Frequently Asked Questions


Frequently Asked Real Estate Questions by the Buyers

  1. Where do I begin?
  2. What should I do first – buy or sell?
  3. Why do I need a Dual agent?
  4. Do I need to get pre-approved for my mortgage loan?
  5. How long does it take to buy a house?
  6. How many houses do I have to visit before I can make a decision?
  7. Working with a Dual Agent
  8. What happens when we make an offer?
  9. Should I do inspections?
  10. What if repairs are needed after the inspections?
  11. Who handles the closing? (Closing checklist)
  12. What do I need to bring to the closing?

Question 1: Where do I begin?

Contact a Mather Company Associate to handle your real estate transaction. You’ll appreciate our associates special skills and qualities:

  1. Knowledge about the community where you want to live
  2. Enthusiasm
  3. Patience
  4. Dedicated, full-time professional, not part-time
  5. Full access to the area’s multiple listing service (MLS). The MLS gives you information about homes listed with any realtor, not just those represented by The Mather Company.
  6. Ability to understand your wants, needs, and personal tastes
  7. Honesty and Trustworthiness
  8. Willingness to keep you informed of changes in the market, without trying to push you into buying before you are ready. Our professional qualities and qualifications will ensure a rewarding relationship.

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Questions 2: What should I do first – buy or sell?

If you already own a home, you’re probably struggling with this basic question: what do I do first, buy the home that I want or sell my existing home? And the answer is as individual as you are. Generally, most real estate professionals would advise you to list your present home and shop for your new home simultaneously. However, depending on the market and/or your individual needs, you may want to consider an alternative. In a very robust real estate market, a home could sell within a few days of listing. So if you have very specific criteria for your new home with regard to location, size, views, age, etc., in a competitive market you may want to begin searching for and buying that home first before you sell your existing home.

Talk with your real estate agent regarding your own personal situation. They can help guide and advise you on the best possible strategy for buying a new home and selling your current home.

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Question 3: Why do I need a Dual agent?

A buyer’s agent will:

  1. Provide you with complete and accurate information on any property on the market.
  2. Help negotiate the best possible conditions and terms for you.
  3. Look out for your best interests through the entire buying process.
  4. Explain financing options and direct the best possible sources to you.
  5. Make recommendations and schedule inspections, appraisals, and lawyers.
  6. Make sure all paperwork is completed correctly

Working with a Buyer’s Agent provides all these benefits to you at absolutely NO cost to you – the buyer. A buyer’s agent is compensated by the seller while their primary responsibility is to the interest of the buyer. Contract us today to find out how to make us your Buyer’s Agent.

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Question 4: Do I need to get pre-approved for my mortgage loan?

Yes. Getting pre-approved will show you right away exactly what you can afford and what you can’t before you waste time visiting homes that are out of your price range. Once you decide on the home you want to buy, your pre-approval will illustrate to the seller how serious and well-prepared you are to do business. When multiple buyers are bidding on the same house, a mortgage credit approval can be the deciding factor in whose offer gets accepted.

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Question 5: How long does it take to buy a house?

The process can take anywhere from 30-90 days or longer. If you begin with a more specific idea of the type of home, the price range, and the neighborhood you prefer, this may certainly make the search process shorter. No time is wasted wishing and hoping! Sometimes coordinating with the seller can add more time than you’d like. But, don’t worry. We know how to act quickly and understands your preferred time frame for buying and moving in. We won’t waste your valuable time.

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Question 6: How many houses do I have to visit before I can make a decision?

Generally we tell our clients to begin looking at five to seven homes to gain an understanding of the market and what your money will buy you. Market knowledge is very important in trying to determine if something is a “good buy” or not. If you can afford a $150,000 house, previewing several houses in that price range will give you a good sense of the market. Then you will see if your idea of a $150,000 house is consistent with the reality of a $150,000 house.

What is your living strategy? This is a very important question. Are you buying the home based on two incomes? Is this realistic if you are also planning to have children? Are you going to be living in your home for a few years or longer? Short term, you may not want to invest much in home improvement. Longer term, this can shape your decision to buy a home that needs work or additions.

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Question 7: Working with a Dual Agent

You may permit an agent or firm to represent you and the seller at the same time. This “dual agency relationship” is most likely to happen if you become interested in a property listed with your buyer’s agent or the agent’s firm. If this occurs and you have not already agreed to a dual agency relationship, your buyer’s agent will ask you to sign a separate agreement or document permitting him or her to act a agent for both you and the seller. Nevertheless, a dual agent must treat buyer and sellers fairly and equally. Although the dual agent owes them the same duties, buyers and sellers can prohibit dual agents from divulging certain confidential information about them to the other party.

Seller’s Agent Working With a Buyer:

If the real estate agent or firm that you contact does not offer buyer agency or you do not want them to act as your buyer agent, you can still work with the firm and its agents. However, they will be acting as the seller’s agent (or subagent). The agent can still help you find and purchase property and provide many of the same services as a buyer’s agent. The agent must be fair with you and provide you with any material facts (such as a leaky roof) about properties.

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Question 8: What happens when we make an offer?

You should have a pre-approval letter from your lender before you make the offer. This will make you a stronger, serious buyer in the eyes of the seller. Your agent will write up the details of the offer for presentation to the seller’s agent which includes the price you are willing to pay, amount of earnest money, conditions of your mortgage loan, schedule for home inspections, projected closing date, conditions of Home Warranty (will seller pay for it?).

Your offer will be presented to the seller’s agent. It is not unusual for a buyer and seller to go through the process of counter offers to establish a good compromise on the selling price and other contract conditions. Once the parties are in agreement you and the seller must sign the approved offer to make it legal.

Next steps:

Your Mather Company agent will coordinate with the seller’s agent to schedule necessary inspections and the actual closing.

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Question 9: Should I do inspections?

For most persons, purchasing a home is the largest investment they will ever make. Most homebuyers lack the knowledge, skill and emotional detachment needed to inspect homes themselves. Home inspection professionals are specifically trained to evaluate structural components (floors, walls, roofs, chimneys, foundations, etc.) mechanical systems (plumbing, electrical, heating/air conditioning, installed appliances and other major components of the property and provide a report to you.

Most lenders also require a Termite Inspection. If termite or water damage are found, you must have proof that the house has been treated and/or that any damage has been repaired if required by inspecting company.

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Question 10: What if repairs are needed after the inspections?

It is normal for some repairs to be needed. Talk your agent about which ones you as the buyer will take care of versus which repairs you should ask the seller to correct this situation as it can lead to further negotiations.

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Question 11: Who handles the closing? (Closing checklist)

You need to have a licensed attorney because of the many legal ramifications concerning buying and selling.

Be sure to hire an attorney who has real estate experience or is a dedicated real estate attorney.

The people present at a closing normally include: the buyer, the buyer’s agent, the seller, the seller’s agent, the attorney, and sometimes the mortgage lender.

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Question 12: What do I need to bring to the closing?

You will need to bring certified funds for the actual purchase . The attorney is responsible for making sure you have the paperwork and documentation needed to complete the closing without further delay. The attorney follows the guidelines of the mortgage lender to prepare for this meeting. The papers are then signed and the deed is notarized.

You will need to transfer utilities into your name as of the day of closing. Keys are typically exchanged at closing, unless agreed upon prior to that time.

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