Home Buying & Selling FAQ

Home Buying & Selling FAQ

BUYING A HOME

What’s the first step in the home buying process?

Get pre-approved for a loan. Unless you are paying cash for a house, you will need to get a mortgage. In order to know how much home you can afford, you will need to get pre-approved for a loan. This is the first-step in the home buying process.


How Does My Credit Score Impact My Home Loan?

When determining how much home you can afford and whether you are eligible for a home loan, a lender will look at your credit score. Typically, you need a score of 580 or higher to qualify, but it is recommended to have a 620 or higher. The higher your credit score, the better lending terms you may be eligible for.


 How long does it take to buy a home?

Usually around 30-45 days, but the timeline for finding a house varies greatly from person to person. Once you find a house and have an accepted offer, it usually takes around 30 days to close.


What does a Realtor do?

A better question is, “What doesn’t a Realtor do?” Realtors are there to guide you through the home buying process and represent you in the transaction. They also make sure all of your documentation is in order from the moment you make an offer to the moment you close on your home.


How much do you have to pay a Realtor?

As a buyer, you don’t have to pay your Realtor anything. The seller will pay the listing agent, and the listing agent pays the buyer’s agent for bringing a buyer into the transaction. Basically, the seller will cover your Realtor’s commission.


How Safe is the Neighborhood?

No one wants to live in a dangerous city, but your real estate agent can’t help you with this question. Due to the Fair Housing Act, a real estate agent cannot answer questions regarding crime statistics. Before starting your house hunt, research crime data for the cities and neighborhoods you are considering.


How Will My Home Purchase Affect My Taxes?

There are a number of tax benefits to buying a home, but filing your taxes can be a lengthy process if you aren’t used to itemizing. You can deduct your mortgage interest payments, as well as property taxes, points paid at closing, interest on home equity loans, lines of credit, and other items. A tax professional can help you decide what to itemize.

Buying a home for the first time can be overwhelming. Working with an experienced real estate agent can help you navigate the world of real estate and address your questions.


What is the best advice for first-time homebuyers? 

The best advice is to trust the professionals. Everyone has a family member who wants to be involved in this journey with you. People love talking about real estate. It’s fine to talk with your family during this process, but you need to listen to your Realtor. Realtors are working in the real estate industry every single day. Trust in the process and trust your professional Realtor that you hired to work for you.

SELLING A HOME

Is there a “best time” to put my house on the market?

Along with economic factors such as supply and demand, the time of year you choose to sell can impact both the length of time it takes to sell your home and its ultimate selling price.

Typically, the real estate market picks up around February, continues strong through late May and June, and tapers off during July and August. The summer is usually the busiest time for moving since school is out and buyers may be looking to get their children in school before the new school year. September through November generally marks a rally not as strong as late winter and spring, followed by a slowdown from Thanksgiving through and beyond the Christmas and New Year holiday period.


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.


What are comparables or comps?

These are referred to as recently sold properties that are similar in size, location, and amenities to the home for sale. These properties help an appraiser determine the fair market value of a property.

Do I have to sell to the person with the highest offer?

No. If you prefer a lower-priced offer, perhaps with a better-qualified buyer and/or more attractive terms, you can accept that offer instead. Or you can give counteroffers to one or more of the buyers. Beware, however, that if you turn down a full-priced offer, you may owe your agent a full commission even if you decide not to sell your home.


What is an “Exclusive Right to Sell” listing?

This type of listing is the most commonly used and is the most effective. With this type of listing the agent does the most work to sell your home they will usually advertise your home, place it into the MLS, market your home to other agents and even hold open houses for your home. Only with this type of listing does an agent expect to earn money back on their investments on selling your home.

Why should I use a real estate agent?

A real estate agent is more than just a sales person.  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.

You don’t need to use a commissioned real estate agent to sell your home, but you may want to consider the benefits of having a real estate agent versus not using a real estate agent.

In addition, many people would rather use an Agent due to the complexities of modern Real Estate transactions since they usually incorporate legal and financial attributes, which takes them well beyond more simple transactions, such as the sale of an automobile.

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.

Deciding whether to use an Agent or not depends on if you feel fully confident that you can handle all of the details, then you may well want to attempt selling your house on your own. If not, you most likely will want to use a real estate agent and leave the details to them.