Frequently Asked Questions


We answer a few of our most common questions. Being informed is essential to success.

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Am I ready to be a homeowner?

If you think you are prepared to take the leap from renter to homeowner, then it is important to take a financial inventory of your lifestyle, debts and assets. Are you gainfully and reliably employed? Lenders look for those who will pay their loans payments on time, and consistent income is a must to qualify. Do you have enough money saved to put up a down payment? The down payment should be a minimum of five to 10 percent of the real estate property purchase price. Your credit score should be in at least fair to good shape and only contain a few outstanding debts that can be easily resolved. Your payment history should show a good record of payments being made on time.

What is the lender's formula?

The lender's formula is a complex configuration of debt-to-income ratio, available credit and score, credit history and the amount of available cash for the down payment and closing costs, as well a few other numbers.

What should I offer?

Ask your real estate agent for advice and use common sense. Find out the value of other homes in the area, how long the property has been listed, the home's physical condition and if there are any special circumstances. All these factors should be taken into account when determining the official offer for the property.

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What should I expect at closing?

After everything is checked off the list and closing time arrives, you will first need to verify that the homeowner's insurance premium is paid. Take this documentation to present to the real estate closing agent along with the paid receipt. The seller will provide the home inspection and home warranty paperwork. In most cases, the buyer is responsible for the lender's closing costs (unless there has been another agreement made in the contract between the seller and buyer). These costs include property taxes, interest, origination, survey or recording fees and title insurance.

What Should I Do To Prepare My Home For The Market?

Home sellers who prepare their homes for the market, in most cases, will sell their home for more money and in a shorter amount of time.  There are certain steps that should be followed to make sure a home is market ready.

Not only is being market ready important there are also steps to ensure the home is "show ready."  There is only one chance to make a first impression with a buyer.  There are many home selling checklists that are available for sellers to ensure their home is not only market ready but also show ready.

Is renting or buying better?

Comparing buying and renting is no different than comparing apples to oranges. While they both have pros and cons, it simply comes down to what each person prefers when considering buying a house for sale. Renters have the advantage of management-provided maintenance and lawn care in most cases. When buying your own home, there is opportunity to build equity with the monthly payments, while also qualifying for tax incentives to help offset new homeowner expenses.

What do I look for in homes?

Is the home large enough to fit your needs, both now and in the future? Is the structure compromised in any way? Imagine the home throughout the seasons with all of your belongings inside. Ask questions of the homeowner. Are the appliances going to stay? What, if any, have been ongoing maintenance issues? What is the neighborhood like? What is the reputation of the local schools? Some of these details can only be found out by talking to the homeowners themselves, so don't be afraid to ask.

What is pre-qualifying versus pre-approval?

Before setting up any appointments to view homes for sale with a real estate agent or homeowner, find out the likelihood of you being able to get approval for a home loan. In pre-qualification, you are given an estimate of what you may be able to borrow based on limited financial information provided in a form. This is an easy way to determine how much you could possibly spend on your real estate home purchase. To be pre-approved means a financial institution has agreed to work with you and has already taken a deep view into your financial situation. Pre-approval gives potential home buyers more solid answers on how much they can afford during the home buying process.

What Are The Costs Of Selling My Home?

Another common question from home sellers relates to the costs of selling a home.  Many home sellers don't realize there are costs to sell a home.  Since a home sale is one of the biggest transactions someone will be involved in, it's critical to know what all the costs involved are.  Below are some of the most common costs of selling a home.

  1. Brokerage fees/real estate commissions

  2. Seller concessions (if applicable)

  3. Title search

  4. Instrument survey

  5. Home warranty (if applicable)

  6. Transfer taxes

  7. Capital gain taxes

  8. Costs of various repairs from inspections

  9. Existing mortgages or home equity loans

Should I Stage My Home Or Sell It Empty?

Many home sellers wonder whether selling a home staged or empty makes a difference.  There are certainly PROs and CONs to both.

There are some buyers who cannot envision their own belongings in a home that is full of other peoples belongings while others prefer to see how a space is utilized.  One of the biggest considerations when determining whether to sell a home staged or empty is the price it would cost to stage a home.  

If the cost to stage a home is thousands of dollars but the sale price would be thousands higher, it is likely worth staging a home.  The answer to this question is not concrete and will depend on each sellers situation.  It's important that sellers ask their real estate agent what they think and why in order to make an educated decision whether to sell their home staged or empty.