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Below are some of the most common questions we receive from our Buyers and Sellers.

Buyers FAQ

1. Does it cost money to use a Realtor? How does commission work?

Buyer’s do not pay realtor commission in WA state.  *Seller’s via the Listing Agreement, agree to pay both sides of the commission plan – Listing/Seller Side & Buyer Side. Essentially, this means that both buyer and seller agents are working for free until the deal is closed! For rentals, the tenant is usually charged a fee of one month’s rent that is often split between two cooperating brokers. A few exceptions for special circumstances.

2. What are the upfront costs of buying a home?

Ernest Money Deposit (with offer): Typically 1-2% of the Purchase Price. EM remains the Buyer’s funds and is used towards Buyer’s Closing Costs. Home Inspection. Typically $400-$600. Appraisal Fee (requested by Buyer’s Lender). Typically $600-$800. Final Closing Costs: Typically 2.25% of the Sale Price (but can vary). These costs include escrow, title, recording fees, etc.

3. How much do I need for down payment?

3% on up. A down payment of 20% affords Buyer the luxury of not having a Mortgage Insurance fee included in the loan.

4. What's the difference between assessed, appraised, and market value?

Assessed Value: the county’s calculated value for tax purposes. 

Appraised Value: the value assigned to the home by a professional appraiser for a lender - if there is financing being obtained on a home. 

Market Value: Simply put, this is what a buyer is willing to pay for a property.

5. Where does my Earnest Money Check that I submitted with my offer go?

It is forwarded within 48-72 hours to the Closing Agent (Escrow) to be placed in a trust account. Some real estate brokerages have their own trust accounts. The check is cashed & held by the Closing Agent. The EM deposit is applied towards the money that the buyer is paying for the purchase, specifically the down payment.

6. What is a bidding war?

Our current market conditions are simply a function of supply and demand, because of this, there are often multiple buyers bidding on the same one property, which creates “the auction effect” – or a bidding war. It’s not always the highest price that seals the deal, sometimes, other aspects of the offer that add significant value to the seller.
Submitting your best offer and using the proper NWMLS escalation form is the absolute best practice. Sellers are not obligated to counter-offer & communicate further. Having a broker that is experienced with multiple offer situations is invaluable. They know how to best communicate and present your offer it the most favorable light.

7. “I’ll get a better deal working with the listing agent, directly, right?”

Simply put, if you work with the listing agent directly, you have no representation or advocate in your corner and you may not save money in the long run. The listing agent has a fiduciary responsibility to the Seller first. Where this conflict is most evident: the home inspection & further negotiation.

8. Why shouldn’t I wait to buy once the market cools down?

It’s all relevant, especially if you are buying & selling. The house you are buying may be less, but so will the house you need to sell. It is best to talk to a mortgage professional sooner rather than later to discuss various scenarios for your next purchase.

9. Is a Condo or Single Family Residence a better investment?

Single Family Residence. Your out-of-pocket expenses (insurance, general maintenance, etc) are higher overall, but the resale / buyer preference is always stronger. Depending on your personal situation - Condo’s or Townhomes make great sense from an affordability and maintenance standpoint.

10. Do I need a pre-approval letter? And How do I get one?

Yes. If you want to be considered a serious Buyer in the eyes of any Seller, a Pre-Approval letter is necessary in today’s market. Talk to a mortgage professional prior to looking for a new home. What is the difference between a Pre-Approval Letter and a Pre-Qualification Letter? The pre-qualification letter, while not as strong, can be turned around in hours. You would complete a simple online application with formal name, address, SS#, employer & estimated income. The mortgage professional will generate a letter with the maximum purchase price and follow-up requirements for formal pre-approval. A Pre-Approval Letter can take a couple of days to generate, requires a more extensive application plus additional documentation. 2-3 years of tax returns. 2-3 months of bank statements. 2-3 months of recent pay-stubs, other asset statements, etc.

Sellers FAQ

1. Why do you sell so many homes?

Besides experience, local knowledge & hard work. I flat out out-market my competition.

Another very simple but ingrained reason: My goal is your goal! Or I don’t get paid. And my family won’t care for that.

I know you have choices so My Mission: Sell Your Home FAST! Make You More Money! Save You a ton of Money In the Process! Check out my 88+ reviews from satisfied buyers, sellers & investors. Click here.

2. How much is your commission?

It’s Negotiable. Definitely not the industry standard 3%. I know you will like what I offer. Especially my aggressive rebate program. Let’s set up a time to chat.

3. How much is my home worth?

Bottom Line: What a buyer is willing to pay for it. Experience in your neighborhood is critical. We take into account your unique neighborhood, the condition of your home with relation to other homes, real-world market fluctuations, and so much more. Want a customized analysis specific to your home! Get started by filling out the form on this page.

4. How long will it take to sell my home?

Great question! It depends on the realtor & price. An experienced agent knows firsthand the true market value (not inflated to get the listing); timing variations and buyer’s ever-changing hot-buttons & turn-offs. We have a unique & comprehensive marketing plan for your house only, that will set you apart from your competition. Not the “put a sign in the yard; on the MLS and pray” method many new agents use.

5. Do I need to Stage my home?

Today more than ever - Staging is a vital part of the home selling process. Competition is heating up and first impressions are everything.

FREE Staging Consultation: When you list with us you get a 90 minute Professional Staging Consultation – from a professional stager – not from the realtor/wanted-to-be-interior designer. That meeting will present you with your specific staging options for example: use/modify your existing furniture; augment or completely re-stage.

Let’s chat.

6. What do I need to do to prepare my home for listing?

Let us help. Give us 20 minutes in your home, and you will know exactly what is needed and more importantly, what is not required.

FREE Home Pre-Inspection: When you list with us! From a professional Home Inspector. Invaluable report to determine next steps, if any.

We recently wrote a blog about the 5 renovations that bring in the highest return on investment, click here to see what you can do to increase your home’s value. Click here.

7. Should I be present when buyers view my house?

No. The Buyer’s and Buyer’s agent want to speak candidly about the home & won’t do it with you present.

8. Is there an ideal time to sell my house during the year?

Yes! Properties do sell year-round but there are definitely better months than others. Depending on when you decide to sell could directly affect the amount of time on market and the final sale price of your home. See chart.

Generally speaking & based on recent history, early Spring is best. Volume picks up April-June, peaking in July. Latter summer is tough – buyers get picky and last minute buyer vacations before school starts plays a factor.

A second bump occurs September-October.

9. What must I disclose to Buyers?

In general, you have the obligation to disclose anything that may be a potential problem or affect the value of the home.

It’s illegal conceal any major issues going on in the house such as plumbing, electrical, water damage, rodents, etc. Things like HOA fees and rules, neighborhood meetings, and zoning requirements should also be noted.

Let us help. We walk you through the form and answer all your questions.

10. Should I trust my homes value on Zillow and/or other websites?

NO! Zillow was off $400k on its own CEO’s home value. But people like to look it up on Zillow because it’s always the highest value – and who doesn’t like seeing their homes inflated value.

Technology is great but it is truly better to talk to a human (experienced realtor). Why? Because these algorithms are based on zip codes, not actual neighborhoods or blocks and most importantly have no clue as to any improvements you have done to the home. They use your homes age, # of bedrooms, bathrooms & square feet and run a comparison. If there isn’t any nearby homes that have sold lately, the algorithm arbitrarily looks at nearby neighborhoods or solds, good or bad.

Want a FREE - No Obligation quote. Click here.

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