Do I have to pay a Realtor to buy a house in the MLS?
No! The home seller pays the commission to both of the Realtors® involved in the transaction: 1) the Seller's agent who listed the property, and 2) the Buyer's agent who sells it. If you use me to buy a home listed with a Realtor, you get all of my services at no charge to you.
What is the MLS?
MLS is an acronym that Realtors use when referring to the Multiple Listing Service in their area. The MLS is the central database that people use to find out about homes, land and businesses currently for sale in the Greater Houston area, Our MLS is referred to as HAR (Houston Association of Realtors). Click Here to go to the HAR website. Remember: I can help you see and purchase ANY property you see on HAR MLS!
If I see a home I want to look at, I call the phone number on the sign out front, right?
The name and phone number that you see on the sign represents the agent who represents the seller in selling that property. When you work with me as a buyer, I can show you any home in the area, no matter whose sign is in the yard. Also, I will represent your interests 100%, and do my best in ensuring that you find the perfect home, at the perfect price and protecting you throughout. The Seller's Agent cannot do that, it is a conflict of interest.
If I am the one representing the Seller, and you call me, I will be glad to show you the home and if you decide to make an offer, I can refer you to another excellent Realtor to represent you personally.
I heard from a friend at work that interest rates are headed up/down. Does that make this a good time to buy a house?
A lower interest rate will let you afford more home for your dollar. When interest rates are high, people tend to wait to buy a home and save their money. However, if you don't want to rent, don't let higher interest rates preclude you from buying your dream home. If interest rates drop, you can always refinance at a later time.
Do not let rumors of changing interest rates rush you into a hasty decision. Call me and I can get you together with a mortgage professional who can advise you based on your specific needs and situation.
I heard from a friend at work that it is a buyer's/seller's market. Does that make this a good time to buy a house?
All other things being equal, everyone would like to buy when the prices are low, and sell when the prices are high. Often, though, home buyers don't have the luxury of waiting for a "buyer's market". There are always people needing to buy, and there are always people needing to sell. No one knows when the current market will change. If you're finding yourself procrastinating the purchase of a home, I would recommend sitting down with me and discussing the facts about where the market is at and your situation and desires. By doing this I can help you make an informed decision, not one based on rumors or inaccurate information.
How long does the home buying process take?
The buying process starts when you make an offer on a house and ends at "closing", after which you have the keys in-hand and the home is yours. On average, the buying process takes from 30-60 days based on many factors from mortgage to contracted terms. During this time, once a purchase contract is executed, you will go through the process of getting your loan approved, having the house inspected and any desired repairs negotiated and completed, packing and arranging for moving.
Should I get a home inspection?
Absolutely! There are several reasons why getting a home inspection is the only smart choice. First, a home inspection will help determine the overall condition of the home. If there are any repairs that need to be done, it is best to uncover them during your option period, so that I can negotiate with the seller on your behalf for the needed repairs or an Amendment to the Contract to compensate you for the costs.
Second, a good home inspector will inform you of necessary maintenance that you will need to do as a new homeowner. If you are a first-time homebuyer, there is a lot that you will learn! A home inspection is a very valuable tool to orient you to all of the features of your new home.
All of the inspectors that I recommend to my clients are licensed and have a proven track record of excellence.
What is a pre-qualification/pre-approval letter?
A pre-qualification letter is a rough estimate of what loan amount you will be able to receive. It is based primarily on your gross income, and does not take into account your debts and expenses or credit score. For this reason, it is mandatory that you obtain an actual "pre-approval letter" for a more accurate assessment of what you can afford. A pre-approval letter is a document that you will receive from a lender that takes into account your income, your expenses and your credit history. Having a pre-approval letter from a specific lender does NOT obligate you to obtain your home loan from that lender.
The reason a pre-approval letter is mandatory (in my opinion) is that almost no seller will take your offer seriously without one being included. You may make a better offer than someone else, but if the seller sees your pre-approval they are confident that you can obtain a loan for that amount. Given this, they may accept your offer because they may feel it less likely that the deal will fall through.