Your real estate questions


Got questions about real estate buying and selling? First-time buyer needing some answers? Seller wanting to know more about today's market? 

Call or email me with your questions. If I don't know the answer, I'll get it from an authoritative source. We'll learn together. Phone me at: 229-924-3089 or 229-939-2756; email: michael@michaeldixonrealty.com.   


Q: Does it matter who you list your house with?


A: It can make a difference to the Seller at the time of sale.  (The buyer doesn’t care who it’s listed with.)  In the following examples, assume that the house sells for the full price of $150,000.

1.  Seller lists house with Company ABC at a price of $150,000 with a sales commission of 6% of the selling price.  Seller sells house.  Pays a commission of $9,000.  Seller saves $00.00.

2. Seller lists house with Michael Dixon Realty, same price, same commission. Seller sells house.  Buyer comes through Michael Dixon Realty, not a second company.  Commission reduced to 4%.  Seller saves $3,000.    

3. Seller is a member of the Chamber of Commerce.  Lists house with Michael Dixon Realty, same price, same commission.  Buyer comes through Michael Dixon Realty.  Commission reduced to 3%. Seller saves $4,500.


 

Q: Why won't my house sell?


A: There may be several reasons why, but let's consider what has to happen for a house to sell. Selling a house is like a putting the pieces of a puzzle in place. All pieces have to fit correctly.


     First of all, the house has to be attractive and appealing to buyers. If it's not, forget it.  


     The biggest mistake many sellers make is pricing their house too high. A buyer who might be interested in the house may skip making an offer on it or may make a low offer. Maybe buyer and seller can meet in the middle. After negotiating back and forth, if there's still no deal, nothing is accomplished.


     Even when buyer and seller agree on price, if the buyer is getting a mortgage loan the lender will order an appraisal. If the appraisal comes in lower than the agreed upon price, the seller may have to lower the price to make the deal work.   
     The mortgage lender will determine the buyer's ability to repay the loan, or whether it's too great a risk to let that buyer have the money. In most cases the loan application must receive final approval by an underwriter, or there's no deal.
     So, the seller, the buyer, the appraiser, the loan originator and the underwriter must agree before the seller is able to sell the house. A Realtor tries to get everyone on the same page and make it happen.


Q: I want to buy my first house. How  do I get started?


A: Unless you intend to pay cash (your own money), talk to a mortgage loan person at a bank or other lender and get pre-approved for a loan. This is your first step, and it will tell you your price range. With your pre-approval letter in hand, contact a Realtor and look at some properties in your price range. Your pre-approval letter will give you an advantage with a seller if you make an offer to buy a property. 


Q: How can I tell if the real estate agent is working for me or the seller?   
A: Ask. Seriously, it's important to know which party the agent is representing. If you want an agent to represent you, you and the agent need to enter into an agency agreement. Without that written agreement, the agent will either be working for the seller or for neither party. If you want the agent to be on your side, make sure of your relationship up front.


Q: What is earnest money, and what happens to it?
A: Earnest money is a deposit the buyer puts up when he or she makes an offer to buy real estate. It has been called "good faith money." It helps to ensure the seller that you, the buyer, are sincere and really intend to buy the property as promised. 

Once you and the seller have a signed contract, the seller in effect takes the property off the market while your mortgage loan application is being processed. If you are turned down for the loan, you are entitled to get your earnest money back. But if you are able to obtain the loan and then renege on the contract, the seller probably will be entitled to your earnest money.

If all goes well, you will get your earnest money back when you close the deal. You will see it as a credit applied toward the purchase price on your settlement statement. The closing attorney will point it out to you.