Questions to Ask Your Realtor

Whether to work with a realtor is one of the first choices people make when they decide to sell or buy a home. Realtors can help first-time buyers, frequent movers, buyers and sellers alike with their knowledge of neighborhoods, competition in the market, pricing and negotiating strategies, marketing of homes, and the stages and requirements of the closing process. These are some essential questions you should ask your Gainesville real estate agent.

Questions Home Buyers Should Ask

Am I Ready to Be a Homeowner?

One of the first questions you may ask yourself when you decide to look for a new place to live is whether you should rent or buy your new home. Taking financial inventory of your lifestyle, debts and assets can help you determine whether you are ready to take the leap from renter to homeowner. Your realtor, bank and self-inspection will tell you whether you are reliably employed with a consistent income that will allow you to pay your loans or down payments on time. To own a home, you should have a good credit score showing a history of punctual payments and very few debts that can be easily resolved.

What Costs Will I Incur?

There are many steps and concepts associated with real estate shopping that you should familiarize yourself with as early as possible. Realtors in Gainesville recommend talking to a bank before looking at homes for purchase. You should understand the difference between being prequalified and preapproved. In prequalification, you provide some of your financial information in a form to receive an estimate of what you may be able to borrow and have an idea of how much you could spend on a home. Pre-approval means a financial institution has deeply reviewed your financial situation and agreed to work with you, putting you one step further. You could ask your realtor about the hidden costs of buying a home and the programs for first-time home buyers some banks offer.

Should I Sell My Current Home Before or After the Purchase?

Selling your home before buying a new one can put you in an ideal position to negotiate the new home without the sale contingency of your current home. The earnings from that sale will add to the amount you could offer a seller if you find yourself bidding for your dream home. However, deciding to sell before buying brings the uncertainty of the time it will take to sell your home and the risk of not having a place to live if you do not buy another home quickly enough. In contrast, buying before selling your current home gives you the security of having a property lined up for when you move out. However, if you cannot afford a new home before selling, your purchase offer will be contingent upon sale and transfer, and another buyer may outbid you. Although there is no right or wrong answer for when to sell your current home, a real estate agent in Gainesville could assess your specific situation and recommend the route that seems more appropriate.

How Do I Negotiate Offers With Sellers?

When you have found a home you are interested in buying, a real estate agent can help you along the process of making an offer to the sellers. Ask your realtor how much you should offer, how long it typically takes for sellers to reply, what to do if your offer gets rejected, and any other questions you may have about price negotiations, such as whether you should account for the cost of home inspections before making an offer. Generally, your offer should depend on the value of other homes in the area, how long the property has been listed, the home’s physical condition and any special circumstances. Also, discuss the potential need for an earnest money deposit, which is meant to show a seller the buyer’s good faith and genuine interest in purchasing the home.

What Are Short Sales and Foreclosures?

These are two concepts to keep in mind while house hunting. A short sale is one in which the proceeds from the sale are less than the debts secured by liens against the property. It takes place if all lien holders agree to accept less than the amount owed on the debt. In contrast, a foreclosure is the sale of a property owned by a lender, usually in an attempt to recover the balance of a loan from a borrower who has stopped making payments. Have your realtor explain the details of these processes to you so you will know what to expect if you run into these situations while looking at homes for sale in Gainesville.

What Should I Expect at Closing?

The closing refers to the day when the transfer of ownership of the property between seller and buyer is completed. This process incurs costs for both parties. Buyers usually have to complete inspections, a formal mortgage application and miscellaneous paperwork, such as disclosures, warranties, statements of information, declaration reports, abstracts, etc. A real estate agent can remind you of all the prerequisites, documents you will have to bring with you to the closing, documents you will have to sign, and other requirements specific to your case.

Ask Questions About the Neighborhood

Before buying a home in Gainesville, you may want to ask your realtor about the pros and cons of several neighborhoods in your area. Real estate agents stay informed about the latest changes and developments of different neighborhoods, including schools, shops, services and parks. They can save you the time of researching and provide information and advice tailored to your wants and needs.

Questions Home Sellers Should Ask

What Is the Best Time to Sell My Home?

Although in many cases the spring months are the best to sell, in others, selling during the fall and winter months is more beneficial due to lower competition and more urgency among buyers. Thus, the answer to this question is not simple, general or definitive. It relies heavily on the individual circumstances of each real estate market. For this reason, the process of listing and selling a home is usually quicker and easier with the help of a local agent. Realtors with Team Dynamo have studied the Gainesville real estate market and are trained to inform you about trends and windows of opportunity.

How Much Is My Home Worth?

The answer to this question is also complex. As a seller, you should account for differences between the assessed value and market value of your home. The assessed value, which is used for tax purposes in your municipality, is rarely enough to determine how much your home is worth to a potential buyer. The market value can be significantly higher or lower than the assessed value. In addition to calculating the value of your home’s features and amenities, a realtor can help you determine how much your home is worth in relation to other Gainesville, FL, homes for sale  through a comparative market analysis. An expert can advise you on how to price your home and negotiate with buyers to try to keep your home’s sale price close to its list price.

What Can I Do to Prepare My Home?

A home that is well prepared for showings will likely sell faster than its competition. Make sure to clean your home spotless and perform any necessary inspections, repairs and remodeling before inviting potential buyers. It is important to be upfront while discussing your needs and goals with your realtor during all stages of the buying or selling process, but especially before showings. If you are not present during tours of your home, visitors are more likely to talk about it freely and comfortably with your realtor. So, you want to make sure your realtor knows exactly what you want potential buyers to know about your home so he or she can relay it effectively in your absence.

What Details Should I Disclose to Potential Buyers?

If you are aware of defects with an appliance or part of your home, it is better to be honest about it. Usually, it is best to make repairs before putting your home on the market. However, if something comes up after that, disclose with potential buyers anything you are aware of at the time of showings. This can help prevent issues or lawsuits later on.

How Do You Plan on Marketing My Home?

It is a good idea to discuss marketing strategies with your real estate agent. Communication with your realtor will put you on the same page regarding a potential combination of traditional marketing avenues with online exposure.

Realtors in Gainesville, FL

If you are considering entering the Gainesville real estate market at any time of the year, realtors with Team Dynamo can answer your questions and guide you through every step of the process, prioritizing your needs and concerns. Contact us today for a consultation.