FAQ2020-05-27T01:34:54+00:00

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What are the first steps to buying a home?2020-05-06T20:38:08+00:00

The first step to buying a home is to commit to a real estate agent.  Our agents will help you through the entire process from beginning to end.  Visit our agent page and contact and agent to get started. Once you have selected an agent, they will help you find a mortgage lender to guide you through the mortgage pre-approval process.

How much do I need for a down payment?2020-05-07T15:58:16+00:00

Putting at least 20% down on a home will increase your chances of getting approved for a mortgage at a decent rate, and will allow you to avoid mortgage insurance. But you can put down less than 20%. The minimum down payment required for a house varies depending on the type of mortgage:

  • FHA LOANS, require as little as 3.5% down and are backed by the Federal Housing Association.
  • VA LOANS, guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, usually do not require a down payment. VA loans are for current and veteran military service members and eligible surviving spouses.
  • USDA LOANS, backed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Program, also have no down payment requirement. USDA loans are for rural and suburban home buyers who meet the program’s income limits and other requirements.
  • Some conventional mortgages, such as the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, require as little as 3% down. Conventional loans are not backed by the government, but follow the down payment guidelines set by the government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Down payment requirements can also vary by lender and the borrower’s credit history. The minimum down payment for an FHA loan is just 3.5% with a credit score of 580 or higher, for example, but the minimum is 10% with a credit score of 500 to 579.

How long does it take to buy a home?2020-05-06T19:38:01+00:00

From start (searching for your home) to finish (closing escrow), buying a home takes about 10-12 weeks. Once a home is selected an the offer is accepted, the average time to complete the escrow period on a home is 30 to 45 days (under normal market conditions). Though, well-prepared home buyers who pay cash have been known to purchase properties faster than that.

How quickly homes are sold depends vastly on market conditions. In hot markets with a lot of sales activity, buying a home may take a little longer than normal, because the demand for several essential services can be slowed during peak seasons.  For example, when home sales spike, it increases the demand for property appraisals and home inspections, yet there will be no increase in the number of appraisers and inspectors available to do the work. Lender approval times for loan underwriting can also slow down.  Rest assured, however, that no matter the market, we will work as quickly as we can to get you into your new home. 

What is a buyer’s market?2020-05-06T23:38:36+00:00

The market favors buyers when home prices are relatively low and there are a large number of homes available at a given time.  Several factors may affect long-term and short-term buyer demand.  Here are just a few:

  • Interest rates trending higher – the amount of money the people can borrow to buy a home is reduced because the cost of money is higher, thus reducing the total number of potential buyers in the market. Home prices drop to meet the level of demand and buyers find better deals.
  • Short-term drop in interest rates – can give borrowers a temporary edge with more purchasing power before home prices can react to the recent interest rate changes.
  • High inventory – a new subdivision and can create downward pressure on prices of older homes nearby, particularly if they lack highly desirable features (modern appliances, etc.)
  • Natural disasters – a recent earthquake or flooding can tank property values in the neighborhood where those disruptions occurred.
How many homes should I look at before making an offer?2020-05-06T21:55:48+00:00

This question is often asked and is a simple answer.  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 20 homes.

Do I need an agent to purchase a house?2020-05-06T21:00:10+00:00

It is highly recommended that you work with a real estate agent when purchasing a new home.  With the many variables of the home buying process, you want someone to work with you and for you.  The benefits of working with an agent are many, but here are just a few:

    • Save time – Agents are very familiar with the market and will work for you to help you find the perfect home in your price range, with the preferences you desire.
    • Information and help with negotiations – Good agents will have multiple resources that will help you through the decision making and purchasing process.  In addition, they will handle alot of complex paperwork on your behalf.
    • Buyers fees are low if not free – In most cases, agent fees are paid by the seller of the house.
What are the first steps in selling a home?2020-05-07T15:41:35+00:00

Selling your home is a big decision!  To assist you with all aspects of selling your home, we highly recommend that you hire a real estate agent who will provide you with a home valuation and a comprehensive marketing strategy to get your home sold as quickly as possible.

What is a CMA?2020-05-07T15:45:31+00:00

A Comparative Market Analysis is a comprehensive report we provide to clients who are thinking about selling, detailing the recent area market activity using the most up to date statistics. It provides the basis for an accurate suggested listing price designed to sell your home for the best price the market will bear.

Should I stage my home before putting it on the market?2020-05-07T15:51:50+00:00

It makes sense to have your home looking good as possible when you are looking to sell. An agent will be gladly assist you with recommendations of fixes or repairs that will make your home more saleable. You will also want to do common-sense prep such as de-cluttering and cleaning. Hiring a professional staging company isn’t necessary in most cases, however, if you wish to use a staging service to sell your home, we can point you in the right direction.

What is a seller’s market?2020-05-07T16:09:42+00:00

A seller’s market is when conditions indicate that there are more real estate buyers in the market than there are sellers. When demand is higher than the supply, home prices increase, which benefits sellers.

What is my home really worth?2020-05-07T16:12:08+00:00

In our free expert home evaluation, we’ll take several factors into account such as comparable sales in the neighbourhood, similar available and sold properties, and your home’s distinctive features to arrive at an opinion of value supported by data and our knowledge of your neighbourhood. Together we’ll decide on a price in this range of values that will give your home a competitive edge.

What are the benefits of hiring an agent to sell my home?2020-05-07T16:26:59+00:00

There are numerous nitty-gritty details to selling a home.  Hiring a professional Real Estate Agent not only relieves you of the stress and pressure of those details, but you’ll find yourself reaping many more benefits.  Here are just a few:

    • An agent has the pricing expertise to make sure you get the right price for your home.
    • Listing with an agent, enters your home into the MLS which enhances your reach to potential buyers.
    • An agent will take care of the advertising of your home.
    • An agent has the sales expertise to sell your home to potential buyers.
    • An agent will help in the writing and negotiations of legal contracts.
    • An agent will help you through every step of the process so you won’t miss any details.
Should I get pre-approved for a mortgage?2020-05-07T16:53:06+00:00

Absolutely!  For most, buying a home require obtaining a mortgage. Going through the preapproval process not only gives you parameters for shopping for your home, but it also shows sellers that a lender has already vetted you and will lend you money.

The steps for getting pre-approved for a home loan include sharing detailed financial information about your income and debt, and undergoing a credit check. Once you’re approved, you’ll have a solid estimate that real estate agents and sellers can use to help you find your dream home.

 

What is Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) and how does it benefit me?2020-05-07T16:57:23+00:00

PMI or Private Mortgage Insurance is provided by a private company to protect the mortgage lender against losses that might be incurred if a loan defaults.  It can make a big difference in how quickly your mortgage loan is approved and how much money you spend on a down payment. It is required if the loan amount is more than 80% of the home’s value.

This insurance benefits lenders and investor, but it also helps homebuyers too.  Without mortgage insurance, we would need to require a down payment of at least 20% of the loan amount. We understand that even if you have enough money for a large down payment, you may prefer to use it for other purposes.

How does my credit score affect getting a mortgage?2020-05-07T17:16:34+00:00

Several variables are considered when you apply for a mortgage, your credit score is an important one.  Generally, the better your credit score is, the lower your interest rate will be.  Your credit score, however is not the only factor considered. Other variables such as your debt-to-income ratio and downpayment amount are also important.

Even though there is no “official” minimum credit score, it will be easier to obtain a mortgage if your score is higher—and the terms will likely be better, too.