While no two properties or clients are exactly the same, some questions do come up often. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions from buyers.
Why do I need an agent?
Technically, you could try purchasing a home without an agent. In practice, this is a good way to spend a tremendous amount of time and energy trying to find a home only to walk blindly into a bad deal. Having an agent who is knowledgeable looking out for your interests is strictly a benefit, and it typically costs you nothing as real estate agents are paid out of the money received by the seller and won’t be an additional cost to you. At Landing, we take this a step further, by helping to guide you through your search and transaction beyond the limited scope of most agencies.
What’s the first step I should take to buy a home?
Conventional wisdom is that the first step in the home buying process is pre-approval by a mortgage company. However, at Landing, we can help you to find the right lender for your situation because we’ve worked with so many lenders across Maine. Our expert agents can also help you to determine a great deal about what sort of home will meet both your practical needs and fiscal requirements.
What’s the difference between being “pre-approved” and being “pre-qualified?”
While this can be confusing, the answer is pretty straightforward. “Pre-qualification” isn’t a formal commitment by a mortgage lender, rather it is an approximate guideline with no actual certainties attached.
Especially in a competitive market where you need to know exactly what your actual budget is for negotiations, it’s very important to be pre-approved, which is a formal commitment by a lender to get you a specific amount of money for your home purchase. This has the added benefit of narrowing your search by understanding the exact ceiling of your budget.
What number of houses should look at before making a decision?
There isn’t a specific number you should have in mind. Rather, every time you look at a home, you should carefully and seriously consider how it compares to your needs, wants, and expectations because any house you look at could be the right one for you.
If you go into the real estate buying process determined to see at least ten houses (for example), you won’t be seriously considering buying the first nine houses you see until after the tenth. This might lead to missing the opportunity to buy your ideal home.
Conversely, if you’ve decided that seeing ten houses is some sort of threshold, rather than trying to clearly and dispassionately assess the houses you look at, you may pressure yourself into putting an offer down on a house that isn’t actually right for you simply because you have convinced yourself that you’ve seen all there is to see.
How much should I offer sellers?
There is no hard rule here. We will be happy to advise you on what offer makes the most sense given our knowledge of the market and experience with similar transactions. Ultimately, it is up to you what you are comfortable and willing to offer a seller, though.
When is the best time to get pre-approved?
Generally, you should try to be pre-approved before you start looking at homes. Sometimes pre-approval has an expiration date, though, so it’s probably not worthwhile to try to get pre-approved more than a month or two before you start looking at houses. Really, once you’re firm that you’re going to be seeking a house it’s a good idea to talk to your mortgage provider and start strategizing.
What does it mean to be pre-approved?
Being pre-approved means that your mortgage lender has certified that you can borrow up to a stated amount thanks to your credit score and their verification processes related to income and savings. It makes getting your loan when you need it much faster.
How should I improve my credit score?
A good credit score is important for getting approved for a home loan with good terms. As such, building up your credit is essential to your home search. We’re not a credit provider or coach, but there are a couple of things that are common knowledge on this subject.
1) Pay your bills on time. Utilities, credit card payments, existing mortgage payments, even medical payments can be registered with credit bureaus. On-time payments are good, late or entirely missed payments are a problem.
2) Apply for and responsibly use credit in other forms, like credit cards, student loans, car loans, and so on. Having a few credit accounts on the record that get to a respectable age should significantly improve your credit score.
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The approach we take to real estate at Landing is very simple and pretty unusual. It’s in line with our mission to provide our clients with the best possible service. We operate as the hub and central command for all the moving pieces of your entire real estate venture.
We find the land, we get the project designed and planned to your specifications, we coordinate the contractors and pull the needed permits, we keep track of the project and keep you updated. Then, with a lot less work than you imagine, you’re in the beautiful new home you’ve always envisioned.
There’s a reason most real estate agencies don’t do this. Namely, it’s very hard. We take on a tremendous amount of work to coordinate all the moving parts so that you don’t have to. The really key difference when we take on this role is that we’re experts at exactly this. Collectively we’ve been coordinating and developing real estate projects for many decades. We know how to communicate effectively with contractors, and which contractors are best for your job. We know exactly what permits you need and how to get them. We know who needs to be contacted and when to get your home inspected, funded, plumbed, electrified, roofed, insured, decorated, cleaned, and ready to move in. This is the central focus of our collective professional lives. And though it’s difficult, we absolutely love it.
There are a lot of moving parts involved when you want to build a new home. Even before you can hire an architect or apply for a loan, you need to find land in a location that suits your various needs and wants.
hat’s the first step, and it’s where your relationship with Landing Real Estate begins. We will help you find that perfect parcel, in easy distance of the amenities, natural features, and communities you love. We will do the research to make sure your land purchase is everything you need it to be.
Even after you have land in hand, you need to develop a complete plan for building what you want. This involved architectural planning, yes, but also design, communication with local authorities and town offices, permits, and investigation into environmental impacts on local waterways. This can be an incredibly frustrating and difficult undertaking on your own. This is where your relationship with Landing starts to really show its value.
As your liaison for all things residential real estate, we will commission and coordinate the various professionals and processes involved in making your dream home a reality. From finding the land to turning the key to your new home, we have the many relationships and long experience working in Maine needed to make these projects happen. Put your trust in us and you will find yourself not only living in your new home sooner, but without all the headaches that come with trying to be your own agent and dealing with every little detail personally, which can be a full time job in its own right.
I highly recommend Lisa DiBiase. Lisa is very attentive and whenever I had a question or needed assistance, she would quickly respond and act. She offered good advice during negotiations and is very knowledgeable about buying and selling properties in Maine, or building a new home. She is an agent you can trust to do the job right and have your best interests as a priority. I will definitely recommend her to everyone and will definitely use her again in the future.
- Cynthia Olson
Matt was great to work with and very responsive to my needs and schedule. I was a little high maintenance to be sure, but Matt was patient and helpful and we ended up finding and closing on the perfect home in no time at all! From my first condo to this latest purchase, all of my home purchases and sales were done with his help. I would recommend him without reservation.