Frequently Asked Questions
In today’s real estate market, there are many opportunities for you to save time and effort with just a little bit of information and guidance. Know the things to look for and know the things to look out for.
What are the different types of home ownership?
- Single-Family: This is the most popular type of homeownership. As the owner of a single-family dwelling, you are totally responsible for paying the mortgage, property taxes and any other carrying expenses including all maintenance costs.
- Condominium, PUD (Planned Unit Development), Cooperatives: As an owner of a condominium or PUD, the living quarters (apartment townhouse or other unit) are owned in the same way that a single-family homeowner does. As a co-op owner, you buy a share, or a number of shares, in the corporation that owns or manages the co-op building and the land it is located on. Under any of these forms of ownership, a share of the common space, such as gardens, parking areas, and community facilities (e.g. pool, golf course, recreation center and tennis court) is also owned. A monthly maintenance fee for common expenses is paid. The community's Homeowners' Association makes decisions about how the condo, PUD or co-op is managed. The association may provide a variety of services and extra features that single-family homeowners often can't afford. However, by-laws and rules of the association must be followed.
- Multi-Family: This style home has separate living quarters for two or more families offering an opportunity to rent one or more units. The owner may be able to use the rent from the tenants to cover his or her own housing costs. These homes are often restricted to certain areas by zoning laws.
I want to buy a house, what does a mortgage lender consider when reviewing a loan application?
There are three categories of information that lender's look at when reviewing a loan application: (1) the applicant's personal information, (2) the subject property information and (3) the mortgage program information.
- Personal Information: A lender will look at income, assets, debts and credit history to help determine your ability to repay the loan.
- Property Information: An appraiser will compare your home to other similar homes in your area to determine that the loan amount being requested is acceptable to the investors.
- Mortgage Information: There are a wide variety of mortgage programs to help you with your home financing. Programs vary based on factors such as down payment required, repayment terms and length, points, and interest rates. A lender will look at the program you selected as a preferred scenario and verify that you meet all the program criteria. For more information refer to Mortgage Services.
Why should I work with a Real Estate Professional to purchase a home? ANSWER:
A Real Estate Professional can save you time and assist you in house hunting by:
- Pre-selecting homes that are within your price range and that meet your requirements for size, style, etc.
- Scheduling appointments for you to preview homes
- Providing advice about financing and the importance of a pre-qualification
- Explaining the sequence of steps leading to a home purchase
- As a basis for comparison, providing current selling prices for homes resembling those homes being considered for purchase
- Obtaining current tax information and other pertinent information, in the communities being considered
- Handling negotiations regarding the amount and terms of your offer;
- Scheduling requested inspections
- Obtaining a Property Condition Disclosure Form and Lead Paint Disclosure where required of the seller
- Explaining required state and federal forms
- Explaining representation options
- Providing a choice of professionals, such as attorney's, home inspectors, or surveyors, when appropriate
- Providing sources information you wish to obtain
When previewing a home, what should I look for?
In addition to comparing the home to your minimum requirements and wish lists, consider the following:
- Is there enough room for both the present and the future?
- Are there enough bedrooms and bathrooms?
- Is the yard large enough?
- Do you like the floor plan?
- Will your furniture fit in the space? Is there enough storage space?
- Imagine the house in good weather and bad, and in each season. Will you be happy living there year-round?
How can I keep track of all the homes that I see?
Use the Coldwell Banker Homebuyer Guidebook, available through your Coldwell Banker Sales Associate. This guidebook includes Home Finding Evaluation Worksheets.
Is a homeowner's insurance policy needed?
Yes, a paid homeowner's insurance policy (or a paid receipt for one) is required at closing. For more information refer to Coldwell Banker Insurance Program (sm) under Home Buying and Selling Services.
What should I look for during the final walk-through?
This will likely be the first opportunity to examine the house without furniture.an opportunity to get a sense of the condition of the entire home. Check the walls and ceilings carefully, as well as any repairs the seller agreed to handle in response to the home inspection. Any problems discovered previously that have not been corrected should be brought up prior to closing.
As a buyer, what documents can I expect to receive on the day of closing?
The buyers will receive the following documents:
- RESPA or HUD 1 Form (itemizes services provided and the fees charged; it is filled out by the closing agent and must be given at closing.)
- Truth-in-Lending Statement
- Mortgage Note
- Mortgage or Deed of Trust
- A binding Sales Contract
- Keys for your NEW HOME!
Why should I work with a Real Estate Professional to sell my house?
Selling a home is a complex transaction that takes time, effort and expertise. The benefits of utilizing the services of a Coldwell Banker Sales Associate include:
- As a Realtor®, the Sales Associate knows the current real estate market, and can help establish a realistic, competitive price.
- Knowledgeable in determining the approximate net proceeds from the home sale
- Experienced in the know-how of adding sales appeal to a home at low or moderate cost
- Possesses the resources to find prospective buyers. Most homeowners prefer to work with a real estate professional and serious prospects are "pre-approved" as to their affordable price range before they preview a home.
- Exposed to an even larger market through referrals and marketing techniques.
- Frees the seller from the problems of showing the home to prospective buyers. Handles all phone inquiries, makes the appointments, and follows up.
- Possesses the skills required to merchandise a home effectively.
- Maintains objectivity in responding to possible criticisms by the buyer and in presenting offers and counter-offers until an agreement is reached.
- Familiarizes the seller with the closing procedures by explaining the procedures in advance.
- Submits the property to the local Multiple Listing Service which exposes the property to all Realtor® members, which expands the range of prospective buyers.
- Initiates, carries-out and follows through on every phase of the important, complex selling transaction.
How do I determine the value of my home?
A home's value depends on many factors, including its style and size, amenities, condition and, of course, location. In addition, the value of a real estate investment can be affected by market conditions, interest rates, supply and demand, and the overall strength of the economy. As a homeowner, your ability to maintain a consistent understanding of your property's value depends on these factors. In a changing market, it makes financial sense to know your home's worth and to monitor the return on your investment. After all, owning a home is not unlike trading stock; knowing the time to buy and the time to sell can have a significant impact on your investment portfolio.
Coldwell Banker Sales Associates are the local market experts who keep abreast of changes in the home sales market and can provide a fair estimate of a home's worth. In addition, Coldwell Banker Sales Associates have access to comparative sales data - another tool that helps determine the value of a home.
For most, a home is more than a house and more than "just" an investment. Knowing the value it holds can have a significant impact on how financial goals are achieved.