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Frequently
Asked
Questions

01

What is "earnest money"?

Earnest money is different from your down payment. It's a fixed amount that the buyer agrees to deposit into an escrow account held by a designated party, which is typically the Seller's brokerage or the Title company. This deposit shows the buyer's commitment and ensures that they can't simply back out of the deal without a valid reason. The agreement clearly states the conditions under which either the buyer or seller can cancel the agreement. If the buyer fails to fulfill their contractual obligations, they may risk losing the earnest money deposit, which is usually around 3-5% of the purchase price. The earnest money is subtracted from the total amount you owe at closing, including your down payment and closing costs. It's important to note that the earnest money is not an additional payment on top of these expenses.

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03

What's the first step in the home buying process?

We have a buyer's 101 guide to home buying that list the steps in the home buying process. You can find guide by

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05


What are "closing costs"?

A real estate transaction involves various components. During the closing process, you'll receive a final document that outlines the debits and credits for both the Seller and the Buyer. Each party has their own closing costs, some of which are specific to them. The Seller covers expenses like agent commissions and appraisals, while the Buyer is responsible for title fees, lender fees, and inspection costs. Certain expenses are divided between both parties. Any negotiated items will also be reflected in the closing debits and credits. It's essential to carefully review all the charges and don't hesitate to ask your agent if anything seems unclear or incorrect.

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07

How much is your commission fee?

Commission fees among agents and brokerages are not fixed. They can be negotiated and vary from one deal to another. Real estate agents who are skilled at negotiating will be proficient at reaching a fair agreement with you. Consider this scenario: if you ask an agent to reduce their commission, and they quickly agree, how do you think they will handle negotiations on your behalf? On average, the commission breakdown is 3% for the buyer's agent and 3% for the seller's agent, totaling 6%. In Pennsylvania, it is typically the seller who pays this commission. However, although buyers do not usually pay a percentage commission to their agent directly, their services are not free. It is important to discuss with your agent the fees that the brokerage might charge in a transaction and review your agency agreement to understand the charges imposed by your agent and brokerage, as well as the reasons behind them.

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09


How will I know how much to sell my house for?

Your agent will be a valuable ally, not only when selling your house but also when you want to assess its current market value. They can create a comparative market analysis (CMA) by comparing your property with others that have recently sold, are under contract, or are currently on the market in your neighborhood. This analysis will provide an estimated value for your home and serve as an essential tool for your agent to discuss with you, giving you an understanding of the current market conditions. Would you be interested in receiving a CMA for your property?

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11

Do I need a real estate lawyer?

The decision is entirely up to you. In Pennsylvania, there is no legal requirement to have an attorney represent you when buying or selling real estate. However, there are advantages to having an attorney on your side. They can review important documents and provide guidance throughout the closing process. It's important to be aware that the average cost for a real estate attorney in the Philadelphia area is $350 per hour. Ultimately, the choice of whether to hire an attorney is yours to make. It's worth noting that while real estate agents are knowledgeable in their field, they are not attorneys and cannot provide legal advice unless they are licensed as attorneys. If you have general or complex legal questions, it's always recommended to seek counsel from a qualified real estate attorney.

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02

Do I need good credit to buy a home?

Credit has a significant impact on your eligibility for a mortgage, and it's no secret. I strongly suggest reaching out to a lender to learn more about how you can enhance your chances of getting approved and buying a home. If you're unsure where to begin, we can connect you with a few reliable lenders who can provide valuable guidance. Lenders are an excellent source of information and can answer your questions about the role credit plays in securing a loan.

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04

Do I need an inspection?

It's ultimately up to you, but we strongly recommend that clients always get an inspection from a certified and trustworthy inspector. There's no such thing as a "perfect home" or a flawless inspection. There will always be something to address, whether it's a minor issue like a leaky faucet or a more serious concern like evidence of termites. The advantage of an inspection is that it allows an expert to assess and provide a report on all the areas that require attention. This information can greatly influence your decision to proceed with a home purchase, especially when it involves major problems that may require significant costs and time to fix. In some cases, it may even provide an opportunity to negotiate a credit with the seller to offset these expenses.

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06

Do I need a downpayment to buy a home?

This will heavily depend a several factors and there isn't a straight answer, as everyones individual situation is different. Veterans or active duty serving individuals and their family's may be able to put 0% down with a VA Loan.FHA Loans are available to the public with a certain credit score allowing as little as 3% of purchase price down (if you are buying a $300,000 home x 3% down = $9,000 down payment).

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08


How do I know what I can afford?

We have a calculator that can help you get an estimate on what you might be able to afford, check it out by

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10

How long will it take to sell my property?

The duration of a typical real estate transaction can vary significantly based on factors such as transaction complexity and local laws. Generally, it takes anywhere from 30 days to several months to complete a real estate transaction and reach the closing stage. The availability of financing, title insurance, inspections, and appraisals also contribute to the timeline. The transaction involves extensive paperwork, and the number of involved parties and the local real estate market conditions can impact the closing time. For instance, if you're searching for homes for sale in Gladwyne, PA, the median "days on market" for listings over the past year was 64 days. On the other hand, homes for sale in Wayne, PA, have an average of 42 days on the market before being sold.

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12

Why do I need a Real Estate Agent?

Real estate agents are like your trusted protectors, committed to looking out for your best interests. They take on multiple roles, with the primary goal of keeping you well-informed and out of trouble. By providing you with essential information and resources, they empower you to make informed decisions that align with your needs. Having an agent by your side can be crucial, as lack of knowledge can be costly during a transaction. For instance, if you enter into a real estate deal without representation, the listing brokerage technically becomes a sub-agent working in the seller's best interest, not yours. In the end, a skilled agent earns their commission by offering valuable insights that protect you and potentially save you much more than the cost of their services.

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Questions?

Let us know what your questions are and we will reach back out!

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