The all-time most frequently asked question is “When is the right time to buy or sell?”  While that can be debated, this Brokerage believes that the right time is whenever you are ready.  Now that we have got that out of the way, here are 10 frequently asked questions regarding buying and selling a home.


1.  Why do I need a Real Estate Professional?

A real estate Broker or Agent will fully explain and navigate you through the process by providing step-by-step guidance in a timely manner as it relates to the sale and transfer of real estate.Brokers and Agents have training and access to multiple real estate industry tools to assist Buyers and Sellers by providing the most up to date information and resources. Brokers and Agents have to be familiar with Real Estate law and are responsible for adhering to Fair Housing Laws on a Local, State and Federal level and provide mandatory disclosures to all applicable Parties in a transaction.Depending on whether you are a Buyer or Seller, an Agent will assist in searching for properties available for sale, fielding calls from prospective buyers or their Agents regarding a Listing, schedule and conduct property showings, formulate offers, assist with setting up inspections and appraisals, assist with negotiating needed repairs, scheduling final walk-throughs and closings. They are knowledgeable about the current market conditions and have experience with overcoming obstacles within the transaction to help facilitate closing.

2.  What is the first step when I am ready to buy a house?

You may already know Real Estate Agents and Loan Officers that you feel comfortable discussing a major life purchase with. If not, seek referrals and do research. Real Estate Agents, Brokers and Loan Officers network so they can get to know each other professionally to refer each other business.You will need to speak with a Loan Officer or Mortgage Broker to determine the amount you can afford as a monthly mortgage payment, loan amount and down payment. You should only look at the houses you can afford to make an offer to purchase.Once you have a pre-approval, share it with your Real Estate Agent so they may begin to locate properties that meet your criteria up to your maximum purchase price.

3.  What is an earnest money deposit?

When buying a home, an earnest money deposit (EMD) is used to show the seller that you, as the buyer, are committed to purchasing the property from them. To prove their good faith, the seller will take the home off the market. The EMD is a portion of the down payment and will be subtracted from the remaining down payment balance due at closing.

 4.  Why should I get a home inspection?

Inspecting a home before purchasing it is an important, but optional, step in the home-buying process. A home inspection can provide you with knowledge about the extent and nature of any home defect. A home inspection is a professional analysis of the condition of a home, completed by a licensed home inspector, who will both visually inspect and test the home’s major components and systems over the course of a few hours to produce a comprehensive report. The report will detail findings on both major and minor property flaws and will make recommendations on items that should be repaired or replaced due to safety concerns and typical wear and tear. Such defects can be negotiated into the sale price via a repair credit if the Seller is not able or willing to make repairs.

5.  What is an appraisal?

A home appraisal is an estimate of a property’s value by a licensed appraiser. Whether you’re buying, selling, or refinancing a home, an appraisal is typically an important part of the process because the results can affect the borrower’s ability to receive a loan. Most lenders require a home appraisal to ensure the borrower isn’t taking a loan out for more money than the property is worth. You’ll want the appraisal to come back either at the loan amount or higher to qualify for a mortgage.

6.  What are Contingencies?

Contingencies in a real estate deal are essential clauses within a home purchase contract. They allow either the buyer or seller to exit the deal without penalty if specific conditions are not met. Think of them as safety nets that protect both parties’ interests. Here are some common contingencies: Subject to satisfactory inspection, subject to mortgage commitment, appraising to value, Seller to find suitable housing.

7.  Why do I need homeowners Insurance?

Homeowners Insurance is not required by State or federal law, however, if you have a mortgage, your lender will legally require you to retain a policy for full replacement cost with limits no less than the amount of their insurable interest. A standard homeowners insurance policy provides coverage to repair or replace your home and its contents in the event of damage from a covered loss, including fire, smoke, theft, vandalism, lightning, wind, or hail. The policy will pay to repair or replace damaged property, such as your belongings and the structure of your house.

8.  What are closing costs?

These costs may include loan origination fees, discount points, appraisal fees, title searches, title insurance, surveys, taxes, deed recording fees, and credit report charges. The Buyer will pay these fees at closing with the balance of the remaining down payment. Buyers may ask the Seller to contribute to the Closing Costs at the time of presenting an offer.

9.  What is a Broker Price Opinion?

A broker price opinion (BPO) is the estimated value of a property as determined by a real estate broker or other qualified individual or firm. A broker price opinion is based on the characteristics of the property being considered in conjunction with active and sold properties within the area.It is used as part of the listing presentation to help determine a fair listing price and indicate a price range that the home will most likely sell for. A broker price opinion can be requested by a lender who wants an assessment of a property for such needs as the refinancing of a mortgage or a foreclosure.

10.  What should I do to prepare my home before listing it for sale?

There are 2 main reasons why a house may be on the market for a long time; One: It is overpriced, Two: It is full of Clutter.  Besides routine cleaning, de-clutter your space. Put away personal items that are not being used every day. Donate furniture and clothing you will not be taking with you to the new house. Clutter indicates a red flag to a potential buyer demonstrating possible hesitation from the Seller to commit to selling the property.  An experienced Agent will suggest repairs that will assist in obtaining offers based on the full value of the home and not repairs that need to be made.  An appraiser will also be looking to make sure that safety standards are being met (for FHA Loans).  Addressing known issues beforehand will keep the transaction running smoothly, helping to prevent a delay in closing.