FAQs

About

General Questions

The Listing Squirrel is a customer service based real estate company with a mission to change the landscape of the industry to provide a superior alternative to good people looking to escape the pain of buying or selling a home. All while adhering to the highest professional standards and procedures in the real estate industry.

With The Listing Squirrel, you get to list your home at the cost of your choice while still having access to a licensed professional versus the traditional commission percentages that chips away at your equity.

For Home Buyers, The Listing Squirrel provides exceptional service with an experienced agent that Goes Above and Beyond to Find Your Next Home and puts money back into your pocket!

Here at The Listing Squirrel, being a full-service real estate company, we do not have just one type of Squirrel Package, we have multiple to choose from to suit your needs, requirements, and budget!

We hope you are smiling and eager to learn more!

The Listing Squirrel is tails and nuts above the competition. They are determined and customer orientated, focusing on key milestones such as:

  • Ensuring the TOP Closing Management
  • Coordination of paperwork w/buyer’s agent, escrow agent, and other parties
  • Adhering to critical dates for a prompt and efficient close
  • Scheduling of all required paperwork

There Are Quite a Few Steps to Navigate in the Process! There are over 230 possible steps that need to take place during every successful real estate transaction. Don’t you want someone who has been there before, someone who knows what these actions are, to ensure you have a positive buying and selling process?

You Need a Skilled Negotiator!

In today’s market, hiring a talented negotiator could save you thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of dollars. Each step of the way –from the buyer submitting an original offer, to the possible renegotiation of that offer after a home inspection, to the potential cancelation of the deal based on a troubled appraisal –you need someone who can keep the deal together until it closes. THAT’S WHERE THE LISTING SQUIRREL PLAYS THE HERO!

You Need to Know What the Home You’re Buying or Selling is Worth in Today’s Market There’s so much information in the news and on the Internet about home sales, prices, and mortgage rates; how do you know what’s going on in your local area? Who do you turn to that will competitively and correctly price your home at the beginning of the selling process? How do you know what to offer on your dream home without paying too much or offending the seller with a lowball offer?

The Listing Squirrel has a TAIL on the pulse of the market and is eager to help you learn along the way.

You need someone who’s going to tell you the truth, not just what they think you want to hear.

Bottom Line – Today’s real estate market is highly competitive. Having a professional, such as one of our Listing Squirrel agents, who’s been there before to guide you through the process is a simple step that will give you a huge advantage.

Let’s make it happen together!

The Listing Squirrel was launched into existence to give people all the options within the real estate industry without any compromise!

The Listing Squirrel makes it simple and easy with all of our packages to sell your home for a flat rate, unlike the traditional commission percentages that chips away at your equity.

So, what is the catch? There is none! We still have all the services and resources that a traditional real estate company or brokerage has for our clients too!

Clients have access to ShowingTime, the leading residential real estate service provider, which automates the showing schedule and management process instead of trying to keep up with calls, scheduling, last-minute showing requests, and follow-ups.

Not to mention,  all packages have the assistance of our preferred Title Company which has a team of Escrow Professionals that are some of the best and most experienced in the state and are backed by their in-house attorneys, local title examination department, and cutting-edge information resources to ensure a successful property transaction! With 20+ convenient locations, Independence Title can accommodate closings throughout the entire DFW area and options to close remotely, creating even greater convenience for all parties from start to finish.

It’s true, some people believe to save some time and money they can get through the process of trying to sell their home alone as a “FOR SALE BY OWNER.”  However, they quickly discover that the process is more detailed and daunting than they originally thought and eventually come to the realization of how NUTS the process really is! In today’s fast-paced world where answers are just a Google search away, some may question the benefits of hiring a real estate professional. The truth is that the addition of more information can lead to more confusion. Shows like Property Brothers, Fixer Upper, and dozens more on HGTV have given many a false sense of what it’s like to buy and sell a home. Now more than ever, you need an expert on your side who’s going to guide you toward your dreams and not let anything slip through the cracks. Buying or selling a home is not something you should DIY (Do It Yourself)! With The Listing Squirrel, you get to list your home at the cost of your choice while still getting the assistance of a licensed professional versus the traditional commission percentages that chips away at your equity. Plus, you get to avoid the scrutiny and unwanted solicitation calls from realtors that come when trying to do it on your own as a “FOR SALE BY OWNER.” The Listing Squirrel makes it simple and easy with all of our available packages. Still Not Sure? Here are some Squirrel Facts for you to consider:
  1. Online Strategy for Prospective Purchasers
Studies have shown that 93% of buyers search online for a home. That’s a pretty staggering number! Most real estate agents have an Internet strategy to promote the sale of your home. Do you?
  1. Results Come from the Internet
    • 52% on the Internet
    • 29% from a Real Estate Agent
    • 10% Other
    • 6% from a Yard Sign
    • 3% from Newspapers
Where did buyers find the homes they purchased? The days of selling your house by putting up a sign in your yard or placing an ad in the paper are long gone. Having a strong Internet strategy is crucial.
  1. There Are too Many People to Negotiate With Here’s a list of some of the people with whom you must be prepared to negotiate if you FSBO:
    • The buyer, who wants the best deal possible
    • The buyer’s agent, who solely represents the best interest of the buyer
    • The buyer’s attorney (in some parts of the country)
    • The home inspection companies, which work for the buyer and will almost always find some problems with the house
    • The appraiser, if there is a question of value
  1. It Has Become Increasingly Difficult to FSBO
The paperwork involved in buying or selling a home has increased dramatically as more industry disclosures and regulations have become mandatory. This is one of the reasons the percentage of people FSBOing has dropped from 19% to 8% over the last 20+ years.
  1. You Net More Money When Using an Agent
Many homeowners believe they’ll save the real estate commission by selling on their own, but the seller and buyer can’t both save the commission. A report by Zillow revealed that FSBOs are inclined to do so because they believe it will save money (46% cite this among their top three reasons), but they don’t actually save anything, and eventually end up listing with an agent. The same report revealed that: “While 36% of sellers that (at first) attempted to sell their homes on their own, only 11 percent of sellers—in other words, less than a third…actually sold without an agent.” Bottom Line having a Listing Squirrel agent by your side is the ANSWER! So, what is the catch? There is none! We still have all the services and resources that a traditional real estate company or brokerage has for our clients too! Clients have access to ShowingTime, the leading residential real estate service provider, which automates the showing schedule and management process instead of trying to keep up with calls, scheduling, last-minute showing requests, and follow-ups. Not to mention, all packages have the assistance of our preferred Title Company which has a team of Escrow Professionals that are some of the best and most experienced in the state and are backed by their in-house attorneys, local title examination department, and cutting-edge information resources to ensure a successful property transaction! With 20+ convenient locations, Independence Title can accommodate closings throughout the entire DFW area and options to close remotely, creating even greater convenience for all parties from start to finish.

It’s always important to know who’s who when it comes to almost anything in life.  Selling your home is no different.  The Listing Squirrel was a vision, an idea that grew its bushy tail from the mind of Colleen Cline.  You can say she is a bit of a “Squirrel” herself.  It was a nickname bestowed upon her due to her playful and vibrant enthusiasm for success, happiness, creativity, determination, and encouragement. Colleen has immersed herself in the Relocation Industry for 17+ years, watching her clients stress and worry about so many variables that come into play due to the pains of relocating, especially when it comes to selling their home. Realtors love to tell homeowners to spend money here, there, and everywhere to help make the sale more attractive, enticing, and ultimately just “easier to sell!”. Her question was always, “Easier for who?”.

With a vision to change the landscape of the real estate industry and provide good people looking to escape the pain of buying or selling a home a superior alternative, she set out on her mission. First, she obtained her Real Estate License in 2008 and made it a priority to educate herself and understand the process so she could provide the right kind of advisement and not just the same standards for her clients. Putting her crafty “squirrel” intellect into practice, she has learned, adapted, and even launched her real estate career, all while adhering to the highest professional standards and procedures in the moving industry. 

…and then it hit her, like a nut falling from the top branch of the idea tree…

In the moving industry, there ARE options to save money while still being able to choose a wonderful moving company that not only cares for the client’s belongings but still manages to maintain exceptional customer service! So, WHY NOT HAVE THE SAME OPTIONS WHEN IT COMES TO SELLING YOUR HOME?  

With that simple question in mind, The Listing Squirrel was launched into existence to give people all the options without any compromise!

YES! The Listing Squirrel has Texas licensed real estate agents that are experienced and right here in the DFW area!

Sellers

Getting Started, Common Questions & Concerns

In life, everything has a beginning and an end. The Listing Squirrel promises that we'll be here for from start to close!
  • Get on the phone with a Listing Squirrel Agent – Once you decide and purchase a package that best fits your needs and budget, a representative will contact you for initial information such as owners’ legal names, necessary property information, and detailed contact information.
  • Discuss Pricing – We help you understand today’s real estate values when setting the price of a listing or making an offer to purchase. Detailed information and reports will be sent to you and reviewed, so together, we can price your home appropriately to maximize your exposure and return.
  • Review & Sign – The Listing Agreement and required Documents will be sent to you for review and signature(s).

EVERYWHERE! Name a real estate website that you are familiar with and rest assured that your home will be seen on it when selling your home with The Listing Squirrel! Here at The Listing Squirrel, not only will your home get the same amount of marketing and exposure, if not more, than if it was listed with a traditional agent. Once in the MLS, it then gets “sent” (for all intents and purposes) to website aggregators, or third-party sites such as Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, Yahoo Real Estate, and hundreds of more sites.

Welcome to one of the most frequently asked questions in the real estate industry! We know you want assurance that you are making all the right decisions at the right time, however, this question cannot be answered with a simple or general answer.  Every real estate market is different, therefore, the best time to sell a home will be different from one real estate community to another.  The general sentiment is that the spring and summer months are the best time to sell a home. Others could argue that fall and winter present less competition. But the fact is, serious home buyers are always looking!

Bottom line, for every home being sold, there is always a buyer and The Listing Squirrel will help make that connection!  

Pick up the phone and call us today! We are here to answer your questions, concerns, and help sort through those random Squirrel thoughts!

Pricing & Commissions

Your home can be your greatest asset, so when it comes to selling your home, deciding on a number to put on that value can be complicated.  At The Listing Squirrel, it’s our job as your trusted agent, and as real estate experts, to use our knowledge and expertise of market data to assist you in determining what the best listing price for your home needs to be.

All of our Listing Squirrel Packages include a detailed CMA (comparative market analysis) that is an in-depth evaluation of recently sold “comparable” homes in the past 6-12 months.  While there is not an exact science to determine what a home will sell for, professionally completed, a “CMA” will take into account many features of not only a home but also the local area and neighborhood, narrowing down the optimal sales price range.

Together, as a team, we work to get the maximum price and the best terms possible for YOU! It is your home and completely your decision!

Good question! The understanding is that real estate agent fees/commissions are how most agents are paid for the homes they sell and/or when they bring a buyer for a home that is being sold. With The Listing Squirrel by your side, when you as the seller set a listing price for the home, you need to take into account commissions and/or fees; it’s the cost of doing business, right?

So let’s break this down! Traditionally, you would account for the selling agent’s commission and the buyer’s agent commission. But with The Listing Squirrel, it is not a variable or percentage – you get to choose your Listing fee! (Action button for packages?)

Once you choose your Listing Squirrel Package, now you have to decide on what you are willing to pay a buyer’s agent that is willing to show and sell your home to their client!

Please note that at The Listing Squirrel we do require that all of our sellers agree to some level of commission for the buyer’s agent should they have one. Again, the percentage of commission is completely up to you as the seller!

Keep in mind that the buyer’s agent is the one taking their clients from home to home and then ultimately “selling them on your home!” SO how much do Buyer’s agent get paid in a traditional transaction? Traditionally, 3% of the sales price in the DFW market, but all sellers can decide one a different percentage.

This is our favorite question!

Think about the traditional transaction where the commission is a percentage (traditionally 6%) of the sale price, where 3% went to the listing agent and 3% went to a buyer’s agent! For example, if the home sells for $500,000, the real estate agent commission of 6% would be $30,000 and split between the two agents.

Now with the same scenario let’s say you choose our Full Service Package, if you list and sell your home for $500,000, The Listing Squirrel is paid the flat fee of $5000 versus the $15,000. And you as the seller choose the buyer’s agent to be 3%, your total commission to list and sell your home is now only $20,000 versus $30,000. THAT IS A $10,000 SAVINGS!

Ready for more reasons to list your home with The Listing Squirrel? At The Listing Squirrel, you get to choose how much you want to list your home for at a flat rate and then you have the potential to pay a flat fee for the buy-side too! In other words, if the buyer calls off your sign and buys your home through us, we only charge you the amount of the package you chose to list for the transaction fee for the buyer’s side! For example, if you choose The Basics Package for $995, and the buyer does not have an agent, we only charge $995 for the buy side to complete the transaction, Essentially, you are avoiding the up to 3% commission that is traditionally paid to a buyer’s agent.

WOW! Do the math on the saving for The Listing Squirrel to work both sides also  known as being an itermendiary!

All The NUTS & Bolts – Contracts & Disclosures

We help with all disclosures and contracts necessary in today's heavily regulated environment!

The Texas Property Code requires that most home sellers fill out a Seller’s Disclosure form. The purpose of the form is to disclose any issues with the house you are selling that you are aware of and give the potential buyers information and a historical account of your home.

Yes! Because compliance is a priority, The Listing Squirrel will provide you with the disclosure forms that you are required to provide to buyers.

At The Listing Squirrel, we heed your mother’s best advice: “Honesty is always the best policy.” The seller and the seller’s agent are required to disclose known material facts about the property Thus, you must disclose to potential buyers anything you are aware of in your home.  

Texas Property Code does require that most home sellers fill out a Seller’s Disclosure form.

In a nutshell, the purpose of the form is to disclose any issues you are aware of and give the potential buyers information and a historical account of your home. This will include the appliances, as well as information about electrical, heating, sewer, water, or other mechanical systems. As well as latent or hidden defects that are not apparent from a visual inspection, such as the presence of mold, the existence of asbestos or lead-based paint, a crack in the foundation or a prior flooding problem.

But just how detailed should I be or what if I honestly do not know?

Remember, the form is to disclose information that is known. For the most part, sellers are not held responsible if they answer “no” or “unknown” to one or more disclosure questions when it comes to information that is not within the scope of the homeowner’s actual knowledge.

Squirrel translation ~ a seller could legitimately be unaware of serious problems — like a cracked foundation, termites deep in the walls or a roof on the verge of leaking. Under those circumstances, in most cases, you, the seller(s), would not be held responsible.

First and foremost, the answer to this question is: professionally and promptly!

At The Listing Squirrel, we cannot stress enough the value and importance of the concept held amongst real estate agents that “time is always of the essence!” Why is this important? Because delaying or playing games never helped anyone gain anything! So, when it comes to the time to negotiate and act as a buffer with all parties throughout the entire transaction, we also adhere to the highest professional standards and procedures in the real estate industry.

Regarding The Listing Squirrel’s actual procedure, any potential buyers and/or their agent will submit their offer/contract to offers@thelistingsquirrel.com. Then, the seller is presented with every offer via email with noted highlights of what the offer contains. For example, offer price, type of loan, option period days, earnest money, etc. Then, depending on the package you have chosen, an agent will be there to guide you and handle the back and forth communication until terms are agreed upon, and the contract is executed.

The same applies if there are negotiations during the inspection period and/or the appraisal.

There is so much more to real estate transactions then photos, a sign, and going “LIVE” on the Internet!

Bottom Line ~ It’s a NUTTY process!

But Do Not Scurry! At The Listing Squirrel, we have you covered with all of the necessary documents, disclosures, offers, counter-offers, negotiations, essential dates for inspections, appraisals, getting you to the closing table, and so much more.

After closing your first few real estate transactions as a real estate agent, many quickly learned how important it is to have a good title company handling your client’s closings. Independence Title S&K is a firm led by highly experienced title attorneys, specifically dedicated to guiding The Listing Squirrel, their agents, and their valued clients through the title and escrow process. Priding themselves in exceptional communication, Independence Title readily available our company and our clients any time of day, weekends included. Their team keeps all parties informed throughout the process, giving everyone peace of mind that they are being taken care of each step of the way.

At The Listing Squirrel, we know all the time and effort that goes into deciding to buy or sell your home, therefore choosing a team of meticulous experts to go above and beyond in providing peace of mind and trust was of the utmost importance. 

Marketing My Home

Most importantly your home goes into the local MLS immediately once you have submitted your photos. Then your home goes “viral!”

Name a real estate website that you are familiar with and rest assured that your home will be seen on it when selling your home with The Listing Squirrel! Here at The Listing Squirrel, not only will your home get the same amount of marketing and exposure, if not more, than if it was listed with a traditional agent. Once in the MLS, it then gets “sent” (for all intents and purposes) to website aggregators, or third-party real estate sites such as Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, Yahoo Real Estate, and hundreds of more sites.

The Sign is another tool to market your home so that people know it is for sale and should call if interested.

Facebook and other social media is another form of Marketing that we use to post your home for sale! At The Listing Squirrel, we do have certain requirements to share your home on social media. Call us today and let’s chat!

No, that is how we protect you from unwanted solicitation calls from other realtors. Only a licensed agent can list a home in the MLS, and as your listing agent, regardless of what package you choose, we will enter your home for sale in the MLS. Furthermore, it is not allowed to mark a listing in the MLS as a “For Sale By Owner.”

No, your direct contact information will only be accessible to other licensed agents that have access to the MLS.

Absolutely! MLS allows for up to 36 photos, and we encourage you to use the maximum amount. You can use a photographer of your choice or use one of our preferred vendors. While we recommend that you have your photos done by a professional real estate photographer, you are also allowed to take them yourself as well.

Showing My Home

WE ARE SO GLAD YOU ASKED! There are several things you need to know before listing your home for sale!  When a home is not properly prepared to go on the market, it can put a homeowner at a huge disadvantage.

Remember when your parents said, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression?” Don’t think that the same concept doesn’t apply when it comes to selling a home.  So you must be prepared and make sure that it is presented in the best possible light for that   “first impression!”

DON’T PANIC – We have you covered! At The Listing Squirrel, you will get several resources and lists to follow to get you through this process! From Staging your home, decluttering, the cost versus value on remodeling projects, to top design trends to get your home sold!

This is all part of your “Action to Sell” documents that comes with all our Listing Squirrel Packages!

Only licensed agents! Either the buyer will have an agent that will schedule a showing through ShowingTime, or if a potential buyer does not have an agent that they are working with, a licensed agent from The Listing Squirrel will schedule through ShowingTime to show your home.

While you, as the homeowner, are capable of showing your home, we caution all of our clients to only show to those they know and/or are pre-qualified.

ShowingTime is the top showing management and market stats technology provider to the residential real estate industry. Sellers love ShowingTime because it’s simple to stay informed and easy to confirm appointments. Not only will you be able to receive notifications about showings automatically, but you will be able to see feedback from potential buyers and view all activity on your home during the sales process! At The Listing Squirrel, all of our packages include this service!

Let’s get you showing!

Buyers

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 admin@thelistingsquirrel.com!

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.

THAT IS US – HERE AT THE LISTING SQUIRREL!

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.

Still Not Sure & Just Want to Walk Away? Ask about a

CASH OFFER TODAY!

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