Frequently Asked Questions
Many buyers do not fully understand the buying process and the role of a real estate agent. Here are some of the most often asked questions agents receive from buyers.
A pre-qualification consists of a discussion between a home buyer and a loan officer. The loan officer collects basic information regarding the customer’s income, monthly debts, credit history and assets, and then uses this information to calculate an estimated mortgage amount for the home buyer. The pre-qualification is not a full mortgage approval, but estimates what a home buyer can afford. A pre-approval, on the other hand, is a comprehensive approach using basic information as well as electronic credit reporting. Pre-approvals, in most cases, are true mortgage commitments. The lender commits to financing your home and indicates the total mortgage amount available to you.
Currently there are numerous different mortgage products available, including, but not limited to:
- 15, 20, and 30-year fixed rate loans
- Adjustable rate loans
- VA and FHA loans
- 5 and 7-year balloon loans
All mortgage products have their own benefits and disadvantages. Talk to your financial institution to discuss which product is best for you.
Approximately 45 to 60 days, although it can take as few as seven days and as long as 90 days for some transactions. The actual time varies on how quickly the lender can get an appraisal of the property, a credit report and verification of employment and bank accounts from the buyer.
Be prepared to provide verification of income (including a pay stub and recent tax returns), bank account numbers and details on your long-term debt (credit cards, auto loans, child support, etc.). If you’re self-employed, you may also be required to provide financial statements for your business.
If you provide the lender with complete, accurate information, everything should go smoothly. You may face a delay if the lender discovers credit problems, such as a history of late payments or nonpayment of debts, or a tax lien. You may then be required to submit additional explanations or clarifications. You should also be sure to notify your lender if your personal or financial status changes between the time you submit the application and the time of closing. If you change jobs, get an increase (or decrease) in salary, incur additional debt or change your marital status, let the lender know promptly. You may also be delayed if the home you selected fails to appraise for the agreed purchase price.
Principal and interest on your loan, most lenders include homeowners insurance, mortgage insurance (depending on down payment amount) and property taxes.
Not on an FHA or VA-insured loan. Most other loans, you can pay your own taxes and homeowners insurance separately if you borrowed no more than 80% of the purchase price or appraised value of your home. Check with your lender to be sure.
Closing costs cover processing and administration of your loan. In addition to a loan fee, you’ll usually be asked to prepay interest charges, to cover the partial month in which you close, and impounds for property taxes, hazard insurance and mortgage insurance.
Usually about 30 days after closing. The actual date of your first payment will be included in your closing documents.
A Buyer agency agreement is a contract between a buyer and a real estate agent. The buyer agency agreement lays out the commitments of the buyer to the agent, and of the agent to the buyer. This agreement is beneficial; it will safeguard your interest with a binding contract and provide you with professional services on a full time basis (see attached agreement).
The compensation that a buyer’s agent receives typically comes from the seller’s proceeds, and that information is provided in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). In such a case, there is no cost for a buyer to be represented by an agent. If a buyer is interested in purchasing a property not listed in an MLS, it is possible that the seller will not compensate the buyer’s agent. In this case, a buyer agency agreement would detail the buyer’s obligation to compensate their agent.
To do the best job for you, your agent will need the best information you can provide. Including:
- preferred price range
- number of bedrooms / bathrooms
- style of home (single-story, two-story, etc.)
- size of yard
- preferred school districts
- geographical areas / neighborhoods of interest
- special needs / special interests which your home needs to accommodate
Keep in mind that a very specific set of criteria may narrow your list of potential properties, while a very broad list may lead to an overwhelming number of properties to view.
Yes, all or our agents are members of the MLS which covers Miami, Broward and West Palm.
With all the information available on the internet, many buyers have begun searching for and often find properties of interest while working with an agent. If you have an agent, contact them with the address or the MLS number of the property in question. Your agent can then contact the agent of the property. It is never appropriate for you to contact the seller of the home directly if it is a listed property; you also should not contact the listing agent directly.
Yes. However, when meeting the agent hosting the open house it’s best if you immediately identify yourself as working with another agent. If you don’t, your agent might not be able to help you write an offer on that property in the future or help with the buying process.
Nothing is more frustrating to an agent than a buyer who is working with multiple real estate agents. Without a commitment from you to work with just one agent, it’s not likely that the agent will do their best work for you.
Let your agent know that you’re unhappy and the reasons why. It may be a simple misunderstanding that can be corrected. If the issues are more substantial or the relationship simply isn’t the right, tell the agent you no longer wish to work with them. If you have a buyer agency agreement with your agent, you will need to provide a written cancellation of the agreement. Don’t let a less-than-perfect relationship keep you from finding another agent to work with. Buying and selling real estate are complex transactions, and it’s important that you have an agent to represent your best interest.