15 Common Real Estate Questions
Real estate agents get a lot of questions every day, as you might guess. People are naturally interested and excited about the home buying process. In addition to being attentive to questions, an agent has to lead people through the often complex world of buying and selling homes. You might be wondering what questions come up most often when it comes to real estate. Whether it's how deals get done and who has the best rates for mortgage options-we have answers! So, you're a first-time buyer, or maybe your family is buying their second home? Here are some answers to the most frequently asked real estate questions.
1. What Is The First Step of The Home Buying Process?
The first stage in purchasing a house is to get pre-approved for a mortgage. Getting a lender's pre-approval letter kicks off the procedure in the right way. Here's why:
To start, you must know how much money you may borrow. Narrowing down your search for houses to suitable properties saves time since you won't be looking at homes outside of your spending budget. (Pre-approvals also help prevent buyer's remorse due to falling in love with a property that is too expensive or that they can't afford.)
Second, the loan quotation provided by your lender will show how much cash you will need for the down payment and closing costs. You may need more time to save money, sell other assets, or accept mortgage gift funds from the family in any case. Ultimately, having been pre-approved for a mortgage shows that you are a serious buyer to your real estate agent and the property seller.
A pre-approval is generally required by most real estate agents when showing houses in the higher-end luxury market; luxury property sellers will only allow pre-screened (and verified) buyers to see their properties. This is designed to keep undesirable "Looky Lous" out and protect the seller's privacy. Furthermore, sellers are provided additional security from robbers attempting to case a home (identifying security systems, locating expensive artwork, or other high-value personal property).
2. How Long Does It Take To Buy a Home?
It takes approximately 10 to 12 weeks to buy a house from the start (looking online) to the conclusion (closing escrow). The typical time it takes to complete the escrow process on the house under normal market conditions is 30 to 45 days. Homebuyers who pay with cash have can shorten that timeframe by weeks.
The housing market is susceptible to economic conditions. When the economy is strong, and there are a lot of sales, buying a house may take longer than usual in hot markets with a lot of activity. That's because when business picks up, several parties connected with the transaction get behind.
A high demand to purchase a home will increase the need for property appraisals and inspections (assuming no other factors affect supply or demand). No more appraisers or inspectors will be available to do the work because a surge in house sales has increased the need for property appraisals and inspections.
3. What Is a Seller's Market?
In a sellers' market, rising demand for houses raises home values. Here are some of the factors behind demand:
- Economic factors - The real estate market is a highly interconnected system in which demand, supply, and pricing are all affected by numerous external factors. External conditions such as the local labor market heating up and bringing an influx of new people before more inventory may be built to raise home prices.
- Interest rates are decreasing, making homes more affordable and enticing new buyers to enter the market, especially first-time homebuyers who can pay for larger residences due to falling expenses.
- A short-term spike in interest rates - If interest rates rise dramatically for a brief period, it's possible that "on the fence" buyers will be forced to buy if they believe the upward trend will continue. The higher the interest rate goes up, the less affordability the buyer has.
- Excess inventory - because of a shortage of new construction, there are fewer homes for sale. Prices for existing residences may rise as a result of a lack of available units.
4. What Is a Buyer's Market?
A buyer's market is defined by decreasing house values and reduced demand. Several elements may influence long-term, and short-term buyer demand, including Economic disruption - a significant corporation shuts down its operations, laying off employees.
- Interest rates trending higher - The number of potential purchasers in the market is reduced because interest rates are increasing. Thus the amount people can borrow to purchase a home is cut, lowering the total number of potential buyers. Home prices drop to match demand and purchasers get better offers.
- Short-term interest rate decreases - can provide borrowers with a temporary advantage by providing them greater purchasing power before home prices have time to react to the most recent interest rate adjustments.
- High inventory - A new development may cause downward pressure on prices of existing homes nearby, especially if they lack highly desirable characteristics (such as contemporary appliances).
- Natural disasters - such as a recent earthquake or flooding, may reduce home values in the area where they occurred.
5. What Is a Stratified Market?
In a stratified market, supply and demand characteristics differ according to a price point in the same area (typically by city). For example, home purchases for houses over $1.5 million may be lively (seller's market), while property sales for houses under $750,000 may be sluggish (buyer's market). This scenario occurs on rare occasions.
6. How Much Do I Have To Pay An Agent To Help Me Buy a House?
An agent does not charge homebuyers any commissions or fees to purchase a property. Here's why:
There are two real estate agents involved in most home transactions: one on behalf of the seller and another on behalf of the buyer.
Sellers pay listing brokers to represent them and promote the property. Advertising costs, such as radio spots, magazine ads, television, and internet advertising, are an example of this. The home will also be added to the local multiple listing service (MLS), allowing other agents in the area (and across the country) to search for and purchase.
Buyers' agents, also known as buyer's agents, are paid by the listing broker to bring buyers to the table. The listing broker divides the listing fee with the buyer's agent when the house is sold. As a result, buyers do not pay their agents.
7. What Kind of Credit Score Do I Need To Buy a Home?
Most loan programs require a FICO score of 620 or greater. Borrowers with higher credit scores are seen to be less risky to the lender, and as a result, down payment requirements and interest rates are typically lower for them. Homebuyers with poorer credit histories may need to bring additional funds (or accept a higher interest rate).
8. How Much Do I Need For a Down Payment?
The typical down payment in the United States is 11%. However, first-time and repeat purchasers are included in that number. Let's have a look at it another way. The typical down payment for a home is 11%, and first-time buyers typically put down 3 to 5% on a property. That's because several first-time home buyer initiatives don't demand substantial deposits. The FHA loan, which has been around for years, requires a down payment of 3.5 percent. Furthermore, certain programs allow families.
Other programs call for even less. VA and USDA loans can be obtained with no down payment. These initiatives, on the other hand, are somewhat more restrictive. Only former or current military personnel may receive VA financing. Only low- to mid-income buyers in rural areas designated by USDA may take advantage of USDA loans.
For many years, a 20% down payment was required for traditional loans. These loans were typically taken out by repeat buyers who could use the equity in their current house as a source of down payment money. However, some new conventional loan programs allow borrowers to get approved with as little as 3% down if they take out private mortgage insurance (PMI).
9. Should I Sell My Current Home Before Buying a New One?
If the equity in your current house will be used to finance the down payment on the new property, it must first be sold.
Some home buyers convert their existing property into an investment property by renting it out. In that situation, the current house does not have to be sold. On the other hand, your loan advisor will still need to analyze your risk profile and credit history to see whether it is feasible to borrow against a new house while maintaining title to the former one.
When relocating to a new city, purchasers frequently have a tight deadline to sell their current house. Because of a work transfer, you might be moving but continuing to work for the same employer. Check to see if they can assist with some of your relocation expenses if you're moving but taking up the same position at the company.
10. How Many Homes Should I View Before Buying One?
It is entirely up to you! Today's home shopping is unquestionably more convenient than ever before. The ability to look for houses online and view pictures, even before leaving your living room, has revolutionized the house purchase game. Convenience has never been higher. But nothing compares to seeing how a property looks and feels in person.
11. What Is Earnest Money?
When you make an offer on a property, your real estate agent will require a banker's check as part of the paperwork (checks are equivalent to cash and the deposit is generally between 1% and 3% of the purchase price). This action is performed in order to show the seller that the buyer's offer is genuine. Therefore the earnest money is made in good faith.
A mortgage broker acts as a third-party go-between, handing the funds from the buyer to the seller. The check (or cash) is put in a trust or escrow account for safekeeping. If a deal is made, the earnest money is applied to the down payment and closing costs. If there's no agreement, the money will return to the buyer.
Important: If both parties agree to a contract, but the buyer backs out later, the earnest money may not be refunded. Inquire about safeguarding your earnest money deposit and how to protect it, such as through offer conditions.
12. How Long Can The Seller Take To Respond To My Offer?
A buyer should be aware of the deadline for a seller's response, which can be essential both in timeliness and your own experience. A reply should include the amount of time it will take to execute the offer and any special conditions that must be met. You may want to give them at least twenty-four hours.
13. What If My Offer Is Rejected?
Sellers have the option of accepting or rejecting an initial offer. However, a third approach is quite popular: sellers have the ability to make a counteroffer. Keep in mind that a deal isn't considered dead until it's actually dead. As a result, if the seller makes you a counteroffer, you're still in the game. Keep in mind that negotiations can continue a long time before reaching an agreement; this is not uncommon, and it's part of the job description for Realtors. Each revision must bring both parties closer to agreeing on the terms of the transaction.
14. Should I Order a Home Inspection?
Yes! If you want to use an FHA or VA loan to purchase a house, you must have a home inspection. Inspections are not necessary for other mortgage types; however, they are strongly advised because faults in the house can go unnoticed. Home inspections provide comfort and security after one of the most important purchases of a lifetime.
15. Do I Need To Do a Final Walk-Through?
It's not necessary, but it's a bright idea! Final walk-throughs allow buyers to double-check that nothing has been altered since their initial visit. A follow-up trip confirms that everything is as expected, per the terms of the deal, if repairs were requested as part of the offer.
We hope this article has helped you understand how to evaluate your current real estate situation. Your satisfaction is our number one priority! If you have any other real estate questions, please feel free to contact us for a no-obligation consultation.