FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS FROM BUYERS
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Q. I’m ready to buy, what’s the first step?
- Answer: The first step in buying a home is arranging to pay for it. For those that are financing their new home, this is a critical step and should be addressed before you start looking.
Q. What do I need to take with me when I apply for a mortgage?
- Answer: Good question! If you have everything with you when you visit your lender, you’ll save a good deal of time. You should have: 1) social security numbers for both your and your spouse, if both of you are applying for the loan; 2) copies of your checking and savings account statements for the past 6 months; 3) evidence of any other assets like bonds or stocks; 4) a recent paycheck stub detailing your earnings; 5) a list of all credit card accounts and the approximate monthly amounts owed on each; 6) a list of account numbers and balances due on outstanding loans, such as car loans; 7) copies of your last 2 years’ income tax statements; and 8) the name and address of someone who can verify your employment. Depending on your lender, you may be asked for other information.
Q. What is a buyer’s representative?
- Answer: Defined most simply, a buyer’s representative (also buyer’s rep, or buyer’s agent) is an advocate for the buyer—not the seller—in a real estate transaction. Real estate laws and regulations vary from state to state, but buyer’s representatives usually owe full fiduciary (legal) duties, including loyalty and confidentiality, to their buyer-clients and work in their clients’ best interests throughout the entire transaction.
Q. Will I pay more to be represented as a buyer?
- Answer: In the vast majority of cases, the answer is no. When a house is listed for sale, the seller’s contract spells out the commission rate that will be awarded to a buyer’s representative. This is known up front and typically covers all, or at least most, of your representative’s compensation.If it doesn’t, the choice is yours. You can scratch this house off your list, or decide to view it, knowing that any remaining compensation will need to be addressed. But even if the seller’s listing contract doesn’t entirely cover your buyer’s representative’s compensation, and you must pay the difference, it’s quite possible that these relatively small differences will be more than offset by other purchasing terms negotiated with the seller.
Q. What are the advantages of being pre-approved?
- Answer: The advantages of being pre-approved for a loan as early as possible in your home-buying process are Sellers will find any offer you make more attractive if you are pre-approved for a mortgage. 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.