Buying with Unlocked

We understand that buying a home is a big financial and emotional decision. We also know that buying a home in today’s competitive Bay Area real estate market can be daunting. That’s why we've created a better, data-driven and transparent buying experience that puts you - the buyer - in the driver's seat.

Step 1: Proper Preparation


unlockedContact Us for a Non-Obligation Phone Consultation

We understand that buying a home is a big financial and emotional decision, so you want a trusted expert by your side. Get in contact so we can learn more about your home buying goals and answer any questions you may have about Bay Area home buying, and how Unlocked can help you. We want to ensure that your home buying process gets off on the right foot.

We can help you figure out your budget, including introducing you to the best mortgage officers at the top banks, and hone in on the best opportunities that fit within your budget. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to Contact Us.

unlockedGet Pre-Approved

A great first step is to get pre-approved (if you require a mortgage). The Bay Area real estate market is very competitive and moves quickly, and waiting until you’ve found a home before applying for your mortgage may result in you missing the ‘offer deadline’.

We generally recommend starting with banks that you already have a banking relationship with, as most banks offer special rates and terms for ‘preferred customers’ or ‘existing clients’. You should also check if your employer has special rates and terms negotiated with any banks - most large Bay Area tech employers do.

If you would like, we’d be happy to recommend the best mortgage officers at the major banks who we have worked with in the past and have done an excellent job for our clients.

unlockedAssessing the Market and Honing In

Unlike traditional agents, we don’t rely on ‘gut instinct’. Unlocked's partners have previously worked at the top management consulting, private equity and law firms, and leverage those experiences to bring data-driven analyses, transparency and insight to help you understand and navigate the Bay Area real estate market.

After you’ve gotten your pre-approval and have a budget in mind, let us know and we can help you narrow down where to focus on your home search. We are one of the most active brokerages in the Bay Area, so can give you insight about the current market based on real transaction data.

Step 2: Find Your Dream Home


unlockedSet Up Email Alerts

Websites like Redfin and Zillow make it easy to keep track of new listings that match your search criteria. You can filter homes based on location, price, size and other property characteristics. These sites also provide times for the upcoming open houses.

We think it best to set up email alerts, so you're seeing new listings as soon as they hit the market. If you need a hand setting up and customizing your email alerts on Redfin or Zillow, please let us know - we’d be happy to help!

unlockedTour Attractive Homes

Most Bay Area listings run open houses on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, usually for the first one or two weekends after the home first lists. You can tour the home at any time during the open house time, and can spend as little or as much time as your need in the home.

When you tour an open house, it is important to get a feel for the house and neighborhood. Ultimately, could you see yourself living at this home?

We’ve compiled a more detailed list of things to accomplish during your open house tour, and would be happy to share that list before you start listing open houses.

If you can't make the open house, please reach out to your Unlocked agent to schedule a private tour. Please note, due to coronavirus, for some home the only way to visit homes is 'by appointment' with your buyers' agent (generally a set 30-minute window).

We will coordinate the logistics for the private home tour with the listing agent, including have you DocuSign the required Property Entry Advisory and Declaration (PEAD) form.

An Unlocked employee will meet you at the home at the appointment time for your private tour.

unlockedSend Us Your Short-List

When you’ve toured a home that you are excited about, let us know and we can undertake our in-depth evaluation of the home.

Firstly, we’ll reach out to the listing agent to obtain the disclosures and see when the offer deadline is. Things move quickly, so you'll want to work backwards from when your offer is due.

We’ll do an in-depth review of the disclosures, complete our Disclosure Review Summary and Custom Valuation Report, and send our data-driven reports, together with the disclosure packet, to you so you can review the pertinent information about the home.

Step 3: Data-Driven Insight


unlockedCustom Valuation Report (CVR)

“What is this home worth and what will it sell for?” is a question we get asked a lot. While other real estate agents seem to pluck a random number out of thin air (usually a very high number), we bring data and analytical rigour to valuing a home.

For each property you’re interested in, we put together Unlocked’s Custom Valuation Report (example CVR), an easy-to-interpret dataset of recent comparable transactions, nearby listings and third-party valuations. We also summarize the analysis for you and give our expert opinion on the price range the home will likely sell.

unlockedDisclosure Review Summary (DRS)

Sellers and listing agents will prepare a packet of disclosures about the home. These disclosure packets contain a lot of vital information. Unfortunately, they are long (200+ pages) and dense, which doesn’t make for fun, relaxing reading.

Unlocked helps you understand the disclosures through our Disclosure Review Summary (example DRS). We diligently read through the entire disclosure packet and catalog every issue we see, as well as give our assessment as to the level of risk of each issue (and provide the page number so you can reference).

We also summarise our risk assessment of the six major reports in the disclosure packet, allowing you to quickly hone in on the key issues.

unlockedOffer Strategy

When you’re ready to submit an offer, we’ll help you put your best foot forward. We’ll help you understand the level of competition on the home, and discuss with you the right offer price and terms based on how desirable the home is to you.

We are one of the most active brokerages in the Bay Area, so we really have our finger on the pulse of current market conditions. We use that insight, as well as other data signals specific to the home you’re interested in, to give you guidance on your likelihood of success at different price points.

Step 4: Compile and Submit a Competitive Offer


unlockedSeamless Offer Process

Everything we do is done to make the home buying process simple. We’ve optimized the offer completion and submission process so that it is as seamless as possible for the buyer.

All offer documents are signed electronically via DocuSign, meaning that you can sign your offer documents quickly and from anywhere in the world.

While we have prepared offers in under one hour, we generally recommend 24 hours notice before the offer deadline to ensure that you have sufficient time to review materials before your offer is submitted.

unlockedPurchase Agreement

When you are ready to submit an offer, we’ll send you a template for the key offer terms for your purchase agreement. If you have any questions about the offer terms (e.g., what are offer contingencies, etc.), or if you’d like our advice on how to make your offer more competitive, we’ll be happy to jump on the phone to discuss.

Once we have your key offer terms, we electronically complete the standard Realtor Purchase Agreement to match your desired offer terms. We then put the Purchase Agreement into DocuSign for you to review and electronically sign.

unlockedCompile and Submit Your Offer

In addition to your Purchase Agreement, we’ll also need to compile your proof of funds (pre-approval letter and bank or brokerage statements), signed disclosure materials and a letter of introductions to the sellers.

Once we have all of your offer materials, we’ll send you a draft offer package to review. After you’ve reviewed and approved the draft offer package, we will submit your offer on your behalf. If there is an offer deadline, we submit your offer right before the offer deadline to avoid your offer being 'shopped around'.

unlockedPost-Offer Negotiations

In today’s competitive Bay Area market, it is not uncommon for there to be post-offer negotiations or multi-party counter-offers.

If and when you’re in such a situation, we’ll help you navigate the negotiations, providing expert advice and diligent representation through the final stages, ensuring you end up with the best possible outcome, whether that is modifying your offer to win your dream home, or passing on the home if someone else is willing to pay more than you think the home is worth.

Step 5: Smooth Closing


unlockedSmooth Closing Process

Once your offer has been accepted, Unlocked will guide you through the closing process. We’ll work with the escrow officer, your mortgage agent and the listing agent to ensure that all of the necessary steps seamlessly happen, and you’re able to close your purchase on time.

unlockedWith You to The Finish

Unlike other brokerages, we won’t hand you off to an assistant for the closing process. We understand that the closing period can be very stressful and time-pressured, so your Unlocked agent will continue to be at your side throughout the closing process.

Step 6: Enjoy Your New Home


unlockedWelcome Home!

Congratulations! You did it - you have successfully bought your new Bay Area home. You now get to move into and enjoy life in your new home.

We’ll wire you your Unlocked 1% cash back rebate, as soon as we receive our commission, generally the next business day after closing.

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