FAQs

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Can you negotiate the price of a bank owned home?
Everything in real estate is negotiable. However, banks are more sophisticated about pricing than they were years ago. So those "Get a great deal on a foreclosure!" days aren't what they used to be. Lowball offers generally don't go very far.

How would I go about finding someone to finance a sheriff sale property?
You don't. You have to show up with a cashier's check or certified funds. I suppose if you had another asset that you could borrow against AND you could get a loan large enough using that asset as collateral, you could do it that way. But you're actually financing the other asset and not the foreclosure property.

What is the difference between a real estate agent and a real estate broker?
Most states require real estate sales professionals to be licensed by the state, so that they can control education and experience requirements and have a central authority to resolve consumer problems. The terminology used to identify real estate professionals varies a little from state to state. Brokers are generally required to have more education and experience than real estate salespersons or agents. The person you normally deal with is a real estate agent or salesperson. The salesperson is licensed by the state, but must work for a broker. All listings are placed in the broker's name, not the salesperson's. A broker can deal directly with home buyers and sellers, or can have a staff of salespersons or agents working for him or her.

What is a buyers agent, what does this specifically do for a buyer and who usually pays this "buyers agent"?
On most transactions, there is usually a listing agent and a selling agent. The selling agent is sometimes referred to in media as the buyer's agent, because he works on the buyer's behalf and it easier than explaining each time that the "selling agent" is not the listing agent and is actually the buyer's agent. However... There are some agents that market themselves as "buyer's agents," "exclusive buyer's agents," buyer's representatives," and so on. Mostly it is just marketing. At the same time, part of it is because they want to accentuate the reasons a buyer should not go directly to the listing agent when they purchase real estate. This has to do with agency. See, if a buyer goes directly to the listing agent, they are dealing with an agent that has conflicting responsibilities. Their job is to get a good price for the seller and they may not zealously represent the interests of the buyer. Those who market themselves as "Buyer's Agents" indicate they are only working for the buyer in a real estate transaction. The commission is still paid by the seller, no matter what they say in their marketing (with extremely rare exceptions). They either get paid directly by the seller or set up the transaction so that the seller provides a "credit" to the buyer for how much the real estate commission is -- then the buyer pays the commission. Like a Realtor I once knew said, "No matter how it is set up, the buyer still walks away with the house and the seller still walks away with 94% of the purchase price."

What should I be aware of that the house inspector should be doing during the inspection of the house I am interested in buying?
The Inspector should be checking the following things:
  • Drainage
  • Foundation
  • Roof & Water Leaks
  • Paint
  • Plumbing
  • Wiring
  • Heating
  • Fireplace
  • Tile
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  • If the purchase contract states that the seller is paying for the hazard report and a buyer's home warranty, who is responsible actually ordering them?
    Probably, you'll both have to agree. But home warranties don't vary that much in price, so the seller shouldn't mind if you order it. The seller will probably want to order the hazard report, assuming that you mean checking for radon gas and things like that.

    I agreed to buy a house and now I’ve changed my mind. How do I cancel?
    This may not be the answer you were expecting... For the answer to this, you have to look at your contract. The contract is the legal agreement you have made with the seller. Most contracts have certain contingencies where a cancellation is acceptable. To cancel for reasons other than that, there are often consequences and such a decision should not be taken lightly. Keep in mind that while you have been preparing to close the transaction, the seller has taken his home off the market and may have entered his own contract to purchase a home. This can create a chain of sales and purchases, all depending on you to fulfill your obligation. If you do not fulfill the contract, your decision may affect many more people than just one seller. For the legal consequences of canceling a contract, you may have to consult an attorney.

    The buyer now wants out of the contract to buy my home. The contract has been signed by both parties. What are my rights, and do I have to keep my home?
    When people break contracts, you can't generally force them to go through with the transaction. What you can do, if you can prove damages, is try to recover the damages in court or through arbitration. You can attempt to talk to the buyers and find out what the problem is and try to resolve it. It may be something easily you can easily resolve, but maybe not.


     

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