Buyers FAQs

Initial Questions & Concerns

We all know that the process of buying a home Can Get Nuts, and the process can be complex and stressful—especially for a first-time buyer!

Whether you are selling your current home and buying a new one, or you’re a first-time homebuyer, purchasing a home is not a decision or process to enter into lightly. You need to decide on crucial things like how long you plan on living in an area, school districts you prefer, what kind of commute works for you, and how much you can afford to spend.

This is where we come in! A Listing Squirrel agent will take you through a thorough evaluation and process to help you decide if it is the right time for you and your family to move forward or get a game plan to buy in the future. And, yes, there are times where the results reveal that now is not the right time! We try to keep things very real and in perspective for our clients.

There is so much to consider when buying and owning a home. If you are purchasing a property on the belief that it will rise in value over time or that it is always a good investment that creates equity, do not forget all the other costs. Interest payments, upgrades to the property over time, ongoing and routine maintenance, all need to be factored into your calculations. The list goes on and on! So just because you “qualify,” doesn’t always mean you can afford to buy or that it is still a “good investment!”

Wait; what? Yes, you just read that – but here at The Listing Squirrel, we are here to develop relationships and life-long customers, not just another sale!

NOW, if a new home is on your wish list this year, it is time to take a good look at what you can prioritize to help you get there, and help you get closer to making your dream a reality.

Call The Listing Squirrel today to determine if homeownership is the right choice for you!

Slam on those breaks – you almost hit a SQUIRREL!

If you’re searching for a home online, you’re not alone; lots of people are doing it. The question is, are you using all your available resources, and are you using them wisely? Here’s why the Internet is a great place to start the homebuying process, and the truth on why it should never be your only go-to source of information and support when it comes to making such an important decision.

According to theNational Association of Realtors (NAR), the three most popular information sources homebuyers use in the home search are:

  • Online Website (93%)
  • Real Estate Agent (86%)
  • Mobile/Tablet Website or App (73%)

You’re not alone if you’re starting your search online; 93% of homebuyers are right there with you. The even better news: 86% of buyers are also getting information from a real estate agent at the same time.

Here are three reasons why working with a real estate pro in addition to your digital search is key:

  • The Full Transaction Is Complex ~ There’s more to real estate than finding a home online. It is a lonely and complicated trek around the web if you don’t have a real estate professional to also help you through the 230 possible steps you’ll face as you navigate through a real estate transaction. Determining your price, submitting an offer, and successfully negotiating are just a few of the critical parts of the sequence. You’ll want someone who has been there before to help you through it.
  • You Need a Skilled Negotiator ~ In today’s market, hiring a talented negotiator could save you thousands, maybe even tens of thousands of dollars. From the original offer to the appraisal and the inspection, many of the intricate steps can get confusing. You need someone willing to be your advocate and can keep the deal together until it closes.
  • You Need an Educator ~ There’s so much information out there in the news and on the Internet about home sales, prices, mortgage rates, and more. How do you know what’s fact and what’s fiction? How do you know what’s specifically going on in your area? How do you know what to offer without paying too much or offending the seller with a lowball offer?
    Hiring a real estate professional who has a finger on the pulse of the market and is eager to help you learn along the way will make your buying experience an informed and educated one. You need someone who’s going to tell you the truth, not just what they think you want to hear.
    Bottom Line ~ If you’re ready to start your search online, don’t skip over the support of an educated, experienced, and informed professional. You need someone at your side who can answer your questions and guide you through a process that can be complex and confusing if you go at it with the Internet alone.

Ready to house hunt!? For some buyers, the mere thought of it gives them heartburn. Whether it’s the excessive amount of paperwork, stampedes of buyers competing for the same digs, or a multitude of other challenges, it can lead to wanting to hide under the covers and call for mommy!

We all know it Can Get Nuts, and the process can be complicated and stressful—especially for a first-time buyer. Purchasing a home is likely one of the most significant financial decisions of your entire life, and you need an excellent real estate agent if you want to do it right! Fear not, a Listing Squirrel real estate pro will be by your side, and you can slay those house buying fears and feel the warm light of success!

When working with you as a homebuyer, our agents are looking out for you and your best interest while helping you navigate the real estate market. We are not focused on what kind of commission we are going to make. Our promise at The Listing Squirrel is to be there to help you save tons of time, money, and of course, your sanity on the road to buying your new home.

Did we mention money back in your pocket?

Keep reading with a smile!

We’ve saved the best part for last! For all of these personalized services, you pay a grand total of…wait for it…NOTHING! You get thousands of dollars back! The seller has already worked your agent’s commission into the pricing of their home, and we will give you up to 1% rebate at closing just for buying with The Listing Squirrel!

Get Started Today!

YES! YES! YES! Just like you should not buy a “pre-loved” home alone with all the ins and outs of the buying process. The same goes for when buying new construction! Some do not realize that purchasing a new construction home is usually more complicated and intimidating than buying a resale/”pre-loved” home! Having a Listing Squirrel agent by your side throughout the entire process of building a house and going through the inspections and different phases of the building process is invaluable. AND there is still no cost to you!

Oh yeah! And we still honor our promise to put money back in your pocket!

The Money Part

We have already mentioned how Nutty the buying process can be, but also keep in mind that it can also be very competitive. Ultimately, it can be tough to stand out from other buyers when you finally find the home you want. Since you know you will need to apply for a mortgage before you purchase a home, one way to show you are serious about buying is to get pre-qualified or pre-approved before you start your search. Even more importantly, knowing and understanding your budget before searching and looking at properties ensures you are setting yourself up for success when it comes to buying a home.

Freddie Mac lays out the advantages of pre-approval in the My Home section of their website:

“It’s highly recommended that you work with your lender to get pre-approved before you begin house hunting. Pre-approval will tell you how much home you can afford and can help you move faster, and with greater confidence, in competitive markets.”

Just like most real estate professionals, The Listing Squirrel has many relationships with lenders who will be able to help you through this process. Once you have selected a lender, you’ll need to fill out their loan application and provide them with necessary information regarding “your credit, debt, work history, down payment, and residential history.”

Freddie Mac describes the “4 Cs” that help determine the amount you’ll be qualified to borrow:

  • Capacity: Your current and future ability to make your payments
  • Capital or Cash Reserves: The money, savings, and investments you have that can be sold quickly for cash
  • Collateral: The value of the assets you’re pledging as security against the loan
  • Credit: Your history of paying bills and other debts on time

There are many steps in the home buying process, but getting pre-approved is one of the first steps you should and need to do. Obtaining pre-approval in advance often accelerates the process once your offer has been accepted.

If you’re ready and willing to buy, getting pre-approved will help you feel more informed and may even give you the edge you need in today’s competitive home buying process!

Get Pre-Approved today with our Preferred Lender!

Breaking of the myths behind down payments….

Many buyers often overestimate what they need to qualify for a home loan. According to the same article:

“A down payment of 20% for a home of that price [$210,000] would be about $42,000; only about 30% of the millennials in our survey have enough in savings to cover that, not to mention the additional closing costs.”

While many potential buyers still think they need to put at least 20% down for the home of their dreams, they often don’t realize how many assistance programs are available with as little as 3% down. With a bit of research and an experienced lender by your side, you may be able to enter the housing market sooner than they ever imagined.

Why wait?

Get Started Today!

Contact our Preferred Lender to get pre-approved or a game plan to becoming a homeowner today!

The Market

While whether or not to buy a home in any “current market” is always something to consider, let’s face it, this would be a much more straightforward answer a year ago, before Covid-19. So, for now, we will answer this question with care and consideration of the current situation. Knowing that all of us, together, are in a very delicate and uncertain time.

Before the pandemic, you would read this answer and not question or hesitate with your eagerness to move forward on entering the process of purchasing a new home. Not too long ago, outside of a strong economy, low unemployment, and higher wages, there are so many more great reasons why you may want to consider buying a home.

Stay with us here…

So now the question becomes, but what about the current real estate market with COVID-19?

At The Listing Squirrel, we are very aware that all eyes are on the American economy. With Texas beginning to reopen, and progressively in the DFW area, the question becomes: which sectors of the economy will drive our economic recovery? There seems to be a growing consensus that the housing market is positioned to be that driving force, the powerful tailwind that is necessary.

Some may question that statement by looking back at the last recession in 2008 when housing was the anchor to the economy – holding it back from sailing forward. But even then, the overall economy did not begin to recover until the real estate market started to regain its strength. However, this time, the housing market was in great shape when the virus hit.

With real estate being considered an essential service in most areas, homes are still being sold, and buyers are still able to purchase them. The process, however, is dramatically different and will continue to transform throughout 2020 and, perhaps, for the foreseeable future.

Ken Simonson, chief economist for the Association of General Contractors stated:

“If they have the income to apply for a mortgage, there’s going to be more people who can afford those monthly payments,” Simonson said in an interview, noting that declining interest rates have made mortgages more attractive to buyers. “But whether people are going to be willing to commit to buying a home, it’s going to be one of those things we’ll have to see.”

To answer this question directly, the key to this is not so much the market, but whether or not you are ready and have the financial stability, now and in the foreseeable future, when it comes to our economy and this very uncertain time that we are living in currently.

The bottom line is that it is up to you as a buyer to decide what feels risky and what feels safe. If you decide that you are still ready to buy, The Listing Squirrel is here to help you navigate through it, even during this unfortunate time of the pandemic! Call us today, and let’s see what the future holds together as a team!

Getting Started

That is easy! Call or fill out our buyer’s contact information, and we will reach out to you to get you started!

Already have a lender or pre-approval? Perfect! Let us know that in the comment section of your form and have your lender email us with your pre-approval to!

Need a lender and/or want to get pre-approved first? We understand! Contact our preferred lender today!

Appraisal – A professional analysis used to estimate the value of the home. A necessary step in validating a home’s worth to you and your lender as you secure financing.

Closing Costs –The fees required to complete the real estate transaction. Paid at closing, they include points, taxes, title insurance, financing costs, and items that must be prepaid or escrowed. Ask your lender for a complete list of closing cost items.

Credit Score – A number ranging from 300-850 that is based on an analysis of your credit history. Helps lenders determine the likelihood you’ll repay future debts.

Down Payment – Down payments are typically 3-20% of the purchase price of the home. Some 0% down programs are also available. Ask your lender for more information.

Mortgage Rate –The interest rate you pay to borrow money to buy a home. The lower the rate, the better.

Pre-Approval Letter – A letter from a lender indicating you qualify for a mortgage of a specific amount.

Real Estate Professional – An individual, or team, that provides services in buying and selling homes. Real estate professionals are there to help you through the confusing paperwork, find your dream home, negotiate any of the details that come up, so you know exactly what is going on in the housing market.


The Nutty Buying Process

Whether you are buying your first home or your fifth, the intimidating part of buying a house is the Nutty process. The Listing Squirrel agent is here to make sure the process goes smoothly!

Working with a Listing Squirrel agent, you are already a step ahead because we will make sure we are searching and looking for properties within your budget and fits your needs. But when you finally do find the ONE, the next step is for us to help you determine an offer price that is “fair.” With key considerations (like similar homes recently sold in the same neighborhood, the condition of the property, and what you can afford), one of our experienced agents will help you determine an offer to present.

If you’ve been pre-approved for a mortgage in advance, like we highly recommend, you’ll be that much more prepared for this step. Pre-approval will show home sellers you’re serious about buying and will allow you to make your offer with confidence as it relates to your budget, savings, expenses, and more.

Once we have determined your price, your Listing Squirrel agent will discuss with you all the ways to make your offer stand out and make your offer stand out from the potential competition. Ready to Make an Offer? Let’s do it!

Our Listing Squirrel agents have your back. Often, the seller will counter the offer, typically asking for a higher purchase price, or adjust the closing date. In these cases, the seller’s agent will submit a counter-offer back, detailing their desired changes. Whether you are ready to accept the offer or need to create a counter-offer, The Listing Squirrel is with you through the entire process.

At The Listing Squirrel, we work with contracts daily, and fully understand which points are harmful and/or beneficial to you. From helping you make a reasonable offer, working through counter-offers, to providing you with the discovery and disclosure of material facts; It is what our agents do best!

Finally, the contract is considered final, or “Executed,” when both parties sign the written offer!

Home inspections are an instrumental part of the home buying process that ultimately saves you a lot of time and money in the long run.

Your Listing Squirrel agent will work with you to schedule and coordinate inspections, review the reports and negotiate repairs on your behalf.

All lenders order an appraisal during the mortgage loan process. The appraisal is an unbiased estimate of the true (or fair market) value of what a home is worth to ensure that the amount of money requested by the borrower is appropriate.

If the appraisal comes in too low, there are a few ways to handle this. Our experienced Listing Squirrel agents are here to guide you through those options. Whether it is going back to the seller’s agent to negotiate the offer price, walking away, or bringing cash to closing to make up the difference of the assessed value, it is ultimately up to you. Your Listing Squirrel agent is there for you to ensure that you are still making the right decision!

Once you are through the inspection and appraisal process and the road to closing is in your sites, your Listing Squirrel agent will help you coordinate with our preferred title company, Independence Title. You can feel confident knowing that our agents know their way around the closing table and will be there every step of the way to ensure a smooth transaction from start to finish.