We’re all familiar with FAQs, meaning “Frequently Asked Questions”, but what about those questions that are rarely asked but are just as important? This week we take a look at a handful of SAQs, “Seldom Asked Questions” regarding all things real estate. Join us!

 What Is The MLS & What Is its Purpose?

If you’ve ever purchased or sold a property using the service of a skilled real estate agent, you’ve undoubtedly heard the term “MLS” at one point or another. The multiple listing services is a complete package of resources utilized by your agent to help ascertain pricing on your property, find a home for you to purchase as well as a providing a wealth of information regarding available houses on the market.  Think of the MLS as a database of information that empowers your agent to provide the best, most accurate service to their clients.  If you’re looking to purchase a home in a specific neighborhood, with a certain amount of bedrooms, within a pre-determined price range, your agent can turn to the MLS to present you with all your options.  When you’re selling a home, it’s imperative that your agent gets your property listed in the MLS as well, so buyer’s agents can easily find your home for sale.

 What Is The Best Manner To Negotiate A Purchase Price For Both The Seller And The Buyer?

Obviously, agreeing on a price is important for not only the buyer but the seller as well. Let’s break it down from both perspectives. When purchasing a home, it’s important to base your offer more on the value of the home than the actual listing price. If the property in question has been listed for several months or is priced well above market value, you may be pleasantly surprised to find your offer accepted.  For sellers, don’t feel compelled to accept the first bona fide offer on your home. With the help of your agent, you priced your home appropriately, and there is a buyer for every home—if you feel the seller’s offer is inadequate, you are able to present a counteroffer. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that the buyer is serious about purchasing your home or they would never have made an initial offer. This is just one of the many reasons why it is so important to select a professional real estate agent to help you understand all of your options.

 What Is Really Meant By The Term “Closing Costs”?

The negotiated price of a home sale is one thing, closing costs are an entirely different animal. Typically, this term means everything over and above the agreed upon sale price of the home. This can include anything from costs associated with title searches, deed recording fees and land surveys to loan origination fees and discount points, which are fees paid in advance in exchange for a lower interest rate.  A good rule of thumb is that closing costs can equate to anywhere from 2% to 5% of the purchase price of the property. During the negotiation phase, buyers can ask sellers for help to pay for some of the closing costs based on the proceeds of the home sale. Don’t let the fear of closing costs keep you from becoming a homeowner—when you select a talented agent, they will explain in detail what to expect at close, what you can and can’t ask the buyer for assistance with as well strategies to discuss with your lender to help make closing on your new home a reality.

 Is A Home Inspection Really Worth The Expense?

In a word—YES—spend the money on a professional home inspection. Is it legally required? Not to our knowledge, but to say it is highly recommended is a huge understatement. Purchasing a home is a major investment; it’s much better to receive a “clean bill of health” prior to close than to discover after a month of living in your new home you have mold in the basement or a leaky roof.  Any skilled real estate agent will suggest you purchase a professional home inspection. Even if a problem does come to light during the inspection, is doesn’t mean you have to start the entire home buying again with a different home. This is the opportunity for buyers to ask sellers to make the recommended repairs prior to the sale. Think of it this way; would you purchase a car without taking it for a test drive? You can’t move into a house for a week and then decide if you want to purchase it, but you can pay a professional to perform a detailed inspection of what just may be the most important purchase you will ever make.

 Certainly, we’ve just scratched the surface, but if you have any questions regarding home buying or selling, we’re always here to help! Give us a call at 301.745.1500. If we don’t have the answer to your question, we’ll make sure we help you find it!