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Q: What is RESPA?
A: Congress enacted a new law effecting Real Estate transactions. RESPA, which stands for Real Estate Settlement Procedure Act, is the name of the Act. From a consumer side, RESPA, is about making the Good Faith Estimate and the HUD-1 Closing Statement easier to read and understand. Fees involving kickbacks are now outlawed and forbidden, protecting consumers from fraudulent lender practices.
Q: I am a first time home buyer. What is the first step toward owning a home?
A: The first step to home ownership is to meet with a professional lender and get pre-approved for a home loan. The pre-approval process will help you understand what your current credit rating is and what you need to do to cleanup any credit blemishes. Establishing a good credit rating can be easily accomplished by following these steps. Work full time, with a stable record. Pay your utilities, phone and cable bills on-time. Start slow with credit cards. Get only one credit card with a low limit and establish a pattern of paying off your purchases each and every month. Do not use a credit card to buy big ticket items. Instead put money in a savings account and save until you have the money to make those major purchases. Using and opening only 1 credit card has the potential of helping you achieve the highest credit rating available, if the card is used consistently and payments are made ontime. After you meet with a lender to establish your home loan pre-approval amount, contact a profession, full-time real estate agent, to help you find your first home and guide you through the buying process.
Q: What is Buyer Agency?
A: Buyer Agency is a contract creating a fiduciary relationship between a buyer and a real estate salesperson (or agent). The agent essentially becomes the buyer’s advisor and counsel. (Almost the same as hiring a lawyer.) The agent will represent the buyer to obtain the best price, advise on positive or negative shortcomings of property, assist in the home search, review/advise/assist in contracts, and keep buyer’s aware of timelines when contracts have been signed and ratified. Buyer Agency is only created when an agent works with a home buyer.
Q: Why list (sell) a house with an agent?
A: Buying and Selling a home is probably the biggest asset anyone will ever own. Why take a chance with something so important and not work with a professional? It looks so easy to be a FSBO (For Sell By Owner). The reality is that listing your house as a FSBO is a full time job. From marketing the house, to showing non-qualified buyers through your house, to navigating through a non-standard contract spells one thing – disaster or even litigation, if you attempt to sell a house on your own. Real Estate agents have been trained and certified to help you through the maze of selling a home. From pricing a home, marketing a home, qualifying buyers, the complex contracts, you can rest assured, that when you hire a realtor, they will make selling your home a great and productive experience.
Q: What is Radon and why should I get a home inspected for it?
A: Radon is a naturally occurring gas, which comes from the ground and seeps into homes. Radon comes from the radioactive decay of radium. High concentrations of Radon are known to cause cancer. Radon is odorless and tasteless. Many studies suggest that breathing in Radon can be as harmful as breathing in secondhand cigarette smoke. The presence of Radon can be done via an inexpensive home kit or a certified home inspector. Radon can also be mitigated via a variety of passive and/or active methods. For more information, please visit http://www.epa.gov/radon/