Q: What does a real estate agent actually do?
A: A real estate agent is essential to first-time buyers. Their most important duty is to represent you throughout the transaction, but they will also be there for you during every step of the home buying process and use their insider knowledge to help you understand it. Great realtors are responsible for most of the “behind-the-scenes” work, such as research, planning, communicating, and negotiating.
Q: How long will it take to buy a house?
A: Once you decide on a home and your offer is accepted, it usually takes around 30 days to complete the closing process.
Q: What kind of fees are there?
A: The first thing you’ll need to consider is the down payment, which is generally 3 to 5 percent of the purchase price depending on the type of loan you receive. This will be the largest cost you will be dealing with.
Lending fees are typically 2 to 4 percent of the loan amount, which will be repaid to your lender. Closing costs include fees that come from the preparation of your mortgage, and depends on the lender. Keep in mind that mortgage lenders are required by law to disclose their estimated closing costs in writing!
Q: How does my credit score come into play?
A: Most sources will suggest that a credit score of 620 or higher is recommended when buying a home. The higher your credit, the better lending terms you will qualify for.
Q: Should I get pre-approved or pre-qualified?
A: You should absolutely get pre-qualified, at the very least. I would strongly suggest getting pre-approved if possible, as this gives you a competitive edge when compared to other prospective buyers—this means that both your credit and your finances are approved so you can make an offer with confidence. Qualification is based on factors such as employment, income, credit, assets, and liabilities.
Q: When should I get homeowner’s insurance?
A: You will need a homeowner’s insurance policy issued before closing.