faqs

I'm a first time home-buyer, what should I do first?
Before looking for a home, determine your price range, down payment amount, and estimated settlement charges. Lenders use different variables including income, debt load and credit scores to determine how much a potential buyer can take out as a mortgage - knowing what you can afford makes finding the right home easier.

What's the difference between short sales and foreclosures?
Short sales and foreclosures are two financial options available to homeowners who are behind on their mortgage payments, have a home that is underwater. The term short sale refers to the fact that the home is being sold for less than the balance remaining on the mortgage – for example, a person selling a home for $150,000 when there is still $175,000 remaining on the mortgage. A foreclosure is the act of the lender seizing the home after the borrower fails to make payments. This is the last option for the lender, since the home is used as collateral on the lien.  There are different reasons for why a homeowner would opt for a short sale versus a foreclosure. The owner is forced to part with the home in both cases, but the timeline and other consequences are different in each situation.

Why do I need a home inspection?
Before you buy a home, you should always hire a home inspector to evaluate its condition. That way, you avoid costly surprises after settlement, and you can see the condition of the home firsthand. You can also order additional tests for radon, sewer line, or lead paint.

What are the benefits of having a buyer's agent?
The home-buying process - from looking through listings to actual settlement - has many steps to be fulfilled and deadlines to be met. Your agent can guide you through the process, whether you are looking at your first home, transferring areas, or searching for investment property. Additionally, a buyer's agent is familiar with past home sales in the area, is familiar with neighborhoods and can help buyers decide on a fair offering price for a home.

Why should I be pre-approved with a lender before I look at homes?
Before you start looking for a home, knowing what loans are available to you - and their rates and terms—lets you focus your search on getting the best home for your money. A pre-approval letter can also be part of the buyer's offer on a home. Having this letter in advance ensures that the seller will take the buyer’s offer seriously - an important factor anytime, but especially if there are multiple offers.

What are some inexpensive tips I can use to sell my house?
Don't underestimate the value of curb appeal! A neatly mowed lawn, fresh flowers and a new front door will impress buyers before they get out of their cars. Indoors, clear clutter from bedrooms and closets to make your home seem more open. Your REALTOR® can help make your individual home shine.

What does "Sale Pending" mean?
When a buyer and seller sign an Agreement of Sale, there are contingencies that need to be met before the sale is final and closed. Sale pending tells us that an agreement has been entered into but all the contingencies haven't been satisfied yet. For example, the buyer might still need to apply for a mortgage and if the buyer can't arrange for financing for some reason, the home will come back on the market.

Which home improvements will pay off the most when selling my home?
In general, you can expect improvements to kitchens and bathrooms to add the most to your resale value. More substantial remodeling can also pay off - if the new addition puts your home in the same class as others in the neighborhood. Your REALTOR® can tell you which improvements will add the most resale value to your home.

How can I estimate how much I will make from the sale of my home?
After helping you set a listing price for your home, your agent can give you an estimate of your expected expenses and proceeds—or net “walk away” cash. To estimate your “walk away cash,” subtract the mortgage payoff (including any home equity loans, settlement fees, commission and taxes) from the sale price of your home. Remember, this is only an estimate, and any changes in the figures will affect the final outcome.