Denise Dutson's Blog
Earnest money is the amount of money put down for a large purchase. While this is not limited to real estate, it is used frequently in the real estate industry. It’s a sign of good faith from the buyer to the seller and normally constitutes about 1%-5% of the home’s price.
How much do you deposit?
There is no set amount for how much you can put down in your earnest account. However, the more money you put into these accounts, the more likely you are to be taken seriously by the seller.
Who gets the money?
Property laws in most states have strict regulations for who holds the money. Most often a third-party escrow company, title company or sometimes the buyer’s broker opens a trust account to hold the funds until completion or dissolution of the sales contract. At that point, the funds go to wherever the contract specifies. That could be back to the buyer or forfeited to the seller. In some cases, the earnest money might go to the real estate agent. If the sale goes through, the funds go toward the buyer’s costs in the transaction, and it appears as a credit on the settlement statement.
To protect yourself from forfeiting earnest money, be fully prepared to complete the sales transaction. Have a pre-qualification letter from your lender, set aside funds for the down payment and closing, and provide the lender, escrow officer, title company and all other interested parties with the information they need for a timely close.
If you wonder about how much earnest money to include, your best resource is your knowledgeable real estate professional.
If you're renting a nice house, condo, or apartment, there's a good chance your monthly rent check is almost as much as a mortgage payment. Perhaps you've realized this and have been asking yourself why you're contributing to someone else's nest egg, instead of your own! If that sounds familiar, you may be ready to take the plunge into home ownership.
The other half of the equation is whether you're financially ready, and that would depend on a variety of things, including your credit rating, your debt-to-income ratio, and your ability to make a sufficient down payment on a new home. Although a 20% down payment is a desirable target to aim for, there's often a lot of flexibility on how much you're required to put down on a house.
One of the main reasons a 20% down payment is desirable is that it takes you "off the hook" for having to pay monthly private mortgage insurance (PMI). The second advantage of making a substantial down payment is that it reduces the principal amount of your loan, which, in turn, lowers your monthly payments even more. However, if you're ready to become a home owner, but can't afford a 20% down payment, you can often eliminate PMI payments earlier than scheduled by making extra principal payments. The bank or mortgage company you decide to work with can fully explain their policies and what your options are.
If you are interested in making the transition from renter to home owner, now's a good time to start talking to loan officers. If nothing else, you'll be educating yourself on the intricacies of buying a home. Working with an experienced real estate agent is another way to learn the ropes, so to speak, when it comes to the home buying process.
Other than the financial benefits of building equity in your own home, there are also a lot of practical advantages. If you're currently a renter, for example -- especially in an apartment building, duplex, or townhouse -- you're probably tired of the lack of privacy and the unwelcome noises you can often hear through walls, floors, and ceilings.
Becoming a home owner brings with it a pride of ownership and the ability to plant trees, bushes, and gardens on your own property. Depending on what's available in your price range, you can also enjoy your own private deck, screened in porch, or patio. Options for the kids (if you have them) include swing sets, sand boxes, and room to play backyard sports or run through a water sprinkler during the hot weather.
If you feel like you are ready to take the plunge into home ownership, the first step is to make lists of your requirements, your preferences ("wish list"), and financial resources. The next step is to find a good real estate agent to start showing you homes that fulfill your needs and check off as many items on your wish list as possible!
There is no one-size-fits-all plan to find and purchase a home. In some instances, a buyer instantly discovers a great residence at a budget-friendly price. Or, in other cases, it may take a buyer many weeks or months to find the perfect house.
Although the homebuying journey varies from person to person, there are several things that a buyer can do to simplify the property buying cycle. Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you quickly and effortlessly find your ideal residence.
1. Establish Homebuying Expectations
As a homebuyer, it is important not to get too high or too low during the property buying journey. If you establish realistic homebuying expectations, you should have a good idea about what to anticipate as you search for your dream house.
Oftentimes, it helps to put together homebuying criteria. Think about where you want to find your dream house, as well as the home features you want. With this information at your disposal, you can narrow your home search and accelerate the property buying journey.
2. Create a Homebuying Budget
Like most homebuyers, you probably have only a finite amount of money to spend on a new house. Fortunately, if you get pre-approved for a mortgage, you can enter the housing market with a budget in hand.
Banks and credit unions are happy to teach you about different types of mortgages. These financial institutions can provide insights into adjustable- and fixed-rate mortgage options and offer details about mortgage terms. Then, once you review all of your mortgage options, you can select a mortgage that complements your financial situation.
3. Hire a Real Estate Agent
You may want to pursue a house on your own, but this approach may prove to be problematic. A homebuyer who conducts a home search without expert assistance may miss out on the opportunity to find and buy a terrific house at an affordable price. Perhaps even worse, without housing market guidance, a buyer may wind up overpaying for a residence that fails to match his or her expectations.
If you want to achieve the optimal results during your quest for your ideal residence, you should hire a real estate agent. This housing market professional is ready to guide you along the homebuying journey and help you make informed property buying decisions.
A real estate agent will go the extra mile to make the homebuying cycle as simple as possible. He or she will teach you about the real estate market, learn about your homebuying goals and help you hone your house search. Plus, a real estate agent will keep you up to date about residences that fall within your price range and are located in your preferred cities and towns. And if you find a house that you want to buy, a real estate agent will help you craft a competitive offer to purchase this home.
Simplify the homebuying journey – use the aforementioned tips, and you'll be better equipped than ever before to enjoy a quick, stress-free property buying experience.
63 Greensward Road , Mashpee, MA 02649
If you’re ready to sell your home, you may wonder if you can do it all on your own or if you need an agent to help you. If you understand what a listing agent can help you to do, you’ll better understand their value.
Listing Agents Help You To Price Your Home
Pricing your home for sale is one of the most challenging parts of selling. Your listing agent can help you to take some of the pressure off. They will do the market research and help you come to that sweet spot for the price. How much your home goes on the market for matters because if the home is priced too high or too low, it can cause buyer interest to dwindle. If the home isn’t priced right, it can leave buyers wondering if there’s something wrong with the property or if a better deal will be available on the home at a later date. The price of a home is all part of the marketing strategy.
Advertising Your Home Listing
Realtors will be responsible for advertising your home listing. Your home for sale will be available across multiple listing services, giving your home the best chance of being seen by the right buyers.
Coordinating Open Houses And Showings
Hiring a listing agent can save you a lot of time. Your agent will coordinate your open house and advertise it. Their phone will also be the phone that’s ringing when people want to schedule showings for the house. The agent will coordinate convenient times with you but they will handle the overall scheduling and contact with buyers.
Questions To Ask A Prospective Listing Agent
- How many homes have you sold in this area?
- What price range property do you have the most experience with?
- How long has it typically taken for a home to be sold?
- What could be improved in my home to help it sell?
- What is the marketing plan?
- Who is the team that works with you?
- Will you be taking photos or can we hire a professional?
- Will we be using video marketing?
All of these questions can help you to understand whether you’re hiring the right listing agent for the job of selling your home. Listing agents work hard to earn that commission from the sale of your home. They want nothing more than satisfied clients. Your listing agent will also appreciate your recommendation for a job well done. Know that while you can sell your home on your own, there are many benefits to hiring a listing agent.