• Honesty and integrity.
  • Knowledge of purchase process.
  • Responsiveness.
  • Knowledge of real estate market.
  • Communication skills.
  • Negotiation skills.

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. View our page on Home Buying.

The following are generalized percentages and can vary from state to state.

  • Mortgage without PMI: 20%
  • Conventional mortgage: 5%
  • FHA mortgage: 3.5%
  • Special programs: 3%
  • VA and USDA: 0%

In the home-buying process, escrow is a secure holding area where important items (like the earnest money check and contracts) are kept safe until the deal is closed and the house officially changes hands.

An earnest money deposit is also frequently referred to as a good faith deposit. When a buyer purchases a home, they provide the seller’s real estate company a deposit to hold in their escrow account. The primary purpose of this deposit is to show a seller you are serious about purchasing their home. The amount that is deposited is subtracted from the final figure that a buyer pays at the closing table. In most cases, the larger the deposit, the stronger a purchase offer looks to a seller.

A FICO score is a type of credit score created by the Fair Isaac Corporation. Lenders use borrowers’ FICO scores along with other details on borrowers’ credit reports to assess credit risk and determine whether to extend credit.

Mortgage insurance is a policy that you pay for, even though it protects the lender. If you fail to repay the loan and end up in foreclosure, the policy reimburses the lender for any financial losses.

A home insurance policy covers any accidental damage to your home and belongings due to theft, storms, fires, and some natural disasters. There are four primary areas covered under the policy: the interior and exterior of your home, personal property in case of theft, loss or damage, and general liability that can arise when a person is injured while on your property. A home insurance policy is usually mandatory, and a bank will generally require you to obtain one before issuing a mortgage on a home.

A home warranty is a service contract that provides for repair or replacement of your system components and appliances that fail due to age and standard wear and tear. For instance, components of your HVAC, electrical, and plumbing, kitchen appliances and washer/dryer are all typically covered under this warranty. You can also cover larger systems like your pool and spa. Home warranties typically have 12-month contract terms, and are not mandatory to obtain a mortgage. A home warranty is purely elective.

After touring your home, the agent will get back to you with some information about the market, recent comparable sales and an opinion of your home’s value.

Closing costs are fees paid at closing and usually total 2%–5% of the final sale price. Closing costs are the lender and third-party fees paid at the close of a real estate transaction.

Closing cost credit is a credit given to a buyer to help with cost associated with escrow. They include things like title insurance, fees charged by the title company, lender fees, and points on your loan. The amount a buyer pays in closing cost varies.

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. Contact Danniel to see how he can help you.

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. View our page on Buying a Home.

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. View our page on Buying a Home.

Typically you will first pre-qualify for a mortgage, then get pre-approved before you have found the specific home you wish to purchase. What is the difference?

Pre-qualification: An informal determination by a lender or mortgage broker stating how much mortgage you can afford.

Pre-approval: A guarantee in writing by a lender to grant you a loan up to a specified amount.

There are two advantages of being pre-approved for a loan as early as possible in your home buying process:

First off, sellers will find any offer you make more attractive if you are pre-approved for a mortgage. Secondly, the length of time before closing can be shorter if you’ve completed the steps to securing mortgage approval prior to signing a contract on a property.

Usually 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. View our page on Buying a Home.

Contingencies are anything that needs to occur in order for the deal to continue moving forward. They can be things like inspections, the receipt of deposit monies, or obtaining a mortgage commitment. Nearly anything can count, as long as both the buyer and seller agree to it.

A short sale is a sale of real estate in which the net proceeds from selling the property will fall short of the debts secured by liens against the property. In this case, if all lien holders agree to accept less than the amount owed on the debt, a sale of the property can be accomplished.

Foreclosure is a legal process in which a lender attempts to recover the balance of a loan from a borrower who has stopped making payments to the lender by forcing the sale of the asset used as the collateral for the loan.

When evaluating how much you can afford for your home and mortgage, lenders usually use two rules of thumb:

1. Your maximum monthly mortgage payment should not exceed 28 percent of your gross (pre-tax) income.

2. Your maximum debt load, including your mortgage payment, should not exceed 30 percent of your gross income.

These ratios are typical of those required to secure a conventional mortgage. Lenders will be able to supply details about other types of mortgages, such as FHA or VA loans, which offer more flexible qualification standards. There are many types of mortgages and financial tools available that provide flexibility in interest rates, terms, and down payment requirements.

View our page on Buying a Home.

When a purchase offer is submitted to the seller there are generally four possible responses. The first is an accepted offer, the second is a counter offer, the third is a rejected offer, and the final is an offer that is not responded to. If your offer is rejected, meaning the seller says no and doesn’t counter, you have the right to place another offer. It’s not very common an offer is rejected or not responded to, unless a seller is offended by a low-ball offer. View our page on Buying a Home.

Around 30 to 45 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. View our page on Home Buying.

Nothing, 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.

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. View our page on Buying a Home.

“Comps,” or comparables, is a term that refers to homes located in the same area and very similar in size, condition and features as the home you are trying to buy or sell. Buyers look at comps when deciding what price to offer on a home, and sellers use them to figure out how to best price their home for the market. Real estate agents look at comps to keep on top of their local market.

Curb appeal refers to the visual appearance of the visible side (usually from the street or “curb”) of your house.