Questions and Answers

Buying or selling a home in Polk County Music Realty Lake WalesQ.  What should I do to get my house ready?
Recommend completing necessary repairs and updates to your home.   Clearing out clutter.  Giving your home a thorough cleaning. 

Q.  How long will the process take?
We cannot guarantee how fast the sale and the full real estate transaction will go; we will give you a ballpark range based on current market conditions.  The national average is 32 days.

Q.  What is the first step of the home buying process?
Getting pre-approved for a mortgage so you know how much you can borrow.  Knowing how much home you can afford narrows down our search for suitable properties.    The loan estimate from your leader will show how much money is required for the down payment and closings costs.   Lastly, being pre-approved demonstrates you are a serious buyer.

Q.  What is a seller's market?
  • Economic factors
  • Interest rate trending downward
  • A short-term spike in interest rates
  • Low inventory

Q.  What is a buyer's market?
  • Interest rates trending higher
  • Short-term drop in interest rates
  • High inventory
  • Natural disasters

Q. What kind of credit score do I need to buy a home?
Most lenders require a FICO score of 620 or better.   Higher credit scores represent less risk to the lender, often resulting in a lower down payment requirement and better interest rate.   If you score is low, you will need a larger downpayment or accept a higher interest rate.

Q.  How much do I need for a down payment?
The national average is 11%.  A first time home buyer will usually only put down 3 to 5% on a home because first-time home buyers don't require big down payments.  An FHA loan requires 3.5% down.   VA or USDA loans can be made with zero down.  Conventional loans require 20% down payment; these loan are typically repeat buyers who could use equity from their existing home as a down payment source.

Q.  Should I see my current home before buying a new one?
If you are using the equity in your current home for downpayment, your home will need to be sold first.

Q.  Home many homes should I view before buying one?
That's your decision.   Home shopping today is easier today than before since you can search online and see pictures -- that's convenient.  But, nothing beats visiting a home to see how it looks and 'feels' in person.

Q.  What is earnest money?
When you make an offer on a home you will include a check (typically 1% to 2% of the purchase price) to demonstrate good faith to the seller and your offer is genuine.   Earnest money essentially takes the home off the market.  Earnest money is deposited into a trust or escrow for safekeeping.  Your earnest money will be applied to the down-payment at closing.

Q.  How long can the seller take to respond to my offer?
Written offers should stipulate the time-frame in which the seller should respond, typically 24-48 hours.

Q.  What if my offer is rejected?
Sellers can flat-out accept or reject your offer.   Sellers could initiate a counteroffer which you will review with your agent.   If you approve the counteroffer it closes the deal or you can make a counteroffer.  Negotiations is a normal part of purchasing a home.

Q.  Should I order a home inspection?
Yes!   Home inspection is required if you are financing your home with a FHA or VA loan.   Home inspection is highly recommend because it can reveal defects that are not easily detected.   A home inspection will bring you peace of mind.

Q.  Do I need to do a final walk-through?
It's not required but its a good idea.   Final walk-throughs give buyers a change that nothing has changed since their last visit.  If repairs are requested in the offer, a follow-up ensures that everything is squared away per agreement.