FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
The following are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) about purchasing a home and the closing process. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at anytime.
What is a REALTOR®?
A REALTOR® is an agent or agency that belongs to the local or state board of REALTORS and is affiliated with the “National Association of REALTORS” (NAR). They follow a strict code of ethics beyond state license laws and also may utilize the Multiple Listing System (MLS), which is used for locating properties that are for sale.
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 property. Due to the constant changing of the market 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.
If you are in the market to buy, it would be advisable to use a Buyer’s Agent. They can make recommendations on what terms to offer as well as negotiating a deal with your best interest in mind.
What's the Difference between a "Listing Agent" and "Selling Agent"?
Listing Agents usually deal with sellers, and are the ones who will list a property for sale on the Multiple Listing Service.
Selling Agents (also Buyers Agents) mostly deal with the homebuyers, usually only listing just a few homes for sale. They will sell the homes (which have been placed in the MLS) via the listing agents.
Agents can also act as limited agents, representing both buyer and seller in the same transaction with prior written consent.
If you phone an agent from a magazine or newspaper ad, you are usually contacting the listing agent. Their advertising efforts can draw others who may decide to buy or sell property.
What is title insurance?
Title insurance is insurance that protects the lender and buyer against any losses incurred from disputes over the title of a property.
What is the difference between being prequalified and preapproved for a loan?
If you’re pre-qualified it means that you POTENTIALLY could get a loan for the amount stated to you, assuming that all of the information you provide to the bank is accurate and true. This is not as strong as a pre-approval.
If you’re pre-approved, it means that you have undergone the extensive financial background check, which includes looking at your credit history, previous tax returns and verifying your employment – and the lender is willing to give you a loan, basically meaning you’re approved!
You will usually be provided an accurate figure which shows the maximum amount that you are approved for. Most sellers prefer buyers that have been pre-approved because they know that there will not be any problems with the purchase of their property.
What is an escrow officer?
An escrow officer is the person that walks you through the closing process. They are usually employed by the title company that you are working with. They are a neutral third-party, responsible for overseeing the escrow process. They typically, prepare final paperwork, witness the document signings as well as ensure that the transaction is executed properly and legally.
What is a Multiple Listing Service (MLS)?
A multiple listing service is a computerized listing of the properties for sale in an area listed with a realtor. Agents are granted access to the MLS and can use it to find a property in a particular price range or area.
What does FSBO mean?
FSBO stands for For Sale By Owner. A for sale by owner property usually indicates that the property is being sold without a real estate agent.
What are closing costs?
Closing costs are expenses incurred by buyers and sellers in transferring ownership of a property.
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.
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 new construction. In a new home, you rely largely on the previous resident’s tastes and technological whims, unless you plan to spend thousands into a remodeling and rewiring project.
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. Some older homes, unless they have undergone an energy retrofit, can 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 is a REALTOR®?
A REALTOR® is an agent or agency that belongs to the local or state board of REALTORS and is affiliated with the “National Association of REALTORS” (NAR). They follow a strict code of ethics beyond state license laws and may utilize the Multiple Listing System (MLS), which is used for selling properties & compiling data.
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 property. Due to the constant changing of the market, 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. The Best way to get real time information is with a Real Estate Agent who has access to the MLS.
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 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 property, such as – your listing will be added to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) so that a large number 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 assist with the details of negotiation.
Who is responsible for making repairs, if any, as a result of home inspection reports conducted for the buyer?
Because the buyer orders one or more property inspections this does not obligate the seller to make repairs or modifications as a result of those inspections. Typically, however, inspection reports are used to negotiate repairs of major problems, or environmental or safety hazards that may be noted. The purchase contract should provide guidance for these negotiations.
How should I price my property?
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.
It would be a good idea to get a FREE CMA, also known as Comparable Market Analysis provided by a Realtor®.
Is there a "best time" to put my property 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 property and its ultimate selling price. Consult with a Realtor® for recommendations.
What are comparables or comps?
These are referred to as recently sold properties that are similar in size, location, and amenities to the properties for sale. These properties help Realtors determine the fair market value of a property. They also help the agent in giving guidance to a seller in determining the listing price of a property and advise a buyer when making an offer on a property.
What does an appraisal mean?
A report made by a qualified person setting forth an opinion or estimate of value. The term also refers to the process by which this estimate is obtained.
In conventional mortgages and in the HUD-FHA Direct Endorsement Program, the lender receives a copy of the complete report, showing the basis for the appraiser’s estimate.
What is a counteroffer?
A counteroffer is an offer made by one party that makes changes to the original or latest offer of the other party.
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 a counteroffer to one of the buyers.
Can I back out of my contract with one buyer and accept a new, higher offer from a second buyer?
It would be very unwise to try to back out of the contract because a purchase offer that’s accepted is a legal contract that the buyer can seek legal remedies to enforce.