Home Buying FAQ

We get it – buying a house is a slightly complicated and sometimes confusing process. This is why you hire an agent with expertise who educates you along the way. This FAQ is meant to give you quick answers to common questions.

How much do I have to pay a realtor as a homebuyer?

Nothing.

In most cases, you do not have to pay your realtor anything to help you purchase a home. The seller typically pays the listing agent for facilitating the transaction and the buyer agent for bringing the buyer. 

There are closing costs, but these are not paid to the realtor.

What credit score do I need to qualify?

Usually 620+

A 620+ credit score is typically needed to qualify for a home loan. However, FHA loans will do as low as 580 depending on other factors like down payment and income. Lenders we work with review your credit and provide a game plan to help rebuild your credit score if needed. This process is a lot quicker than people think!

How much do I need for a down payment?

Typically at least 3-5% 

Many people believe you need a 20% down payment. The bigger the down payment, the smaller your loan. However, only 3-5% is typically required for a down payment. There are even loan options available for as little as 0.5% down.

How long does it take to buy a home?

30+ days (usually a couple of months).

Depending on the market availability, your wishlist, and other factors, the length of time to buy a home varies drastically. Most mortgage deals take 30-45 days to close, so that is the wait time from when your offer is accepted. Your realtor can give you a better estimate based on your specific situation.

What other fees are there besides the down payment?

Closing costs. 

Sometimes referred to as settlement fees, closing costs are paid in addition to the down payment. Typically closing costs run you about 2-5% of your purchase price and include things fees and costs such as:government recording, appraisal and/or inspection, credit report, lender origination, title services, tax services, surveying, attorney, and underwriting.

How do I know what I can afford?

Get pre-approved.

The best way to get a sense of what you can afford is to get pre-approved. From there, you can estimate your mortgage (and HOA if applicable) payment and decide what fits into your monthly budget. This will help you decide what you can afford.

What is equity?

Amount of value. 

The market value of real property, less the amount of any liens. For example, if your home is appraised at $300,000 and you have $250,000 left on your mortgage, then you have $50,000 in equity.

Home prices are high, is this the right time to buy?

Probably. 

Buying a home is a big decision. Historical precedent tells us buying a house is a long-term investment – the value will continue to go up. So, the prices will probably continue to go up. So, if you really want to buy in that area, then it probably is the right time to buy. The best thing to do is get pre-approved and talk with a realtor.

When should I apply for a mortgage pre-approval?

Now.

Unless you know there are things on your credit report you want to take care of first, loans you want to pay off, cash you’re waiting to receive, etc., there is no reason to wait. Even if you don’t feel ready to buy, getting a pre-approval helps you get a clear picture of your situation and can help you decide if you’re ready.

Can I back out of a deal?

Technically, yes.

You can make an offer and then change your mind when the seller accepts. If you’ve already signed a purchase agreement and paid earnest money (this is like a deposit), you can back out and will likely lose most or all of you earnest money (depending on the agreement details). Other contingencies can also be written into your offer letter and purchase agreement to give you the ability to back out of the deal. For instance, certain repairs need to be made within a certain time frame. If that deadline is not met, then you can back out of the deal.

Can I buy even though I have student loans?

Yes. 

Especially if you’ve been making your payments on time, some lenders work with student debt and won’t count as much toward your qualification.

Isn’t renting easier?

Not really. 

Buying a home is actually one of the lowest risk investments you can make. Additionally, home warranties, easy loan programs, and our extensive network of referral partners allows for a hassle free experience.