How much home can I afford?

You will need to meet with a lender and get pre-approved for a loan of a specific amount. This pre-approval makes any offer to purchase to a seller more attractive, which is why we require it as the first step.

Can I buy a home and sell my current home at the same time?

The easy answer is yes you can. However, keep in mind that if you make an offer on another home, you may be over-extending financially. You may have to pay two mortgages for a period of time; unless you can qualify through a lender for the new home while paying for the current home, it may make it impossible to close the deal on a new home. Another option is to write the offer on new home with a contingency that selling your current home is part of you being able to complete your purchase. This generally does not look as appealing to a seller as an offer without that contingency.

If you sell your current home before buying a new one, at worst, you may have to rent for a while.

Because every circumstance is different, ask your Realtor for advice to decide what will be best for you. Your Realtor’s knowledge of the market and the area will help you decide the best strategy.

How many homes should I see before I buy?

Most people only physically view up to 10 homes. Some people find a home within hours of hunting, while others search for months. Shoppers today have great access to hundreds of homes and area information online, which should help narrow your search.

What do you think the seller will accept as fair price?

You never know what a seller is thinking or what their motivation for selling may be. This is another area where a Realtor is invaluable. A Realtor will know what market value is and how to make your offer more appealing to a seller on your behalf. If the property is priced at current market value, the seller may not budge on that price. You also have to consider what is happening in the market at large where you are shopping. A general rule of thumb is that sellers may accept up to 5% less than asking price.

How do I know if a property is fairly priced or a good deal?

You have to look at all comparable properties closely. This is not easy to do without real estate knowledge, as it is not simply observing the house next door sold for x and concluding that x must be a fair price. Beware of “good deals.” They are harder to find than it may seem.

How quickly can I close?

From the time the offer is accepted to the moment you have keys in hand is generally 30-45 days.

Do I really need an inspection?

Yes. A home inspector looks at the condition of the roof, the electricity, heating, air, and plumbing. If some things are in need of repair, you can negotiate with the seller to get such repairs done before closing.

When can I back out?

Because you can lose your earnest money deposit (typically 1% – 2% of sale price) if you back out for no reason, working into the purchase contract a “due diligence” period can safeguard that money for the period of time you and seller agree to. The due diligence period allows you to back out for any reason or no reason at all and get your earnest money deposit back.

There also may be severe consequences if you back out, so be honest with your Realtor and trust them to advise you and protect your interests.