Frequently Asked Questions

Where do I even start?

The very first thing you should do if you are truly interested in buying a property is getting pre-approved, see #2!

Is there a difference between a Pre-qualification vs. Pre-Approval?

  • YES!! There are several differences between a Pre-Qual and a Pre-Approval.
  • A Pre-Qual is an informal determination by a lender or mortgage broker stating the amount of the mortgage you can afford.
  • A Pre-approval is a guarantee in writing by a lender to grant you a loan up to a specific amount (subject to receiving full documentation)

Do I really need a real estate agent to buy a home?

  • Why would you not want representation?
  • According to NAR (National Association of Realtors®) 8% of homes were sold FSBO in 2014, the latest data provided. According to the same data, seller’s used a real estate agent 89% of the time to sell their home. Do you think a listing agent who is looking out for the best interest of their client, the seller, will look out for your best interest? The answer is simple, NO! If that agent says it can be done, he/she is flat out lying!
  • Buyer representation can provide the expertise you need throughout the entire transaction.
  • As a buyer client you are owed; obedience, loyalty, disclosure, confidentiality, accounting, reasonable care and skill.
  • Client-level services also include advice, counsel and assistance in negotiations among other things.

How long does it usually take to buy a house?

  • This is can vary based on your situation
  • Typical transactions can be closed in 30, 45 or 60 days.
  • If the transaction is a cash deal, it can close sometimes in 14-21 days.

If I call you and want to view a property, will you show it to me?

  • If you’re a client, yes, pending there is nothing already scheduled on our calendar! (Be aware: there is a difference between being a customer and a client…)

If I want you to represent me during the buying process, do I have to sign a buyer representation agreement?

  • Yes! We would review and go over in detail the Exclusive Right to Buy Buyer Agency Contract.
  • This contract is very detailed. It goes into detail about the Broker’s Duties, buyer’s duties, how the agents commission is earned, terms of the agreement, types of agency relationships agreed upon along with several other factors.
  • It is then signed/initialed by the buyer client and Brian O’Neill before viewing any properties!
  • A copy would then be given to you, the client, for your records.

What is Earnest Money?

  • Earnest money deposit is also frequently referred to as a good faith deposit. This is a small down payment that is deposited into either the buyer or seller’s brokerage escrow account
  • The primary purpose of this deposit is to show a seller you are serious about purchasing their home.
  • The amount is subtracted from the final figure the buyer pays at closing
  • The amount varies but can range from $500-$1000 or sometimes 1% of purchase price

Do I need a home inspection and who schedules the inspection?

  • It is not required but we highly recommend having a home inspection performed on the property.
  • This is a cost to the buyer and not the seller
  • Prices vary depending on square footage of the home.
  • I will schedule the inspection predicated on which inspector you decide to use and their schedule of availability.
  • You can be present for the inspection but it’s not required. I try to be present for all client home inspection.

What is a Lead-Base Paint Addendum?

  • Every buyer of any interest in residential real property on which a residential dwelling was built prior to 1978 is notified that such property may present exposure to lead from lead-based paint that may place young children at risk of developing lead poisoning.
  • The seller of any interest in residential real property is required to provide the buyer with any information on lead-based paint hazards from risk assessments or inspections in the seller’s possession and notify the buyer of any known lead-based paint hazards.

How much do I offer the seller?

  • It is suggested you ask your real estate agent for advice and guidance but ultimately it’s up to you, the buyer, to determine how much you want to offer.

What can happen after an offer has been submitted to the seller?

  • There are 4 things that can happen:
    1. Offer is accepted
    2. Counter offer is sent back
    3. Offer is rejected, which you can send another offer
    4. Offer is not responded to

Do I need to talk to a lender before we start house-hunting?

  • YES! We have several that we can recommend! The lender will inform you what you can afford based on your credit score, income, debt-to-income ratio along with several other factors.
  • If you’re a first-time homebuyer it’s important to speak with the lender about programs that may be a benefit to first-time homebuyers.
  • Also, a lender will advise you on the cost associated with financing a home (down-payment, pre-paids, escrow, etc..) along with what type of financing will work best for you.

What’s the next step after getting pre-approved?

  • Contact Brian O’Neill!

Can you help me find a rental?

  • Sure! Contact me directly so we can discuss your needs!

Can you help me purchase a New-Construction property or a For Sale by Owner property?

  • ABSOLUTELY!!! As a matter of fact, we highly recommend buyer representation for both situations.
  • The agents on site at these new construction developments are looking out for the interest of their client, the builder, not yours!
  • New Construction contracts have several stipulations in them that if not properly reviewed, may come back to haunt you during the build.
  • You want to make sure the property will appraise even with all the add-on features. A real estate agent looking out for your best interest in this situation would be able to advise you on whether or not the home would appraise.

What happens if we can’t find a home before my lease is up?

  • We understand that certain situations call for drastic measures. Obviously a game plan would have to be thought out with all details disclosed so we can attack the situation head on
  • Example, if your lease ends December 31st and a transaction takes 45-60 days to close, then late September or the beginning of October would be the ideal time to start shopping.

Can I visit an open house without you being there?

  • Absolutely! If the agent conducting the open house asks if you have representation, simply inform the agent that you are be represented by Brian O’Neill!

What is a contingency?

  • A contingency clause defines a condition or action that must be met in order for a real estate contract to become binding.
  • Examples include home inspection, appraisal, financing, sell of a home, termite inspection just to name a few

What is a Seller’s Disclosure?

  • This is a form that seller’s have to disclose any material defects and what they did to fix them
  • Make sure you read over this carefully

What is Radon?

  • It’s a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas
  • Radon is produced from breakdown of uranium and occurs everywhere
  • Radon testing is completely optional at the expense of the buyer
  • Radon is known to cause cancer
  • Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer due to prolonged exposure
  • Greenville County is in EPA’s Red Zone, which means homes have a higher probability of testing at 4 pCi/L and above
  • Since 1997, Greenville County (SC) building code has required that contractors use “radon resistant construction techniques” on all new homes.

How much time does the seller have to respond to my offer?

  • This varies depending on the situation.
  • It can range from a couple hours, 24 hours or days

Once my offer is accepted and agreed upon, what’s the next steps?

  • There are several things to get completed prior to closing:
    1. Home Inspection Scheduled along with any other inspections you elect to get completed with in the inspection period at your expense.
    2. Submit repair request to the seller.
    3. Get all required documentation to the lender to complete the Final Loan Approval process.
    4. Have a termite inspection scheduled (termites are prevalent here in the South). Some loans require a clear CL-100 (Termite inspection) to fund the loan.
    5. Appraisal will be ordered by the lender.
    6. The attorney will do a title search on the property to make sure there are no defects on the title of the property.
    7. Confirm final loan approval!
    8. Schedule final walk-through prior to closing!
    9. Proceed to closing and you’re a happy homeowner!
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