Frequently Asked Questions 

Here are a list of commonly asked questions by home buyers and home sellers.  You can find your initial questions and answers here about the real estate process. We believe that it is important for our clients to be well-informed about the real estate process to make the transaction as stress-free and smooth as possible. We are here to be your advocate.


Home Buying 

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Q: Should I get preapproved w/ a mortgage lender before looking at homes?

Yes you should always get preapproved by a local mortgage lender before looking at homes. If you don't know a lender, ask your realtor to recommend a lender to you. A preapproval will prevent you from spending time on properties that are out of your price range and it will troubleshoot any potential obstacles to purchasing. A local lender is familiar with the local real estate market, local laws and requirements, and is easily accessible to answer any of your questions or concerns.

Q: What home can I afford?

The amount of home you can afford depends on your income, debt, and other financial obligations. The larger the down payment you put on your home, the more you can afford.

Q: How many homes should I see before making an offer?

There is no set number of homes you should see before making an offer.  Every home buyer is different. Some home buyers will place an offer on their first home, while others will see 10 homes before making a decision. You will know the home you want when you see it.

Q: How do I know if the property is a good deal?

 A good deal can only be determined by sold comparables and historical trends in a local neighborhood. Even with those analytics, no one can predict with 100% certainty of the future valuation in the market. Keep in mind that real estate is a long-term investment. Always educate yourself on whether it is a buyers' or sellers' market to dictate your home buying strategy with your realtor.

Q: How quickly can I close?

If you are purchasing a property using a loan, the process can take anywhere from 30-45 days. If you are purchasing using all cash, then you can purchase as quickly as 7 days. 

Q: Should I get a home inspection?

Yes I encourage home buyers to get a home inspection. It is important to know the condition of the home you are purchasing. 

Q: When can I back out if I change my mind?

The only time to back out of a contract is during the contingency period that you have agreed with the seller. After the contingency period has expired, there is no way to back out of a legally-binding real estate contract without being in default.  Once in default, you may be in danger of forfeiting your earnest money deposit.

Q: Should I buy or continue to rent?

Whether you decide to buy or rent depends on your income, debt, and other financial obligations. It also depends on your lifestyle and if you plan to be in an area for 3-5 years. Always keep in mind that a home purchase is a long-term investment. The time depends on the activity and housing appreciation in the local market. 

Q: How much money will I have to come up with to buy a home?

The amount of money you need to purchase a home depends on the price of the home and the type of loan to decide to use. You will need money for 3 things: 1) Earnest Money Deposit 2) Down payment 3) Closing costs.

 

Home Selling

Q: How much needs to be done to my house before putting it on the market?

The amount of work needed for your house depends on how much maintenance you have done since owning your home. The best way to troubleshoot issues is to do a pre-listing inspection.  A pre-listing inspection allows a professional home inspector to determine any repairs which need to be done and disclose to potential home buyers.  It is always good practice to get all the mechanical systems serviced before placing the home on the market.

Q: How long will it take to sell my home?

The time it takes to sell your home depends on 3 things: 1) your pricing of your home, 2) condition of your home 3) and how many homes are for sale in your neighborhood.  It is important to make sure the property is easy and accessible for home buyers to visit.

Q: How much is my house worth?

Pricing is an important part of selling your home. The only way to determine the correct pricing is to get an accurate assessment of your house's value.  The best way to go a Customer Marketing Analysis (ie. CMA) from a local real estate agent. DO NOT use Zillow's or Redfin's housing estimate tool because they are NOT accurate.

Q: What is the agent's commission?

It is common for the seller to pay the agents' commission for sale of their home.  The commission is usually 6% of the total sales price of the home. The commission is split between the seller and buyer's agent on the settlement sheet at closing.

Q: Should I be present at agent showings?

No the seller should not be present at agent showings.  You want to make sure the home buyer is comfortable walking through your home. 

Q: Is staging really important?

On average, a staged home sells 88% faster. Staging gives the home buyer an idea of how to decorate the space and set their furniture. Staging presents the floor plan usually in the most favorable design. There is an setup and monthly cost and logistics associated with staging that needs to be factored in your decision.  Keep in mind, that not all houses need staging. It depends on the demand of the local real estate market, and seller's budget.