What Steps to Take When Purchasing a House in Paso Robles

06/21/23  |  Hertha Wolff-Arend

A definitive guide to getting your dream home in Central California wine country.

Paso Robles has won accolades as one of the best small towns in the United States — for a good reason. Paso Robles real estate is always in high demand with amazing fine dining options, a lovely walkable downtown, and geography that places it only 30 minutes from beautiful Central California beaches.

For those looking to escape the big city but still have relatively easy access to either San Francisco or Los Angeles, moving to Paso Robles can be a smart move. You’ll feel tucked away in your sanctuary in the hills yet ready to jet set to a more fast-paced environment when the mood strikes.

So, if you’re hoping to become part of the Paso Robles community, I’ve provided this list of steps to take when purchasing a house in Paso Robles to help make it a bit easier. As a Paso Robles realtor with years of experience in Central California coast luxury living, I’m delighted to be your guide through this process.

Set a budget and financial plan

The first thing you’ll want to do when buying a home in Paso Robles is set your budget and financial plan. The median home price for an average house here is just above $550,000, and luxury homes in the area are well upwards of a million. You’ll want to decide how much you’re willing to spend and how you want to handle your down payment in terms of your larger financial picture before finding a lender, an agent, and shopping.

Get pre-qualified

Your next move is to get pre-qualified with a lender and a mortgage that makes sense. You can decide among several options for mortgage loans, and issues like how long you plan to stay in the home, what you plan to do with the property, and whether this will be a primary residence, secondary residence, or an investment property all make your mortgage decision a personal one. Go with a lender you trust with a solid reputation, and then follow their guidance. If you’re unsure which lender to work with, ask your real estate agent!

Find an agent

One of the single most significant factors in making your home purchase a smooth and easy process will be your choice of realtor. Your realtor is your person on the ground throughout the sale. A great realtor will have a list of contacts for everything from lenders to title companies and beyond. They will come with a solid word-of-mouth reputation and have testimonials to provide on demand. Your realtor should be your person on the ground, ready and willing to make the hard calls, negotiate for you, and find you the home you’re looking for. Finally, you want to feel good about working with your realtor. Your energies should match, you should feel heard and seen, and you should feel good about your relationship. It may be the closest relationship you will have during this time.

Start shopping

Now that you’ve gotten pre-qualified, you have an agent and are ready to shop! Your realtor will line up properties for you to view, get you onto the best websites to find homes that meet your budget and criteria and talk you through each home you are seriously considering. This is the fun part!

Make an offer

Once you find a property you’re serious about, you’ll talk with your realtor about how to make an offer. You’ll want to consider things like what market we’re in right now, whether it is favoring buyers or sellers, what the comparable properties in the neighborhood are selling for, and what the sweet spot offer is between too high (which will lose you money unnecessarily) and too low (which will get you rejected). Your offer is a legally binding contract, and once accepted, you will go right to your earnest money process.

Send earnest money to escrow

Earnest money is usually 1% of the accepted offer price you will give to your escrow company or a title company offering escrow services to show good faith. This money protects the seller if the deal falls through, but there are also contingencies to ensure you don’t lose this money through no fault of your own. The money will be held until you close escrow, which will go toward the closing costs or the down payment.

Get a home inspection

Now it’s time to get a professional eye on your new home. The buyer generally hires a trusted home inspector for an average of $400 to spend two to four hours inspecting the house, from the foundations to the roof and everything in between. You will get a report within 48 hours that tells you every detail that might be an issue and affect the home value. If necessary, you can use this report to negotiate terms and conditions with your seller. For example, you could ask that they make the called-for repairs or lower the sale price to compensate for those repairs.

Plan for an appraisal

Next, your mortgage lender will order an appraisal of the home to ensure the home value matches the amount you are borrowing. This price point may also affect your property taxes. If the home is appraised for less than you or the seller expected, you may also have some wiggle room on your sale price.


Now you negotiate. Or, more likely, your realtor will negotiate. This part is where a great realtor comes in handy. Your realtor will help you determine where to ask for conditions, whether the sale price should be adjusted, and how to keep negotiations professional and objective. It is essential to stay unemotional during this process and keep it “strictly business.”

Complete a title search and consider title insurance

You’re close to closing now! The mortgage company will have a title search done to ensure the title on the property is free and clear to be sold and take out title insurance to protect their interests. You can also consider taking out owner’s title insurance to protect your interests as well.

Perform a final walkthrough

The last thing you’ll do before closing is a final walkthrough of your new home. Take it all in — it’s almost yours!


Finally, closing. After 30 to 45 days from the acceptance of your offer, you will close on your house. You will sign your mortgage documents with the title company, check that your closing costs are accurate, check that your earnest money has been returned to you, ensure that the seller's responsibilities have been met, and be payment ready. Now you get your keys, and the house is yours!

Your Paso Robles country home awaits

Now is a great time to start looking at homes for sale in Paso Robles. I, Hertha Wolff-Arend, have a reputation for getting my clients what they want and making the purchase process smooth and easy. Contact me today, and let’s get you into your new Paso Robles country home.

*Header photo courtesy of Shutterstock