We're constantly asked the same questions, so we would like to share our thoughts with you.
What is the difference between a Real Estate Agent, a Realtor or a Salesperson? Nothing, they are all licensed equally and must maintain active status with under a licensed Real Estate Broker.
What is the difference between a Real Estate Broker and a Salesperson? A Real Estate Broker is licensed on another level, completed additional coursework (equivalent to a bachelor's degree), completed enough property transactions to apply for and has successfully passed an additional state examination. The broker is also licensed to sponsor Real Estate Agents.
How do real estate commissions work? Purchasers and Sellers are represented by Real Estate Agents who represent their interests in the transaction in trust and confidentiality. Each agent is paid on a commission only structure based on the sales price of the home. Each party receives a separate % typically paid for by the seller. These are pre-negotiated prior to the close or the transaction.
How are people finding homes and putting in offers same day? The MLS (multiple listing service) pushes data out to websites and agents immediately upon entry. When you partner with a real estate broker they will input a variety of criteria and when the property listing goes live it will automatically appear in your email inbox. If you act quick you can be the first person in line for a showing and an offer. Without an agent, you'll surf Realtor.com etc. and quickly become frustrated that the homes you find are already under contract.
What is the best way to look for homes online? Realtor.com is the most accurate, refreshes the most quickly and tends to have the most accurate data.
Are tax values or Zillow estimates accurate for a home sales price?Tax data is typically based on the most recent sale of the home with escalations. Upon sale, the taxes tend to reset more closely to the sales price. Zillow estimates tend to average transactions in the area which can be polluted with foreclosures and distressed properties.
What is a short sale or foreclosure? Two completely different things. A short-sale is a seller's chance at trying to get out from under their loan before they get foreclosed on, typically the seller knows they are falling behind on their note. Many times these are listed for low prices, but all sales are subject to bank approval. These are very time consuming and frustrated, can take 6 months or more to close. Typically buyer assumes many outstanding payments as part of the agreement. A foreclosure is when the bank has repossessed the homes from the previous owner. These are typically liquidated through an asset management company and will almost always all appear in the MLS.
How much cash do I need to close?This can vary greatly but at a minimum 3.5% for FHA and 5% for conventional plus closing costs. Closing costs can include borrowing fees from lender (appraisal, origination fees), title processing fees, escrow for taxes, insurance and HOA.
Does the listing agent show the home? Residential tends to be more emotional with commercial being more transactional. Majority of the time, the purchaser wants to view the home in private so they can speak openly and freely amongst their family members and realtor. If anyone is home, including pets, many times interested parties will not even want to enter.
Open houses, do they work? It's an old wives tale. These historically are for the listing agent to lure proposed purchasers through and traffic additional leads to sell other homes. In some cases where showings are few and far between for whatever reason it is a tactic to attract additional showings. In most cases it's volunteer work for everyone and rarely results in a sale.
How does the key box work?The i-box blue is a agent / broker only traffic controlled key holder. They are timed and can be set to be offline during certain times.
How fast can I close the transaction? A safe minimum to estimate is 30 days.
What is earnest money? This is the larger check you write vs the inspection / option fee in which it sits at the title company as a neutral third-party escrow. If you decide to close the transaction it is credited towards your closing. If you decide to walk away after your option period and prior to closing you will forfeit this amount to the seller, this becomes their liquidate damages to keep.
Should I get a home inspection? Yes, it is always money well spent. In the event of any issues that arise after closing it can be used as a official document also.
Should I purchase a home warranty? For typically $500 this can be money well spent or money wasted depending on the condition of the home at closing.