I know how overwhelming the process can be. We’ve all been there: the house hunt, the contract, the offer and then the long wait for closing.

But if you’re new to buying a house, or even if you’ve bought before and just want some reassurance that everything will go smoothly this time around, here are some things that you can ask your real estate agent about before starting your home buying journey. Here are the top frequently asked questions from home buyers to Real Estate Agents.

Should I talk with a bank before looking at homes?

Yes, you can get pre-approved for a mortgage before you even start looking at homes! If you’re a first time home buyer, talking with a bank before looking at homes is strongly suggested, as there are many first time home buyer programs available.  These programs can vary from state to state and county to county, so knowing exactly what’s available to you, is critical.

One of the biggest benefits of getting pre-approved is that it gives you a sense of how much house you can afford and what kind of loan amount will be most beneficial for your situation.

What is the standard down payment amount?

The amount of your down payment will be determined by the loan program for which you are qualified. Historically, the standard down payment was 20% of the home’s buying price. Many loan programs no longer need a 20% down payment. Indeed, if you are purchasing a house for the first time, you may just be needed to put down 3 to 5% of the purchase price.

Should I do a home inspection?

Yes,  a home inspection is one of the most important processes in acquiring a house. A competent inspector can tell how effectively the house has been maintained. Inspectors can provide feedback on structural and aesthetic flaws, as well as any local code issues. Furthermore, a home inspector will assist you in determining the house’s value.

Should I do a final walk-through?

A final walk-through is optional but strongly encouraged. Buyers might use final walk-throughs to ensure that nothing has changed since their original inspection or earlier visits. In addition, if repairs were required as part of the sale offer, a follow-up inspection ensures that all repairs are completed in accordance with the agreement and contract.

How does earnest money work?

When renting a home, earnest money is similar to a deposit. It is made in good faith to show the seller that the buyer’s offer is genuine. The  earnest money can either be in the form of a cheque or cash. The fee is typically 1-2% of the selling price and effectively removes the property from the market. The funds also provide the buyer with additional time to do a title search, obtain an inspection and property appraisal, and obtain financing.

How many houses should I view before purchasing one?

When you’re looking to buy a house, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. There are so many houses out there and it’s hard to know which one is right for you and your family. The best way to find the perfect home is by being open-minded and letting go of any preconceived notions about what type of home you need.

If you’re looking for a house I recommend using my website so that you can see as many properties as possible. You can also connect with me via email or phone if you prefer to communicate face-to-face instead of through technology. We can schedule a time when we can visit some of your favorite properties together or on your behalf so that we can really get a feel for what type of location would best suit you and your family’s needs.

What does a real estate agent do for a buyer?

When you’re looking at buying a home, real estate agents can help you find the right fit. They’ll take you through the entire process, from pre-approval to closing. Before your agent begins working with you, she will put you in touch with a trusted mortgage lender so that you can get a mortgage pre-approval. After that’s done, your agent will have a conversation with you to learn more about what type of home would be best for you and your family. Price and location are typically the two biggest drivers of a buyer’s interest in a given property.

Next up is research—your agent will check out homes that are currently for sale in the area where you wish to move and will schedule tours at those homes. If you decide to put an offer on one of those homes, your agent will negotiate it for you so that both parties feel confident about their offers. If your offer is accepted by the seller, then it’s time for an appraisal and home inspection. The appraisal and home inspection are important parts of your real estate transaction.

The appraisal is required by a lender to make sure the home’s value is enough to serve as collateral to back the loan. The inspection ensures that the house doesn’t have any major issues (such as a leaking roof or faulty plumbing). Your lender will order the appraisal. Your real estate agent will help you pick a home inspector. If any problems with the house are identified during the home inspection, your real estate agent will negotiate with the seller to repair them or provide some kind of compensation to you. Your real estate agent is there throughout the entire process, from listing through closing, so they’re really an extension of yourself during these crucial days when buying a house becomes real!

The bottom line is that there is a lot to think about when buying a home, from the seemingly mundane details to more complicated financial aspects of the deal. However, with hard work, patience, and realistic expectations for the home buying process, you too can become a proud homeowner, you’ll be glad to have a real estate agent on your side. If you think you’re ready to start looking for your new home, reach out to me and get started today!


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