The real estate agents field quite a few questions every day. People are naturally curious, and it’s an agent’s job to guide through the often-complex world of home buying and selling. You might also imagine that some questions about real estate come up more often than others. Here are some answers to the questions that come up most often.
Start 1: Your Research Early.
Step 2: Determine How Much House You Can Afford.
Step 3: Get Prequalified and Preapproved for credit for Your Mortgage.
Step 4: Find the Right Real Estate Agent.
Step 5: Shop for Your Home and Make an Offer
From start (searching online) to finish (closing escrow), buying a home takes about 10 to 12 weeks. Once a home is selected an the offer is accepted, the average time to complete the escrow period on a home is 30 to 45 days (under normal market conditions). Though, well-prepared home buyers who pay cash have been known to purchase properties faster than that.
Market conditions are a major factor in how fast homes are sold. In hot markets with a lot of sales activity, buying a home may take a little longer than normal. That’s because several parties involved in the transaction get behind when business suddenly picks up. For example, a spike in home sales increases the demand for property appraisals and home inspections, yet there will be no increase in the number of appraisers and inspectors available to do the work. Lender turn-around times for loan underwriting can also slow down. If each party involved in a deal takes a day or two longer to get their work done, the entire process gets extended.
In sellers’ markets, increasing demand for homes drives up prices. Here are some of the drivers of demand:
Low inventory – fewer homes on the market because of a lack of new construction. Prices for existing homes may go up because there are fewer units available.
A buyer’s market is characterized by declining home prices and reduced demand. Several factors may affect long-term and short-term buyer demand, like: Economic disruption – a big employer shuts down operations, laying off their workforce.
A stratified market happens where supply and demand characteristics differ by price point, in the same area (typically by city). For example, home sales for properties above $1.5M may be brisk (seller’s market) while homes under $750k may be sluggish (buyer’s market). This scenario comes along every so often in West Coast cities where international investors – looking to park their money in the United States – buy expensive real estate. At the same time, home sales activity in mid-priced homes could be entirely different.
For most home sales, there are two real estate agents involved in the deal: one that represents the seller and another who represents the buyer. Both are responsible for the payment of their respective agents.
Most loan programs require a pre-approved Credit Bureau checks by lending financial organization. Borrowers with higher and good credits scores represent less risk to the lender, often resulting in a lower the down payment requirement and better interest rate. Conversely, home shoppers with lower credit scores may need to bring more money to the table (or accept a higher interest rate) to offset the lender’s risk.
The national average for down payments is 20%. But that figure includes first time and repeat buyers. Let’s take a closer look.
While the broad down payment average is 20%, first time home owners. That’s because several first-time home buyer programs don’t require big down payments. For many years, banks required a 20% down payment. These types of loans were typically taken out by repeat buyers who could use equity from their existing home as a source of down payment funds. However, some newer conventional loan programs are available.
If the built-up equity in your current home will be applied to the down payment on the new home, naturally the former will need to be sold first.
Some home buyers decide to turn their current home into an investment property, renting it out. In that case, the current home will not need to be sold. However, your loan advisor will still need to evaluate your risk profile and credit history to determine whether making a loan on a new home is feasible while retaining title to the old home.
Buyers often have a short time frame to sell their current home when relocating to a new city because of a job transfer. If you are moving but taking a position with the same employer, check to see if they offer relocation assistance to help offset some of the costs.
That’s up to you! For sure, home shopping today is easier today than ever before. The ability to search for homes online and see pictures, even before setting a foot outside the comfort of your living room, has completely changed the home buying game. Convenience is at an all-time high. But, nothing beats visiting a home to see how it looks and ‘feels’ in person.
Written offers should stipulate the time frame in which the seller should respond. Giving them five days should be sufficient.
Sellers can flat-out accept or reject an initial offer. But there a third path that is quite common, sellers can initiate a counteroffer. Remember this: a deal isn’t dead until it’s dead. So, if a counteroffer is proffered by the seller, you’re still in the game. You and your agent just need to review it determine whether the counteroffer is acceptable. If so, then approving it closes the deal immediately. Keep in mind, offers and counteroffers can go back-and-forth many times; this is not unusual and negotiations are a part of what HCA agents do as a matter of routine. Each revision should bring both parties closer together on the terms of the deal.
Yes! Home inspections are required. However, home inspections are highly recommended because they can reveal defects in the home that are not easily detected. Home inspections bring peace of mind to one of the biggest investments of a lifetime.
It’s not required, but it’s a darn good idea! Final walk-throughs give buyers a chance to make sure nothing had changed since their first visit. If repairs were requested, as part of the offer, a follow-up visit ensures that everything is squared-away, as expected, per the terms of the contract.
Home Concept & Acquisition is a leader in the field of real estate sales and lettings services provision to various corporate organizations and high network individual clienteles.