Buyer FAQ’s

buyer services faq
Buying a home can be an exciting experience – especially for first-time buyers. It’s natural to have lots of questions as you begin your home search, which is why enlisting the services of an experienced, professional agent or broker is a great place to start. Green Isle Real Estate & Mortgage welcomes all your questions and is happy to provide you with all the information and support you’ll need as you embark on this exciting journey into home ownership. We’ve put together a list of some of the most commonly asked questions below and invite you to contact us with any additional ones you may have.

It’s a great idea to get pre-qualified for a loan before deciding on a home, but that shouldn’t stop you from beginning your search. It’s always good to know what properties are out there on the market that match your personal preferences. The main benefit for having “cash in hand” is that it helps you to narrow down your search based on the amount you’ve been approved for. The added benefit is that once you start negotiating for a property, you’ll have more confidence in knowing that if an agreement is made you can follow through on the purchase.

If you’re interested in learning more about pre-qualifying for a home loan, we recommend contacting one of our trusted local financing partners for a free, no-obligation consultation.

The main advantage to buying a new home before selling your current home is that you won’t have to worry about where you’re going to live after your current home sells. On the other hand, if your new purchase is contingent by the bank upon the sale and transfer of your current home, you run the risk of losing out on the home that you want.

There’s no way to predict how long it could take to sell your current home, but if you’re able to do so you’ll be in a much stronger position to make a deal on a new property not having any contingencies. If this happens, then the worst case scenario is that you’ll need to make living arrangements while you’re finding a new home to close on. One creative solution is to negotiate a “rent back” agreement with the buyer of your current home. In a nutshell, this arrangement would allow you to stay in your home for a limited time in order to finalize the purchase of a new home. The buyer would be compensated, of course, based on the amount of time allotted.

The vast majority of individuals will enlist the services of a Realtor when buying or selling property for the simple reason that it’s something that most people will do only a few times during their entire life.

Real estate is what we do – all day, every day. Nobody knows the ins and outs of the local housing market better than your local real estate agent. Considering that a home is probably the biggest investment you’ll ever make in your life, it only makes sense to rely on the skills of someone with years of experience, knowledge and training.

At Green Isle Properties, for example, we literally bring decades of experience specializing in the buying, selling and managing of property in the Sacramento area. Our clients leverage that expertise, saving themselves substantial amounts of time, money and frustration.

There are also legal waters to navigate when negotiating any real estate transaction, which is why all brokers and agents must continually be compliant and aware of State and Federal regulations.

It’s true that Realtors work on commission, but we strongly believe that the value you receive is worth much more than the cost of our services. You can learn more about how we assist our valued clients for both Buyer Services and Seller Services.

This question often depends on the state where the transaction is taking place. In California, the closing costs are often shared by both the buyer and seller, however, these details can be negotiated as part of the overall terms of sale.

As an example, here are some of the items the BUYER may be responsible for:

  • Title Insurance premiums
  • Escrow Fee (50%)
  • Document preparation
  • Notary fees
  • Recording changes
  • Pro-rated tax (for date of acquisition)
  • Transfer fee
  • Inspection fees (roofing, property inspection, geological, etc.)
  • Fire insurance premium for first year

Things the SELLER may be responsible for:

  • Standard CLTA owner’s Title Insurance
  • Escrow Fee (50%)
  • Real estate agent commission
  • Document preparation fee for deed
  • Documentary transfer tax ($1.10 per $1,000 of the home sales price)
  • Any FHA or VA loan fees required by the Buyer’s lender
  • Payoff of existing loan and associated fees
  • Recording charges to clear all documents of record against the Seller
  • Any unpaid Homeowners dues
  • Any and all delinquent taxes
  • Notary fees

These items may be paid by either party, depending on the terms of sale:

  • Termite inspection
  • Termite work
  • Home warranty
  • City transfer/conveyance tax
  • Bonds or assessments (usually paid by the Seller)
It’s no surprise that this is one of the most common questions asked of real estate agents. Everybody wants to live in the “best” neighborhood for themselves and their families, based on their personal values. But if your Realtor doesn’t give you a direct answer to this question, it’s not because they are being evasive. The law specifically prohibits licensed agents from “steering” their clients, which is a legal term that means exactly how it sounds. The definition of “best” neighborhood can mean different things to different people, so it’s up to the buyer to determine what’s most important to them when choosing a neighborhood.

That being said, a good agent can show you where to find information regarding schools, demographics, crime statistics, income levels, taxes and other criteria needed for making an educated decision.

There are several variables when considering this question. One of the first things to consider would be mortgage rates. Since rates are currently very low, it makes the cost of borrowing and buying very attractive from an investment standpoint. If rates were high, then a large portion of your monthly payment would be going to pay the interest on the loan. In that case, renting might be a better option. In today’s market, thankfully that’s not the case.

The other thing to think about is how long you plan to stay in your new home. If you’ve made the decision to settle down and plant roots in one place, then that would definitely factor into your decision to buy. On the other hand, if you’re new to an area that you’re not sure about, then it might make more sense to start off as a renter until you’ve decided whether or not it’s a good fit for you.

A third important factor in your decision should be your level of commitment to be an owner. As a renter, you can rely on your landlord to deal with the upkeep, maintenance and expense of caring for a property. That’s very much a part of where your rent goes when you pay them every month. But when you’re the owner, all of that responsibility is yours. Houses need constant care in order for them to maintain their value, such as landscaping, paint, fixtures, appliances, roofing, and much more.

The one thing that ownership can give you that renting never will, however, is that wonderful sense of pride you’ll feel when you welcome friends and relatives into “your home”.

This is an excellent question because it’s one of the most important reasons for having a seasoned real estate expert on your side.

Some real estate deals are very straightforward, but more often than not it’s a negotiation. The seller’s interest is, of course, in getting the highest possible offer on their property. The buyer, on the other hand, wants to get the best “deal” – hopefully, below the asking price. One of the fears people have in making low offers is that they’ll insult or offend the buyer and not be taken seriously. So, what’s the best strategy?

The only “bad” offer is the one that cannot be justified for legitimate reasons. For example, if you’ve done your homework and discovered that the seller’s asking “price per square foot” is higher than other recently sold homes in his neighborhood, then you can justify your offer based on those facts. Additionally, if a house has been on the market for a longer than usual period, the seller may be much more motivated to make a deal. Go ahead, leverage that information to your advantage.

Conversely, if a particular real estate market is very “hot”, and the houses are being sold faster than they can be listed, you will not have the same amount of leverage. In some cases, depending on how badly you want a property, you may find yourself in a bidding war with other buyers. The key here is to not get overly emotional about a particular house. Sometimes, it’s best to back away and let the dust settle, or explore other areas that are a little less over-heated.

In these situations, your agent or broker can be your best ally. They’ve been through both hot and cold market conditions, and are often the best advisers on how to find that sweet spot for making the right offer.

An earnest money deposit is made once an offer is accepted by the seller. It is a good faith gesture on the part of the buyer to assure the seller that you’re serious about purchasing the property. The money is put into the seller’s escrow account while the process of closing on the sale begins. Generally speaking, the larger the deposit, the more seriously your offer is considered but most of these initial deposits will be in the 1-3% range, based on the total sale price.

If the property closes per the agreement, then the amount deposited will be released from escrow and applied to your down payment.

If the sale falls through, the terms of the purchase agreement will determine when and how much of the deposit will be refunded. There will usually be cancellation fees taken out as well, so make sure that your real estate agent helps to protect your interests regarding these details.

There is no set timetable for responding to an offer, but on a professional level one to three days is considered reasonable. Regardless, you may begin feeling an overwhelming sense of anticipation. It’s quite normal to become anxious at this point because all of your hard work and home shopping has led up to this moment. And then, you wait.

The good news is that the seller is usually just as excited about receiving a serious offer and wants to keep things moving as much as you do. For that reason, it’s not unusual to get an answer within just hours. There are times, however, when a seller may have multiple offers to consider, or they may have other priorities that require their attention. In those cases, you may end up waiting for a number of days. If this happens, it’s best to just try and be patient and let the process take it’s course. This is the time when you want to let your agent do their job. They know how to work with the seller’s agent and will let you know whether it’s best to hang in there or move on.

The actual process of closing can go quickly if there are no disputes between the buyer and seller, and if all the documentation is in order. That means you and your agent could be spending anywhere from one hour up to several hours, on the day of closing, depending on your situation. The best way to ensure a smooth closing is for both sides to have all their affairs in order before the big day arrives. This is really where your real estate agent earns their keep because there are numerous details that must be checked off before the closing occurs. The last thing either side wants is to discover something at the last minute that could delay or derail the sale.