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There’s No Place Like Home

Buying a home will likely be the most important financial decision of your life. Let John Chung help make it one of the best! As an experienced buying agent, I have guided many people in the purchase of their dream homes here in the Silicon Valley. I will work tirelessly to help you find your home then use my years of experience and negotiating skills to make it yours. Contact me today to discuss the role I can play in finding the place you’ll call home!

Whether this is your first purchase or you are an experienced buyer, this decision should be made carefully. Today, it takes more than a trained real estate agent to help buy a home in the Silicon Valley. It takes someone who has been there, knows the nuances of buying in highly competitive community markets, and someone who has the same concerns when they’re home shopping. My goal is to simplify the entire process to minimize stress so that your home buying experience goes smoothly from start to finish. I work at your pace, am never pushy nor do I believe in the hard sell. Many of my clients have become friends, and we continue to keep in touch throughout the years. Much of my continued success in real estate comes from referrals and I’m very thankful for my past clients who entrust me with helping their friends and family, too.

The competitive nature of home buying in the San Francisco Bay Area real estate market can seem a little daunting. This is especially true for Silicon Valley communities. To successfully purchase a home here, you will be best served to take advantage of the insider knowledge, guidance, and support that only a local realtor provides. Following are the important steps I’ve identified that will maximize your opportunity to find and buy your dream home in the Silicon Valley.

The Buying Process – A Series of Questions and Action Steps

First, Ask Yourself “Why Am I Looking To Buy A Home?”

Are you tired of annual rent increases? Have you decided to build equity by paying your own mortgage and not your landlord’s? Have you outgrown your current home? Are you looking for an investment or rental property? Would you like a larger yard? Would you rather live in a different area? Do you want to shorten your commute? Are you downsizing? Having a clear sense of your reasons for buying will help you choose the right property.

Next, Ask Yourself “What’s The Right Home For Me?”

Before deciding which house to buy, consider your lifestyle, current and anticipated housing needs and budget. It’s a good idea to create a prioritized list of features you want in your new home; you’ll quickly discover finding the right house involves striking a balance between your “must-haves” and your “nice-to-haves.” Use my comprehensive form to help you define the home you need and want:‘My Silicon Valley Home Wish List’

Finally, Ask Yourself “Am I Financially Ready To Buy A Home?”

If you’re on solid financial ground and ready to make a longer-term commitment, the next step is to get a realistic estimate of what you can expect to spend, and how that breaks down monthly. However, if you’re already struggling to pay your bills, buying a home will only compound your money woes. Ideally, you’ve saved at least 10% for a down payment – keep in mind you’ll have to pay private mortgage insurance if your down payment is less than 20% — and that’s in addition to property taxes, saving for retirement and building an emergency fund.

The Action Steps

Home Buying Preparation / Financing

Take time to get your financial information organized before you start shopping for your home. Your first step should be to get your mortgage loan pre approval for non-cash buyers. This is also not a good time to make sudden career changes or large purchases. You want to approach your property purchase from a position of financial stability.

Check Your Credit Score

Your credit score will have a big impact on type of property you can buy, mortgage rates, and the price you can pay. Check your credit rating with your bank or primary credit card issuer. It’s best to know your credit profile upfront as your mortgage lender will research your credit ratings from the three credit reporting agencies Equifax, Experian and Trans Union. Again, most mortgage bankers require a 20% down payment, but each lender has its own terms.

Build Your Financial File

This file contains all your important financial documents and should contain:

  • Financial statements
  • Bank accounts
  • Investments
  • Credit cards
  • Auto loans
  • Recent pay stubs
  • Tax returns for two years
  • Copies of leases for investment properties
  • 401K statements, life insurance, stocks, bonds, and mutual account information.

Now It’s Time To Get Started With Me

I like to begin by sitting down together to get to know each other. This can be done over the phone – people have very busy work schedules here in the Silicon Valley – but an in-person connection is best. I want to know what’s important to you and your family and find out a little bit about your lifestyle. Based on your budget, lifestyle, wants and needs, and timing I can come up with the best action plan to find you the most suitable home in your desired community and/or neighborhood.

I take pride in looking for opportunities that will help you build equity for your future. I work at your pace, never pushy, and want you to feel comfortable at all times. You will always be able to reach me by text, email, phone, Facebook, WhatsApp, WeChat, etc.

Once I understand your search criteria, I can set up automated search alert emails to keep you informed of new listings, sold updates, and price reductions of qualified properties. Photos online can often be misleading; yards often look much bigger with wide-angle lenses. Photos also leave things out like the busy nearby expressway and eyesore power lines. So as not to waste your time, I take time to personally go on broker tours to visit the local inventory first before recommending any homes for you to consider.

Explore Communities You Want To Live In

It’s true – when buying a home, ‘location, location, location’ matters. So, take time to get to know the neighborhoods, complexes, or subdivisions that interest you. Drive or walk around the neighborhoods, at different times of the day, to get a feel for what it would be like to own a property in the area. Check out school districts, parks, shopping, and public transportation. Start getting a sense of the community and properties available in those areas.

Narrow Your Search

Buying a home is exciting and inspiring. However, try to keep your focus on homes that meet the priority needs and wants you identified for yourself. Select properties that interest you the most and I will make appointments to visit them or go during the open houses. If they’re right I will arrange for us to view them then talk about how they match to your ‘wish list’ and their potential long-term resale value – considering the pros/cons of each to help you decide.

The Offer Through Closing Process

Once you’ve identified a property you want to purchase, I will get as much information as I can about it so we can plan an offer strategy. I will do a thorough review of the seller disclosures and point out any red flags. Once I know a little more about the seller and competition, I will draft your purchase offer in a way that gives you the advantage over other offers. The highest offer is not necessary always the winner – there are many factors that go into a successful winning bid. I will share my tactics with you during our offer conference. Following are the steps that will take place between submitting your offer and closing on your home purchase:

1. Determine Market Value

Prepare comparable sales for the home to help determine its true market value. Value is determined by taking into account the location, recent sales, any deferred maintenance, and any improvements a market buyer would have to make in order to make the home livable.

2. Review Disclosures

Obtain any pre-offer disclosures for the home and review these documents with you to help you understand all of the details. Should anything in these disclosures cause you to need additional information, I will work to get answers to your questions. My goal is to ensure you are fully informed about the condition of the property prior to making an offer.

3. Offer Strategy

Discuss an appropriate offer strategy for the property based on the condition of the home, the disclosures provided, and your financial capabilities. With our strategy in place, I will work with you to get the appropriate documents signed.

4. Present Offer

I will always do my best to present your offer in person to the seller or the listing agent. I am not always afforded this opportunity, but I believe it is in your best interest to do so.
Once an offer is made, it can be accepted, rejected, or countered. Should the seller accept the offer you submit, you will be in contract and the escrow process will start. However, some counter offer or further negotiation before a contract is accepted is typical at this point. I will talk you through this process, update your offer accordingly and resubmit it. I will always be sure you don’t exceed your prescribed price limits for the home.

5. Offer Accepted/Escrow Period

Once in contract, I will coordinate all deposits, inspections, reports, and access permissions needed for the property to complete your loan process. Depending on the terms of your purchase offer, the escrow period may be short or long – 21-30 days is typical for the area. All cash offers can close escrow in under 10 days or less. I will work to accomplish whatever needs to be done during this period to close the transaction.
Should additional inspections be needed for the property, I will work to get them on the schedule ahead of any contingency removal (if needed) or close dates. My strong referral network allows me to have professionals visit the home on short notice. If any further negotiations are needed with the seller, I will work to get the best possible settlement in your favor and ensure the remainder of the escrow process moves smoothly.

6. Final Walk Through

More of a formality than anything else, a final walk-through inspection takes place a few days before closing. We will visit the property to verify that all is in working order, everything is the same as when you last viewed the property, that no extra items are left behind, and that everything included in your purchase is still at the property.

7. Escrow Sign Off

I will schedule a sign off with the escrow company within 5-7 days of the close of escrow, after your loan documents are delivered to escrow. My intent is to be in attendance at the close of escrow to ensure that all of the terms and conditions are in agreement with the purchase contract.

8. Closing Day

Once the transaction is recorded at the County Office you are the owner of your home! I will get you the keys and now it’s time to celebrate. Congratulations!

The close of escrow is not the end of my service. I am available for you to discuss any details regarding your home, and also provide vendor recommendations to make your home ownership experience an enjoyable one. I am ready to assist you should an unforeseen glitch pop up in the future. Should something break down, or some other minor detail surface – no need to worry. I have encountered these problems before so I know how to handle them efficiently and in a stress-free manor. Even after we close, I will continue to be your resource and friend for any real estate questions or needs.

What my Customers are Saying

Erik F. As first time home buyers, my wife and I were experts at attending open-houses, but that’s about it. Lan transformed a process we were both kinda dreading into something smooth, professional, and fast. Lan went so far above and beyond my expectations of a real estate agent: read more
J.W. We had our eyes on properties in Menlo Park for a while and by observing the transactions in the area for a couple of months, we found Lan and John. We noticed that in one of the recent transactions in this competitive market, the purchase price was very reasonable and Lan was the buyer agent. read more
Zack H. My wife and I have invested and sold many homes throughout the years, we also each owe business that service the real estate industry. We have working relationships with thousands of agents throughout the Bay Area. However, for selling our own home in Palo Alto, we’ve went with Lan Bowling. In our case, the whole read more
Ha K. This is the second time we came to Lan and John for their services. Since we had such a wonderful and satisfied experience with them a few years ago when we sold our first house. We have a strong trust and faith in Lan and her team, we go straight to Lan again for selling read more
Shirley Z Lan is the most professional and knowledgeable realtor I have ever worked with. With Lan’s help, my husband and I just bought our retirement house in Palo Alto. Initially, I was not sure whether she would have enough time for me as a client but finally decided to give her a try after a long read more
Soleil M. Lan is incredible. We worked with an agent for months and got nowhere other than misled about a property that on which we placed an offer. Luckily we were able to get out of the contract, and we were even luckier to meet Lan. Her extensive knowledge of Palo Alto’s market is beyond impressive and read more
Sonia L. We met Lan and John through friend’s referral and cannot be happier with the whole experience. We were looking to upgrade our townhouse to a single-family house and move to a neighborhood with great school district to raise our two girls. Throughout the experience, Lan and John has provided us with well-informed advice that came read more
Peter L Lan represented us as seller agent for our property in Palo Alto. We brought Lan on board during the middle of remodeling, and she gave us extremely valuable advice how what buyers in this segment were looking for which in the end made all of the difference. The property had some nearby road and railroad read more
Keita F. We recently bought a townhouse in Sunnyvale thanks to John. He tried to recommend properties based on our preference but without any pressure at all. He gave detailed and honest comments about each property we saw together. This is our first time to buy a house so we had tons of questions, but he always read more
Patricia D. John is responsive, diligent and level-headed. He went above and beyond to help us close our deal. We went through several rounds of negotiations and each time John did whatever he could to keep both parties moving toward a common goal. Additionally, we had some problems with our lender, which he helped us manage. He read more
Gary L. I used John for selling my old house to buying my new house. John goes above and beyond to make sure that you get what you want. He assisted with preparing my old house for sale to even helping me updates to my new home. He explained to me all the options during the sale read more
Leny T. We just sold our property in Sunnyvale with Lan and John helped. From the moment we met both of them, we felt the connection immediately. They were the one that most stand out among the other agents we interviewed. FYI, the other agents were also from among the best agents in Palo Alto, just like read more
Nelson L. John represented us in the sale of our Tasman Crossing Townhome in Sunnyvale this past October. Although the time of the season historically didn't favor sellers, John was able to close on the sale of our home 4 days after the open house at significantly above the ask. He was always available to us 24/7 read more
Samuel C. John was a great agent. He helped my wife and I purchase a house a month after we met him! We are first time home buyers so we had a lot of questions and reservations. John addressed all of them with a high level of sincerity and thoughtfulness. It was extremely helpful to have him read more
Cheryl & Elliott Sopkin Why would anyone write a review of a real estate agent? Maybe, because they are so good, so competent, so effective -- that’s probably reason enough. Lan Bowling, Sophia Xu and John Chung form the most formidable real estate team imaginable. They have a few specialties: o They listen. o They are respectful of clients read more
S.C. We worked with John to purchase our home in Los Altos. We met John at an open house 9 months ago and he started helping us understand the different areas in Palo Alto and Los Altos. At that time, we were not ready to purchase, but he would update us once in awhile about market read more
Emily X. John is very knowledgeable about this area to each street, and he follows the sold house prices to give good estimation. John is very responsible and is able to provide detailed information. Even after our house is closed, he helped us to find a gardener, ordered fumigation and offered help for other stuff to make read more
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