Frequently asked questions or FAQ’s asked of C21 Cedarcrest Realty.

Q: How do I find the right agent?
A: You want to find the right home, in the right location, at the right price – and you want to do it quickly, with minimum hassle. The best way to do that is to work with a professional REALTOR® who understands your wants and needs, your time frame and your financial boundaries.

Q: Why work with an agent?
A: Here are some reasons why:

  • You’ll save time. An agent can pinpoint homes that fit your needs and dismiss those that don’t.
  • You benefit from an experienced negotiator. Your agent will manage your offers and counter-offers, ensuring that you get the best possible price for your home.
  • You’ll get the right information. Your agent knows the neighborhood and can give you accurate information on local real estate values, taxes, utility costs, services and amenities.
  • You can always count on great advice. Because your agent is familiar with the entire home purchasing process, he or she can advise you of your legal and financial options, and recommend appraisal, home inspection and contracting services.

Q: Why choose an agent who understands your needs?
A: Here are a few questions to ask to help you determine if an agent is right for you:

  • Will you be representing my interests?
  • Do you have access to MLS information?
  • Will you provide market evidence to support the price?
  • Will you look after closing and possession details?
  • Can you be contacted at any time?

Q: What are the benefits of working with an agent?
A: Let your real estate agent do the searching for you. The best buys aren’t in the newspaper ads; most great opportunities are on “hot sheets” that are available every morning to salespeople with access to MLS information.

An agent’s job is to:

  • Provide information on the property and the area
  • Negotiate a price and terms that are agreeable to both buyer and seller
  • Help arrange a source of financing

Q: What tips can you suggest for working with an agent to find the home that is right for me?
A: Communication is key. Tell your agent what you want and be specific.

  • Offer a detailed description of your property needs and wants. If you will absolutely not consider a house without a hardwood floor, say so. And if air conditioning is a “nice to have” rather than a “must have,” communicate that, too.
  • Be specific about where you want to live. If you refuse to live outside a certain area, it might take longer to find you a home, but your agent will know not to waste your time with anything not in your chosen neighbourhood.
  • Tell your agent what you can afford. He or she can help you get a pre-approved mortgage so you know for sure what your price range will be.
  • Communicate your likes and dislikes for each property you see. It will help your agent narrow down the possibilities
  • Commit to one salesperson.
  • Respect and perform the terms of the purchase agreement.
  • Keep an open mind. Agents know about those charming little areas that you’ve never even heard of. You might find your dream home in a completely unexpected place.

Q: What is the difference between a real estate agent and a real estate broker?
A: All real estate professionals must be licensed by the state. Typically real estate brokers are required to have more education and experience requirements than agents. However, this varies state by state. Usually many agents work for a broker. The broker at our firm is John Sass and we have over 50 agents working with us.

Q: When interested in purchasing a larger home, what should I look for in upgrades that will give me the most value?
A: Something to ask yourself is for what reason are you buying a home? When looking to buy a house as an investment, then you should look to buy from the smaller to medium sized home and only spend minimal amounts on upgrades. If you are looking at your purchase from the other perspective of making it a home, then you should select your upgrades that will make you happy and enhance your quality of life. Either way we suggest always installing new carpets.

Q: When buying a home, must I disclose any problems I am aware of to the buyer?
A: Disclosure laws in real estate vary from state to state, but most states require that the seller discloses any problems he or she knows about, especially any problems that would influence a sale. If you receive a Transfer Disclosure Statement from the seller, then you probably live in a state that requires disclosure. For example, if the buyer asks about flooding then the seller should disclose the information.

Q: If the real estate agent representing the buyer knows of any problems, must they disclose this information to the buyer? Is it unethical if they do not?
A: Real Estate agents are never as familiar with a property as the seller. If you receive a Transfer Disclosure Statement and either the listing agent or the selling agent knew of a problem not listed by the seller, they are required to add it to the form. However, if the information is not disclosed by the seller to the agent or they had no other way of knowing, they cannot possibly add it to the form. In this instance, it wouldn’t be considered unethical. Our agents do the best they can to make sure that they behave in an ethical manner for their clients.

Q: Are the “No Down Payment” plans on late night television real or just a scam?
A: If you think it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. All real estate contracts usually require a down payment.

Q: What are the terms of the pest inspection? If after a few years you are living in the home, are the sellers responsible if termites are found?
A: If the infestation was discovered with enough time before closing on the transaction, a treatment can still be chosen and performed to the satisfaction of the buyer, seller, and mortgage company. Closing can also be postponed temporarily until the treatment is completed, although this is usually not preferred by the parties concerned. If after a few years termites are found it would not be considered reasonable to hold the sellers responsible for the problem. At that point, it would be your responsibility to find a best control service.

Q: What should I be aware of that the house inspector should be doing during the inspection of the house I am interested in buying?
A: The inspector should be checking the following elements of your prospected home:

  • Drainage
  • Foundation
  • Roof and water leaks
  • Paint
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical Wiring
  • Heating
  • Fireplace
  • Tile or wood floors

Q: What, precisely can be claimed as a tax deduction when you purchase a home?
A: If you own and occupy your home, you can deduct both property taxes paid on the home and interest paid on your mortgage. You can deduct the points and prepaid interest you make during the actual purchase, whether you pay for them or the seller pays for them on your behalf.

Q: If a walk-through inspection reveals a problem, but I choose to go through with the closing anyway, can I retain a percentage of the down payment or mortgage amount not to be paid until repairs are made?
A: If you wish to go through with the closing, you will not be allowed to hold onto your money or your lender will not fund the loan. We have found that normally the builder will make the change.

Q: What determines the square footage of a home when listing it on the market? Is a garage usually considered when determining the square footage in a home?
A: Even if a garage is attached to the home, it is not considered part of the home’s square footage. Only livable space is considered in the square footage calculation. Calculating the square footage of a home is difficult. Neither real estate owners nor home owners should be the ones responsible for estimating a home’s square footage. It is best to hire a licensed appraiser. They map out the house on a piece of graph paper, calculate all of the edges, and come up with “mini-areas” for each rectangle then add them all together. Also, if the owner added an addition to the home with no building permit, that section of the house may not be allowed as part of the square footage. The same goes with attic and basement conversions, lofts, and so on. Contact us for a list of recommended appraisers in the area.

Q: How can I find out how much my house is worth if there are no comparable homes in the area?
A: If you think that your house is worth more than other houses in your neighborhood, this could be a bad sign. Homes are more likely to maintain their value if the neighboring properties are fairly similar. It is best in this type of situation to talk to several Realtors to get their opinions. Although it is a textbook answer to hire an appraiser, appraisers are better suited for justifying a price than determining a home’s market value.

Q: Why should I buy a home rather than rent?
A: A home is an investment. When you rent your check, you will never see that money again. On the contrary, owning a home allows you to deduct the cost of your mortgage loan interest from your federal income taxes, and usually from your state taxes. This allows you to save a lot each year because the interest you pay will make up most of the years of your mortgage.

Q: What are HUD homes, and are they a good deal?
A: HUD homes can be a very good deal. When someone with an HUD insured mortgage can’t meet payments, the lender forecloses on the home. The HUD pays the lender what is owed, and HUD takes ownership of the home, selling it at market value as quickly as possible. Ask one of our agents about HUD homes in the area and if they can be a good option to you.

Q: If I have bad credit and not much money for a down payment, can I still become a homeowner?
A: See if you qualify for one of the federal mortgage programs. It may be a good idea to contact one of the HUD-funded housing counseling agencies. One of our agents can help you by discussing a few possible options.

Q: Are there special homeownership grants or programs for single parents?
A: There is help available. It may be hard to qualify for a loan with only one income but you must begin by learning a little more about the home buying process and talking to one of our agents more in depth. One of our agents can help you figure out if there are any programs in the area to assist you in making payments on your home.

Q: How do I find a lender?
A: You can finance a home with a loan from a bank, a savings and loan, a credit union, a private mortgage company, or various state government lenders. We suggest taking time to look around before you decide who should finance your loan. Take time to look at all the interest rates and fees. Most lenders need anywhere from three to six weeks to approve a loan. Ask one of our agents to help you find a good lender in the area and help you decide what is best for you.

Q: What other costs do I need to consider besides mortgage payments?
A: There is also the cost of your monthly utilities, such as gas, electric, and water bills. You will also have property taxes, and depending on where you live you could have city or county taxes. Discuss your budget with one of our agents so that they can help you decide what you can afford.

Q: How to I make an offer on the home that I want to buy?
A: This is a question that you will discuss with one of our agents in the home buying process. You should consider the following:

  • Is the asking price similar to other homes in the area?
  •  Is the home in good condition or will you have to spend money to make it par with your standards?
  •  How long has the home been on the market?
  • How much in mortgage payments will you have to pay and what can you afford?
  • How much do you really want the home?

Depending on the answers to these questions, you may want to offer more than the asking price or less than the asking price. Every offer is a negotiation and our agents have the experience and talent to answer your questions and help you through the difficult process.

Q: Should I add on or buy a bigger home?
A: There are many different questions to answer before making the choice between buying a bigger home or adding on to your current home. You want to take the time to ask yourself the following:

  • How much money is available, either from cash reserves or through a home improvement loan to remodel the current house?
  • How much additional space is required? Would the foundation support a second floor or does the lot have room to expand on ground level?
  • What local zoning and building ordinances permit?
  • Are there affordable properties for sale that would satisfy housing needs?
  • Ultimate decision should what will add the most value

Q: How do I begin to prepare my home for sale?
A: The first thing to do is make sure you put your house in the best condition possible especially in the market with few buyers and many homes for sale. You want to fix any repairs that could deter a buyer or delay a sale. Also you want to work on your home’s curb appeal. Mow the grass, clean up any debris, weed, and plant flowers, depending on your budget.

Other quick fixes that don’t cost a lot of money but can help you get more money for your home is:

  • Clean the windows and make sure the paint is not chipped.
  • Be sure the doorbell works.
  • Clean and freshen up rooms, furnishings, floors, walls, and ceilings.
  • Eliminate any bad smells with air freshener and be sure ur home smells inviting.
  • Invest in a couple of vases of fresh flowers to place around house and next to any information about the house you have prepared for buyers.

If you have further questions, please feel free to ask any of our agents by calling our office. We hope we could help answer your questions!