Buying or selling a home for the first time can be daunting. Between all the do’s and don’t and the legalities, those involved are left with endless questions. Here are 10 of the top questions real estate agents are asked.

1.Why do I NEED a Real Estate Agent?

Short answer – to worry less. Agents make the home buying and selling process go much smoother. They know all the ins and outs of the market and can help you with all the legalities.

Real estate agents are trained professionals who know exactly what to look for whether they’ll helping you buy or sell a home. A real estate agent is someone who has gone through the necessary classes and certifications to legally sell property and houses. They have passed a state-issued exam and received the required license to work in that particular state. They are paid based on the commission of a sale and must work under the supervision of a real estate broker.

2. How Is a Home’s Market Value Determined?

There’s no one true way to determine your home’s market value. Real estate agents use intuition alongside a few practical tools to help price a house. They will take factors into consideration such as the current state of the housing market, what your home has sold for previously, equity, how other houses in your neighborhood are priced and valued, etc. Often times, agents will also ask for a second opinion possibly from their broker or other professionals in the field. A good agent will be as realistic as possible with you about what they honestly think you can get for your home.

3. Besides The House, What Other Costs Should I Expect?

Outside of the actual price of the house, you should consider these other fees when buying a home:

  • Insurance Fees
  • Closing Costs
  • Inspection Fees
  • Property Tax
  • Private Mortgage Insurance
  • Utilities

4. Should I Stage My Home?

Honest answer – it depends. There are a few different factors to consider before deciding wether or not you should stage your home. First off, staging costs money. Before you decide to stage, think about the value of your home and whether or not staging makes sense financially. You also have to consider the amount of time it takes to stage and un-stage a home.

There are benefits to selling either a staged or empty house and it all depends on the buyer. Some people can walk into an empty home and see nothing, but potential and opportunity. Others may see an empty house as cold and uninviting. Overall, most professionals see an advantage to staging in the right circumstances, but commonly don’t deem it absolutely necessary.

5. What’s The Difference Between a Seller’s or a Buyer’s Market?

Seller’s Market: This generally means homes will sell at a quicker rate due to the high amount of buyers vs. the lower amount of homes for sale at that time. In this market, buyers sometimes have less room to negotiate price than they would in a buyer’s market.

Buyer’s Market: In a buyer’s market, there tends to be more homes on the market than there are buyers. This means the buyer might have more leverage over negotiating a price than the seller does.

6. What’s The Difference Between a Pre-Qualified & Pre-Approved Loan?

There isn’t a huge difference between the two. Generally speaking, a pre-qualified loan is looked at as step one, while a pre-approved loan is looked at as step two. Both can be obtained with a self-reported history of your financial situation, but a pre-approved loan needs documented proof of your financial history. Some companies use the terms interchangeable, so make sure to verify before yo apply.

7. What Happens After An Offer Is Accepted?

Congrats! Your offer has been accepted by the seller – now the real fun begins. Once your offer is accepted, you can go head with a home inspection and/or walk through. Hopefully, you don’t find any major defects or issues with the home. But, if you do, this is the time to consider where to go from here.

This is also when you’re going to confirm a mortgage loan – just because you were pre-approved, does not mean you’ve got the loan OR a loan with the kind of interest rate you’re looking for. It might be a good idea to shop around for other loans during this time as well to ensure you are getting the lowest interest rate possible.

It’s also recommended that during this time period you do not make sudden major life changes such as buying a new car or quitting your job. This may have an affect on your ability to buy your home.

8. What Happens During A Home Inspection?

A home inspector will come out and do a thorough inspection of the house. From there, they will give you a detailed report on any issues or potential issues they may or may not have found with the house. The typical cost for a home inspector can range from $300 to $500.

9. What Percentage Of A Down Payment Is Expected?

The traditional percentage is 20 percent. This number can fluctuate depending on various factors i.e. first time home owners, credit score.

10. How Much Commission Do Agents Take?

The average percentage taken from the overall price of the home is 6 percent. This percentage is split evenly between the seller’s agent and the buyer’s agent.