Frequently Asked Questions
Home Buyer's FAQ
Buying a home is a big commitment and one of the biggest financial investments most people will make throughout their lives. There are many things to consider before you decide to buy a house. Do you have a steady job? Have you been employed for the past two or three years? Do you have a reliable income? Do you pay your bills on time? Do you have any long-term debt? Can you afford a mortgage, taxes, insurance, utilities, and other bills? All of these are questions to consider before purchasing a home.
The decision to rent or buy comes down to a few questions you can ask yourself. Do you have a steady job? Do you have reliable income? Do you have outstanding debt? Can you afford a mortgage as well as taxes, insurance, utilities and any other bills you may have? After answering these questions, you should be able to tell if you are ready to buy a house or rent until you are financially stable to make the commitment to buy.
Yes, your credit score will impact your ability to buy and the interest rate of your mortgage if you get approved. Your credit score is basically a summary of your credit history and a glimpse into your financial standing. Mortgage lenders will use your score to determine if you are eligible for a loan and at what interest rate. Higher credit scores means that you will have a better chance of getting a loan with a lower interest rate. Lower scores mean that it may take longer to get a loan and your interest rate will be higher. It is best to work on raising your score before starting the home buying process.
Down payments will differ depending on your financial situation and the cost of the home you want to buy. Saving for a down payment can be challenging, especially for first-time homebuyers. The average down payment is between 5% and 20% but it can also vary according to lender requirements, and the type and length of the loan. Before you commit to buying a home, start to save for a down payment to help become more prepared for when it does come time to put the money down on a new house.
This is a very common question when it comes to home buying. Pre-qualification gives potential homebuyers an insight into how much they may be able to borrow for a mortgage. This information is not guaranteed but can help homebuyers look at houses around that budget. Pre-approval is when your credit report is pulled to see if you qualify for a mortgage. This helps real estate agents understand what you can and cannot afford. Home sellers also feel more at ease with someone who is pre-approved for a mortgage because it ensures that they will not back out of their purchase and can afford the home.
Receiving a mortgage can be a complicated process. It is important to work with a reputable mortgage lender who will walk you through every step of the home buying process. Find out how much you are willing to spend on a house and talk to your loan officer about what you want to see in your dream home. Once they know the basics, they will work with you to pinpoint the loan amount you qualify for.
Home Seller's FAQ
Before you decide to sell your home, you need to know how much it is worth. If you decide to hire a real estate agent, they will use comparables to come up with an accurate price of your home. Agents use their experience and the neighborhood to price your house. If you are going to sell your home on your own, you can come up with a listing price by searching for homes in your neighborhood or town on home-buying sites. Compare your home to ones for sale or recently sold to come up with a price.
The home buyer will normally pay for the majority of the closing costs. This may include the application fee, credit report, title insurance, property taxes, escrow fees origination fee, and underwriting fee. The home seller will normally pay the closing costs at the end of the transaction and will include the real estate agent’s commission. Commission is normally between 5-6% of the home’s final price. This money is split between the buyer’s agent and the seller’s agent.
Yes. This is called For Sale By Owner, and can sometimes be a challenging process. You may need to put a lot of time and effort into selling your house including pricing your home, prepping it for sale, listing it on the internet, marketing the house, staging, holding tours and open houses, negotiating price, and closing on the house. Selling a house on your own can be difficult but it is possible.
Spring is the best season to sell a home. May is the top month for home buying due to the warmer weather and the start of summer. There are a few other reasons why warm weather causes a boom in the market: school has finished, houses look better in the spring and fall due to green lawns and flowers, home tours and open houses can accommodate potential buyers past the normal 5 p.m. due to extended sunlight, and weather is better during the spring and summer.
An appraisal is an approximation of your home’s worth. This is useful information to your loan officer because it shows how much value your home has and what it is worth in the current market. An appraisal is done by a home appraiser and is typically conducted after the purchase has been agreed upon by the buyer and seller. An appraiser will walk around the home and take note of what features the house contains and the conditions these features are in. Home appraisers are usually paid for by the seller.
A real estate agent can be found through referrals, online, or other sources. You should ask your family and friends if they recommend any specific agent in the area that they have had a positive experience with. You want to choose an agent that you respect and trust to make the home selling process as easy as possible. You will be spending a lot of time with your real estate agent and want to make sure you have a comfortable relationship with them. Our team at HomeHunt can pair you with a reliable agent in your area if you are not sure where to start looking!
Buying and Selling
a Home FAQ
Many people sell their old house first before buying a new one. This eliminates having to pay two mortgages and paying closing costs of two properties at once. The downside to selling first, is that it leaves you without a home until you find a new one. The positives to selling a home before buying is that it leaves you with less financial stress, avoids two mortgage payments, gives you cash for your next home purchase, and may help you qualify for a new mortgage.
There are pros and cons of selling first, buying first, or doing both at the same time. Buying a home first will make your move easier. You can take your time moving into your new home and you do not have to worry about renting a storage unit. You have more control over your moving timeline and you will not have to find temporary housing after you sell your old home. You will have to pay two mortgages at the same time which can be financially taxing, but it is doable.
This may sound complicated but it is possible. If you choose to buy and sell at the same time you need to remember that you will have to time the two transactions perfectly, negotiate with the buyer for a later closing date, and work with your lender to move fast to prevent any lag time between sales. Before you decide if you should buy and sell at the same time, consider the following questions: what can I afford? What kind of market is it (buyer’s or seller’s)? How quickly do I need to move? What condition is my home in? Buying and selling at the same time is very possible if you work with the right people and have a team of professionals helping you every step of the way.
Buying and selling a home at the same time can be expensive. Before you commit to buying a home while still paying for your old one, determine if you can afford two mortgages at the same time. Work with your real estate agent to see how much money you can afford and if you are able to own two houses at once before your old one sells.
A bridge loan is very helpful for people who are buying and selling their home at the same time, but have bought a new home before selling their old one. A bridge loan is a short-term loan that taps into the equity of your current mortgage to get the necessary down payment to complete your new home purchase. Talk to your lender about this option if you do not have enough assets to complete your new home purchase without selling your old one first.
Yes. This will require the help of an experienced real estate agent and perfect timing between yourself, your buyer, and your seller. Unfortunately, closings can be delayed for a number of reasons so it is important to always have a back-up plan to reduce the gap between closings. It can be difficult to schedule two closings on the same day, but with the right help, it can be done.
Finding the Right
The more experience an agent has, the better they will be at handling problems and negotiating with buyers and sellers. Hiring an agent who has experience in your neighborhood will help the home buying and selling process go more efficiently and also help you get in contact with other real estate professionals that you will need to close either on a new home or the one you are selling.
All agents work differently and communicate with their clients in different ways. Be sure to ask a potential agent how they choose to communicate with their clients. You are the client and need to rule out what kind of communication you are uncomfortable with and how often you would want to receive updates. Whether you text, call, or email each other, it is best to understand preferences before deciding to work with a certain agent.
You will be working closely with your real estate agent and will need to know how successful they were with past clients. When you meet your agent, ask for a list of references to ensure that they are able to meet your needs and are a good agent to work with. If they cannot or will not provide you with a list of references or referrals, be wary of hiring them.
Yes! You should tell your real estate agent everything that you desire in a new home, your price range, location, your future goals, and anything else that will help your agent get to know you better. This is more than a financial transaction; it is a big decision and you need to open up to your agent about your wants and needs so they can help you find your dream home.
Different agents handle different real estate transactions. The right agent for sellers will be proactive and technologically savvy to market your home in a professional and efficient way. Social media experience is helpful to ensure that your home is being marketed on various platforms and to a wider audience. When searching for agents, ask them if they work specifically with sellers or buyers, or both. Focus on agents who work specifically with sellers because they will know the most about the best ways to sell a house.
You want to work with a buyer’s agent who has a good track record for closing deals. Great buyer’s agents will hunt down homes that are not even on the market yet and get to know you to ensure that they find your dream home. They will contact homeowners in your desired neighborhood and try to make deals with owners who may be thinking about selling. You need to trust your agent and communicate with them often to help the buying process go as smoothly as possible. Before hiring an agent, be blunt and ask if they will have enough time to help you. If they are hesitant or do not answer the question, find a different agent who can give you the time you need to find your dream home.