Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about selling

Studies show 89% of sellers who used a real estate agent was able to get a median of 99% of the final listing price. Meanwhile for sale by owners sold quicker but for 10% less than agent assisted homes. Furthermore, real estate agents have negotiation skills, understanding of contracts, clauses, laws, and marketing techniques that a non-real estate professional isn’t likely to have.

Hiring a licensed appraiser is a bulletproof way to determine the value of your home. Moreover, the buyers lender is more than likely going to require an appraisal to be done before they lend a single penny. Your second choice would be to have a real estate agent perform a comparative market analysis (CMA). This is done by selecting comparable properties nearby by that sold within the last six months.

Assessed value is a number assigned strictly for tax purposes. Market value is what people are currently willing to pay for your home. For example, when you’re filling your car up with gas, the sales tax has nothing to do with the retail value. Market value is determined by supply and demand. That goes for any product or service. 

I highly recommend a presale home inspection to see what major items will need repair. Especially if the home is over 15-years old. Although the buyer will more than likely order their own home inspection, the same issues that could’ve been addressed before will still need to be fixed. However, every item on the inspection report does not have to be fixed. But anything structural, health related, or regulatory will need to be taken seriously as most lenders may require such to be fixed.

The next thing to do is improve the aesthetics of the home. Having a well manicured lawn will increase it’s curb appeal. If necessary, fresh-neutral tone paint and new floors will significantly enhance the interior. Decluttering is also very important because space is the number one requirement for any buyer. Furthermore, to demonstrate certain areas can be used, you may want to consider staging. Lastly, simply keep the home as clean as possible at all times.

Seasonally, the best time to sell is usually during the spring and summer months. Financially, you need to have enough equity in your home to cover your downpayment and closing costs. Keep in mind that you’re likely to spend 9-10% of the sales price in selling costs. Some of those costs will include commissions, concessions, moving, etc. 

There are eight steps to the home selling process. 

  1. Find a good real estate agent.
  2. Find out how much your home is worth.
  3. Develop a marketing plan.
  4. Make necessary repairs.
  5. Make your home presentable for buyers.
  6. Receive and negotiate offers.
  7. Begin the closing process
  8. Hand over the keys.

Questions about buying

A buyer brokerage agreement is a binding contract between the buyer and real estate agent. The contract outlines how the agent will be paid, the obligations to all parties, and a starting and ending date of the agreement. There is no standard period of which the contract has to last.

For example, the agreement can last no longer than the showing of one property or as long as six months. However, in between the start and end date, the buyer can terminate the agreement at any time in writing. The buyer will not be liable for any damages. In fact, since July 1, 2012, it is Virginia law for all real estate agents to have a buyer brokerage agreement signed before showing a property to a buyer. 

On average the seller will  pay a commissions to both the listing agent and buyers agent. Real estate agents are only compensated until after the deal has closed. 

It really depends on your financial situation. For example, if your credit score is low, it could be hard to get a good interest rate on a mortgage. Therefore, it would make more sense to rent. On the other hand, if you’re financially stable and plan on living in the area long term, it will be cheaper to buy a home in the long run.

Keep in mind that rent rises with inflation, whereas a fixed mortgage rate doesn’t change no matter the economic conditions. Refinancing years later may also decrease your interest rate even more. After all, it would best to consult with a licensed mortgage professional first to see if renting or buying a home currently makes good financial sense.

Finding out how much you can afford is simple as using the 28/36 rule. You shouldn’t spend no more than 28% of your gross monthly income on housing expenses and no more than 36% on total debt. Such expenses are housing, credit cards, automotive, student loans, etc.

If you’re a first time home buyer, you should really look into housing grants. Your local jurisdiction may offer them. Then there are organizations like the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and Virginia Housing that also offer grants. However, I recommend you talk with a trusted mortgage provider to truly determine how much you can afford. 

Yes. Virginia law states the buyer may cancel the sale as long as it is before midnight of the third business day after initially signing an offer to purchase. Cancellation of the sale will occur through when the buyer gives the seller a written notice, which must include the address of the property. 

There are ten  important steps to the home buying process.

  1. Determine how much you can afford.
  2. List your needs and wants. 
  3. Get pre-qualified and pre-approved for a mortgage.
  4. Find a good real estate agent. 
  5. Shop around for a home and make an offer.
  6. Work closely with your lender to select the best mortgage.
  7. Order a home inspection and negotiate repairs.
  8. Get the home appraised.
  9. Handle paperwork. 
  10. Close on the home.

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