Real estate transactions elicit tons of questions. That’s good. It doesn’t matter if you are the buyer or the seller. For some, the process is new. Others have bought and sold before. However, the laws and rules have likely changed since your last transaction. The market has changed too. Being prepared and educated help make the process smoother, but don’t expect to be an expert.
Ask all of your questions. Always use the services of a well-trained professional real estate agent. They keep current on the market and all real estate processes. Let them be your guide to buying and selling your home.
FAQs from Both Sides of the For Sale Sign
- Is the buyer pre-qualified and what type of financing is being used? In a tight market, few sellers will consider an offer from a buyer who isn’t pre-qualified for financing. The financing type (cash vs. mortgage loan) can affect a seller’s obligations regarding repairs, appraisal, closing costs, etc.
- Is the buyer local or from out of town? Historically relocation buyers move more quickly with decision making.
- What if no one comes to look at my home? You might have it overpriced for the market and may need to consider lowering it. You should also do an objective walk through again. Are there any additional ways to make the home look more attractive to buyers? Look at your home online. Are the photographs appealing to buyers? They need to be. Listen to the advice and counsel of your real estate agent. She knows what buyers are looking for and what the best listing price for your home is.
- What is the buyers timetable? Sellers like to know how long a buyer will take to make a decision. Is the buyer “just looking” or is (s)he a serious shopper.
- Does the buyer have to sell a home first? Sellers always want to know this. In a tight market, few sellers will wait for a buyer to sell a home first if they can sell it to another interested buyer.
- What are comps? Real estate has many unique terms. When an agent says, “comps,” she’s referring to recently sold homes similar in size, location and features as the home you are selling. Appraisers will also pull “comps” to determine a fair market value for the property.
- Does home staging really work? That’s easy. Yes, it does. Staged homes seller quicker and for more money. Buyers want to imagine themselves in your space, minus your personal items and photographs. Let them.
- How many repairs and changes do I need to make before putting my home on the market? Before you hire a contractor or spend endless weekends making repairs, contact a professional real estate agent. She will walk through the home with you and suggest what changes, if any, need to be made before listing the home for sale. Price and condition are the two most important factors in selling your home. Your real estate agent will expertly guide you on both.
- Should I be at the home for showings? Absolutely not! You should feel comfortable with a buyer’s agent accompanying potential buyers. Your presence makes everyone uncomfortable. If you’re there, buyers feel like they can’t freely tour the home, make comments or ask questions of their realtor.
- Do I need to reveal terms of other offers? You can, and probably should, reveal that you have another offer. You are not obligated to reveal the terms of it. Knowing of other offers may encourage another buyer to submit her best, competitive offer. Having multiple offers is an ideal situation for a seller.
- Do I need to talk to a mortgage lender before looking at homes? The simple answer is “Yes.” Most sellers won’t even schedule a home showing without a buyer being pre-approved by a lender. Knowing how much you can afford helps a real estate agent show you the right homes in your price range. Also, a lender might have special incentives like First Time Home Buyer programs to offer. Go meet with one.
- Why is the home being sold? Buyers want to know the reason(s) and the motivation behind the home sale. Be careful. Just because someone may have an urgent and/or legitimate reason to move does not mean you can low ball the price. A seller’s agent will protect her client’s home from being sold below market value.
- Is the home currently occupied? Furnished or partially furnished homes that don’t appear lived in confuse buyers. Most want to know if it’s occupied or not, costing the seller money every month it’s not sold. Buyers see this as a negotiating point.
- Should we sell our current home before buying a new home? This is a very personal decision often affected by one’s finances. No one knows how long it will take to sell your current home. However, doing so will make you a more attractive buyer to a seller since your offer is not “sale contingent.” (Sale contingent means you only buy the home if you sell the one you’re in.) If your home sells before you buy, you may be able to rent from the new owner until you find your ideal new home. This can be ideal for both parties. Always put rental terms in writing.
- What is the ideal number of homes to see before making an offer? This number does not exist and varies from buyer to buyer. Today you can screen homes online before going to see them in person. It certainly helps to know what neighborhood you’d like to live in and what style of home is ideal before you begin looking.
- Home maintenance costs. How old is the roof, water heater and HVAC system? How much are monthly utility costs? What is the age of the kitchen appliances? Answers guide an offer amount, if one is even made.
- What if I change my mind? You can always back out of a deal. But, if it’s not for a sound reason, you will forfeit your good faith or earnest money deposit. For instance, if the lender’s appraisal comes in lower than what you offered, you can back out and most likely get your earnest money back. The same holds true if a home inspection is unsatisfactory.
- What is locked in? When you apply for a loan, you are quoted a certain interest rate. These rates change, sometimes daily. Locking in an interest rate means you are guaranteed that rate for a certain period of time.
- What is underwriting? If your lender says your loan is in the process of underwriting, it means it is being evaluated to see if it’s a good risk for the lender.
- What is a HOA? Many planned neighborhoods have Home Owner’s Associations. These nonprofit associations elect a Board of Directors (home owners) and are guided with by By-laws. They may manage common areas, plan neighborhood events and work with local government on street and other issues. The HOA collect dues from all home owners to complete all this.
Are you ready to buy or sell a home?
Megan Owens, Realtor
“Delivering extraordinary care for extraordinary clients.”
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Ambassador Real Estate
Phone | 402-689- 4984 Email | Megan.Owens@bhhsamb.com
©Copyright. May 2017. Linda Leier Thomason.
All Rights Reserved.