BUYING OR SELLING?
Whether you're interested in buying, selling or just have a question, I'd love to hear from you and help answer any questions you may have about the real estate process!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHY SHOULD I USE A REAL ESTATE AGENT?
A real estate agent may act on your behalf, providing you with advice and guidance when buying or selling a home. Due to the constant changing of the market, the information available on listings is not always 100% accurate. There are times when you need the most current information about what has sold or is for sale, and the only way to get that is with a real estate agent.
If you are in the market to buy, it would be advisable to use a Real Estate Agent. They can make recommendations on what terms and prices to offer as well as negotiating a deal with your best interest in mind.
If you're in the market to sell, there are several advantages when using a real estate agent to sell your home, such as - your listing will be added to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) so that large numbers of buyers will have access to the seller's property. In addition, your real estate agent absorbs all of the cost of advertising and marketing, and the screening that will be done of potential buyers by Agents. The Agent will also handle the details of negotiation.
WHAT THE FIRST STEP OF THE HOME BUYING PROCESS?
Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is the first step of the home buying process. Getting a pre-approval letter from a lender gets the ball rolling in the right direction! You need to know how much you can borrow. Knowing how much home you can afford narrows down online home searching to suitable properties, thus no time is wasted considering homes that are not within your budget. If you’re looking to see what you qualify for, I can connect you with a trustable lender to find out.
WHAT IS PREAPPROVAL OR PREQUALIFICATION?
These are similar terms thrown loosely around by many loan officers. They essentially mean that a mortgage professional has reviewed your qualification ability from a credit, income, debt obligations, and assets available for the purpose of getting a home mortgage.
HOW MUCH DO I HAVE TO PAY AN AGENT TO HELP ME BUY A HOUSE?
Home shoppers pay little or no fees to an agent to buy a home.
For most home sales, there are two real estate agents involved in the transaction: one that represents the seller (Listing Agent) and another who represents the buyer (Buyer's Agent).
Listing Agents represent sellers and charge a fee to represent them and market the property. Marketing may include advertising such as print ads, internet ads, etc. The property will also be placed in the local multiple listing service (MLS), where other agents will be able to search and find the home for sale.
Buyers Agents are compensated by the Listing Agent for bringing home buyers to the table. When the home is sold, the Listing Agent splits the listing fee with the Buyer's Agent. Thus, buyers don’t pay their agents.
HOW SHOULD I PRICE MY HOME?
You must take into account the prevailing state of the real estate market and especially local market conditions. The real estate market continually changes, and market fluctuations affect property values. So it is critical to determine your listing price based on the most recent comparable sales in your neighborhood.
It would be a good idea to get a Home Value Request, or CMA, also known as Comparable Market Analysis. I can help you with this.
HOW MUCH DO I NEED FOR A DOWN PAYMENT?
First time homebuyers usually only put down 3 to 5% on a home. That’s because several first-time home buyer programs don’t require big down payments. A longtime favorite, the FHA loan, requires 3.5% down. What’s more, some programs allow down payment contributions from family members in the form of a gift.
Some programs require even less. VA loans and USDA loans can be made with zero down. However, these programs are more restrictive. VA loans are only made to former or current military service members. USDA loans are only available to low to-middle income buyers in USDA-eligible rural areas.
For many years, conventional loans required a 20% down payment. These types of loans were typically taken out by repeat buyers who could use equity from their existing home as a source of down payment funds. However, some newer conventional loan programs are available with 3% down if the borrower carries private mortgage insurance (PMI).
SHOULD I SELL MY CURRENT HOME BEFORE BUYING A NEW ONE?
If the built-up equity in your current home will be applied to the down payment on the new home, naturally the former will need to be sold first.
Some home buyers decide to turn their current home into an investment property, renting it out. In that case, the current home will not need to be sold. However, your loan advisor will still need to evaluate your risk profile and credit history to determine whether making a loan on a new home is feasible while retaining title to the old home.
Buyers often have a short time frame to sell their current home when relocating to a new city because of a job transfer. If you are moving but taking a position with the same employer, check to see if they offer relocation assistance to help offset some of the costs.
HOW MANY HOMES SHOULD I VIEW BEFORE BUYING ONE?
That’s up to you! Home shopping today is easier today than ever before. The ability to search for homes online and see pictures, even before setting a foot outside the comfort of your living room, has completely changed the home buying game. Convenience is at an all-time high. But, nothing beats visiting a home to see how it looks and ‘feels’ in person.
WHAT IS EARNEST MONEY?
Earnest money is made in good faith to demonstrate - to the seller - that the buyer’s offer is genuine. Earnest money essentially takes the home off the market to anyone else and reserves it for you.
The check (or sometimes cash) is typically 1-2% of the purchase price, and is deposited in a trust or escrow account for safekeeping. The earnest money is applied towards the down payment and closing costs. If the deal falls through, the money is returned to the buyer.
Important: If the terms of a deal are agreed upon by both parties, but then the buyer backs out, the earnest money may not be returned to the buyer. Ask me about the ways to protect your earnest money deposit and the ways to protect it – such as offer contingencies.
SHOULD I ORDER A HOME INSPECTION?
Yes! Home inspections are required if you plan on financing your home with an FHA or VA loan. For other mortgage programs, inspections are not required. However, home inspections are highly recommended because they can reveal defects in the home that are not easily detected. Home inspections bring peace of mind to one of the biggest investments of a lifetime.
DO I NEED TO DO A FINAL WALK-THROUGH?
It’s not required, but it’s a good idea! Final walk-throughs give buyers a chance to make sure nothing has changed since their first visit. If repairs were requested, as part of the offer, a follow-up visit ensures that everything is squared-away, as expected, per the terms of the contract.