Who is the broker?
The broker is an agent who is authorized to open and run his/her own agency. The broker is licensed and authorized to buy or sell for a principal on a commission basis without having title to the property. All real estate offices have one principal broker.
Is an older home as good a value as a new home?
This is really just a matter of preference, but both newer and older homes offer distinct advantages, depending upon your unique taste and lifestyle.
Older homes can generally cost less than new homes, however, there are many cases where new homes can also cost less then older homes. Most new homes will not have any backyard landscaping and some don''t include any front landscaping either. With an older home, the landscaping is normally already completed and could have 10''s of thousands of dollars in landscaping done, which is included in the purchase price.
Taxes on some older homes may also be lower. Some people are charmed by the elegance of an older home but shy away because they''re concerned about potential maintenance costs. Consider a home warranty to get the peace of mind you deserve. A good Home Warranty plan protects you against unexpected repairs on many home systems and appliances for a full year or more after you move in.
In a new house, you can pick your own color schemes, flooring, kitchen cabinets, appliances, custom wiring for TV''s, electrical, computers, phones and speakers, etc., as well as have more upgrade options. Modern features like media rooms, extra-large closets and extra-large bathrooms and tubs are also more attainable in ground-up construction. In a used home, you rely largely on the previous resident''s tastes and technological whims, unless you plan to farm thousands into a remodeling and rewiring.
New-home designers can use new building materials such as glazed Energy Star windows, thicker insulation and other technology that will lower future energy costs for the owner. Most states now have minimum energy-efficiency requirements for new construction. Kitchens and laundry areas in new homes are designed to house more efficient energy-saving appliances. Older homes, unless they have undergone an energy retrofit, usually cost much more per square foot to air-condition and heat.
Builders have to follow very strict guidelines in new-homes and additions, especially in the West and Northwest, where earthquake safety standards must be observed. In general, new homes are usually more fire-safe and better accommodating of new security and garage-door systems.
Older homes can be better judged for their quality and timeless beauty. New homes that now possess a smooth veneer might reveal the use of substandard building materials or shoddy workmanship over time.
As you can see there are advantages and dis-advantages to each, but it really comes down to what fits you and what you are looking for in a home.
What are closing costs?
Closing costs are expenses incurred by buyers and sellers in transferring ownership of a property.
Should I talk with a bank before looking at homes?
The short answer is YES! The main reason to talk with a bank or other lending institution before you start looking at homes is so that you get pre-approved for a mortgage.
Talking with a bank before looking at homes can help you understand exactly how much you can afford. There is no reason to look at homes that are listed for $500,000 if you can only afford up to $200,000.
Talking to a lending institution before looking a home is especially important if you’re a first time home buyer because there are many first time home buyer programs available. These programs can vary from state to state and county to county, so knowing exactly what’s available to you is very important.
Another important reason to talk with a bank before looking at homes is so you understand exactly what purchasing a home is going to cost you. There is the down payment, closing costs, escrow funds and other items that you need to understand thoroughly. These can be explained by a mortgage professional. A mortgage professional can give you advice on the type of financing you should be looking to obtain and also whether or not you should request the seller to contribute towards your closing costs, also known as a seller’s concession.
Should you buy a home or continue to rent?
Buying a home can be a great investment. In some cases renting may be a better option depending on the circumstances.
Questions to think about when trying to decide on renting or purchasing. How long do you plan on staying in a home. If the answer is only a few years, it’s likely the better decision is to continue renting. Another question to ask yourself is whether you are ready to take on the additional “responsibilities” of owning a home. When owning a home there will be general home maintenance that should be done, are you ready for that?
Can you afford to live after you pay the mortgage - for example.
Should I look for a rent-to-own property?
Rent to own properties do exist, but they are often hard to find.
Homeowners offering “rent-to-own” as a possible financing option do this because they often make more money leasing and then selling their property to people who don’t have very good credit scores. In these cases the owner is taking a higher financial risk. As a result the terms for a rent-to-own must be considerably favorable for the owner. This often leads to less than favorable terms for a buyer. When looking at a rent-to-own as an option you can expect to provide a considerable amount of money down and a higher interest rate than what a lender is currently offering.
Should I sell my home before purchasing another home?
The biggest benefit to buying a home before selling your current home is the fact that you have a suitable property lined up. This can reduce the stress and pressure of having to find a home once your current home is sold. However, if you are unable to purchase a new home without having to sell your current home, you’re purchase offer may need to be contingent upon the sale of your current home. The problem with this is that if your current home does not sell in a timely manner, this could lead to you getting “bumped” by a non-contingent buyer and you losing out on the home you’re looking to purchase, which can be devastating.
Selling your current home before buying a new home will put you in an ideal position to negotiate on the new home you’re purchasing due to the fact you are purchasing without the sale being contingent on the sale of your current home.
Of course if you sell your home before you purchase a new home you may not have a place to live. In this case you might consider negotiating a “rent-back” with the buyer of your current home. A “rent-back” would allow you to retain possession of your current home for a certain number of days after closing at the expense of paying the buyers mortgage. A “rent-back” allows for additional time to find a new home.
Do I really need a Realtor when buying a home?
There are many reasons why you should use a Realtor when buying or selling a home. Keep in mind, not all Realtors are the same. A Realtor is your most valuable asset when buying a home. They will walk you through every part of the home buying process. They will educate and inform you of all your options. They will represent you throughout the transaction and beyond.
What can a Realtor do for me?
A Realtor is regulated by the National Association of Realtors and subscribes to a strict Code of Ethics. Some real estate agent’s are not Realtors. It is recommended that you work with a licensed Realtor to avoid potential problems.
Here are some reasons to hire a professional Realtor when buying or selling a home.
Education & Experience
You don't need to know everything about buying and selling real estate if you hire a real estate professional who does. Knowledge is power. It’s often said that the smartest people in the world are the smartest because they have surrounded themselves with people who are smarter than they are. Most Realtors will cost about the same amount of money, so you need to find the right person for you.
Saves You Time
Time is one commodity nobody has enough of. Hiring a professional Realtor will save you lots of time.
Agents Are Buffers
If your selling your home, agents can filter the spam out of your property showings, inquires and and visits. If you're a buyer your agent will filter out the sugar coating and get right down to the meat and potatoes of properties you're interested in.
Agents either possess lots of local knowledge or they know exactly where to find it. They can identify comparable sales and hand these facts to you, in addition they can provide you data on schools, crime and demographics. For more information they can tell you exactly where you can find all of this type of information yourself.
On average, people who use a Realtor to sell their home get 15% more from the sale. Realtors don’t set prices, but they will help to guide clients to make the right choices for themselves.
Similarly, buyers using a Realtor to help you find and purchase a home tend to get better deals, discounts and negotiated terms. Saving the buyer money.
A good Realtor is an expert in the field. As a result the Realtor is know what the current local market conditions are. This knowledge will govern your selling or buying process. Many factors determine how you will proceed. Data such as the average price per square foot of similar homes, median and average sales prices, average days on the market and ratios of list-to-sold prices, among other criteria, will have a huge bearing on what you ultimately decide to do.
Real estate agents network with other professionals, many of whom provide services that you will need to buy or sell your home. As a result they can give you a list of names of companies that have a reputation for efficiency, competency, and competitive pricing.
In addition, a good Realtor has a vast network of both personal and professional people that can be used to expand your own personal and professional network.
Negotiation Skills & Confidentiality
Top producing agents negotiate well because, unlike most buyers and sellers, they can remove themselves from the emotional aspects of the transaction and because they are skilled. It's part of their job description. Good agents are not messengers, delivering buyer's offers to sellers and vice versa. They are professionals who are trained to present their client's case in the best light and agree to hold client information confidential from competing interests.
Buying or selling a home is complicated and can generate a stack of paperwork between one and three inches high. One tiny mistake or omission can cause all sorts of problems.
Who pays the Realtor fees when buying a home?
In almost all cases the seller pays the Realtor fees when the home is sold. The buyer almost never pays any fees.
What is a short sale?
A short sale is a sale of a home for less than the balance of debts secured by liens against the property. A homeowner who can't afford to pay the the debts may ask the mortgage holder to approve a short sale. In many cases this helps both the homeowner and the mortgage holder. Short sales can be complicated. People who consider purchasing a home in a short sale should seek professional advice before making the purchase.
What is a foreclosure?
Believe it or not, foreclosures can actually be a smoother transaction than a short sale. A foreclosure sale is the sale of a home that is owned by a lender. If you’re considering the purchase of a foreclosure, it’s important to understand that most are sold “as-is.” Foreclosures, if not purchased by an owner occupant, are often purchased by investors, fixed up, “flipped,” and then re-sold.
How is the neighborhood/area?
Home buyers almost always have questions regarding the neighborhood and surrounding area. Real Estate professionals are bound by a set rules. These rules prohibit against steering and providing personal insight into specific areas and neighborhoods. This doesn’t mean that your Realtor can't provide you with tips that will help you choose the right neighborhood when buying a home. Common questions many home buyers ask are about the local economy, crime statistics, taxes, schools and local amenities. If you have a top Realtor when buying a home, you should be able to receive all of the pertinent information to allow you to make an educated decision on areas and neighborhoods.
How are the schools?
There is no doubt that the quality of a local school system impacts property values. Just like tips for selecting a neighborhoods, a top Realtor should be able to provide you with names or websites where you can find information on the local schools so that you can determine whether or not the schools are acceptable to you or not.
What are the average utility bills?
Savvy home buyers will want to know what the monthly expenses will be be. Utility bills are just one of the additional costs to consider when buying a home. Utility bills can be obtained from the current home owner and in some cases, from the local utility company, who can provide averages over the past 12 months.
How old are the home furnishings?
Knowing how old the furnishings are that will come with your purchase is important. Knowing how old the roof is is also important. Other items are most popular items in a home that buyers want to know about are the major mechanical items such as the furnace, water heater, and air conditioning (if applicable). An experienced Realtor should be able to find the dates of a furnace, water heater, and air conditioning unit by looking at the serial numbers. The roof age is often known by the home owner.
How many homes should you look at before buying one?
The answer is, there is no specific number of homes you should look at before buying a home. Don’t feel that if you were to purchase the first home you look at that you’re making a mistake. Same can be said if it takes you looking at 25 homes.
How much should I offer the sellers?
When buying a home, you are the only one who can determine how much you should offer a seller. Certainly it’s suggested you ask for your Realtors advice and thoughts, but ultimately you are the only person who can determine how much you should offer.
What is an earnest money deposit?
An earnest money deposit is also frequently referred to as a good faith deposit. When a buyer purchases a home, they provide the seller’s real estate company a deposit to hold in their escrow account. The primary purpose of this deposit is to show a seller you are serious about purchasing their home. The amount that is deposited is subtracted from the final figure that a buyer pays at the closing.
How long does the seller have to respond to my offer?
It depends. A purchase offer will have a “life.” The “life of the offer” can vary from 12 hours to 3 or 4 days. There are many circumstances that can effect the length of the “life of the offer.” Your Realtor should know how long of a “life” to give to your offer. If you’re looking to purchase a home that is newly listed and the possibility of multiple offers exists, a shorter life is recommended. If the home you’re looking to purchase has been on the market for 3 months and the seller is located out of town, a 2 day “life” maybe necessary and/or recommended.
What if my offer is rejected?
When a purchase offer is submitted to the seller there are generally four possible responses. The first is an accepted offer, the second is a counter offer, the third is a rejected offer, and the final is an offer that is not responded to. If your offer is rejected, meaning the seller says no and doesn’t counter, you have the right to place another offer. It’s not very common an offer is rejected or not responded to, unless a seller is offended by a low-ball offer.
What about home inspections?
When buying a home, you have the option to perform several types of inspections. The purchase offer you write can be contingent upon a satisfactory home inspection, pest inspection, chimney inspection, radon test, and many other inspections. In most cases, it’s recommended that when buying a home, you have a home inspection performed. Your Realtor will likely be able to give you the names of some reputable home inspectors.
After your offer is accepted, what's next?
Between contract acceptance and the closing date, there are many things that need to be completed. After an offer is accepted, you have the right to perform inspections. After the inspections, you complete a formal mortgage application. During this time the title search, surveys and any miscellaneous paperwork is also completed. When buying a home, finding the perfect home is only one part of actually becoming a homeowner. Throughout the mortgage process, you should expect the bank to require documentation, letters, and other items from you to satisfy the bank conditions, so don’t be upset or surprised when this happens.
Do you need to do a final walk through?
As a buyer, you have the option to perform a final walk-through. A final walk through is not a requirement. However, a final walk through is always something that you should do. Generally when buying a home several weeks go by between when you last walked through your home and the closing date. Lots of things can change during that time. A final walk through will help ensure the home is in the condition you expect it to be in when you close.
When is the closing date?
When buying a home, the excitement level is extremely high. It’s important to understand that the closing date in the purchase offer is a target and not a guarantee. Before you hire the movers and take time off from work, know that the closing date in the contract isn’t necessarily the date you will actually close on. There are many factors that will affect the closing date, so be sure you know exactly when it is going to be before you set your calendar.
Why ask lots of questions?
Chances are that purchasing a home isn't something you do very often. It's a dig deal. So there is “no such thing as a dumb question”. If you are unsure of anything, ask! The home buying process begins before you ever look at one home and the process continues all the way up to the final walk-through. If you have questions, contact me.
What home can I afford?
That depends, of course—on your income and other financial obligations. It's a very good idea to get pre-approved for a home loan before you even start shopping. This will not only save you lots of time and ensure you focus on looking at homes you can actually afford, but it makes you much more attractive to sellers as well.
Can I buy a home and sell my current one at the same time?
Yes, you can—but it's the real estate equivalent of walking a tightrope. You need to consider you personal situation when answering this question. On the one hand, if you buy a home before you sell the one you're in, you may be overextended financially; on the other hand, if you sell before you buy, you might need to rent awhile before finding a new place. There are ways to do both at once, and one option is to instate a “sale contingency" in your contract. This means you only agree to buy a home if you can sell the one you're in. You can ask you Realtor and/or attorney how to do include that in you purchase offer.
How many homes should I see before making an offer?
That's completely up to you. While home shoppers these days can look at hundreds of homes online, they only physically walk through an average of 10 homes before they put in an offer. Keep in mind, this will vary tremendously. Some people find their home within hours of hunting while others may not find anything they like for months. If you want to streamline the process, it can help to really hone in on a particular neighborhood you're keen on; that said, if you feel limited by your options, it may be time to expand to surrounding areas.
What do you think the seller will accept as a fair price?
This is a question almost every buyer asks their Realtor. As a rule of thumb, knocking 5% off the list price when making an offer is reasonable and expected. However, there is an almost infinite number of variables and you never really know what a selling is thinking. If the property has been sitting on the market for months, maybe you offer less than 5% below list price. The reality is that you never know how low the seller will go.
How do I know if the property is a good deal?
There are never any guarantees. Nobody can predict what the national economy or the local economy will ultimately do. For that reason doing your own research before you buy is important. This will help you keep surprises to a minimum. Check out what other homes are selling for. What has the trend been in the past.
How long does it take to get to closing?
Generally an escrow period is between 30 and 45 days. There are many factors that can influence the closing date and as a result the speed at which a closing can occur varies widely.
Should I get a home inspection?
Absolutely yes. A home inspector takes a weight off of your shoulders by looking into the condition of the roof, electricity, heating and air, plumbing. Ensuring these things work prevents you from paying to fix them in the future. If some things are not up to par, you can negotiate with the seller to get those fixed before you sign the paperwork.
When can I back out if I change my mind?
How and why you can back out of a contract is dependent on how it is written. Generally a buyer can always back out of a deal, however, doing so without a specific and good reason may cause you to forfeit your earnest money.
What is the MLS and how does it work?
MLS stands for Multiple Listing Service. The MLS is a private database that is created, maintained and paid for by real estate professionals to help their clients buy and sell property. Buyers and sellers can work with the professional of their choice, confident that they have access to the largest pool of properties for sale in the marketplace.
Why the MLS works for home sellers?
Almost all consumers use the Internet to shop for everything, including new homes. If your selling your house, placing your home on the Internet via the MLS is the best and most effective way to get your home in front of potential buyers.
Being placed on the MLS expands a home seller's sales force, exposes the property to a larger pool of prospective home buyers, and creates more demand for the property. The higher the demand, the more pricing power enjoyed by the homeowner - and the quicker a home will sell.
Why does the MLS work for home buyers?
It's free to use. It is extremely convenient. In addition, buyers get a qualified and experienced guide to help you through the complicated process of buying a new home.
How do we determine how much we can afford to pay for a home?
When you are considering purchasing a home and don't have the money to purchase the home with cash, then you need to get a mortgage. When considering a mortgage, the debt to income ratio should, in most cases not exceed 35%.
Start the calculations this way. First, determine what your gross annual income is and divide that income by 12. (12 months) Second, determine how much other long term debt you have. Long term debt includes: home mortgage (principal & interest), taxes & insurance (T & I), school loan, car loan, credit card debt, etc. Calculate your monthly payments. Calculate your debt to income ratio by dividing the monthly debt by the monthly income.
How can I determine my housing needs before I begin the search?
Only you can determine exactly what you need in a home. Your home should fit the way you live, with spaces and features that appeal to the entire family. Before you begin looking at homes, make a list of your priorities: location, size, lot, amenities, etc. Establish a set of minimum requirements. Establish a list of nice to have things. Minimum requirements are things that a house must have for you to consider it, while a list of nice things, are nice, but aren't essential.
What should I look for when walking through a home?
In addition to comparing the home to your minimum requirement & wish lists, consider the following:
- Is there enough room for both the present & the future?
- Are there enough bedrooms and bathrooms?
- Is the house structurally sound?
- Do the mechanical systems and appliances work?
- Is the yard big enough?
- Do you like the floor plan?
- Will your furniture fit in the space?
- Is there enough storage space?
- Does anything need to be repaired or replaced?
- Imagine the home in good and bad weather and in each season. Will you be happy with it year round?
Take your time and think carefully about each house you see. Ask your real estate agent to point out the pros and cons of each home from a professional standpoint.
How can I keep track of all the homes I see?
Almost everyone has a smartphone. Take photographs of each house: the outside, the yard, the major rooms, and extra features that you like or ones you see as potential problems.
Is a private home inspection worth the money?
Yes! For most people, a home is the largest investment they will ever make and protecting that investment by spending a few hundred dollars is well worth it. An inspector checks the safety of your potential home. Home inspectors focus especially on the structure, construction, and mechanical systems of the house and will provide you with a report of any repairs that need to be take care of, suggestions on how to maintain your home, and most importantly, will provide you with peace of mind. Unless you really know what you are doing, the purchase and sale agreement should be contingent upon completion of a satisfactory home inspection. In this case, the seller will either make the proper repairs or compensate you for the repairs that need to be made.
Do I need to be there for the inspection?
No, it's not required, but it is a good idea. Following the inspection, the home inspector will be able to answer questions about the report and any problem areas. This is also a good opportunity to hear an objective opinion about the home you'd like to purchase and it is a good time to ask general maintenance questions.
What should I look out for during the final walk-through?
This will likely be the first opportunity to examine the house without furniture, giving you a clear view of everything. Check the walls and ceilings carefully. Also check any work the seller agreed to do in response to an inspection. If you find that the work has not been done, it should be brought up prior to closing.
How can I protect my family from lead in the home?
If the house you are considering was built before 1978 and you have children under the age of seven, you may want to have an inspection for lead-based paint. It is important to know that lead flakes from paint can be present in both the home and in the soil surrounding the house. Peeling, chipping, chalking, or cracking lead-based paint is a hazard and needs immediate attention. Common problem areas are windows and window sills, doors and door frames, stairs, railings, banisters, porches and fences. The problem can be fixed temporarily by repairing damaged paint surfaces or planted grass over the affected soil. Hiring a lead abatement contractor to remove paint chips and seal damaged areas will fix the problem permanently.
What is radon?
Radon is a radioactive gas released from the normal decay of uranium in rocks and soil. It is an invisible, odorless, tasteless gas that seeps up through the ground and diffuses into the air. In a few areas, depending on local geology, radon dissolves into ground water and can be released into the air when the water is used. Radon gas usually exists at very low levels outdoors.
Radon can enter homes through cracks in floors, walls, or foundations, and collect indoors. It can also be released from building materials, or from water obtained from wells that contain radon. Radon levels can be higher in homes that are well insulated, tightly sealed, and/or built on uranium-rich soil. Because of their closeness to the ground, basement and first floors typically have the highest radon levels.
Any home can have a radon problem. This means new and old homes, well-sealed and drafty homes, and homes with or without basements. In fact, you and your family are most likely to get your greatest radiation exposure at home. That is where you spend most of your time.
Nearly 1 out of every 15 homes in the United States is estimated to have an elevated radon level (4 pCi/L or more).
How does radon cause cancer?
Radon decays quickly, giving off tiny radioactive particles. When inhaled, these radioactive particles can damage the cells that line the lung. Long-term exposure to radon can lead to lung cancer, the only cancer proven to be associated with inhaling radon. Cigarette smoking is the most common cause of lung cancer. Radon represents a far smaller risk for this disease, but it is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. Scientists estimate that approximately 15,000 to 22,000 lung cancer deaths per year are related to radon.
Testing is the only way to know if you and your family are at risk from radon. EPA and the Surgeon General recommend testing all homes below the third floor for radon.
What are some tips on negotiation?
The more you know about a seller's motivation, the stronger a negotiating position you are in. For example, seller who must move quickly due to a job transfer may be amenable to a lower price with a speedy escrow. Other so-called "motivated sellers" include people going through a divorce or who have already purchased another home.
Remember, that the listing price is what the seller would like to receive but is not necessarily what they will settle for. Before making an offer, check the recent sales prices of comparable homes in the neighborhood to see how the seller's asking price stacks up.
Some experts discourage making deliberate low-ball offers. While such an offer can be presented, it can also sour the sale and discourage the seller from negotiating at all.
What makes up closing costs?
Closing costs are usually made up of the following:
Attorney's or escrow fees (yours and your lender's if applicable)
Property taxes (to cover the tax period to date)
Interest (paid from date of closing to 30 days before the first monthly payment)
Loan origination fee (covers lender's administrative cost)
First premium of mortgage insurance (if applicable)
Title insurance (yours and lender's)
Loan discount points
First payment to escrow account for future real estate taxes and insurance
Paid receipt for homeowner's insurance policy (and fire and flood insurance if applicable)
Any documentation preparation fees
How do I prepare my home to show nicely when ready to sell?
Generally, buyers prefer homes that are in move-in condition. They will also generally pay top dollar for a home in move in condition. It you want top dollar for your home it is important to be sure your it is in superior condition before listing it. Make repairs prior to selling. This will help reduce the risk of buyers trying to renegotiate the price due to repairs or problems that may arise from a private inspection done prior to closing.
Tips for getting the highest price possible for your home.
Having your property in top condition will attract more buyers to your home giving you an excellent chance to sell your home faster, and at top dollar.
- Work on your home's curb appeal. Make sure your landscape is pristine. Mow the grass, clean up any debris and weed the garden beds, sweep the sidewalk. Plant a few annual flowers near the entrance or in pots to be placed by the door.
- Clean the windows and make sure the paint is not chipped or flaking. Windows should be free of ripped or bent screens. These should be replaced or removed entirely. Windows should also be clean and cobweb free. Being able to have draperies open, allowing light into the house is a plus at any showing.
- Be sure that the doorbell works.
- Clean and freshen up rooms, furnishings, floors, walls and ceilings. Make sure that bathrooms and kitchens are spotless.
- Organize closets.
- Providing a feeling of openness in a home can be accomplished quite easily and allows the house to appear larger. Open areas free of clutter are very important in showing a home.
- Make sure the basic appliances and fixtures work. Replace leaky faucets and frayed cords.
- Eliminate the source of any bad smells, such as the kitty box. Use air freshener or bake a batch of cookies before your open house to ensure that the house smells inviting.
- Invest in a couple of vases of fresh flowers to place around the house and next to any information about the house you have prepared for buyers.
Selling a home can be a lot of work, but with all your efforts, they can pay off quickly and with a larger sum of money.
What are the most important factors to consider when selling a home?
The price you are asking and the condition of your home are the two most important factors in selling, even in a down market. The first step is to price your home correctly. Use comparative sales information from your agent, or pay for a professional appraiser to objectively evaluate your home's worth. Second, go through the house and repair any obvious cosmetic defects that could deter a buyer.
If the market is down when you are trying to sell your home, you may have to consider lowering your price and/or making a major repair, such as replacing the roof, in order to lure a buyer. Also, make sure that your home is getting the exposure it deserves through open houses, broker open houses, advertising, good signage and a listing on the local multiple listing service or online listings provider.
How does the Realtor get paid?
In most cases, the seller will pay a commission to the Listing Broker. That Listing Broker will split that commission with a Buyer’s Agent. Therefore, if you are buying a home you generally do not owe a commission for the work a Realtor does for you. In cases of For Sale by Owner properties, some sellers choose not to offer a commission to an agent. In those cases, a Buyer would be responsible for paying the Realtor’s fee.
Can I be at the home inspection?
If you are a Buyer – absolutely. You might want to give the inspector some time to inspect before you get there so he doesn’t get distracted. Getting there for the last 20-30 minutes of the inspection is a good idea so the inspector can walk you around and let you ask any questions you may have about what he found.
If you are a Seller – stay away! You may have legal liability to disclose anything you know the inspector finds. Talk to your agent, but typically you do not want to know more than you need to. If you are concerned about security, ask that the Buyer’s agent be at the inspection or make sure the inspector is licensed and insured.
No. Appraisals typically take less than 30 minutes. Your Realtor may decide to be in attendance to let the appraiser in and/or give them some comparables, particularly if the property is unique but it is not necessary for you, as the Buyer or Seller, to attend. If you are the Seller, however, you may be at the property if you so choose. You may give the appraiser a list of improvements of the property to help the appraised value.
How long does closing take?
If you are the Seller, generally, you have very few documents to sign so your closing is about 30 minutes or less. If you are a Buyer paying cash, your closing will be very short as well. If you are a Buyer who is getting a loan, plan to sign papers for almost an hour.
Why do I have to be pre-approved for a mortgage?
If you are in a Seller’s market, your offer may not even be considered if you do not send a pre-approval letter with your offer. More than that, however, I have had clients that had no idea they had items on their credit report or in their recent past that would hinder them in the home buying process. You do not want to waste your time or be heartbroken when you find out that you have fallen in love with a house that you cannot buy. It’s best for everyone to get pre-approved before you go look at houses.
How much are closing costs?
That depends on several factors, however, in general, if the purchase price is $200,000 or less, closing costs will be about 3% of that purchase price. As the purchase price increases, the percentage decreases. Best rule of thumb – talk to your lender.
Should I get a home warranty?
It depends. A home warranty is an insurance policy of sorts. Like auto insurance or health insurance, you don’t know a head of time if you’re going to need it. So the decision to get a home warranty generally depends on how you personally feel about it.
Do you recommend doing and open house when selling?
The short answer is sometimes. Not all properties and not all sellers are the right candidate for an open house.
What is title insurance and who pays for it?
Title insurance protects the buyer and/or the lender from errors and/or defects on the title to the property. Either the Buyer or the Seller can pay for it. It is a point of negotiation.
Which real estate search tool is best?
The Keller Williams mobile app is a very powerful tool to help you search for local properties for sale or rent. Well I am glad you asked! Check out our awesome app.
Download the app here.
What is the first step to take if I am considering selling my home?
The very first thing most people want to know when they are considering selling their home is this: how much can I sell my home for? I can help. We offer a FREE comprehensive evaluation of your home that will quickly and accurately help determine what your home is worth in the current market. If you live in the Oviedo Florida area - click here to get started.