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Buying Process

When we work with you, we represent your interests and no one else’s. We take the time to discover your personal requirements and wishes for a home, for schools, and for the best neighborhood. We also help you sort out your financial resources in order to realistically find you the best home that you can afford. We’ll get you pre-approved for a loan so you don’t risk losing your dream-home on a technicality.

Once we know what you’re looking for and what you can afford, we search our database of thousands of homes for sale to match you with an assortment of properties to go see. We don’t want to overwhelm you with choices, so we make sure you feel comfortable with the properties we have in mind before we take you out to visit them. We understand that this can be hard work with a lot of details to remember, so we provide you with documentation on all the properties we visit and remain available for all your questions and concerns throughout the process.

Once your offer has been accepted, there will be a few milestones to think about before you can call your new place home.

These referrals come either from our own experiences or from our clients’ experiences. This isn’t a guarantee of their work, but a starting point for your own evaluation and decision-making.


Step 1. Structural Inspection

A structural inspection will need to be set up. We’ll take care of this for you once you have chosen an inspector. Following are some inspectors we recommend. Depending on the size of the property, costs will range from $300-$450.

Loan Pine Inspection – Dan Guestwick
Preservation Home Inspection – Sully McGinnis
Peacock Home Inspections – Terry Peacock
Angie’s List
Crows Nest Inspection – Kristine Messick

Step 2. Homeowners Insurance

You’ll need to arrange for this. We recommend Insurance broker Bob Abolofia, at 425-641-7682. You can also call the person or company that handles your automobile insurance.

Jeff Talbot – Allstate Insurance

Step 3. Escrow documents

You will receive papers to review and sign from both the title company and the escrow company. We’ll help you to understand these documents.

Step 4. Utilities

You need to transfer the utilities to your name and account.

Electric Service

Seattle City Light

Telephone service


Gas service

Puget Sound Energy

Seattle Water, Sewer, Garbage, Yard Waste & Recycling

City of Seattle Combined Utilities
To establish a new water account, you must first read the meter after your transaction closes and then call in the reading. You can also find out your collection information and set up yard waste pick up.

Cable, TV, or Internet

Direct TV

Oil Service

If you have oil heat, you can purchase the oil from any company you like. Normally, the name of the company that has been supplying the oil will have a sticker on the furnace, or we will ask the seller who their supplier was. Most people simply continue with the same company. Whoever you choose, you should also set up a yearly maintenance agreement for the annual service of your furnace. The tank is normally filled once or twice a year depending on usage and size of the tank. Price of oil is about the same with most companies. Note: In Seattle, there is automatic insurance on oil tanks that are in use through the Pollution Liability Assistance Act of up to $65,000 in the event the tank fails. Outside of Seattle, we will supply you with the needed utility company phone numbers by either phone or email. The companies can vary according to where the house is located. Shoreline, for instance, has more than one number depending on whether you live east or west of the freeway.


Step 5. Appraisal

The appraisal will be done on your property. We meet with the appraiser and will inform you of the time and the outcome of the appraisal. Normally, the lender will mail you a copy of the appraisal. If you don’t get one, request it from your lender.


Step 6. The Lender

The lender may call with questions, or they may need further documentation. It is very important to respond to them immediately in order for the transaction to close on time.


Step 7. The Closing Process

You will be contacted by the escrow company to set up a time to sign your documents. They will instruct you to bring a cashier’s check with you for the balance of funds you’ll need to close the transaction. The cashier’s check is made out to the escrow company. Johnine usually goes to the signing with you.


Step 8. The Keys

We will get you the keys to your new home sometime prior to your occupancy date, dependent upon when the listing agent or seller makes them available to us.

  • Real Estate Gals
    Based on 51 reviews
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    Virginia Bunker
    Virginia Bunker
    14:08 14 Feb 20
    Johnine Larsen and her team are absolutely fabulous. I've bought and sold many properties over the years, and Real Estate Gals surpassed all of my previous experiences with agents. Johnine designed the perfect selling strategy. She then handled every detail leading up to the day we listed, including cleaning, yard work, repairs, staging and more! Johnine has a heart of gold, and I can't say enough great things about my experience. Thank you!
    linda wright
    linda wright
    00:45 04 Dec 19
    I have bought and sold many homes in my forty plus years of being a Seattleite and I couldn't be more pleased with the way Johnine Larsen and her team handled the sale of my previous home. I moved into my new place and they took it from there. Contacted the right people to do the minor repairs at a reasonable cost, staged the home, and had professional photos done within a few weeks. The sale went smoothly as well. I am so thankful that I found her.
    Paddy Lazar
    Paddy Lazar
    23:42 03 Dec 19
    I was lucky enough to work with Johnine and her very competent team to sell my home. I have to tell you how easy the entire process was. On her wise suggestion I had my home inspected, as there actually were a number of maintenance items that came up in that inspection and she even arranged to have all of the repairs completed in a very short time. The only thing I had to do was to let the repair folks in. Then, to my surprise, Johnine , had all the windows and the whole house cleaned before listing it. She then had the house beautifully staged and had the yard cleaned up with even a little landscaping thrown in. The house sold within the week for OVER full price! Everyone I dealt with was always kind, helpful and professional, their communication was exemplary all through the process. I’ve decided to rent for a while but you can be assured that it will be Johnine and her team that I will go back to when ready to purchase a new house. I have sung her praises to all that I know.
    soumak ghosh
    soumak ghosh
    00:00 14 Nov 19
    They were representing the seller and I was the buyer. Very limited communication from the agents. Waited days for a response for any email/text. Would eventually get a response after multiple follow ups. Almost cost us the deal. [Update] I have seen all the text/conversations of my agent with your agency. Regarding the oil tank decommissioning, according to the contract, the tank was to be decommissioned 5 days before closing. When asked about so 5 days before closing ( which I have seen the text/email conversations of), you gave my agent very little to no information about it and even said it was on schedule. It was only after my agent called the oil decommissioning company that we got know that it was not even scheduled to decommission it 2 day before closing. Any buyer who was not as intent on buying the property could have walked away due to breach of contract. We got the final documentation 2 hours before the end of closing. It was only after I wrote the review that your agents became responsive. P.S. If you find my review unjust I’m sure it would be overshadowed by stellar reviews from future customers.
    Sarah Donaldson
    Sarah Donaldson
    18:44 18 Jul 19
    Darcie was such a joy to work with. She felt like family during the sale of our house and the search for our new home. We may have found our forever home, but if we ever need a Realtor in future, Darcie from Real Estate Gals will be our first call.
    Brian Heagler
    Brian Heagler
    16:55 02 Jun 19
    I have worked with Johnine and her team for 19 years and have always received personal, knowledgeable and professional service and attention! There is never and pressure and they will guide you away from a property when appropriate, which is always appreciated when a market is hot and the tendency is to move quickly. I trust them and have never been let down!
    Anne Slater
    Anne Slater
    18:03 25 May 19
    Johnine Larsen is fabulous! She listened and came up with ways we could get what we wanted in a house and stay within our limited budget. When we found the house we wanted, she moved super fast to get the house inspected and implemented creative ideas to make our offer appealing. And out of 13 offers, we were selected and got our house. I recommend her to anyone buying a home.
    Amy Burdick
    Amy Burdick
    19:13 24 May 19
    Real Estate Gals made sure we found our perfect house! Then, when we were up against other bidders, Johnine worked tirelessly to ensure we were tops! Her extensive real estate experience combined with exceptional character and integrity provided peace of mind throughout the process. She also made sure we received the right value as a seller and got the transaction done quickly and efficiently. Simply stated: there is nobody better to help you find your dream home.
    Bill Hollman
    Bill Hollman
    22:21 19 May 19
    I'd give Real Estate Gals 6 stars if I could. We have used them multiple times, both in selling and buying homes in Seattle and the surrounding area. I can't say enough about the professionalism, knowledge, and patience they bring to the task of buying a new home, or selling your current residence. And they know the Seattle area so well, they'll offer valuable insights into the pros and cons of any location you may be to considering. Look no further, call Johnine at Real Estate Gals. You will be glad you did!
    Beth Guerra
    Beth Guerra
    01:14 18 May 19
    Johnine was a breath of fresh air in the real estate market. She listened intently to our wishes and goals, and was tireless in her search for our perfect house. She is well versed in both Seattle and the surrounding areas. She made sure all the details were taken care of after the inspection, and made the closing process seamless. She even gifted us with a housewarming present. Nearly 7 years later, we still receive holiday cards and well wishes. I highly recommend Real Estate Gals and will look no further in the future.
    Aidan Key
    Aidan Key
    15:44 17 May 19
    Johnine and the Real Estate Gals brilliantly took us through the home buying process two different times. Their willingness to educate (I was new), hear our home hopes, and support us through the process are a few of the reasons that I highly recommend this team. Speaking of a team, I love their collaborative business model - it meant that we--the home buyers--always had a returned phone call and an ability to look at a house on OUR schedule. Truly felt like they place the customer first!
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