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Frequently Asked Questions for Buyers

What should I do when I find a house I'm interested in?

First and foremost, find yourself a buyers’ agent to show you the home – don’t call the name on the sign. In real estate there are two types of agents: listing agents and buyer’s agents. As the names imply, they represent the two sides of the transaction. When you call the name on the sign, you are essentially waiving your rights to representation. Instead, find an agent who will be able to work with you throughout the buying process and keep your interests in the forefront.

How do I determine how much home I can afford?

The easiest way to determine how much home you can afford is to speak with a reputable loan officer. By doing so the lender will likely issue you a letter of pre-approval, which will serve as evidence to sellers that you will likely qualify to purchase their home. As always, just because you are qualified to buy up to a certain level doesn’t necessarily mean that you should. Before committing to a purchase run through your finances to determine how comfortable you will be with the eventual payments. Don’t forget to include property tax, homeowners insurance,  HOA fees, and other applicable expenses.

What will using a buyer’s agent cost me?

Traditionally, the answer is nothing. When a seller lists their home with a real estate company they typically agree to pay the listing broker a commission. When you buy a property your buyers’ agent will typically receive a portion of the listing fee in return for procuring a buyer.

How much do I need for a down payment?

Your down payment amount will largely depend on the type of loan you are using. Speak to a reputable lender for information on various loan programs and grants. While most conventional loans will require at least 5% down, there are loan products, like FHA and VA, which allow buyers to put even less down.

How long will it take to close on my new home?

Closing dates are part of the negotiations that go into a finalized contract. In most cases buyers can obtain loan approval in 30-60 days once formal loan application has been made. Other types of loans or complicated financial situations could take longer. Paying cash for a home can accelerate the closing process greatly if it is agreeable to both parties.

I am working with a buyer’s agent. Can I still go to open houses?

Absolutely. Just keep two things in mind: Let the listing agent know that you are working with a buyers’ agent and don’t say anything to the listing agent that you wouldn’t want the sellers to know. Remember the agent working the open house represents the seller and has a duty to convey any information that may be beneficial to that seller.

What is the best way to look for bank owned properties?

Despite what HGTV house flipping shows might lead you to believe, attending sheriff’s sales and buying a home sight-unseen is not necessarily the best way to land a great buy on distressed properties. The vast majority of foreclosures end up on the market just like any other home for sale, so team up with a knowledgeable Realtor who can set you up on an automated search for distressed properties so you will know the second one comes on the market.

What is a short sale?

Contrary to what the name might lead you to believe, short sales have nothing to do with the speed in which you can take possession of a home. Basically a short sale occurs when a seller owes more on a house than it is worth. In these situations banks will often agree to release sellers from their loan obligations in exchange for a partial repayment of their mortgage. This process can be extremely lengthy so it’s best to pursue short sales if you have some flexibility with your time frame.

How soon after we close will we get the keys?

How quickly you gain possession of your new home will depend on how the possession terms were structured in your contract. Some sellers will ask for delayed possession to allow them time move out once the ink has dried on the closing documents. Other sellers will be agreeable to giving you the keys the day the home files. In the end possession is negotiable in the final purchase agreement and your agent should advise you of your options.

What is the best way to find out what homes are currently on the market?

The best way to find out what is on the market is to be a Realtor. The second best way is to work with a Realtor. Even though third party sites like Zillow and Trulia try to be as comprehensive as possible, they still rely on individual agents and brokers to provide the information they need to stay relevant. Ask your buyers’ agent to set you up on an automated listing management system, which will automatically email you homes that match your criteria as soon as they come on the market. If you would like to have the freedom to browse and save your own listings, the search function on highpointrealestategroup.com is one of the most up-to-date listing searches on the internet.

Do you charge an administrative fee?

No. You will never have to worry about paying your High Point Real Estate Group agent any fees at closing.