Frequently Asked Questions
These FAQs are a work in progress, and a result of many questions/issues asked of me over years of practice. They are not in a particular order, so scroll through as they are added.
Does the Buyer Have to Have a 20 Percent Down Payment?
No. It is up to the buyer to decide how much money to put down, or the best type of mortgage loan to have. Different loan types (conventional, FHA, VA), credit score, and buyer's resources are parts of the decision about down payment which should be part of the buyer's discussion with the lender and Realtor.
Does the Seller Determine the Buyer's Down Payment?
No. However, the seller may have certain needs such as closing date and net funds at close which could be impacted by the buyer's type of loan, these are factors the buyer should be aware of when submitting an offer.
I'm Not Planning on Selling Now or In the Near Future. Why Do I Need a Home Valuation Report from You?
You might be able to get rid of your private mortgage insurance (PMI); to make sure your homeowner's insurance covers your property's full value; to lower your property taxes if your value has fallen since you bought; find out how much equity you've built up in case you want a home equity line of credit (HELOC); know your current market value just in case you re-evaluate the market and decide it's a good time to sell.
Why Do I Have to Negotiate and Sign an Offer With a Seller Before I Can Even Get Into the Property? I Just Want to See It.
Although this seems like a lot of extra work, the seller is asking this of serious buyers, and it's usually because the property is tenant occupied, and the seller has certain obligations towards tenants. The written offer is being made including the terms "subject to inspection", or "subject to", which means if you don't approve it after seeing it, you are not obligated to go further towards a purchase. Plus, in the current COVID-19 environment, local/county/state law has certain regulations, for everyone's protection. While I don't enjoy this, the current (2020) regulations have viewing requirements for properties which are a protection for both buyer and seller. It won't last forever.
The Physical Inspector Wrote a Whole Bunch of Recommendations On His (or Her) Report--Isn't the Seller Supposed to Do All of Them?
Not unless it's agreed to in writing between you and the seller. The buyer's inspector's job is to point out the condition(s) of the property, and he/she is free to make recommendations to the buyer, who is the party requesting and paying for the inspection.
Do I, the Buyer, have to do a physical inspection?
No. There is no legal requirement for the buyer to hire a professional physical inspector, but it's highly recommended. A home is a huge investment, and the buyer should find out within his/her normal abilities as much as possible as part of their buyer investigations during escrow. If I'm your Realtor, I will be requesting you to sign a waiver if you choose not to do one.
I went through a foreclosure a few years ago, will I ever be able to buy again?
This happened to a lot of people, but yes, you will be able to buy again. Currently in 2020, if you are interested in an FHA loan, you may obtain a mortgage 3 years after the foreclosure was finalized, a two year wait for a VA loan, and if you are getting a conventional loan, that will usually require 7 years. An experienced lender will be able to tell you in greater detail about extenuating circumstances and how to qualify after a short sale or foreclosure.