10 Most Common Home Buyer Questions

10 Most Common Home Buyer Questions

 Knowing the answers to the 10 most common home buying questions can alleviate some of the stress that comes with buying real estate. 

1) What’s the first step of the home buying process?

Answer: The Mortgage Pre-Approval.

Unless you are paying cash for a house, you will need to get a mortgage. In order to know how much home you can afford, you will need to get pre-approved for a loan. This is the first-step in the home buying process.

2) How Long Does it Take To Buy a Home?

Answer: Around 30 days

The timeline for finding a house varies greatly from person to person. Once you find a house and have an accepted offer, it usually takes around 30 days to close.

3) What Does A REALTOR® Do?

Answer: Almost everything.

A REALTOR® is your most valuable asset when buying a home. They will walk you through every part of the home buying process. They will educate and inform you of all your options. They will represent you throughout the transaction and beyond.

There is a difference between a REALTOR® and a real estate agent; many people do not know this. A REALTOR® is regulated by the National Association of REALTORS® and subscribes to a strict Code of Ethics. A real estate agent does not. It is recommended that you work with a licensed REALTOR® to avoid potential problems.

4) How Much Do I Have To Pay a REALTOR® as a Homebuyer?

Answer: Nothing

In most cases, you do not have to pay your REALTOR® anything to help you purchase a home. The sellers pays their REALTOR® a fee, and then that listing agent pays the buyers agent for bringing the buyer and facilitating the transaction.

 

5) What’s Your Best Advice for First-Time Homebuyers?

Answer: Trust the Professionals.

Beware of advice from people who do not work in the industry. Real estate is a popular topic and almost everyone feels like they have some great insight to offer. In reality, the people who know best are the people that work in the business. Good REALTORS® have sold hundreds (maybe thousands) of properties. We know what to expect and what to look out for. Friends and relatives have only bought and sold a few homes, if any at all. Buying and selling a couple of homes does not make someone a well-rounded source of information. I’ve seen too many first-time buyers become persuaded by well-meaning friends and family, only to be disappointed later. Be confident in your decisions and trust the professionals.

6) What Kind of Credit Score Do I Need to Buy a Home?

Answer: 620+

A 620 credit score, or higher, is recommended. As you are probably aware, a higher credit score offers better lending terms. This is an ever evolving topic, however, as loan requirements are constantly changing. There are some lenders who will approve buyers with a 580 score, sometimes even lower. Your loan officer will be the best source to give you a current answer for today’s lending requirements.

7) Are There Special Home Buying Programs That I Should Know About?

Answer: Yes

There are some great home buying programs to research. The main ones would be VA loans, USDA loans, and FHA loans. Knowing the difference between these loan types is very important.

8) How Much Money Do I Need for a Downpayment?

Answer: It depends on your loan type. Usually 3% to 5% down.

The most common answer is 3% to 5% of the purchase price. FHA loans just dropped their requirement from 3.5% to 3.0%. There are also some conventional loans that only require 3% down. Veterans are usually eligible for a VA loan, which requires no money down. Properties in rural areas are usually eligible for a USDA loan, which also requires no money down.

9) What Other Fees Are There, Besides the Downpayment?

Answer: Mainly loan origination and closing costs.

The downpayment is usually the largest cost associated with buying a house. Lending fees are the second largest costs to homebuyers. Most lenders will charge between 2% to 4% of the loan amount for loan origination fees, depending on the loan type. Conventional loans usually have lower loan origination fees, but require more money down. Your loan officer will be able to help you determine how much you can expect to pay towards loan origination and closing costs.

10) When do I get the keys?

Answer: At Closing

Under normal circumstances, you will get the keys at the closing. A closing typically takes about an hour. In some cases, the lender will need time to fund the loan and you will need to pick up the keys after the loan has been funded. If you have a Friday evening closing and the loan cannot fund until Monday, you may not get the keys until Monday. Make sure to coordinate your closing to get the keys on the same day, if that is what you need.


Do you have a real estate question that you would like answered? Feel free to contact me directly, or leave a comment below for others to answer as well. Remember, a good REALTOR® is your best source of information when buying a home. Once you have a REALTOR® that you trust, start asking as many questions as possible. They will gladly inform and educate you through each step of the home buying process.

 

 


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10 Questions You Should Ask Your Mortgage Lender

Being a home buyer can be a stressful experience, especially if you don’t know what to expect. You want to ensure that you make informed decisions. But, doing so can be challenging when you aren’t even sure of what the right questions are to ask your mortgage lender.

  1. How much money can I borrow to buy a home?

When determining how much you can borrow, lenders may consider your income level compared with debt, your employment status and your credit history. Talk to a lender about getting prequalified for a mortgage before you start shopping for your new home. This can make the whole experience go more smoothly.

2. How much money do I need to put down?

To get the best rate and terms for your loan, try to put down at least 20 percent of the purchase price. Although a lower down payment won’t necessarily disqualify you, there is a chance that a monthly private mortgage insurance (PMI) payment will be added if your down payment is less than 20 percent. Your down payment will affect other variables as well, such as your interest rate, terms and monthly payments. Ask your lender for more information about the minimum down payment required for your loan and if you might be eligible for any down payment or cost-saving assistance programs, and decide what’s right for you.

3. What’s the interest rate?

Right off the bat, you should ask your lender for a direct interest rate quote, as well as the corresponding annual percentage rate (APR) for the loan. Since the APR accounts for fees and other loan-related charges, it gives you an apples-to-apples comparison among lenders. Don’t be afraid to shop around until you find one you’re comfortable with.

4. What’s the difference between a fixed rate and an adjustable rate?

A fixed-rate mortgage keeps the same interest rate for the life of the loan, typically a 15- or 30-year term. This keeps your monthly payment for principal and interest steady and predictable over time. Adjustable-rate mortgages, or ARMs, have interest rates that change based on the market, so your payment will go up and down. Most ARMs are based on a 30-year term and typically start with an initial fixed interest rate for a specific period of time, usually 5, 7 or 10 years. It’s important to compare these two types of mortgages to find what’s best for your situation.

5. How many points does that rate include?

A discount point is a fee paid to the lender at closing in exchange for a reduced interest rate. (1 point = 1% of your total mortgage amount.) Be sure to ask your lender how many points are included in the quoted interest rate and what the benefits might be to buying more or fewer points.

6. When can I lock my interest rate?

Interest rates always fluctuate. Sometimes, locking in a low rate can really pay off. Ask your lender when you can lock a particular rate and for how long. Keep in mind, lenders will usually offer lower interest rates for shorter-term locks and higher interest rates for longer-term locks.

7. What are my estimated closing costs?

Remember to factor in the various fees associated with buying a home—particularly closing costs. Closing costs include loan origination fees, appraisal fees and attorney fees (if any), to name a few. Your lender should provide you with a Loan Estimate showing the approximate costs of your loan so you can budget accordingly.

8. Are there any other costs or fees I should know about?

The more information you can collect up front, the more prepared you’ll be should you run into any unexpected expenses along the way. To help you understand the various fees you’ll need to cover, your lender should give you a Closing Disclosure detailing all the costs associated with your loan. It’s a good idea to compare the Closing Disclosure to the Loan Estimate.

9. Can you estimate when the closing will be?

A lot of factors help determine when your exact closing date will be—many of which are completely out of your control. Ask your lender for an estimate of when you might expect to close. That way you’ll at least have a rough idea of the timetable you’re working with.

10. Is there anything that could delay my closing?

Yes, buying a home is a complex process with many stages and requirements. While delays are normal, the best way to avoid them is to stay in touch with your lender and provide the most up-to-date documentation as quickly as you can. 

Pre-qualification is neither pre-approval nor a commitment to lend; you must submit additional information for review and approval.


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