FAQ's

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Is now a good time to buy?

Yes! Interest rates are at historic lows, and prices have come down as much as 50%-70% in many areas. REO's and short sales are sometimes being under priced to create multiple offers.

 

Will the market drop more if I just wait?

There is no way to predict the future. When prices drop it is generally tied to other aspects of the economy, such as unemployment and interest rates. If prices go down it is likely that interest rates have gone up and your payment will still be the same as if you had not waited. You should also factor in the money spent on rent while you waited and the loss of tax shelter that can increase your income by about 30%. The only people that need to time the market are investors and house flippers looking to do a fast turnaround. If you are looking for a home it should be considered a long term investment and as such you will never lose. By working with a good Realtor you can find the best deal that suits you needs at that time.

 

Where do I start?

The first step in buying a home is determining what you can afford. Many people believe that they should look at homes first to see what they cost. This is the reverse of what you should do. When you become pre-approved your Realtor can then accurately search for properties in that range. This is an excellent time to sit down and adjust expectations. If you can not afford everything that you want, is it more important to have the bigger house in the less desirable neighborhood or the smaller house in the location that you want? Remember, no ones first home is their dream home. A first home is often a stepping stone to a bigger house. The important thing is to get into the market so that you may begin to build the equity that you will need later on. Many people believe that what they currently spend on rent is what they can afford as a house payment. This is not the case. Again, if you factor in the tax savings at the end of the year you can usually afford about 30% more than you are currently paying as a renter. Talking to a qualified loan broker is the only way to find out what you can afford. The pre approval that you need to begin your search takes about 10 minutes on the phone. When you find the home you want than your broker will complete the loan process.

 

What is value range pricing?

This is when a property’s list price is a range, indicating that they will accept offers anywhere within that number.  

 

Why do people do this?

Often a seller wants more for their property than their agent recommends. As such, they will list the property with a range from the agent recommendation to the sellers’ ideal price. There are also agents that are unsure of exactly what a property is worth, so they put it in a range of what they think it may be worth. Lastly, sometimes a seller knows what number they will settle for but value range around that number hoping that the low end of the range will attract people to their home.

 

Is there any reason not to just offer the low number?

Ultimately it is up to every individual buyer to decide what they will offer but there is no reason why not to. If a seller does not like your offer they always have the right to counter it.  

 

Why do I need a Realtor when I can just go to open houses?

A Realtor is an expert in their field. They have access to inventory that often the public does not. Many houses are not held open. They have inside information from their clients and colleagues about property not yet on the market. Our MLS system has thousands of listings. There is a Realtor confidential section that often has valuable information on how motivated a seller is (divorce for example). This is also where we find out about short sales, foreclosures, REO's and probate sales. Buying a home is one of the largest legal transactions that you will be involved in, in your life. It is inadvisable to do this on your own as it takes someone familiar with the contracts and real estate law. It would be like going to court without a lawyer. Realtors are familiar with all of the legal liabilities involved and skilled at minimizing them for their clients. There are many contracts involved in every transaction and when utilized in the proper way they are designed to protect you. Realtors are also skilled negotiators trained to get you the best deal possible.

 

Are all Realtors the same?

No! In fact almost half of the real estate agents currently practicing are not Realtors, but real estate sales people. A Realtor is an elective designation created by our industry to separate professionals from non-professionals. The way our industry has avoided government regulation is by policing ourselves using the strictest of guidelines. The Realtor designation is our strongest tool. All Realtors adhere to a code of ethics and high standard of work. In an industry that attracts people from many different backgrounds, this is essential.

 

What are short sales, foreclosures, REO’s and probates, and are they a better deal?

A short sale is when a property owner has begun to miss mortgage payments and their lender agrees to let them sell their property for less than what they owe. REO stands for real estate owned (by the bank). This is a property that has been foreclosed on and is now for sale with the lender as the new owner. A foreclosure on the market is usually in one of these stages. Between these stages the property goes to public auction. These properties are sold as is and you must pay all cash on that day. The starting auction price must be the amount owed, so if the owner owes more than their house is worth, these auctions are simply a formality and not worth your time. Probate sales are when the owner has died without a will, and the court appoints a trustee to over see the sale. While you can sometimes get a deal on all of these types of sales, they are often in disrepair, and not move in ready. In the case of third party approval, such as a short sale or probate, the property can take considerably longer to purchase.

 

How do I find these types of properties?

Through your Realtor.

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