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Frequently Asked Questions

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  1. What is the first step in the home buying process?

    • Answer: Typically, the first step is to assess your finances and get pre-approved for a mortgage. This will give you a clear picture of what you can afford.

  2. How do I determine how much house I can afford?

    • Answer: Calculate your income, debts, and potential mortgage rates, and consult with a mortgage broker or lender for a detailed assessment.

  3. What does a real estate agent do?

    • Answer: A real estate agent helps buyers find homes within their budget and assists sellers in pricing and marketing their homes. They also negotiate contracts and guide clients through the closing process.

  4. Do I need a real estate agent to buy a home?

    • Answer: No, but an agent can provide valuable expertise and guidance, potentially saving you time and money.

  5. How is the price of a home determined?

    • Answer: Comparable sales (comps), location, condition, size, and the current market determine a home’s price.

  6. What is earnest money?

    • Answer: It is a deposit made by a buyer to show good faith when entering into a contract to buy a home.

  7. What are closing costs, and how much are they typically?

    • Answer: Closing costs are fees associated with finalizing a mortgage, generally ranging from 2-5% of the loan amount.

  8. How long does it take to buy a home?

    • Answer: The timeframe can vary, but it typically takes between 30-60 days from contract to closing.

  9. What is a home inspection, and do I need one?

    • Answer: A home inspection is an assessment of a property’s condition. It is generally recommended to help avoid costly surprises after purchase.

10. What is the difference between pre-qualification and pre-approval?
Answer: Pre-qualification is an estimate of how much you can borrow based on self-reported income and credit information, while pre-approval involves a more thorough verification process by a lender and means the lender has committed to lending you a specific amount.

11. How do I prepare my home for sale?
Answer: Clean and declutter the home, make necessary repairs, stage rooms attractively, and consider a fresh coat of paint.

12. What is a seller's disclosure?
Answer: This is a document that a seller must provide, disclosing known defects and conditions of the property.

13. How can I improve my home's value?
Answer: Consider renovations like updating the kitchen or bathroom, adding a fresh coat of paint, improving the landscaping, or finishing a basement.

14. What is a short sale?
Answer: A short sale is when a home is sold for less than the amount owed on the mortgage.

15. What is escrow?
Answer: Escrow is a neutral third party that holds funds and/or documents until the transaction is completed.

16. How does my credit score impact my ability to buy a home?
Answer: A higher credit score generally enables you to get a lower mortgage interest rate, making your home loan more affordable.

17. What is a contingency in a real estate contract?
Answer: A contingency is a condition that must be met for a real estate contract to become binding.

18. Is it a buyer's market or a seller's market?
Answer: A buyer’s market has more homes available than buyers, often leading to lower prices. A seller’s market has more buyers than available homes, often leading to higher prices.

19. What are property taxes, and how are they calculated?
Answer: Property taxes are annual taxes that homeowners pay to local governments. They are typically based on the assessed value of the property.

20. What is homeowners insurance and is it required?
Answer: Homeowners insurance covers potential damages to your property. Most mortgage lenders require it as part of the loan agreement.

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