What is a REALTOR®?

A REALTOR® is an agent or agency that belongs to the local or state board of R

EALTORS and is affiliated with the “National Association of REALTORS” (NAR).  They follow a strict code of ethics beyond state license laws and also sponsor the Multiple Listing System (MLS), which is used to list houses for sale.

 

REALTOR is a trademark of the National Association of Realtors.

Why should I use a real estate agent?

A real estate agent is more than just a salesperson.  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.

 

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.

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.

What is a Multiple Listing Service (MLS)?

A multiple listing service is a computerized listing of the homes for sale in an area listed with a realtor. Agents are granted access to the MLS and can use it to find a house in a particular price range or area.

Add a little bit of body text (3)
Add a little bit of body text

What the first step of the home buying process?

 First step is giving us a call!  We can put you in contact with one of our preferred lenders and get you pre-approved.  

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is the next step of the home buying process. Getting a pre-approval letter from a lender get the ball rolling in the right direction. you need to know how much you can borrow. Knowing how much home you can afford narrows down online home searching to suitable properties, thus no time is wasted considering homes that are not within your budget. the loan estimate from your lender will show how much money is required for the down payment and closing costs. being pre-approved for a mortgage demonstrates that you are a serious buyer to the person selling their home.

How much is my house worth? How should I price it?

 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.

 

Let us know if you want a FREE Market report or Comparative market analysis!

How long does it take to buy a home?

From start (searching online) to finish (closing escrow), buying a home takes about 10 to 12 weeks, sometimes it takes a little longer, sometimes less.  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 many homes should I view before buying one?

That’s up to you! For sure, home shopping today is easier today than ever before. The ability to search for homes online and see pictures, even before setting a foot outside the comfort of your living room, has completely changed the home buying game. Convenience is at an all-time high. But, nothing beats visiting a home to see how it looks and ‘feels’ in person.

Should I order a home inspection?

Yes! Home inspections are required if you plan on financing your home with an FHA or VA loan. For other mortgage programs, inspections are not required. However, home inspections are highly recommended because they can reveal defects in the home that are not easily detected. Home inspections bring peace of mind to one of the biggest investments of a lifetime.

What is a seller’s market?

 In sellers’ markets, increasing demand for homes drives up prices. Here are some of the drivers of demand:

Economic factors – the local labor market heats up, bringing an inflow of new residents and pushing up home prices before more inventory can be built.

  • Interest rates trending downward – improves home affordability, creating more buyer interest, particularly for first time home buyers who can afford bigger homes as the cost of money goes lower.
  • A short-term spike in interest rates – may compel “on the fence” buyers to make a purchase if they believe the upward trend will continue. Buyers want to make a move before their purchasing power (the amount they can borrow) gets eroded.
  • Low inventory – fewer homes on the market because of a lack of new construction. Prices for existing homes may go up because there are fewer units available.

What is a buyer’s market?

A buyer’s market is characterized by declining home prices and reduced demand. Several factors may affect long-term and short-term buyer demand, like: Economic disruption – a big employer shuts down operations, laying off their workforce.

  • 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.
Add a little bit of body text (2)
Add a little bit of body text (4)

What is the difference between being prequalified and preapproved?

 If you’re prequalified 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 preapproval.

 

If you’re preapproved, 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 preapproved because they know that there will not be any problems with the purchase of their home.

How much do I need for a down payment?

The national average for down payments is 11%. But that figure includes first time and repeat buyers. Let’s take a closer look.

While the broad down payment average is 11%, first time homebuyers usually only put down 3 to 5% on a home. That’s because several first-time home buyer programs don’t require big down payments. A longtime favorite, the FHA loan, requires 3.5% down. What’s more, some programs allow down payment contributions from family members in the form of a gift.

Some programs require even less. VA loans and USDA loans can be made with zero down. However, these programs are more restrictive. VA loans are only made to former or current military servicemembers. USDA loans are only available to low to-middle income buyers in USDA-eligible rural areas.

For many years, conventional loans required a 20% down payment. These types of loans were typically taken out by repeat buyers who could use equity from their existing home as a source of down payment funds. However, some newer conventional loan programs are available with 3% down if the borrower carries private mortgage insurance (PMI).

What kind of credit score do I need to buy a home?

Most loan programs require a FICO score of 620 or better. Borrowers with higher credit scores represent less risk to the lender, often resulting in a lower the down payment requirement and better interest rate. Conversely, home shoppers with lower credit scores may need to bring more money to the table (or accept a higher interest rate) to offset the lender’s risk. Some lenders require a credit score as low as 560.  Most Americans do not realize that they qualify for a home purchase! CAll us so we can get you connected to one of our preferred lenders.