5 Reasons to Buy with Christina and Home Buyer Frequently Asked Questions
New homes for sale hit the market daily. Browsing the listings is easy, but weighing the investment potential of each property can be difficult, and many homes for sale are never listed publicly. With Christina, there is regular contact with sellers and other real estate agents to ensure buyers see the newest listings right away, even unpublished listings.
Many real estate transactions include an extensive negotiating process with legal caveats, Christina's job is to provide the great representation and get the best deal possible. Christina will also make sure any and all agreed-on repair work is carried out post-inspection, and handle paperwork related to the sale. Christina can also help set up the financing.
Home Buyer Frequently Asked Questions
Q: I'm thinking about buying a home. Where do I start?
A: The first step for potential homebuyers is a credit check. It's best to keep an eye on your credit reports so you can spot any mistakes and dispute them. You should also avoid running up high credit card bills in the months prior to buying a home.
These two steps will help you in the next phase of your game plan, pre-approval on a mortgage . A full-service real estate broker can help you with this portion of the plan. Pre-approval includes analyzing your income, assets, and present debt to estimate how much house you can afford. This means the lender has committed to loaning you money subject to the house you choose to buy. Being pre-approved for a loan will make you attractive to sellers because the contract won't be tied up with financial issues.
After you know how much you can spend, you're in the homestretch. This is the time for you to become familiar with neighborhoods and the features of a home. Educate yourself by visiting local real estate web sites and viewing the listings. This is also the time for you to decide what you want and need in a home.
A solid game plan needs a good coach. Christina can help you through all steps of the plan, prepare you for any unforeseen problems and eventually help you to buy the home of your dreams.
Q: What should I consider when I start to look for a home?
A: First, put together a list of features and benefits you want in a home. Think of such things as pricing, location, size, and amenities. If you can't get a home at the price you want with all the features you're looking for, figure out what features are most important to you and rank them in priority so you know what you're willing to give-and-take. For instance, you could choose to have a large kitchen and smaller bedrooms?
You should also consider your future needs. Maybe now is the time to buy a larger home rather than buying a small home and expanding it in the future. Your agent can help you compare the price of homes with the features you are looking for or suggest alternate uses of space.
Q: Should I buy first, or sell first?
A: The answer to this question lies squarely with you. Do you need the equity that's built up in your present home to complete the purchase of a new home? If so, you either need to sell first or consider a bridge loan or house sale contingency. If not, you may choose to buy first and sell later. Before making a final decision, Prudential strongly suggests that you engage a real estate agent with whom you can enter a trusting relationship. Then discuss this question with him or her, touching on every aspect of what it may mean for your particular situation.
Q: How do I choose between renting or buying?
A: Owning a home offers tax benefits, as well as the freedom to make decisions about where you live. Homeowners, unlike renters, can secure a fixed-rate loan and lock in their monthly payments, so they can make investment plans knowing their expenses won't change substantially. Renters are at the whim of their landlord, who can raise the rent each year without a renter's input. Homeowners, on the other hand, are in control of their property and decide whether they allow pets, decorating, or permanent improvements.
Q: Do your real estate agents cooperate with other companies' agents?
A. Our agents work according to specific laws, regulations, and customs in their respective areas. In every market that Prudential serves, brokers and agents from different companies work cooperatively, showing and selling each other's listed properties.
Q: Why do I need an agent to help me find a home with all of the technology and advertising available?
A: The Internet and newspaper are good places to start researching the current housing market. You can also find information to help answer many of your financing questions. But once you've looked at what's available, it's a good time to get a professional involved.
If you go it on your own, you might spend hours scanning newspaper ads and home magazines, driving through neighborhoods seeking "for sale" signs, or phoning about individual listings and still miss some of the best available homes. An agent will save you time, money, and provide access to a wealth of information resources to help find that special home.
Q: If I'm thinking about buying a newly-constructed house, why do I need an agent?
A: Building a home often requires hours of research and decision-making. You must first decide what area you want to build in and which builder you want to use. After these initial decisions, you still have many choices of floor plans, building materials, and fixtures.
Personalization and freedom of choice are some of the benefits of building a home, but they can also be very stressful. An agent will guide you through the entire home building process and help you along the way should you need it. You'll still get to make the choices on your own, but your agent will be there to help, keeping your best interests in mind. Plus, buyer representation comes at no cost to you.
Q: Is Christina a member of the Multiple Listing Service (MLS)?
A. Yes - in every market we serve, Christina is a member of the local MLS, as well as being a member of the national, state, and local Associations/Boards of Realtors® since 2006. Experience matters.
Q: What typically goes into an agreement for buyer representation?
A: Like any contract, a buyer representation agreement needs beginning and ending dates. It also has an acknowledgement of your willingness to be represented by the company and its agent, as well as the amount, if any, that you'll pay for real estate-related services. Buyer agreements may also indicate whether you'll work with only one company/agent or several.
Q: What is an Agency Disclosure?
A: An Agency Disclosure is a state-required document, disclosing to you as a principal-in this case, the buyer-in a real estate transaction whom the agent or agents in the transaction represent. A state's Agency Disclosure simply notifies you of that state's agency laws; it does not obligate you to work with any particular agent or broker.
Q: How are buyer's agents compensated?
A: The buyer and real estate agent come to terms on which services the buyer needs and the way the agent will be compensated for providing these services. In most cases, a fee or commission is based on the seller's proceeds of sale and shared between the seller's (listing) and buyer's (selling) agents. In some cases, the buyer makes a direct payment to his or her agent.
Buyers sometimes pay their agent/broker directly for finding and purchasing a home. If a broker charges buyers a direct fee, it should be outlined in an exclusive agency agreement that the buyer signs when engaging the broker.
Payment arrangements vary, depending on market conditions, customary practices, and consumer expectation. Some eager home buyers offer an incentive to give their real estate agent additional motivation (generally a cash bonus when title transfers) to find them the "right" property.
As you interview prospective agents and weigh their respective services, consider which compensation options and terms will get you in the home you want and meet your individual needs.
5 Reasons to Sell with Christina and Home Seller Frequently Asked Questions
Christina will develop a custom marketing plan with an effective price. A well-priced home will often generate competing offers, resulting in a higher sale price. The marketing will emphasize the unique aspects of the property. The home will be placed in front of thousands of buyers, establishing it on the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS) as well as dozens of real estate websites and featured on dozens of other websites. Christina's network of professional real estate contacts and buyers throughout the nation will also have the opportunity to review listing details. With more than 80% of buyers searching the web for a home, the Internet advertising is key to the marketing strategy. Without the help of a REALTOR, marketing a property can be time consuming and difficult. Advertising in the media is often expensive, and many buyers are reluctant to consider homes listed "For Sale by Owner". When a purchase offer is received, Christina will provide professional representation during the client emotionally charged negotiating process and will ensure the best price is obtained with favorable closing terms that are clearly spelled out.
Q. What typically goes into a listing agreement?
A. The listing agreement is typically between you and the real estate company you employ. Think of it as your legal instructions to the people who will market your home and represent you in the sale. Such an agreement must include beginning and ending dates for the term of the listing; the conditions to which you, the listing agent and the real estate company agree; and a price (usually a percentage of the eventual sale price) you'll pay for services rendered in the sale of your home.
Q. How important is the condition of my property to its sale?
A. It's probably very important, depending on your priorities. Are you hoping to extract the maximum sale price for your home? If so, condition and appearance are crucial. If, however, you've let deferred maintenance catch up with you, your priorities may be different: you may wish to sell your home in "as is" condition, allowing the buyer to repair/replace items as s/he sees fit. In this case, your ultimate sale price will be less than what the same buyer would be willing to pay for a home that's in mint-condition.
Q. Should we leave home during showings (tours) or open houses?
A. Generally speaking, yes. If it causes you no undue hardship, it's easier for a real estate agent to show your home without you being present. The agent is better able to demonstrate your home's features and benefits, painting a realistic picture for the buyers to envision themselves living there. Your absence will also allow your prospective buyers to focus on the house and its attributes - rather than on being polite to you.
Q. What is an Agency Disclosure?
A. An Agency Disclosure is required by state law. It is a document that tells you whom the agent(s) represents. A state's Agency Disclosure document is simply a notification of your state's real estate agency laws; it does not obligate you to work with any particular agent or broker.
Q. What is the MLS and how does it benefit me?
A. A Multiple Listing Service or MLS is a database that makes it easier to reach a large number of buyers and increase your property's exposure. It's a system in which participating brokers at the real estate board agree to share commission on the sale of houses listed by any one of them. For example, if your house is listed with one broker and another finds the buyer who purchases it, they split the commission. Your benefit is twofold - (1) because more agents will be interested in selling your house and (2) because your home is exposed to more buyers since Realtors have access to the MLS.
Q. Is Christina a member of the Multiple Listing Service (MLS)?
A. Yes. In every market we serve, Christina is a member of the local MLS, as well as a member of the national, state and local Associations/Boards of Realtors®.
Q. Do agents cooperate with other companies' real estate agents?
A. Our agents work according to specific laws, regulations and customs in their respective market areas. In all the markets that Christina serves, brokers and agents from different companies work cooperatively, showing and selling each other's listed properties.
Q. Should I buy or sell first?
A. It depends. Do you need the equity you've built up in your present house in order to complete the purchase of your new home? If so, you will either need to sell first, get a bridge loan or ask for a house sale contingency. If not, it may simply be a matter of personal preference. In any event, we highly recommend partnering with a qualified real estate agent who can discuss this question in light of your particular set of circumstances. Keep in mind, too, that the listing agent who's selling your present home can easily become your buyer's agent for your next home.
Q. How can I prepare my house for sale?
A. The selling process can start months before a property is actually put on the market. It's a good idea to begin by looking at your home through the eyes of a potential buyer. This will help you decide what needs to be cleaned, painted, repaired or tossed out. Christina can help you make these decisions then, when you're ready, list your home at a fair price. Your agent will also help you stage your home to maximize its appeal to buyers. It's extremely important to view your home as a potential buyer would. Professional staging shows your home in its best light, therefore increasing its marketability.
Q. How can I find out what my home is worth?
A. Christina has a thorough knowledge of the current real estate market and will prepare a comparative market analysis (or CMA) for your home to help you set a competitive price. Click here to find out how much your home is worth.
Q. What must I disclose about the condition of my property?
A. The best policy is truth when it comes to disclosing the condition of your property; but you absolutely must communicate all known material defects of the property. Normally, these are noted on a Seller Disclosure Form (SDF). Your agent will work with you to complete this. If an item is not covered on the SDF, you must still make disclosures about known material defects. Even if a matter has been repaired, you should still disclose the previous defect and provide a report of the repairs completed. By disclosing all problems up front, you can avoid any surprises that may provoke a lawsuit.
Q. When is the best time to put my home on the market?
A. Believe it or not, peak selling seasons change from year-to-year and market to market. Often, though, weather has a lot to do with it. Early spring and early fall are prime listing seasons nearly every year because houses typically show better in those months than they do in the heat of summer or the cold of winter. Keep in mind there are more houses on the market during the prime seasons, so you will have more competition. Don't base your decision to sell on the season; each selling situation is unique. Talk to your Realtor before deciding on the timing of the sale of your home.