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Hot Topics & Quick Answers
I'm a first-time homebuyer. How do I get started?
First of all, CONGRATULATIONS! You are about to start one of the most exciting stages of your life: the home-buying process! Now let's be real...it feels like a LOT. There is so much information out there and I am passionate about educating first time homebuyer's so they can get into the home of their dreams! While home-buying isn't a one-size-fits-all process, here is a general step by step:
1. Find an Agent that is the best fit for you. I hope it's me of course, but obviously I want you to make the best decision for you! Interview some agents and see how each of us could help you through the process. (Also: Buyer's Agents are paid their commission by the Seller so if you are a Buyer it is no extra charge to have an Agent help you through the process!...yep you heard that right!)
2. Talk with a lender about how much home you can reasonably afford & make a budget. This is also where you can really get all that information you have been wondering about, like what kind of programs & grants you qualify for. It is best to talk with a mortgage expert long before even starting the process so you get a better idea of your financial situation and feel even more confident about going into the process. It's also always best to get Pre-Approved about 3-4 months before your ideal move in date. (Need help finding a lender? I'm happy to help set you up with someone awesome!)
3. Start home-shopping! Aka. the fun part!
4. Make an offer & Negotiate. Then eventually, the offer is accepted!
5. Home Inspection
6. Mortgage is Finalized
7. Closing & you get your keys!
What is my current home worth?
I would love to help you stay informed about the market and provide you with a free comparative market analysis for your home! Fill out this form and I would be happy to get that to you ASAP!
I am renting. Should I use a Real Estate agent?
It depends! You absolutely can & I hope to work with you soon, but as with most things in Real Estate, this is also not a one-size-fits all answer. Here are some factors to consider when deciding whether or not to go with an agent:
Expert Information: One of the main jobs of a realtor is to know the neighborhoods they serve inside & out. We also have resources that are not available to the general public, like the multiple listing service and therefore, we can easily access any property on there. Going with a realtor for your rental search keeps you more informed.
Time = Money: Time is valuable and going with an agent puts the pressure off you to search for that perfect rental. You can rest assured that your agent will find you rental options within your specific preferences, make the process efficient and you won't have to spend countless hours looking up properties and googling random rental property questions.
Cost: In Philly, landlords pay for tenant procurement and lease negotiation, so no matter if you use a real estate agent or not, you will be paying the same amount most of the time (see exceptions to this below).
Exceptions: Of course, as is the case with most things in life, there are exceptions to the above points. If you would like to go with a rental that is not listed on the MLS, things can get a bit more complicated. Realtors would not have direct access to the property like they typically do and more than likely the landlord will not be willing to pay for an agent's commission. An agent may still be happy to help you with these types of rentals, however be aware that if a property owner/landlord does not offer to pay your agent's commission, you will be responsible. (This type of situation can be avoided by letting your agent know that you are only interested in properties where the agent's commission will be covered for you.)