Got questions about real estate buying and selling? First-time buyer needing some answers? Seller wanting to know more about today's market?
Call or email me with your questions. If I don't know the answer, I'll get it from an authoritative source. We'll learn together. Phone me at: 229-924-3089 or 229-939-2756; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: I want to buy my first house. How do I get started?
A: Unless you intend to pay cash (your own money), talk to a mortgage loan person at a bank or other lender and get pre-approved for a loan. This is your first step, and it will tell you your price range. With your pre-approval letter in hand, contact a Realtor and look at some properties in your price range. Your pre-approval letter will give you an advantage with a seller if you make an offer to buy a property.
Q: How can I tell if the real estate agent is working for me or the seller?
A: Ask. Seriously, it's important to know which party the agent is representing. If you want an agent to represent you, you and the agent need to enter into an agency agreement. Without that written agreement, the agent will either be working for the seller or for neither party. If you want the agent to be on your side, make sure of your relationship up front.
Q: What is earnest money, and what happens to it?
A: Earnest money is a deposit the buyer puts up when he or she makes an offer to buy real estate. It has been called "good faith money." It helps to ensure the seller that you, the buyer, are sincere and really intend to buy the property as promised. Once you and the seller have a signed contract, the seller in effect takes the property off the market while your mortgage loan application is being processed. If you are turned down for the loan, you are entitled to get your earnest money back. But if you are able to obtain the loan and then renege on the contract, the seller probably will be entitled to your earnest money. If all goes well, you will get your earnest money back when you close the deal. You will see it as a credit applied toward the purchase price on your settlement statement. The closing attorney will point it out to you.