Frequently Asked Questions
Buyer, Seller, Renter, and Property Management FAQs
Buyer Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know what price home I can afford and what factors affect that amount?
When you speak to a lender, they will ask you questions about income, debt, work history, and credit. After verifying this information, they will be able to pre-qualify you for an amount, and then you can start looking at available properties.
What types of loans are available?
There are many loan types available such as Conventional, FHA, VA, and RD. Depending on your circumstances, your lender will tell you which type of loan is best for you and can suggest special programs that may available at that time for first time buyers, etc.
What things should I look for when viewing a home?
You should always keep an open mind when viewing a home. You want to find a home that fits your current needs while always thinking about future needs as well. You want to find an area that is convenient for your lifestyle. Of course, every buyer is different, and a good agent should work hard to find properties that will work best for you while considering your wants and needs.
How long does it take to go from an accepted contract to a closing?
Depending on loan type, it usually takes between 30 and 60 days for a completed transaction.
How will I know if I am making a wise purchase?
Before writing an offer, your realtor should run a market analysis to make sure that you are paying a fair price based on the area, size, and condition of your selected home. They should also suggest that you do an inspection to be sure that there are no issues with the home to help prevent unforeseen problems after the purchase is complete.
How will I know if a home is in the school district I want?
Your realtor should ask you initially if you have school district preference and tell you what neighborhoods are in that district that are also in your price range. You can also usually go to the local school board website to locate this information.
How important is flood zone when buying a home?
Flood zone will affect insurance costs on a home. Some homes do not require insurance, but you may purchase if you choose, and other areas require it at various costs depending on the frequency and severity of past flooding in that area.
How much cash will I need to buy a home?
After you have an accepted offer, you will need to place a deposit on the home, usually $500-$1000. You should also have $500 available for a home inspection within the first 10 days. From there, it depends on your loan type and lender. Some loans require no money down and some can require up to 20%. You will also incur closing costs (title fees, processing fees, prepaid insurance premiums, etc). These can vary from 3-5% of the sale price. Some of these fees may be factored into your loan, and you can also ask the seller to pay for some.
Seller Frequently Asked Questions
When is the best time to list my home?
There are always people looking for homes. Many people like to look in the spring, so they can move in by early summer. If your home shows well and is priced well, you can always attract prospective buyers.
How do I list my home for sale?
A qualified realtor will visit your home and advise you on pricing. You then sign an agreement for typically 6 months. This agreement says that this realtor will market your home and earn a commission on any sale made during that period.
What should I expect from a realtor?
Your realtor should present a market analysis of your home showing values for both listed and sold comparable homes in your area. They should suggest a selling price based on these comparables, size, and condition of your home. They should then market your home using open houses, broker tours, the Multi List System, and all available social media outlets. They should also suggest any improvements you can make or tips for making your home more valuable and marketable. They should keep you informed of any interest, showings, or feedback they receive on your home. Finally, they should advise you in any negotiations, inspections, and documentation needed. They should attend your closing and be sure that the entire transaction is a professional, successful experience.
How can I help to sell my home quickly?
Decluttering is the best thing you can do before trying to sell your home. Also, small improvements to make the home look fresh always help. Always be ready for a showing and be open to suggestions made by your realtor and any feedback from potential buyers.
What if I have pets?
It is usually best to not have pets on the property for showings, but if that is not possible, be sure to have them secured and clean thoroughly before any showings.
What will it cost me to sell my home?
You will be responsible for paying commission to both the listing and selling brokers. This rate is a percentage of the home’s price and usually ranges from 2-3% depending on the home’s value. Your realtor will discuss this with you upon signing the listing agreement. There will also be minimal closing costs (title fees, transfer fees, etc.) at the closing. These vary by price and closing company.
How long will it take to sell my home?
Each home and area is different, but your realtor can show you how long the typical house in your area has taken to sell. Once you have accepted an offer, it usually takes from 30-45 days for the sale to close.
Should I be home for showings and open houses?
It is usually best if you are not home. You want potential buyers to feel comfortable, and you don’t want them to feel rushed. You want them to give honest feedback to their agent so even if it isn’t the right home for them, you know what you can do to make your home more appealing for other buyers.
Renter Frequently Asked Questions
When should I begin looking for a property?
Typically, landlords do not like to have a property vacant for long so you should probably begin looking no more than 4 weeks before you are ready to move in. In some cases, a landlord may hold a property for a fee.
What factors will be used to determine my eligibility for a property?
Potential tenants are usually screened for income, credit, and past rental history. Credit score is used, but it can sometimes be less important if you have good, consistent income, can show reason for the score, and have current accounts in good standing. Good references from past landlords can also be helpful.
How much money will I need to begin renting?
There is an application fee that usually ranges from $40-50 per person or per married couple. If accepted, you will need the first month’s rent and a security deposit which is usually equal to a month’s rent. Upon moving out, if all conditions of the lease have been met and the condition of the property is deemed acceptable, this deposit is returned. There may also be a pet deposit if applicable.
Can I have a pet?
Depending on the landlord, you may be allowed a pet. The type and breed of pet will also vary. If pets are allowed, there is usually a deposit ranging from $200-$400 per pet which may be refundable upon acceptable completion of the lease and condition of the property.
How long is a lease?
Most residential leases are for 1 year and then become month to month. There may be situations where leases can be made for shorter or longer periods.
Am I responsible for maintenance and repairs?
As a tenant, you are responsible for simple maintenance, such as air filters, light bulbs, etc. Any major repairs and maintenance, as long as they are not due to your negligence, will be handled by the landlord. Any unreported damage will be subject to an unreturned security deposit upon move out. You will be asked to complete a move in report to show the condition of the property upon move in.
Am I responsible for insurance costs?
Homeowners’ and flood insurance will be paid by the landlord in most cases. You will need renter’s insurance for your personal property.
Property Management/Investment Property Frequently Asked Questions
How do I decide if a property is a wise investment?
Upon finding a potential investment property, you should meet with a realtor who will present a market analysis of the property to compare its price and value. They should learn what your interest is in the property (renting, flipping, etc) and based on this, advise you on whether it would be a productive purchase.
If the property needs repairs or I want to flip, how do I have the work done?
One service that Wayne Songy and Associates provides that you won’t find with many other companies is our Property Renovation Management. With this service, we help you get your property ready to work for you. We suggest what work you should have done to maximize the value of your property, and then assist you in finding contractors to give estimates. Upon choosing a company, we meet subs and manage the progress of the work until the property is ready to market.
How do you market my property?
Whether it as a rental or sale, we use the latest marketing tools available. Using the Multi List Service, print advertising, and social media, we will have your property seen by as many potential tenants or purchasers as possible. We will host open houses and personally meet with other realtors to make them aware of your property’s availability. If you are selling, please see our Seller Frequently Asked Questions for more helpful information.
How do I decide how much rent to charge?
We will run a Comparative Market Analysis to see the rent being charged for homes like yours based on size, condition, and location.
What are your fees for property management and renovation management?
Our property management fee is usually 10% of the monthly rent. If the property is vacant and a tenant is found, there is a 60% commission charged for the first month. Renovation management fees vary with cost of the property and amount of work required. These are subject to certain terms and conditions which will be agreed upon beforehand.
How do you screen potential tenants?
We require a detailed application which includes information on income, job history, and rental history. We also use Equifax to check credit and payment history. If we feel this information is acceptable, we will contact you for the final decision.
How are repairs and maintenance handled?
The tenant will be responsible for small maintenance items like light bulbs and air filters. Any other necessary maintenance and repairs will be reported to us. If you wish to handle them yourself, you may, but as part of our service, we contact subs for estimates. If the estimates are below an agreed upon amount, your property manager will meet the subs to have the work done. If above that amount, we contact you for approval and then meet the subs to have the work done.
How is rent collected?
Tenants forward rent payments to us by the 5th of each month. As soon as the payment is processed, a check is mailed to you along with an itemized spreadsheet showing you any expenses for that month (repairs, property management fee, etc.)
What if the rent is not paid?
If rent is not received by the 5th, we contact the tenant to assess the situation. They are then given 10 days in which to pay. If payment is made within this period, they are charged a $100 late fee. Beyond this 10 days, we contact the tenant to again assess the situation and see if accommodations can be made. In extreme circumstances, tenants may be asked to vacate due to nonpayment. All final decisions in this matter are made by both the landlord and property manager together. Fortunately, because of our thorough screening process, payments are not usually a problem we incur.