buyers agent

Pre-qualification vs. Pre-approval

photo by danielbertsche 
 
Here is part of an email sent to me by Dan Flavin from Waterstone Mortgage:
 
DaCia,
People often believe that pre-qualifying for a loan or being pre-approved for financing mean the same thing. However, pre-approval entails making a stronger commitment to a buying a property, albeit tentative. Pre-qualification is simply the step you take before you conduct a real estate search to see how much house you can afford to buy. To pre-qualify for a loan then, you need to sit down with the lender and provide him with your income and debt information and an estimated down payment amount. Pre-qualifying helps get the ball rolling when you are looking for real estate. On the other hand, when you apply for pre-approval, you must provide the lender with documentation that details your salary, debt load, and assets. While the process of pre-qualification is free, an application fee is assessed for pre-approval. Your credit information will be run as well. However, just because you obtain pre-approval still does not mean that you can automatically obtain financing. Funding will only be officially approved once a title search is conducted and an appraisal on the property is made.
Dan
 
I hope Dan’s email has shed light on the difference between pre-aaproval and pre-qualification. If you need help getting pre-qualified or pre-approved, please call our office today.

Buying a Condo

Many buy-and-hold investors choose to purchase a condo for many reasons, but mainly because they are usually cheap enough to buy with cash or own outright within a few short years. Another advantage of owning a condo is yard work and exterior maintenance is handled by the condo association. Make sure you pick a competent real estate agent who can guide you over the many pitfalls that can come with purchasing condo.

Let’s start with the basics: A condominium, or condo, is a unit that privately owned, while common areas are collectively owned by all condo owners in a complex. In other words, a condo owner usually owns their individual units, but not the building or land it is on.

  • What are the monthly condo fees? Even if you pay cash for a condo, you will still be charged a monthly fee that covers trash removal, exterior maintenance, and sometimes certain utilities. There is a wide range of how much this fee could be and a good real estate agent supplies the buyer with this information, as it can greatly impact the decision to purchase.
  • Are there any outstanding condo fees or liens on the property? If there liens on the property, you may have to pay them before being able to purchase. A good real estate agent will order a preliminary title search in order to uncover this information for their buyer agent.
  • Purchase and review the condo documents. There is usually a limited time period the buyer has after entering into a ratified contract to purchase and read the condo documents (which are the condominium association bylaws). If the buyer dislikes any detail of how the community is setup, the buyer can exit the contract without penalty.
  • Consider the building, the condo community, and the neighborhood. These are things that you have little control over, but affect your living condition and the value of the condo greatly. Let these factors be as big of deciding factors as the condo unit itself.

Buyers: Do You Really Need a Real Estate Agent?

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“Do I need a real estate agent? I found the property I want to buy online, myself.” If I had a dollar for the number of times I’ve heard this said, I probably would be on vacation in the Bahamas instead of writing this post from my home in Washington, DC. Only licensed real estate agents have access to the multiple listing system, a real-time database of properties listed for sale. Hence, online search engines of properties for sale may not include every listing or may include listings that are no longer available.

Finding the home of your dreams is just the beginning stage of my job. Actually, the beginning, or warm-up, is getting my clients pre-approved with one of my mortgage partners who can best meet their needs. Once my buyer client is clear on how much buying power they have, we go “house hunting.” Fast forward, my client finds the property they want to find purchase and I help them submit an offer. Having a buyer’s agent comes in handy if you are unfamiliar with drafting contracts and the legal statutes surrounding them. Fast forward past negotiation (another task for your agent) and the buyer’s agent helps to coordinate appointments with appraisers and home inspectors. A good buyer’s agent will aid you in selecting a title company and will keep their ear to the ground for any issues that surface concerning chain of title or any liens.

There are numerous procedures, research steps, and processes involved in a real estate traction. A real estate agent has the skill, knowledge, experience, and network to guide you through to closing smoothly.