Whether you’re a first-time buyer or a real estate pro with a few penthouses under your belt, buying a home is still an intimidating experience. Besides the chunk of change on the line, you’re putting a ton of trust in your realtor. You’ll treat them like a therapist and wish they were a mind reader. (Why didn’t my realtor just know about my deep love of retro breeze blocks and my dream of living in a Maine barn by a blueberry field?) The Questions Real Estate Agents Get From Buyers don’t always have simple answers but we’ve compiled this list of FAQ that might help you.

Chances are, thanks to all the spinning plates in the air during your home search, you might not even know which questions to ask. With that in mind, realtors Nalee Vue of Keller Williams Classic Realty NW in Maple Grove, Minnesota, and Lance Greene of Compass in Cambridge, Massachusetts, are here with a balm to stressed house hunters, offering up answers to the most common questions they get from buyers.

How is the market right now? 

“The market is moving quickly, with sellers selling their homes over the listing price,” says Vue, who’s worked as a real estate agent for four years and as a real estate investor for six. “And it’s a very competitive market for buyers as thousands of millennials enter the housing market looking for homes! It’s a great time to buy and sell as so many folks are moving.” 

How do I qualify to purchase a home or condo?

“By contacting a lender to see what available buyer power you have via a credit pull and additional lender requirements to have a lender-issued pre-approval letter to accompany any offer,” advises Greene, who started his real estate career in the New York City area over 20 years ago before moving to the Greater Boston market. “Or if it is an all-cash offer, you would need to show proof of funds.” And gig workers, heads up: Mortgages aren’t just for those with a nine to five job.  

How long will it take for me to find a home? 

“The home buying process timeline will depend on how motivated you are to tour homes, how competitive you are with your offer in order to get it accepted, and how soon you would like to close on a home, such as in 30 days or more,” Vue says.

What are closing costs?

“Closing costs will include attorney fees, recording fees at a registry of deeds, and additional monies down to satisfy what was presented in the original offer and purchase and sale agreement,” Green says. “They usually will run in a range of 2 to 5 percent of the provided loan amount.”

What does it mean if a home has been on the market for a while?

Days on market, or D.O.M. — as realtors refer to it — can mean a number of things. “Sometimes, high D.O.M.s equate to lack of buyer interest, a property being overpriced, or lots of inventory,” Green says. “During the pandemic and in my specific market of condos above $1.3 million, I’ve experienced D.O.M. going from 12 to 40 days to over 160 for the high-end condos due to urban fleeing. The market usually adjusts accordingly, and I am starting to see buyers returning to the urban condo market more frequently now; I believe it is due to political turmoil easing, a vaccine in place, and pent-up buyer demand with interest rates staying low.”

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