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FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

What is my home worth?
There is no easy answer to this, it really depends on many factors, contact your Realtor and ask for a complementary opinion of market value!

How long will it take to sell my home?

Every home is unique, a lot depends on the market conditions and your motivation for selling. There are some usual reasons that a property doesn't sell- such as: Priced too high, lack of consistent promotion, timing (market fluctuations).

When is the best time to buy/sell?
Everyone seems to have specific ideas on when the right time is to sell. Some base their theories on the overall economy, while others will tell you that there are key buying months that you'll want to capitalize on. Chat with your Realtor about the market trends in your area.

What if I make an offer and it is rejected?
They often are! But don't let that stop you. Now you begin negotiating. Your Realtor will help you. You may have to offer more money. Often, negotiations on a price go back and forth several times before a deal is made. Just remember - don't get so caught up in negotiations that you lose sight of what you really want and can afford!

Should I buy before or after I sell my current property?
There are two situations you probably want to avoid. The first is situation is if that you find and buy your dream home before you've sold your current home, you may be faced with carrying two mortgages for a while, this can get expensive. The other situation is that you have an excellent purchaser for your existing home before you've found your next home, thus, you may find yourself living at a friends place or your in-laws for a few months if convenient closing dates can not be negotiated. Your Realtor can help you make contingency plans.

What is your commission rate?
Traditionally, the Seller sets the commission rate, during the listing contract with the Seller's Realtor. There is no set rate of commission; it is negotiated at the time a contract is put in place- you can negotiate with your Realtor.

What is title insurance?
Title insurance gives the named insured protection against loss due to: Defects liens encumbrances adverse claims other matters not revealed or disclosed to the new owner that attach prior to the date of policy

Do I need Homeowners Insurance?
Most lenders require that you have homeowners insurance, to protect both your interests and theirs. Like everything else, be sure to shop around for insurance that fits your needs.

What are closing costs?
Closing costs are the total amount of charges paid to different entities involved in the process of buying and selling real estate. Ask your Realtor for a rough accounting of what they will be; on the property that you're interested in.

What is the difference between "pre-qualified" and "pre-approved"?
"Pre-qualified" means that a loan officer has determined the price the buyer can afford based on the down payment, debts and the amount that will be approved for the mortgage-in other words, has done a check of probable credit. "Pre-approved" means that the lender has approved the buyer's credit, employment and funds.

What should a home inspection include?
Every home inspection should include a checkup of the following:

  • Foundations
  • Roof
  • Heating and air conditioning systems
  • Ventilation
  • Common areas (for condominiums)
  • Septic tanks, wells or sewer lines*
  • Insulation
  • Plumbing and electrical systems
  • Ceiling, walls and floors
  • Doors
  • Hazardous materials concerns

Note that hazardous materials checkups sometimes cost extra, but are obviously worth the extra money.

Who holds the deposit when I make an offer to purchase?
It is negotiable between you and the seller. Usually the seller's brokerage holds the deposit "in trust" for you and the seller.

What is the difference between chattels and fixtures?
Chattels are unattached goods that go with the seller. Fixtures are attached goods that stay with the property. Any chattels you want included must be written into the purchase contract and agreed to by the seller.

Do I have to use a lawyer?
It is highly recommended. If you are getting a mortgage, your lender will probably require that a lawyer handle the transaction.

What is an appraisal? Will I need one?
An appraisal is an opinion of value of the home you want to purchase. Virtually every lender will require some sort of appraisal before the loan is approved.


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