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Buying FAQ

What is the first step of the home buying process?
If you plan to finance, getting pre-approved for a mortgage is the first step of the home buying process. Getting a pre-approval is generally a quick process and demonstrates that you are a serious buyer to both your Realtor and the person selling their home. A pre-approval may be required before you can view a home in person or put in an offer.

First, you need to know how much you are approved to purchase. Knowing how much home you can afford narrows down online home searching to suitable properties, no time is wasted considering homes that are not within your budget. Pre-approvals also help prevent disappointment caused by falling in love homes out of your range.

Your Lender will help show you a clear picture of what is financially required to buy a home. You’ll know how much money is required for the down payment and closing costs or if you qualify for any free grant down payment options. If you have credit concerns they can also help you put a plan together to increase your credit score.

The Gillette Group has several preferred Lenders that can help walk you through this process.

I already own a home, can I sell and buy a home at the same time?
If you want to use the equity in your current home for the down payment on the next, it is possible. However, this is tricky, and all parties need to be on their game. Our team does “back to back” closings often, but all contingencies need to be completed in a timely fashion. You have to have constant communication between all parties, and organization is a must-have. Your Realtor will help walk you through this process.

Why should I buy a home instead of renting one?
Oftentimes, it is more cost-efficient to buy a home rather than rent one. When you buy, you are investing in your own future. When you rent, you are helping your landlord to invest in his or her future. There also are financial perks like tax deductions and home equity that come along with owning a home. There are also low down payment and grant down payment options available.

I have my pre-qualification, what’s next?
Congratulations! This is an exciting time and we would be so honored for the opportunity to help you find your new home! We will set up a time to discuss your needs and learn more about what is important to you in your future home. We will then narrow down your criteria in your own personalized automatic e-alert. Our team also has access to off market opportunities that are not online. We pride ourselves in our quick response time and accessibility. The great homes sell fast and we understand how important it is to be accessible and available for you. We will work closely with you to set up showings around your schedule.

I found the perfect home, now what?
Once you have found the home that you want to make an offer on, timing is important. Our team uses the best technology to get your purchase agreement together quickly, utilizing digital signatures that you can sign from your phone or computer. We are accessible even after traditional business hours. We will take the time to run a detailed analysis to determine what the true market value is for the home you are interested in to ensure you are offering a fair price. We will use this data to put together an action plan for your offer price and terms. In this market homes can go fast and it is not uncommon to see multiple offers. We know how to help your offer stand out. There is a lot that goes into the offer process and having an experienced Realtor on your side can help you get your dream home.

What is an earnest deposit?
If you’re ready to make an offer on a particular home and also want to prove to the home seller that you’re serious about your offer, there’s a way to prove your commitment. This is where earnest money comes into the picture. When a buyer and seller enter into a contract, the seller takes the home off the market while the transaction moves through the entire process to closing.

Earnest deposits are typically 1% of the purchase price however if your finances are tight you can offer a lower amount. The higher the deposit, the more serious you will look to the seller. As a buyer your deposit would be due within 48 hours of going under contract. This deposit is typically paid to the title company and is credited back to you at closing. If the deal falls through due to a failed home inspection or any other contingencies listed in the contract the buyer typically gets their earnest money back.

Should I get a home inspection?
Once your offer is accepted, most purchase agreements will give you a 10 day inspection period. This gives you time to do all of your due diligence. This includes hiring a home inspector and a termite inspector. Even though your excitement is at its highest, you can’t bypass one of the most important aspects of the home buying process, the home inspection. The typical cost of an inspection can range between $400-$700 depending on the square footage and features of the home, pool, etc.

How quickly can I get the keys?
Typical escrow periods are 30 to 45 days, This gives you enough time to do the investigation on the property and get your loan and appraisal completed.

What is an appraisal?
The findings from an appraisal determine the amount a mortgage lender will let you borrow for the property. Appraisals must be conducted by a licensed, third-party appraiser who has no connection to the buyer, seller or lender. That way, all parties can be sure the determined market value is fair, unbiased and free of any influence from any party that could benefit.
The lender usually orders the appraisal, but the borrower is the one who pays for it.

How much do I have to pay a Realtor to help me buy a house?
Home buyers pay little or no fees to their Realtor when buying a home. For most home sales, there are two real estate agents involved, one that represents the seller and another who represents the buyer. In Arizona, for most transactions the home sellers take care of the Realtor fees.

Finding a real estate professional is a crucial part of the home buyer process. Buying a home is a huge step, so you want to find someone who is accessible and available, someone who will understand your needs and look out for your best interest during this transaction.

Navigating a real estate purchase is tricky business. The internet has made it possible to do a lot of the legwork yourself, but there’s no substitute for an experienced professional. An expert negotiator who knows the market can save you time, money and heartache by helping you make the right offer, playing hardball when necessary and staying on top of the process.

Should I use my friend or relative as my Real Estate Agent?
This is a common question because the average person knows many Realtors. Your friend just got their real estate license, and they’re struggling to find clients. You may feel bad and almost obligated to use them. But do you really want the sale of your largest financial asset to be a training camp for your friend? That’s super risky.

Any time you’re facing a large financial decision, like buying or selling your home, it’s wise to work with an experienced professional to guide you through the process. Once word gets out that you’re looking for a real estate agent, you might be bombarded by friends and family members asking you to hire them for the job. Your cousin’s mother in law, who has only been in the business for six months, is not going to have the same networks in the real estate community as a real estate expert who has been in the business for years.

Think of it like this: A real estate transaction is likely going to be the biggest money deal you make in your lifetime, and there really is no room for mistakes. It is not the time to toss a bone to your friend or relative who just got a real estate license and lives 20 miles away.

Real friends will respect your decision and not make you feel guilty about it and so will any agent you’d want to do business with. You have to ask yourself if you would hire that person if you had no relationship with them, never hire a Realtor because you feel bad. At the end of the day this is a business decision for you and your family.

How do I search for a home?
Keep in mind many popular home searching sites make millions of dollars off of leads. This means these sites are more likely to make homes appear for sale when they are actually sold or closed. This can be frustrating for buyers and waste your time. You’ll want to use a site that gives you direct access to the MLS with real time availability, the similar access Realtors have. Gillettegroupaz.com offers that.

Do I need a Realtor when buying a brand new home?
Yes! Never visit the model homes without your Realtor. The Sales Consultants in the office represent and work for the builder AKA the seller. Builders require that you are with your Realtor upon your first visit to the model homes. If you go in alone it is risky and if you end up buying you may be unrepresented, meaning you will have no one on your side, reviewing the legal documents and looking out for your best interests. Builders are not able to give you a better deal if you do not have a Realtor, having an experienced Realtor on your side can actually help you save money. Our team has sold hundreds of new builds and we can walk you through each step. Please call us before visiting any model homes.

What are your thoughts on discount agents?
If you have been searching for a home online you may have seen ads for “discount agents”, or agents that will pay you to use them. You’ll want to beware of any of these tactics to get your business. There is a lot that goes into a real estate transaction, a lot of room for error and there is no substitute for having an experienced Realtor on your side. Navigating these issues takes experience. Given enough years, an experienced agent will see just about every issue you can think of. This could be the difference between a blown up deal, and one that holds together.

Ultimately, you have to decide which route is right for you and your family. Odds are going with a discount broker probably really won’t help you walk away with a better deal when all of the final numbers are negotiated and calculated. There are many reasons why traditional agents and brokers stick around through even the toughest real estate markets and new discount brokerages tend to pop up only when the market is hot.

If you have questions we would love to hear from you!

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