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Q: How long does it take to buy a home?

A: The time can vary based on whether you are getting a loan and other contingency periods. These are negotiable and are determined when the purchase contract is signed. The standard escrow period is 30 to 45 days, but every situation is different depending on both the buyer’s and seller’s situations.

Q: What is the first step in the home buying process?

A: First you should talk with your lender or financial advisor. This will save you time when it comes down to finding the right house because you will have a better understanding of what you can afford. A lender will be able to give you an idea of what mortgage amount you qualify for, while a financial advisor can help you decide what’s best for you financially.

Q: Do I need to do inspections on a home?

A: Inspections are not required, but they are certainly recommended. In the residential purchase contract the standard inspection contingency is 17 days. During negotiations a buyer or seller can negotiate a longer or shorter contingency period. This allows the buyer to have professionals inspect the home and point out any issues or concerns they may find at the home. The buyer may determine that they want to cancel the contract due to any findings. If they are within the inspection contingency period specified on the contract, they are able to cancel without losing their deposit. Since a home buyer may decide against purchasing the home due to issues that are found, inspections are always advised.

Q: When is a good time to sell?

A: The most lucrative time to sell is when it is a ‘seller’s market’. This means that the inventory cannot keep up with the demand. Therefore homes typically sell quicker and for higher prices due to the demand. This however does not mean you should wait until it’s a seller’s market if it does not make sense for you. There is always a demand for homes and even though it might take a little longer to sell, we suggest that you sell when timing makes sense for you. Selling in a buyer’s market would also mean that you might have an easier time purchasing your next home.

Q: How does your real estate agent get compensated?

A: Typically the seller pays the real estate agent commission. The seller pays an agreed upon amount to both the buyer and seller agents. The amount is negotiated between the seller and seller’s agent prior to listing.

Q: Why should I use a real estate agent?

A: A good real estate agent has the negotiating skills and market knowledge to get you top dollar for your property. If you’re a buyer, a good real estate agent has your best interest in mind and offers advice and guidance throughout the real estate transaction. Real estate agents are constantly surveying the market and have access to the most up to date information. They are knowledgeable of the latest necessary paperwork and help facilitate a smooth transaction from start to finish.

Q: What are closing costs?

A: Closing costs are the costs incurred when transferring a property, including but not limited to the following: lender fees, appraisal fees, title and escrow fees and insurance fees. These costs are paid through escrow once the property closes.

Q: How do I determine the right list price for my property?

A: Your real estate agent should conduct a Comparative Market Analysis on the property. This analysis compares your property to other similar properties in your area. Typically homes are looked at on a price per square foot basis to determine the market value of the property. Other factors like location in the neighborhood, lot size, views and upgrades are also important to take into consideration.

Q: How do I prepare my home to sell?

A: This depends on the current state of the home, but typically a fresh coat of paint is a good place to start. Switching out light fixtures is an easy and relatively inexpensive way to make a home look more current. It is also very important to declutter a home prior to listing for sale. In some cases it makes sense to do more extensive work, like remodeling the kitchen, replacing flooring, or switching up the landscaping, but this is on a case by case basis. Once the work at the home is complete, we typically recommend a stager come in and do either a full or partial stage. Current trends in furniture and design help to appeal to more homebuyers.

Q: Can I sell my home and purchase a new one at the same time?

A: Yes. This is common since most people are moving from one home to the next. When you are selling and find a new home before your house has sold, then you can negotiate a buyer’s contingency for the sale of your current home. If it does not sell within the agreed upon number of days, then you can cancel the contract. Same goes for if your home sells prior to finding a replacement property. You can negotiate a seller’s contingency, in which case you have an agreed upon number of days to find a replacement property. If you don’t find one, you can cancel the contract.

Q: What are my options if my home closes and I don’t find another property?

A: There are a few options. You can try for a “lease back after sale”. If the buyer agrees, you can lease back the property for an agreed upon number of days and at an agreed upon cost. You can also find a short-term rental while you decide where your next move will be. Your real estate agent can help you decide the best viable option for your situation.

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