Frequently Asked Home Buyer Questions
Buying a home is big step, and one that can come with a lot of worries and questions. But don't worry — we've got you covered. We want your home buying experience to be smooth, successful, and enjoyable, which is why we offer a variety of resources dedicated to helping you through the process.
Are you kicking off your home buying process with a few big questions? Check out some of our FAQs, and find your answer.
Q. What do I need to do before I think about purchasing a home?
A: The most important step in buying a home is making sure that your finances are good to go. Here's what you should do before you get started:
- Check with a lender to see how much of a loan you qualify for.
- Take the following information with you:
- Annual income
- Amount of cash you have for a down payment
- Other home loans
- Credit card balances
- Other loan balances (vehicles, etc.)
- Other factors affecting your income (e.g., tax payments, dividends, etc.)
Q: Do I need to be pre-qualified?
A: Generally, you should always look to get pre-qualified. Many sellers even require a pre-qualification letter with your offer to purchase, so you should have that readily available when it comes time to make an offer. Not only does it typically make your offer stronger, but it also speeds up the selling process since the seller knows you can get the money.
Q: What is the cost of pre-qualification?
A: There is no cost associated with getting pre-qualified. When you consider the benefits that come with getting pre-qualified, there's really no reason to not do it!
Q: What is pre-qualification?
A: Pre-qualification is when you have spoken to a lender about a possible home loan, usually over the phone. You will provide the lender with the information described above. They, in turn, will give you an estimate of what they believe you would qualify for if all the information you have given them is accurate. Remember though, it does not mean you are qualified.
People often think because they are pre-qualified they can get the loan when they find the home of their dreams, but that's not quite true. At this point in the loan process, they haven't run a credit check or verified any of the information you have provided. There may be things on your credit report that are inaccurate, or that you have forgotten about that may hinder the loan process or affect the loan amount.
Q: If I find a home that is not listed by you, can you still show it to me?
A: Absolutely! Our team is able to show you ANY home no matter who the listing broker is. If you see a home advertised in the newspaper, or if you drive by a home that interests you, don't hesitate to call me. If you visit an open house or a new home community, please tell the seller's agent in the home that I am representing you.
Remember, home information is always available to me, even if it is not one of my listings.
Q: When we find a house we like, how do we buy it?
A: There are many steps involved but here is a brief overview of the process. You will need an earnest money check to accompany the Offer to Purchase. This may be in the form of a personal check or in some cases, a certified check. A minimum of 1% of the sales price is deemed adequate in most cases. When your written Offer to Purchase is presented to the seller, the seller has three choices:
- Accept your offer
- Reject your offer
- Make a counteroffer
Negotiations, after the initial written offer, are done verbally until an agreement is reached. When the seller accepts your offer, or you accept the counteroffer in writing, you have a binding contract for sale on that property. Your earnest money will be deposited in the listing broker's trust account to be held until closing.
Q: Is it best to make a lower offer at first?
A: In this market, I would not recommend a low offer. If your offer is too low, you may take some unwanted risks. If the offer is rejected or countered, another prospective buyer may submit an offer that's accepted by the seller before you have the opportunity to submit another offer or accept a counteroffer. In a lot cases right now, there are multiple offers on a single home so making a strong offer is important in this market. It's even possible for some buyers to make a low offer to the seller, insulting the seller and leading to a refusal to entertain any more offers from that buyer.
Q: Would it be in my best interest to work with several Realtors and not just one?
A: It is in your best interest to work exclusively with our team. With access to every home in the Multiple Listing Service, tons of online resources, years of local experience, and so much more, we have all of the skills needed to ensure that your real estate journey is successful. Your loyalty is appreciated, and in return, you will receive the best service my team and I can provide. What's more, all of our time, professional advice, experience, and assistance is free to you!
Contact our team at (910) 367-1671, and we can discuss your home buying goals.