Gary Harryman

33 Years of Experience in Topanga/Malibu Real Estate


Buying a Home

The Buyer/Agent Agreement

Dear Buyer,

I am a full time professional California licensed Real Estate Agent. I am educated in the legal aspects of real estate and licensed by the State of California to provide real estate services for a fee. As a member of both the California and the National Associations of Realtors, I abide by a strict Code of Ethics to provide you with the highest level of service. As an Associate Realtor, I am part of a powerful network of professional Realtors. I earn my living by serving real estate Buyers and Sellers with expertise and integrity.

A large part of my work is "behind the scenes"; previewing properties, researching comparable sales, gaining market knowledge, evaluating changing legislations, and maintaining my professional credentials. For every hour I spend showing you properties, I will have spent up to ten hours preparing. Through many sources, I am constantly acquiring information that will help me to better serve you.

I am not paid a traditional salary: I work entirely on commission, which I receive only if I initiate and complete a transaction for you. I am compensated only when all of your needs have been satisfied and you take ownership of your new home or parcel of land. All of the services I provide are uncompensated unless you purchase a property through me. Real estate commissions traditionally are paid at the close of escrow from the Seller's proceeds.

I will invest substantial time and effort in locating your home or suitable land and will represent you with unequalled integrity throughout the purchase of that property. In return, I request your loyalty – your commitment that you will work with me, exclusively, in selecting and purchasing your home or parcel of land.

If you see any home that interests you, ask me about it. Whether it is advertised by a sign, in a newspaper or magazine, online, with a "For Sale By Owner," listed with another Realtor, or not even on the market, I am able to best represent you in the pursuit of the property.

I believe a professional relationship is essential and critical to the successful purchase of your home or land. If you are willing to agree to this contract regarding how I work, please call or e-mail me at:

Phone (direct line): (310) 488-3210 E-mail:

The 12 Steps to Successful Homebuying

(This process is virtually the same if you are purchasing land)

  • Select a Realtor. Establish a relationship with a professional Realtor who can provide extensive market knowledge from his years of experience. Choose someone you feel comfortable with and who will work closely with you to find just the right home. Choose someone who respects your time and will give you personalized service.
  • Initial consultation with your Realtor. This meeting is important because your Realtor will evaluate your needs and resources and you can decide if this is the Realtor you want to represent you in this very important purchase. Your candor at this stage will save you and your Realtor many hours of valuable time. If you have read the Buyer/Agent Agreement, this process can begin with a phone call or e-mail to me. If we have agreed on a professional relationship we can get down to serious work.
  • Get pre-qualified. Once I establish your needs and analyze your resources, I will guide you to an experienced loan officer at a reputable financial institution where you can obtain information on how to get the best financing (interest rate and terms) available and a letter of qualification that we will use in future negotiations.
  • Identify Property to Buy. I will show you homes based upon the criteria that you have established. The more precise and direct you are with me, the more successful our search will be. I will not try to second guess you or nudge you up in price range – I will take you at your word.
  • Write Offer to Purchase. I will draft the Purchase Agreement for you and will advise you on protective contingencies, customary practices, and local regulations. I will help you structure an offer that, based on what I am able to discover about the Seller's motive for selling, will help you get the best terms and conditions possible. At this time you will need to provide an "earnest money" deposit (usually between 1% and 3% of the purchase price -- a personal check is acceptable) which I will hold uncashed until your offer has been accepted by the Seller and we open escrow.
  • Presentation of the Offer to the Seller. I will personally present your offer to the Seller and the Seller's Agent. The Seller will have three options: they can accept your offer, counter your offer, or reject your offer (refusing to counter is rejection). My understanding of your needs and qualifications will enable me to represent you in the best way possible at this juncture.
  • Seller's Response. I will review the Seller's response with you and explain each of your possible responses. You will find that my expertise in negotiating and my knowledge of the entire process will benefit you in reaching decisions and a final agreement. We may discover this Seller cannot come to an agreement with us at this time, and we will move on. Or, we may have to counter back and forth several times to reach an acceptable agreement.
  • Open Escrow. When we are in possession of a Purchase Agreement that is signed by all parties, I will open escrow for you. At this time your "earnest money" check will be deposited into your escrow account. The escrow company is the neutral stakes-holder that will hold your money in trust and disburse all funds associated with your transaction in accordance with your agreement with the Seller, and in the end transfer the deed to the property into your name. I have a brochure I will give you at this time that will explain the escrow process in detail.
  • Contingency Period. This is the time allowed by mutual agreement in your Purchase Agreement contract, to obtain financing, perform inspections, and satisfy any other contingencies to which your purchase is subject. Typical inspections will include:
    • Approval of the Seller's Transfer Disclosure Statement
    • Approval of the Preliminary Report from the Title Company
    • Approval of your loan contingency and your lender's appraisal of the property
    • Approval of the Pest (termite) Control Report and/or any repair work
    • Approval of your physical inspections of the property (which may include but are not limited to electrical, plumbing, heating, and air conditioning systems, geology, soils, mold, roof, and pool and pool heating and filtering systems, etc.)
  • Homeowners Insurance. I will coordinate between your Insurance Agent and the Escrow Officer to make sure your policy is in effect at close of escrow.
  • Downpayments Funds. You will need a Cashier's Check or money wire transfer several days prior to the closing date of escrow. This is about the time when I will give you a brochure I have prepared that will list all of the telephone numbers you will need to get all of the utilities turned on in your name.
  • Close Escrow. When all the conditions of the Purchase Agreement have been met, you will sign your loan documents and closing papers. You will deposit the balance of your down payment and closing costs into escrow and your lender will deposit the balance of the purchase price into escrow. The Deed will then be delivered to and recorded in the Los Angeles County Recorder's Office and you will officially be the owner of your home. When escrow receives confirmation of the recording (usually no later than noon) they will call us. I will get the keys for you and we will meet at the property to celebrate our success and examine your Escrow Closing Statement with you to make sure nothing is amiss.

Normal Buyer's Closing Costs

(You may or may not incur all of these)

  • The down payment
  • Loan fees (application fee, credit report, points)
  • Prepaid interest if agreed upon
  • Inspection fees (according to contract):
    • Home inspection
    • Systems (plumbing, eclectrical, heating, etc.) and physical
    • Pest Control (termite)
    • Mold
    • Roof
    • Geology and soils reports
    • Septic system
  • Appraisal
  • Mortgage insurance
  • Homeowners/fire insurance premium for first year
  • Title insurance (lender's policy)
  • Escrow fee (usually split 50/50 with Seller)
  • Notary Fees
  • Recordation fees for all documents in Buyer's name
  • Property tax proration from date of close of escrow