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FAQ

Here Are Some More Frequently Asked Questions

If for some reason you cannot find the answers you are looking for, please contact us or visit our other pages for more info.

How much do I need for downpayment?

Saving for the down payment is the one of the biggest obstacles for first-time homebuyers. Lenders expect between 3% to 5% for a down payment. It varies according to the lender’s requirements, and the loan type. Most often it is 3% of the home price. So if you are buying a $300,000 home downpayment would be $9,000. Make a budget and set a goal. Saving and sacrificing is how most people come up with their first down payment.

What are homeowner’s tax benefits?

Typical deductions are mortgage interest and real estate taxes.

In most cases, loan discount points and origination fees are deductible.

Check this article out Tax Information for Homeowners found on the IRS website.

There are capital gains benefits.

Am I able to buy a home with little money down and average credit?

If you are worried about not being eligible, you should shop around for different lenders. In most cases, there are loan programs for nearly every homebuyer who is looking to get into the real estate market. A buyer’s credit score and down payment may impact the amount they’re approved to buy or their financing rate, but there are typically mortgage options to meet many financial situations.  

What is PMI?

PMI or private mortgage insurance is something that lenders use to protect themselves against a buyer who defaults on their home loan. PMI is money a buyer pays along with their principal and interest to reimburse a lender in case they default. This fee is usually lumped into a buyer’s monthly mortgage payment. Once you’re at 80% of paying the loan then PMI is negated.

What happens during the closing process?

After buyers and sellers agree on a home’s price, the closing process begins and it typically lasts between 30-45 days(sometimes shorter if you are purchasing with all cash). During this time, the purchase contract is drawn up and signed, financial documents are finalized, home inspections and appraisals are completed and various other legalities are handled, too. On closing day, both buying and selling parties sign final documents and the seller hands over the keys!

How do I know how much home I can afford?

So that you don’t enter the home-buying process blindly, it is a good idea to meet with a bank or lender, who can help you determine a range of home prices that you may be approved to buy in. Lenders look at a few different things: How much a buyer makes, how much debt they have, any assets they own and their credit history before issuing a pre-approval letter. This details the amount they can purchase, providing their financial picture does not drastically change during the home-buying process.

Do I pay my Realtor® For Helping me Buy a House?

Normally the seller pays the Realtor’s fees, since there is a contract between seller and agent. When the seller pays all the Realtor’s fees associated with selling the home, the seller pays the Realtor’s brokerage and the brokerage distributes the earned commission to all the parties involved which generally includes the buyer’s agent.

When should I sell my home?

This is one of my favorite questions from home sellers. Why? I will answer honestly while most agents will always say “right now.” It is still easy to spot an agent that gives advice based on what’s best for them.

Of course, you want to sell when you are likely to get the best possible results. But when is that? The answer is complicated. Generally speaking, the best time to sell is when you are ready. There are advantages to selling in every season, in spite of what some agents may try to tell you.

Spring is undoubtedly considered most ideal in a lot of circles, but that does not mean you can’t get great results in summer, winter, and fall. You just need an agent who knows how to sell year-round. They are out there, so if you want and need to sell in a season that isn’t’ spring, know that you can do so and be happy with the results.

Whether you are selling in the spring, summer, fall or winter, you’ll get some excellent advice for each of the time frames you might choose to sell your property. Something you want to look at as well is if there is low inventory. Low inventory means Home Prices go up.

Can I use real estate websites to set the perfect price for my home?

No, you can’t. There are several trendy real estate websites out there now that offer pricing options for sellers. They draw on massive databases to give you an idea of your home’s value currently. While they are undoubtedly useful for getting a general idea of your home’s value, they are not sufficient for pricing a home for sale.

Pricing a home to sell in a reasonable time frame and for the best possible price is both an art and a science. It requires up-to-the-minute market knowledge of what is going on at a local level and national level and it requires a feel for how your home compares to other similar homes in your market. A website algorithm cannot substitute for a skilled real estate agent.

In my daily life as a real estate agent, I find many homeowners who under the mistaken belief that what Zillow says their home is worth is the actual value. No, it is not! In fact, the amount they display on their website could be off by tens of thousands of dollars. When you are selling a home, you can’t afford to be off on your price. It is the most critical factor in selling a home.

What happens if my home doesn’t appraise?

One of the things that can happen when you have multiple offers is your home sells for too much. The appraiser is unable to justify the price based on comparable sales data. Of course, there are times when an appraiser comes in low, and it isn’t justified.

In cases like these, you’ll need to know how to contest the appraisal. There are usually a couple of scenarios that rectify a low appraisal including the following:

You challenge the evaluation, and it’s adjusted.

The buyer makes up the difference by coming up with additional deposit funds.

The worst case – you lower your price.

A compromise – you lower the price some, and the buyer comes up with a larger down payment satisfying the lender.

Should we sell before we buy another home? 

Check with a lender first to learn if this is an option. Ask yourself if you are willing and able to carry two mortgages and deal with the stress that comes from physically and financially maintaining two homes. An experienced agent will be able to guide you to a good decision.

What Our Clients Are Saying

JJ was an absolute pleasure to work with! He is very friendly, knowledgeable, and a true professional. He did a great job guiding us through the selling process, as this was a new experience for us being first time home buyers. He was always available to answer questions or concerns and returned  our calls in a timely manner. We would highly recommend JJ to anyone that is thinking of buying a or selling!

-Harry

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JJ Spitler Top Portland Realtor
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