Where do I start?
The place to begin is to find a licensed REALTOR® to assist you with your real estate sale. Interview several agents and ask them questions like "how long have you been in the real estate business," "are you a full-time REALTOR®", "do you work with buyers and sellers", "how many clients have you helped in the past year", "do you specialize in your local area", "do you have national exposure", "do you work with relocating clients" and "do you market real estate on the internet". Choose an agent that gives you a proposal of the services that will be provided to achieve your desired goal.
An important step in your real estate sale is to find a lender. A local lender will specialize in loans for properties in your local area. Your REALTOR® can give you some recommendations for a local lender to work with. A lender will review your credit, work history and funds to close escrow. The lender, after determining your credit worthiness, will provide you a loan approval letter. A loan letter should accompany any real estate contract. Loan approval will give you a negotiating advantage in working with sellers.
Is it a buyer's market?
Definitely yes! With the abundance of homes available and new home developments offering so many concessions, buyers have their choice of homes. Not like last year when a buyer had to make a split decision or lose the house. Also with the abundance of homes, buyers aren't over paying and losing equity right off. At the same time since sellers have so much equity in their homes because of the recent increases; it's still a good time to sell.
I hear the market has gone down is that true?
The market has changed. Over the past 5 years, we have been in a white-hot, highly appreciating, rising market. Interest rates were at 40+ year lows. Currently, we are transitioning into what is called a "normal" market. There is a large supply of available homes for sale, and a substantial pool of ready willing and able buyers looking to purchase. The actual number of sales has slowed from the record highs of the past few years, but sales continue to be made. Prices are not skyrocketing monthly as they did over the past 5 years. Prices are not dropping. In most cases, prices are modestly increasing or leveling from historic highs. Some sellers continue to list their homes based upon last year's appreciation, and buyers are rejecting their inflated asking prices, which causes the impression that prices are falling. They are not, prices are adjusting to meet buyer demand which is a healthy, normal market.
How long is the home typically on the market?
As this real estate market has begun to change more towards a buyer's market there are more choices available to the homebuyer. Not only has the inventory tripled since this same time last year, but also the average time a home stays on the market. Currently in the Fresno area homes are staying an average of 54 days. Last year at this time it was 21 days and two years ago it was 14. The thing we need to concentrate on the most right now is to prepare your home to show and to price it accordingly as history shows us that the most effective time to sell your home is within the first 21 days it is listed. The more serious clients are apt to view and possibly purchase within that window.
Are HUD homes or foreclosures currently on the market?
Yes, there are quite a few HUD homes/foreclosures on the market at the current time. In fact, Title Companies provide "Default Lists" upon request and almost certainly, each week at our Marketing Meeting locally. If you don't stay up on the latest available information, they "best buys" are snapped-up fairly quickly.
Do you charge for market analysis?
Mr./Ms. Seller-there is no charge for a Comparative Market Analysis as this is a necessary tool not only for you to know more about the market in your area, but to prepare me to help you with what is possibly one of the largest financial decisions you can make. The time spent for me to prepare this report for you not only gives US the synopsis of what OUR main competition is that is currently available in your neighborhood, but an effective way to put together a specific strategy to help sell your home faster at the highest price possible. Be aware that the CMA suggestive price will be based solely on the most current data available and that after meeting with you and touring your home we can get a more definitive price established.
Can you represent a buyer and a seller at the same time?
Yes, some REALTORS® are capable of representing both the buyer and the seller at the same time, howver this is not the norm. The possibility of representing both sides of a transaction is quite small. The national average is probably only about a 2%-3% chance. If there is a possibility that this may occur all parties to the transaction must agree to the REALTOR® representing both sides. Since a REALTOR®'s first fiduciary responsibility is to his/her client, the REALTOR® would have to work in your best interest. If you feel the most comfortable with another agent representing the other side, then REALTORS® can easily refer that client to another agent within our firm.
What sets you a part from other REALTORS® in other companies?
We stand out for a number of reasons. Our infrastructure and resources at Prudential California Realty offer our agents the tools; training, support, and technology to best exceed the needs and expectations of today's buyers and sellers. Our company's mission statement guides us in our interactions with the public. We are committed to our clients' needs from the first meeting throughout their buying and selling careers.
What's your commission?
Commissions are negotiable between the seller and Broker. They are not set by law. It is important for a seller to interview an agent and see their marketing plan and the tools they will use to get the home sold at the highest price, in a reasonable time with the least inconvenience and stress to the seller. At that point the seller and agent can discuss the marketing/brokerage fee.
Can you help me get pre-approved with a lender?
Yes! Prudential California Realty works hand in hand with Guarantee Pacific Mortgage so we keep the whole transaction in house, which is better for you. The finest loan officers in the industry support our offices. Guarantee Pacific Mortgage is an affiliated of Wells Fargo. They can be found working closely with our real estate offices from Lodi to Fresno. It is a very simple process for our agents to arrange a meeting between the clients and a loan officer to determine a loan prequalification. It's just a few minutes to ask you a few questions about your income and debts, and then they'll run a credit check and have a good idea of what your purchasing power will be.
What if my credit isn't perfect?
There is a mortgage for everyone in today's financing environment. Through the One Stop Shop at Prudential California Realty, our agents and our mortgage partners at Guarantee Pacific Mortgage can help with credit improvement and counseling to find the best mortgage loan for you. If your credit is not perfect, if there are blemishes on past credit history, our professionals can help you get on track to obtain an affordable mortgage loan so you may realize the American Dream of Home Ownership.
Will you help me coordinate inspections?
Our sales associates are encouraged to take advantage of Sylvan Transaction Services, our In-House Transaction Coordinators. They are here to provide those services to each agent, and insure each transaction is effectively taken from beginning, through close of escrow. Sure-Close is a process by which each inspection, coordination, etc. is "logged" and verified for the agent as well as the client. It's our "risk management" for you and provides a seamless transaction.
What happens when I enter into a contract?
Select a real estate agent to advise and assist you in preparing a contract. Preview the properties available and select the property that best fits your lifestyle and needs. Your agent will assist you in preparing a real estate contract, which is a legal agreement between the buyer and seller. The buyer will be requested to give an earnest money down payment of typically 1% of the purchase price. The contract gives the buyer the opportunity to request title insurance, escrow fees, inspections, repairs and a home warranty, a 1-year service plan. Also, the buyer can request the seller to assist with the buyer's loan and closing costs. The contract is fully accepted when the buyer and seller mutually agree and sign the contract and counter offers. The seller can entertain all offers until the buyer and seller agrees evidenced by their signatures of acceptance.
What happens when I enter into a contract and the home inspections reveal too much work is needed?
Buyers have the opportunity to pay to have a Home Inspection completed on the home they are purchasing. When the report reveals that there is work to be completed, the buyer can prepare a "Request for Repairs" listing the repairs to be completed by the seller before the close of escrow. If the seller refuses to make the repairs, the buyer has a time period to give written notification to the seller that they no longer want to purchase the property and select to cancel escrow. The purchase contract gives the buyer the opportunity to approve the inspections, disclosures and unknown material matters. When there is an issue that cannot be agreed upon between buyer and seller, the buyer has outlined time periods to notify the seller and if the seller chooses to disagree, the buyer can cancel the transaction.
I'm moving out of the area. Can you refer someone who can help?
Yes! Contact our award winning Relocation Department. They are skilled and licensed professionals ready to help. Our Relocation department does an excellent job of matching up clients with suitable REALTORS® all across the US. Our Relocation Department acts as your Real Estate Concierge to "hook-you-up" with all of your real estate requests.
How much money do I need for a down payment?
There is a selection of loan types from 100% financing to a variety of down payment programs. Consult your lender for the best loan program that fits your needs. Each loan includes loan costs that cover the loan processing, credit report, appraisal and prepaid items. Loan costs normally are 3% of the loan amount and can be paid by the buyer or possibly credited by the seller. Lender fees vary based on your credit rating and credit worthiness. Request from your lender a written break down of your down payment and closing costs for any loan you are applying for.
Can the seller help with closing costs?
Buyers frequently ask sellers to help with closing costs and this is becoming a common practice. Sellers can help with closing costs as long as it meets the criteria of the lender, which varies from transaction to transaction.