Home Buying & Selling FAQs and Answers

Buying

How many homes should I look at before I make an offer?

You may find your dream home on your first visit or your fifth, there's really no set number. The more homes you visit the better feel for the community and the homes styles you will get. You'll know when the time is right - there's always that special feeling you get when you set foot in YOUR next home.

Should I Hire a Professional Home Inspector or Structural Engineer?

An inspection is almost a "must" if you are purchasing an older home, even if you are buying in "as is" condition. A good inspector will be able to tell you the age of the home and also be able to tell you what different aspects of the home might need replacing in the next few years, such as the roof, appliances, or other mechanical systems.

What is an Adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM)?

This is a type of loan in which the rate changes anywhere from once in six months to once in five years to reflect interest rate changes. To sell an ARM, a lender will offer a lower initial rate than on a fixed loan.

What is Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)?

Your lender will probably require you to obtain private mortgage insurance, if your down payment is less than 20 percent of the property's cost, which protects your lender if you default on the loan. Cost: $45 to $75 a month. Make sure that you can cancel the private mortgage insurance policy when you've paid your loan to less than 80 percent of your home's value.

Selling

How do I determine a price for my house?

You need to research and find out what other houses have sold for in your area and what your competition has their houses listed for in your area. Armed with this knowledge you can then come up with a realistic price for your house. Realistic is the keyword. If your house is overpriced it just won't sell and you'll get very frustrated. Your Realtor can supply the sold and for sale information to you and help you to come up with a realistic price.

How long will it take to sell my house?

There are many things that determine how quickly a house sells including price, terms, condition and location as well as the general market conditions for the area. Most houses will sell in 30 to 180 days but check with your Realtor, they have access to the market statistics and will be able to tell you what the average days on the market are for your specific area.

What makes a house sell?

There are many things that affect the sale of your house but the primary considerations are: price, terms, condition, location, and exposure. You can't always control all of these so sometimes you have to overcompensate in one area to make up for a disadvantage you face in another area.

When is the best time to sell my house?

Anytime! If you need to move for whatever reason it's time to sell. In some areas of the country late spring and early fall may be preferable because houses show better at that time but you will also have the most competition since many others will be taking advantage of those prime times as well. The most important thing is to make sure you leave yourself enough time to sell. If you're rushed it will probably cost you some money as you'll be tempted to reduce the price to get a quick sale. Give yourself three to six months to sell. In most markets this should be adequate but market conditions change so be sure and check with your Realtor to get the most up to date market conditions.

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