Real Estate FAQs
Whether you’re planning to sell your house or buy a new one, or looking for the perfect new office, retail or warehouse space, the real estate transaction process can seem complicated, so its normal to have some questions.
Below, we’ll answer some of the most common real estate questions to help you better understand the process and make confident decisions.
If you have any other questions, please get in touch! Our experienced realtors can answer questions specific to you and your unique needs, providing expert advice throughout your real estate journey.
Why do you need a real estate agent?
A real estate agent has in-depth knowledge of the area and how your home compares to others on the market. They understand the complexities of the of selling or buying process, and can help you navigate it smoothly. In addition, agents can also offer a network of professionals throughout the process – recommending mortgage brokers, legal professionals, title specialists, inspectors, or any other connections you may need to ensure the sale or purchase is completed as smoothly as possible.
What is the first step to buying a home?
Before looking for a new home, you need to know what you can afford. This means taking a close look at your budget. Review current expenses and estimate any new costs and expenses you’ll take on from buying a home -especially closing costs. Knowing what you can realistically afford beforehand will ensure that you only look at houses that are within your price range.
Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is helpful because it can tell you how much the lender is willing to let you borrow and estimates the costs of obtaining the loan. Being preapproved also tells the seller you’re serious about buying, which can make a difference if and when you find yourself in a bidding war.
Are you required to get an inspection?
Home inspections are required if you plan on financing your home with an FHA or VA loan. For other mortgage programs, inspections are not required, but are highly recommended.
Although there is no law or other legal requirement that says home buyers must get an inspection, a professional and thorough inspection is a worthwhile investment, allowing both parties to gain valuable insight into the home’s current condition and avoid any unforeseen surprises or expensive repairs as both parties approach the closing table.
The inspection will typically assess the home’s foundation, structure, roof, doors, windows, plumbing, heating, and Air Conditioning systems, and electrical, among others. Most issues are often minor and provide the seller with the opportunity to offer the home for sale “as is” (leaving any repairs to the new owners), or to repair them before selling. However, inspections can also reveal significant issues with the home that may be very expensive to repair down the line. In addition, if the inspection is part of a home purchase agreement, then pending repairs can make the price more negotiable.
How is your home’s value determined?
To determine your home’s price, a broker or real estate agent uses real estate comps, or comparable homes to determine the selling price. In addition to comps, some other factors that can determine price are: age of the home, size of the home, the neighborhood and surrounding area, zoning requirements and condition of the property. After analyzing all these factors, a broker can provide homeowners or buyers with a broker price opinion.
How long will it take to sell your home?
The exact time it might take to sell your home can depend on a few things, including time of year, local market conditions and home conditions. Some things you can do to help your home sell faster are make impactful repairs, such as painting or adding new carpets. Working with a One real estate agent who knows the area well will also ensure your home is priced competitively.
What happens if your offer is rejected?
If a seller rejects your home offer, assess if it was your best bid and consider making a new offer. Common reasons for rejection include competing offers, inflated seller expectations, financing preferences, and misaligned closing time frames. If a seller doesn’t respond by the deadline, your offer expires, allowing you to walk away. Seek advice from real estate experts and be prepared to withdraw if needed, considering factors like finding a better home or financing limitations.
Should you sell your current home before buying a new one?
If the built-up equity in your current home is going to be applied to the down payment on the new home, naturally the current home will need to be sold first.
Some home buyers decide to turn their current homes into an investment property by renting it out. In that case, the current home will not need to be sold. However, your loan advisor will need to evaluate your risk profile and credit history to determine whether making a loan on a new home is feasible while retaining the current home.
Can you back out of a home sale?
As a home buyer, you can back out of a home purchase agreement. However, with no contingencies written in the contract, you may face costly consequences such as losing your earnest money deposit. The ability to back out of an accepted house offer is good news. Even if the home is under contract, you can walk away from the sale. But the potentially negative consequences tend to grow the further along you get in the homebuying process.
What is an FHA loan?
An FHA loan, or Federal Housing Administration loan, is a mortgage option backed by the U.S. government, designed to assist home buyers with lower down payments and more lenient credit requirements. These loans are popular among first-time homebuyers and those with limited financial resources, as they provide access to affordable housing financing through approved lenders while offering borrower protections. FHA loans are particularly known for their down payment flexibility and are often sought by individuals who may not qualify for conventional mortgages.
Do you need to do a final walkthrough?
While a final walk-through is not required, it is highly recommended. The final walk-through gives buyers a chance to make sure nothing has changed since the initial inspection or previous visits. In addition, if repairs were agreed on as part of the sale agreement, then a follow up walk-through can verify that all repairs were done according to the agreement and contract.
What is a buyer’s market and seller’s market?
A buyer’s market occurs when supply exceeds demand. To put it another way, real estate inventory is high, and there are plenty of homes for sale, but there’s a shortage of interested home buyers. These conditions give buyers leverage over sellers because when supply is higher and demand lower, the market is forced to respond.
A seller’s market arises when demand exceeds supply. In other words, there are many interested buyers, but the real estate inventory is low. Since there are fewer homes available, sellers are at an advantage.
What is the difference between assessed value and market value?
The market value of a home is often referred to as the fair market value. Whether you’re buying or selling a house, this is a critical number. Essentially, the market value determines how much a home will cost.
The assessed value is used to calculate property taxes. As a buyer, the assessed value gives you an idea of what you can expect to pay in property taxes each year. Before you make an offer on any property, you should factor the expected annual property taxes into your budget.