Frequently Asked Questions
I hope you'll find this list of most frequently asked questions and my answers to them helpful. If you have questions of your own, please don't hesitate to contact me. I promise to get back with you quickly.
Q: How do I know the price a home is listed for is fair, and how do I know how high to come in with an offer?
A: If you haven't seen enough homes to get a feel for a home's value, ask your Realtor to do a comparative market analysis (CMA) on the home you consider making an offer on. This report will give you an idea of what similar properties have recently sold for in the area. Then your Realtor's advice, based on the current market situation (buyer's market vs. seller's market) can help you gauge how to structure your offer.
Q: I'm getting ready to sell my home. Why should I list my house with a Realtor if I can save money by doing a For Sale By Owner?
A: Statistics, published by the National Association of Realtors show that homes sold by their owners, sold an average of over 30% less than similar properties sold through a Realtor. Supposing a commission of 5%-7%, sellers who list with Realtors actually make 8%-10% more on the sale of their home when they use a Realtor. In addition, homes listed on the MLS on average sell faster than those of unrepresented sellers; and if that isn't enough, home sale transactions overseen by a real estate professional are less likely to end up in court than transactions by unrepresented sellers. Your home is likely one of your most significant assets. Put its sale in the hands of professionals.
If you think paying for professional services is expensive, wait until you see how much amateur results will cost you.
Q: How long do bankruptcies and foreclosures stay on my credit report?
A: Bankruptcies can stay on your credit report up to 10 years and foreclosures up to seven years. For additional information on credit report issues, visit the Federal Trade Commission site here.
Q: We've owned our home less than two years and we now have to move out of the area. Does it make sense to sell our home?
A: It depends on the market and how much your home has appreciated. If you figure that selling your home will cost you between 7% and 9% of the sales price (real estate fees, excise tax, closing costs), your home's value would have to have appreciated about 6% per year for you to break even. If you come out ahead, you might have to pay capital gains taxes on your profit. Sometimes renting a home for a few years makes more sense, even if the rent does not cover the monthly mortgage. Your Realtor can give you detailed advice or refer you to an investment counselor.
Q: What does it cost a buyer to have a Realtor?
A: The selling agent (Realtor who represents the buyer) receives part of the commission the listing agent arranged with the seller. Usually the selling commission is half of the total commission and often the agents split up to half of their share with their brokerages. The agents commonly get paid at the close of the transaction through the Escrow services. Unfortunately, sometimes buyers' agents don't get paid at all. This can happen when the transaction fails to close, or if buyers work with a particular agent to look for homes, but then make the mistake of making an offer when they're unaccompanied at an open house, or at a model home through the agent on site.
Q: How big is an acre?
A: An acre is a land area sized 43,560 square feet. To get a mental picture of a parcel the size of an acre, is to compare it to the size of a football field, not counting the two end zones. "Acre" literally means the amount of land plowable in one day.