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The seller. When a seller lists their home, they agree to pay a certain percent of the sale price to the agent that lists their home and whoever brings a buyer when they sign the listing contract.
Buying a home will most likely be the largest financial decision of your life. A realtor can guide you through the home buying process to ensure you get the most home for your money and make your home purchase a wise investment. Realtors can advise you of unforeseen problems when it comes the time to resell, ensure legal paperwork is handled correctly, and are trained negotiators. Additionally, your time is valuable! It’s a realtor’s job to be on the lookout for new listings, research the homes in your price range, arrange showings, and attend to the bumps in the road as you move through the transaction.
At minimum, you’ll need to budget to have enough money for earnest money, money to pay your home inspector, the down payment required by your lender, and any additional closing costs negotiated in your contract such as a survey or title work. Your lender will be able to provide you with a Good Faith Estimate (GFE) to estimate the money you will need to bring to closing.
When determining what purchase price you will offer the seller, there are a number of factors you and your agent will consider. How much have nearby homes sold for? How many days has the home been on the market? What condition is the home in? Are there other offers on the table? Your realtor, and possibly even your lender, can help you arrive at a purchase price that gets you the most house for your money. Real estate is a team sport!
When your offer is accepted by the seller, yes. Within 24 hours of your offer being accepted, it is the selling realtor’s responsibility to deliver your earnest money to the listing realtor. It is the listing realtor’s responsibility to ensure that money is deposited into either their own trust account or a trust account monitored by the title company where your closing will be.
Home inspections range from $250 to $400 depending on who you hire, where the home is, how large the home is, and sometime if you pay at the time of inspection or delay until closing. Like realtors, home inspectors are licensed and insured. Quality home inspectors are members of their local MLS boards and stay up to date on their continuing education hours. Should a home inspector recommend further inspection by an expert in one specific area (for example: foundation, HVAC, electrical), there may be an additional charge. Money spent on a home inspection can save you money later on.
The seller can accept, reject, or counter. Be prepared for all of these possibilities each time you offer or counter offer. Whatever the response, your realtor and your lender can help you plan your next step. Nothing is “a deal” until all parties have accepted the terms.
You, your realtor, and your lender will meet a closing agent at the title company. The closing agent will have all the papers you are required to sign and will give you a brief explanation of each one as you sign them. Feel free to ask questions or take the time to read or re-read anything you’re signing. If it calms your nerves, you can always ask to pick up a copy of your closing packet the day before to read at home.
From the day you write your offer to the day you close is generally 45-60 days. Cash transactions can go from purchase agreement to closing as quickly as a week. Short sales and foreclosures can take longer than 60 days. Searching for your perfect home can be the shortest or longest part of the process. Either way, trust yourself and your judgement.
All appliances (washer, dryer, fridge, dishwasher, etc.) are negotiable. Be mindful of the bill of sale! Just because appliances are in the home the day you write the offer, they may be moving with the seller. All items that are transferred on the bill of sale are without liens and without warranty.
With a few exceptions, possession is generally taken at the time of closing.