImportantInfo_Homebuyers (1)
Download PDF • 221KB
Marina Zaric

If any step mentioned above is not clear, please do not hesitate to contact me.

My consultations are always free and can be done any time that's convenient for you, in person or online.

I can answer any real estate questions you may have, and we can start working right away.

Your real estate expert,

Marina Zaric


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