1) What is the difference between a Listing Agent and a Selling (Buyer’s) Agent?
A Listing Agent represents the seller’s best interest and is responsible for creating activity necessary to obtain the highest price and terms, in the shortest amount of time, with the least inconvenience to the seller. A Buyer’s Agent represents the buyers interests and is responsible for making the buyer aware of all listed properties that meet their criteria, educate them on value, and help get them pre-approved for financing.
2) Who pays your Professional Service Fee and how much is it?
Our Professional Service Fee is paid by the Seller out of their proceeds from the sale, and is based on the sales price of the home. Our fee is equal to 6% of the sales price, of which 3% remains with our company and the other 3% goes to the selling broker. (There are no salaries in real estate...we only get paid if a transaction closes). This is why your referrals are so important to us.
3) Should I get pre-approved before I begin my home search?
Absolutely! In today’s market, it is crucial to be prepared before you shop. Not only will it save time and effort by looking at homes in your correct price range, sellers will not accept an offer from a buyer without it.
4) How do I select a mortgage specialist?
This selection is critical to the outcome of your purchase. I strongly suggest you work with a mortgage professional that either you or I have a strong relationship with. Too many lenders out there promise rates and terms they can’t deliver come contract time, in an effort to solicate your business. We only team with professionals who are honest, accountable, and who have a sincere commitment to do all they can to provide you a positive buying experience.
5) What is the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS)?
It is an association to which property listings are submitted by real estate agents throughout the state of Washington. Nearly all real estate companies belong to this service. It was created so there would be a way for everyone to share their listings. All members have equal access to and opportunity to sell these properties.
6) What is earnest money?
It is a good faith deposit a buyer makes when they make an offer to purchase a home. It is typically applied towards the down payment or closing costs of the buyer. The actual amount varies...normally 3-5% of the purchase price. If a buyer defaults on the Purchase and Sales Agreement, this can be awarded to the seller.
7) What is a Form 17?
Also known as the Real Property Transfer Disclosure Statement, it is required in our state, and is used in transfers of residential property, including multi-family dwellings up to four units, new construction and condos. Its purpose is to disclose to the buyer the current condition of any known defects that have occurred during the seller’s course of ownership.
8) Do I need to have the home I want to buy inspected?
It is always recommended to hire a professional inspector to evaluate the condition of the property. Even new construction, which may appear to be in immaculate condition, should be inspected. Keep in mind, no home is perfect, an inspector will simply educate you on it’s structural soundness, (or lack thereof), in an effort to assist you in this process.
9) What is Title?
Before a home sale can be completed a title search must be done. The most accurate description of title is a bundle of rights in real property. A title search is a means to sell it, and that the buyer is getting all the rights to the property (title) that he or she is paying for. The title company is insuring there are no recorded liens against the property that will affect the marketability of the title. To learn more, Click Here.
10) What is an appraisal?
An appraisal is performed by the bank or lenders appraiser to verify the value of the property. The appraiser will look at other recent sales in the area to determine value. Lenders don’t want to lend more money than the property may be worth. If a buyer defaults on the loan, that lender is then stuck with an over valued property.
11) What is Escrow?
It is the independent, impartial party who prepares and records closing documents according to the terms of the Purchase and Sales Agreement. The escrow company obtains all necessary documentation to clear title to the real estate, and collects all required funds from the appropriate parties. To learn more, Click Here.
12) What is a "signing"?
A signing is scheduled once all of your documents are prepared and ready for you to sign at escrow prior to closing. Typically, this occurs 24-48 hours before a transaction is scheduled to close.
13) What is closing?
It is the point in time when the title is transferred and recorded with the county. It is also when the seller is paid.
14) When do I take possession?
Sometimes, closing and possession are on the same day. Typically, it is negotiated in the Purchase and Sales Agreement. If a property is vacant, often times a seller will allow a buyer to take possession the same day as closing. If the home is occupied it is common for the seller to request 48-72 hours to vacate the property.
15) When and how do I get the keys?
The key exchange is typically handled by the real estate agents involved in the sale. Often times, the listing agent will make arrangements to get the keys to the buyer’s agent. From there, a buyer’s agent can meet his /her clients at their new home, or wherever is most convenient for all parties.