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The process of buying a home can sometimes feel like it’s riddled with questions, and not so many answers. That’s why we put together an ever-growing list of the most frequently asked questions we hear from home buyers with the answers that will help you find your dream home!

Frequently Asked Questions About Home Buying

What’s the first step of the home buying process?

The Mortgage Pre-Approval. Unless you are paying cash for a house, you will need to get a mortgage. In order to know how much home you can afford, you will need to get pre-approved for a loan. This is the first-step in the home buying process.

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How Long Does it Take To Buy a Home?

Around 30 to 45 days on average. The timeline for finding a house varies greatly from person to person. Once you find a house and have an accepted offer, it usually takes around 30 days to close.

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What Does A REALTOR® Do?

Almost everything. A REALTOR® is your most valuable asset when buying a home. They will walk you through every part of the home buying process. They will educate and inform you of all your options. They will represent you throughout the transaction and beyond.

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How Much Do I Have To Pay a REALTOR® as a Homebuyer?

Nothing. In most cases, you do not have to pay your REALTOR® anything to help you purchase a home. The seller pays their REALTOR® a fee, and then that listing agent pays the buyers agent, for bringing the buyer and facilitating the transaction.

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What’s Your Best Advice for First-Time Homebuyers?

Trust the Professionals. Beware of advice from people who do not work in the industry. Real estate is a popular topic and almost everyone feels like they have some great insight to offer. In reality, the people who know best are the people that work in the business.

Good REALTORS® have sold hundreds (maybe thousands) of properties. We know what to expect and what to look out for. Friends and relatives have only bought and sold a few homes, if any at all. Buying and selling a couple of homes does not make someone a well-rounded source of information.

I’ve seen too many first-time home buyers become persuaded by well-meaning friends and family, only to be disappointed later. Be confident in your decisions and trust the professionals.

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What Kind of Credit Score Do I Need to Buy a Home?

Usually 620+. A 620 credit score, or higher, is recommended. As you are probably aware, a higher credit score offers better lending terms. This is an ever-evolving topic, however, as loan requirements are constantly changing. There are some lenders who will approve buyers with a 580 score, sometimes even lower. Your loan officer will be the best source to give you a current answer for today’s lending requirements.

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Are There Special Home Buying Programs That I Should Know About?

Yes. There are some great home buying programs to research. The main ones would be VA loans, USDA loans, and FHA loans. Knowing the difference between these loan types is very important. Other local options would include The El Paso County “Turnkey” Mortgage Program and the CHFA SmartSteps Plus Purchase Mortgage Program. Both provide down payment assistance under certain conditions.

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How Much Money Do I Need for a Downpayment?

It depends on your loan type. Usually 3% to 5% down. The most common answer is 3% to 5% of the purchase price. FHA loans just dropped their requirement from 3.5% to 3.0%. There are also some conventional loans that only require 3% down. Veterans are usually eligible for a VA loan, which requires no money down. Properties in rural areas are usually eligible for a USDA loan, which also requires no money down.

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What Other Fees Are There, Besides the Downpayment?

Mainly loan origination and closing costs. The down payment is usually the largest cost associated with buying a house. Lending fees are the second largest costs to homebuyers.

Most lenders will charge between 2% to 4% of the loan amount for loan origination fees, depending on the loan type. Conventional loans usually have lower loan origination fees, but require more money down.

Your loan officer will be able to help you determine how much you can expect to pay towards loan origination and closing costs.

Other fees associated with a home purchase are:

  • Purchase price
  • Down payment
  • Home Inspection – $400 + up depending upon square footage of the home
  • Sewer Scope – Approximately $125
  • Radon Test – Ranges from $60-$90
  • Appraisal (required by your lender) – Approximately $500-$800
  • Moving Costs – Actual costs will depend on distance and amount of items being moved
  • Closing Fees – Lender, title company, and administrative fees average approximately 2% of the loan amount.
  • Exact costs will vary, but this is a very good idea of what to expect.
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When do I get the keys?

Under normal circumstances, you will get the keys at the closing. A closing typically takes about an hour. In some cases, the lender will need time to fund the loan and you will need to pick up the keys after the loan has been funded. If you have a Friday evening closing and the loan cannot fund until Monday, you may not get the keys until Monday.

Make sure to coordinate your closing to get the keys on the same day, if that is what you need.

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How much home can I afford?

We recommend speaking with a qualified mortgage professional before starting your home search. Through a 15-minute phone call, they will evaluate your financial information and provide you with a pre-qualification.

This will give you a starting budget for your home search, and makes for stronger offers when the time comes.

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