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BUYER QUESTIONS  

Q     If I'm a knowledgeable Buyer who's comfortable with negotiating a Seller's asking price, why should I seek the assistance of a RealtorŪ to represent me?

A     There are a number of reasons why every Buyer needs an independent representative in the transaction.

    What's the most effective way to find an agent?

    There are a number of ways to locate a committed RealtorŪ. One way is by contacting agents through websites like this one and express your need to buy a home. Once you make direct contact, "interview" them just as you would any other professional (i.e. doctor, attorney). Remember, this agent will assist you in making one of the most decisions in your life. So don't simply choose someone on a whim. Also, you may want to speak to friends and/or relatives who have "recently" purchased a home. Speak to any referrals they can provide and choose one.

Q     Wouldn't I do better to have more than one agent to work with me? The more out there looking, the faster I should find my dream house, right?

A     Definitely not! What most of the public fail to understand is that agents are generally paid on commission and therefore, to have them be 100% committed to you and as a Buyer you're only 50% committed just doesn't balance out. Because the agent doesn't get paid unless they get the job done is also a motivation factor. One "efficient" agent should be more than satisfying. Finally, juggling information and your schedule to preview homes amongst a number of agents can eventually cause you additional stress and jeopardize your ability to find the right property. A Buyer can easily find him/herself previewing the same homes and failing to convey any change of criteria to each agent (such as price, area or amenities).

Q.      Should I request my personal copy of my credit report from the credit reporting companies such as Equifax before speaking to an agent so that I'm informed about my credit status prior to searching for a home?

A     No! You're certainly entitled to request a copy for your records. However, presently the consumer's version of the report does not specify a significant factor, the credit bureaus rating score. Mortgage lenders and their underwriting departments not only review your payment history detailed on the report, but they place "heavy" consideration on the computer evaluation of your overall handling of credit . That's reflected in a "score". Once you and your RealtorŪ discuss your home buying needs, the lender you select will pull a credit report to use for buying purposes. And generally, you can obtain a copy of this report to keep for your files.

Q     What do I do if something shows up on my credit report which isn't mine or is showing derogatory as a judgment?

A     All credit reporting bureaus have a process to address and remove erroneous information knowledgeable lender will be able to assist you in your quest to "dispute" any unfair reporting on your file. As well, should you have debts which need your attention, a lender's report will have reference to contact information for the creditor seeking payment.

    I haven't saved a lot of money for a down payment. How much should I save before seriously thinking about buying a home?

A     Get with your RealtorŪ and let them explain to you the various loan programs available in today's market. A great number of them don't even require the Buyer to have a down payment. These special loan products generally are based upon your credit score being strong. But, there are many alternatives. Get with a specialist today!

    I'm nervous about making such a permanent decision and very uneasy about making buying a home. Should I bring a friend or trusted family member with me to help preview?

A     Certainly! But be if you're going to desire their input before making a decision, make sure two things. (1) Make sure that they are committed to objectively preview with you throughout the entire process. (2) As the Buyer, you're responsible for the monthly payments, so know when to draw the line with other's input should their taste and suggestions begin to clash with your personal instinct. It is however, your home.

Q     When should I be prepared to give the Seller or his/her agent earnest money?

    Usually, it is preferred that you provide documented funds (i.e. check, money order, or certified funds) at time of writing an offer. Proof of these funds will be forwarded to the selling party. At no time should you actually "give" someone funds and not have a specific property in mind and/or a contract at hand. Of course, should your agent ask for verification of funds being available is acceptable.