“Unlocking New Doors” can bring an overwhelming number of questions that need to be answered. The journey to buying and selling a home is full of excitement but can also be scary as you step into the world of real estate with hopes and dreams in hand! My goal is to help in the process in every way possible, so here are some of the most-asked real estate questions I have encountered, and my answers.
- What is the first step of the home buying process? Getting a pre-approval letter from the lender for a mortgage is the first step in the home buying process. This not only communicates to sellers that you are serious and worth their time, but it also gives you a more realistic sense of what your budget is so that you can narrow your search. I can get you in touch with some wonderful local lenders!
- Should I get a home inspection when buying? Absolutely! Although this is an added step and added cost that many home buyers will consider skipping, it is well worth the time and investment. This ensures that you know exactly what you are getting into when considering purchasing a home and can also give you grounds for better negotiating the cost with the homeowner. I will be by your side in this process!
- What is earnest money? Earnest money is essentially a down payment on your home, usually about 1-2% of the cost of the home and you will provide this by personal check or a cashiers check. The money will be held in the listing companies escrow account until closing. This money proves to the seller that your offer is genuine and in a sense reserves the property for you. This money is applied to closing costs/down-payment at closing.
- Do I need a realtor? It is highly recommended! Entering the real estate scene as a buyer or seller without a realtor sets you at a severe disadvantage. A real estate agent will have appropriate knowledge of local real estate trends, providing you with logistical and personal support and advice as you walk through these decisions. Plus, a buyer does not pay the agent – the listing agent does! Many people believe they lose money with a real estate agent, when in reality, an agent can help you save a lot!
- What is a seller’s market? A term you will often hear when it comes to real estate is “seller’s market.” This is a term you want to be aware of as you decide when to list your home on the market, as well as when to take the plunge in buying a new property. A seller’s market means that it is a good time to be selling a home, as prices are higher than usual and/or there is very low inventory of homes on the market to meet the demands. This happens based on many economic factors in the housing market.
- What is a buyer’s market? This is generally the opposite of a seller’s market, meaning that it is a good time to be purchasing a new home. This is linked to a lower demand for housing, for various reasons, resulting in lower listing prices for the properties on the market.
- What are the costs of selling my home? This is a great question to be asking, as there are many costs involved that are often overlooked initially when listing a property. This is something that can vary from location to location, so be sure to do your research relating to the specific market you are in. Some of these costs often include transfer taxes, cost of repairs from inspection, title search fees, seller concessions, home warranty costs, capital gain taxes, any existing mortgages, and home equity loans.
- What are some mistakes to avoid when selling my home? Selling a home can be an intimidating undertaking. To avoid your home being on the market for a long time with minimal interest, it is good to consider some potential blunders to avoid. First, I would recommend against selling your home by owner. Though this may seem like a good idea, it can be difficult to screen potential home buyers, coordinate home showings, list your home appropriately, and price your home adequately, without the guidance of a realtor. Negotiating with a potential home-buyer is also challenging when selling your home independently.
- How do I determine the market value of my home? Getting a home appraisal is one effective way to get an accurate valuation. I would say, however, that the best answer is to let your agent do the research! I always spend plenty of time looking at the market, at other comparable homes in the neighborhood, improvements made to the home, and tax records and assessed values. This allows the best possible market value.
I hope that these answer some of your top questions you may have about buying and selling. Sometimes my clients are not even sure where to begin. Please know, that I am here to answer any questions you may have, and to ensure “unlocking new doors” is as smooth as possible.