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Frequently asked questions

What the first step of the home buying process?

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is the first step of the home buying process.

How long does it take to buy a home?

Buying a home typically takes between 10 to 12 weeks. After a home is selected and the offer is accepted, the average time to complete the escrow period is approximately 30 to 45 days when market conditions are "normal." Buyers who pay cash can usually expedite the process.

What is a seller’s market?

A sellers’ market occurs when there is an increased demand for homes drives up prices. It can be due to economic factors, interest rates trending downward, a short-term spike in interest rates, or low inventory.

What is a buyer’s market?

A buyer’s market occurs when home prices decline and demand reduces. Factors include interest rates trending higher, short term drop in interest rates, high inventory, or natural disasters.

What is a stratified market?

A stratified market occurs where supply and demand characteristics differ by price point, within the same area (typically by city).

How much do I have to pay an agent to help me buy a house?

Home buyers pay little or no fees to an agent to buy their home.

What kind of credit score do I need to buy a home?

Most loan programs require a FICO score of 620 or higher, because it demonstrates less risk to the lender. Those with higher scores ten to have lower down payment requirements and better interest rates. Borrowers with lower credit scores may need to have more money on hand or pay a higher interest rate to reduce the lendor's risk.

How much do I need for a down payment?

The national average for down payment is 11%. However, it depends on your loan program, credit, and whether you have down payment assistance.

Should I sell my current home before buying a new one?

If the built-up equity in your current home will be applied to the down payment on the new home, naturally the former will need to be sold first.

How many homes should I view before buying one?

Sure! It is easy to view homes from the comfort of your current space. But, it is always a good idea to get a feel of a house in person.

What is earnest money?

When making an offer on a home, your agent will ask for a check to accompany, typically 1% to 2% of the purchase price. Earnest money is made in good faith demonstrating to the seller that the buyer’s offer is genuine.

How long can the seller take to respond to my offer?

Written offers should specify the timeframe in which the seller should respond. Allowing them twenty-four hours should be sufficient.

Should I order a home inspection?

Yes! Home inspections are required if you plan on financing your home with an FHA or VA loan. For other mortgage programs, inspections are not required. It is suggested that you have a home inspection because they can reveal defects in the home that are not detected at first sight. Have peace of mind when undertaking a major investment through obtaining a home inspection.

Do I need to do a final walk-through?

While it is not required, it is suggested. Final walk-throughs give buyers a chance to make sure nothing has changed since their first home visit.