First-Time Home Buyers and Sellers: Answers to Common Questions

First-Time Home Buyers and Sellers: Answers to Common Questions

  • 05/10/22

Are you a first-time home buyer or seller? Both the home buying and home selling processes can be lengthy and complicated, and therefore come with many questions. 

Before you even begin the process, make sure you do your research and find a reputable real estate agent to walk you through each step. Let’s break down answers to common questions that first-time homebuyers and first-time home sellers have.

Home buyer frequently asked questions and answers

1. When buying a home, where do you start? 

The first step in buying a home is to obtain a mortgage pre-approval. Unless you plan to buy your home with cash, you’ll need to get approved for a mortgage loan. To do this, you need to research lenders and find a loan that works for you and your finances. Experts recommend thoroughly understanding your financial situation (credit card score, debts, financial history) so you can identify the best loan for you.

2. What do I need to know when going through the approval process? 

Home buyers should know what the financial requirements are to make a home purchase. You will need to maintain your credit, save for a down payment and keep in mind you will need to pay closing costs. Closing costs typically include inspection fees, appraisal fees, escrow fees, and title insurance fees.

3. What’s the realtor’s role? 

Having a real estate agent is critical during the home buying process because they will walk you through each step, educate and inform you on your options, and dedicate themselves to finding you the best home option. Because of the agent’s experience, they can foresee pitfalls that may arise during the process. Additionally, a real estate agent can help keep you focused and motivated. There are a lot of distractions that can sidetrack buyers from focusing on their long-term goals, and agents help you stay on track.

4. What’s the best advice for first-time home buyers? 

First-time home buyers should understand that finding their perfect home takes shape over time. To start the process, create a list of “wants,” “needs” and “nice-to-haves” in your future home and communicate with your realtor on budget needs. Helping your agent understand your vision will empower them to find you the perfect home.

5. When can I move in? 

You typically get the keys to your new home at closing! You're all set after the lender funds the loan and all the paperwork is signed, the home is yours. Closing typically takes about two hours.

Home seller frequently asked questions

1. What do I need to do to prepare my home for sale? 

In preparation for photos and showings, you’ll need to clean, de-clutter, de-personalize and, for best results, work with a home stager. Experts recommend a thorough cleaning and clearing out of personal items. You can sell then, donate or even throw them away if you must. 

Additionally, you should make sure that your home is in good repair. A fresh, neutral home is most attractive to buyers. A well-maintained home sends a positive message to potential buyers. It’s not a bad idea to give some rooms or your front door a fresh coat of paint.

2. What should I disclose to potential buyers? 

In the state of Illinois, sellers must fill out a document called a Residential Real Property Disclosure Report for a buyer to review when presenting a contract. You’ll need to disclose any defects with your roof, appliances or anything else in your home when filling out this document.

3. What is the realtor’s role? 

A realtor will guide you through the home selling process step by step, help with marketing and showcasing your home to a broad audience of buyers, negotiate offers to garner the maximum profit for you, and navigate through the many issues that often come up during the transaction. Having a realtor is critical during the home selling process; the best realtor is one who has a thorough understanding of the market, has a lot of experience, and excellent negotiation skills.

4. What is the home stager’s role? 

Experts recommend hiring a stager to make your home more attractive to today’s buyer. Stagers are trained to know what sells best in the current market. By investing in staging, your photos will pop, the buyer’s emotions will be touched, resulting in the highest and best offers.

5. How much is my home worth? 

Choosing a selling price is not an exact science and it results from a discussion between the seller and the realtor based on the following: 

  • Location
  • Condition 
  • Upgrades 
  • Livable square footage 
  • Land 

Contact a seasoned real estate agent to learn more

Whether you are buying or selling, this is an exciting time for you! You probably have multiple questions, so make sure you do some research, make a list and go over to-dos with your realtor. 

To learn more about what to know before buying or selling, or to get in contact with a reputable, experienced realtor, contact Betsy Phillips.

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