Real Estate News | Featured Columnists
Q & A with Dottie Herman
By Dottie Herman | December 24, 2009 8:15 AM ET
Q1 - My wife and I are looking to buy a home and we have been hearing people talk about a buyer's agent. What exactly is a buyer's agent and what is their role and who pays this broker?
A - A buyer's broker represents the buyer in a transaction. If you are looking to buy a home there are many outstanding buyers brokers who can perform searches, educate you on the market, take you to showings, negotiate a contract on your behalf and provide expert advice on how to proceed on a given purchase. A buyer's broker can be a powerful tool in your decision-making process for you and your wife.
Who pays the buyer's broker can be different with each transaction, however, make sure that the payment of the broker is clear before you enter into negotiations on a property you are interested in purchasing. You do not want to get to the closing table and find out that there is an additional expense you were not expecting.
Q2 - My husband and I are selling our home. We had an accepted offer and went to contract about two weeks ago. A closing date has not been set yet, but now the buyer wants out of the purchase. Do they get the money they paid at the contract signing back? Do we keep that money? We bought a new house and do not want to lose these buyers. What can we do?
A - You have to immediately contact your attorney to see that you have all the contingencies in the contract to protect you for this type of situation. In addition, you need to see what your obligations and contingencies are on the other side, your purchase.
Q3 - My wife and I currently are in contract on a home. We thought we really loved it and now we are having second thoughts. We are in contract, so that means we would lose our down payment, correct? Is there any way to get out of this transaction?
A - Entering into a contract to purchase a home is a very serious decision that should not be taken lightly. You have to realize that you have now demonstrated to a seller that you are going to purchase their home, which usually means that they are now committing to purchase or rent another property. You should check with your attorney so that you know what your liability will be. Good luck.
Q4 - My mother is 78 years old and she wants to transfer her home to my name. She has no mortgage left on the house and she just doesn't want to have it in her name any longer. What does this entail? Is there any benefit for her to do this?
A - This is a great question for an estate attorney to answer as well as an accountant and financial planner. I suggest you contact an attorney that specializes in the area of estates and wills.
Q5 - My wife and I are looking to buy a home and we are worried about the mortgage process. How do we know how much a lender is going to let us borrow? We would like to know before we start to look as we want to ensure we are searching in the right price point.
A - This is why you need to get pre-approved by a mortgage professional before you begin with your transaction. Our loan officers offer a formal pre-approval at no cost. This document will tell you what you can afford and assist you in the home buying process. It will also help you with sellers as most educated sellers want to know that a buyer looking at their property has been approved for a mortgage.
If you have a real estate question for Dottie, please send it to; Dottie@RealEstateChannel.com.
NOTE: Due to high volume of questions, not everyone can be answered, but she'll do her best.