purchasing your first home
frequently asked questions
How do I know it's time to buy instead of rent?
If you know where you want to live, have a steady and secure income, and are ready for the responsibilities of homeownership, then it’s a great time to invest in property.
How much do I need to save up for a down payment?
A conventional loan down payment is usually 20% of the sales price, but other types of financing require as little as 3.5% to 15%. VA loans do not require a down payment, but you must be eligible. A mortgage lender can tell you what types of loans you qualify for.
Can you show me a house if it's not your listing?
Absolutely. As a buyer's agent, I can show any house listed in our MLS system, and I will contact FSBO sellers on your behalf. As mentioned above, working with me as your buyer's agent ensures that your interests are protected.
How do we write an offer?
When you find the property you want to make an offer on, I will run a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) to help you determine a fair offer amount. I will also guide you through the additional terms of the contract, such as the escrow amount, closing date, and any additional terms you want to be added to the offer. I will write the the offer on a contract form and submit it to the seller's agent.
What does "under contract" mean?
Under contract means that all parties have agreed on terms, have signed the contract, and the signed contract has been delivered to both buyer and seller. Payment of the escrow deposit is expected, but is not a requirement to make a binding contract.
What is escrow?
The escrow money, escrow deposit, or good faith deposit is money that is offered with an offer, or as soon as an offer is accepted, to show the seller that you are serious about moving forward with the purchase of the home. Because you forfeit this deposit if you back out of the purchase for any reason not allowed for in the contract, the larger the escrow deposit, the more seriously your offer is taken.
Do I need an inspection?
We always recommend that you have a home inspection done. In the scheme of things, paying a few hundred dollars to have peace of mind that there are no hidden dangers or problems is well worth the money.
What if my loan doesn't get approved?
If you have gone through the pre-approval process and have been forthcoming with all the information you requested by your lender, it's unlikely you will be turned down, but it does happen. Make sure you do not change jobs, purchase big ticket items on credit, take out a car or boat loan, or open any other new credit accounts while your mortgage is being processed. If your loan does fall through, talk with your lender about changing to a different loan type.
Why get pre-qualified?
Prequalification acts as a dry run of the mortgage process. The mortgage lender will use details you provide about your credit, income, assets and debts to arrive at an estimate of how much mortgage you can afford. The whole process only takes a few minutes and it is FREE. These days a seller will not consider an offer without having an accompanying prequalification letter. So if you are serious about buying, this is your first step towards getting you into your new home.
When can I start moving?
When you have the keys! When you are financing your purchase, it typically takes 4-6 weeks for your loan to be processed. Once the lender gives the all-clear, closing is scheduled. You will sign your loan documents and both parties will sign documents transferring ownership to you. Unless other arrangements have been agreed upon by both parties, the sellers should have completely vacated the home when they sign the papers. You can have your belongings ready to move, and a moving company scheduled before you go to closing. At closing, you will receive the documentation you need to provide utility companies with proof of your new residence (if required).
the process at a glance
1. chat with me call/text 850.748.5858
2. get pre-approved with your lender of choice
3. start searching for your new home
4. make an offer & go under contract
5. inspections, loan processing, appraisal
6. closing day!