The 10 Most Common Home Buyer Questions | Real Estate FAQ's

Posted by Andrew Fortune on Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015 at 7:10am. 36,669 Views

Buying real estate is exciting and terrifying, all at the same time. There are many steps to the home buying process and each step creates a new set of questions. Knowing the answers to the 10 most common home buying questions can alleviate some of the stress that comes with buying real estate. This articles was designed to help you understand the basics of purchasing real estate, in simple steps. Buying a home may seem intimidating, but a good REALTOR® will make it much easier. They will take care of you through each step of the process, and make your experience as smooth as possible. 

Homebuyer FAQ's


What's the first step of the homebuying process?What’s the first step of the home buying process?

Answer: The Mortgage Pre-Approval.

Unless you are paying cash for a house, you will need to get a mortgage. In order to know how much home you can afford, you will need to get pre-approved for a loan. This is the first-step in the home buying process.


How Long Does It Take To Buy A Home?How Long Does it Take To Buy a Home?

Answer: Around 30 days

The timeline for finding a house varies greatly from person to person. Once you find a house and have an accepted offer, it usually takes around 30 days to close.


What Does a Realtor Do?What Does A REALTOR® Do?

Answer: Almost everything.

A REALTOR® is your most valuable asset when buying a home. They will walk you through every part of the home buying process. They will educate and inform you of all your options. They will represent you throughout the transaction and beyond. To fully understand what that means, you can read our article entitled “What does it Really Mean to be 'Represented' by a REALTOR®?

What Does It Really Mean To Be Represented By A Realtor?

There is a difference between a REALTOR® and a real estate agent; many people do not know this. A REALTOR® is regulated by the National Association of REALTORS® and subscribes to a strict Code of Ethics. A real estate agent does not. It is recommended that you work with a licensed REALTOR® to avoid potential problems.


How Much Do I Have to Pay a Realtor?How Much Do I Have To Pay a REALTOR® as a Homebuyer?

Answer: Nothing

In most cases, you do not have to pay your REALTOR® anything to help you purchase a home. The sellers pays their REALTOR® a fee, and then that listing agent pays the buyers agent for bringing the buyer and facilitating the transaction. 


What's Your Best Advice for Homebuyers?What’s Your Best Advice for First-Time Homebuyers?

Answer: Trust the Professionals.

Beware of advice from people who do not work in the industry. Real estate is a popular topic and almost everyone feels like they have some great insight to offer. In reality, the people who know best are the people that work in the business. Good REALTORS® have sold hundreds (maybe thousands) of properties. We know what to expect and what to look out for. Friends and relatives have only bought and sold a few homes, if any at all. Buying and selling a couple of homes does not make someone a well-rounded source of information. I’ve seen too many first-time buyers become persuaded by well-meaning friends and family, only to be disappointed later. Be confident in your decisions and trust the professionals. 


What Credit Score Do I Need?What Kind of Credit Score Do I Need to Buy a Home?

Answer: 620+

A 620 credit score, or higher, is recommended. As you are probably aware, a higher credit score offers better lending terms. This is an ever evolving topic, however, as loan requirements are constantly changing. There are some lenders who will approve buyers with a 580 score, sometimes even lower. Your loan officer will be the best source to give you a current answer for today’s lending requirements.


Special Home Buying ProgramsAre There Special Home Buying Programs That I Should Know About?

Answer: Yes

There are some great home buying programs to research. The main ones would be VA loans, USDA loans, and FHA loans. Knowing the difference between these loan types is very important. Other local options would include the The El Paso County “Turnkey” Mortgage Program and the CHFA SmartSteps Plus Purchase Mortgage Program. Both provide down payment assistance under certain conditions.


How Much Money Do I Need For A Down Payment?How Much Money Do I Need for a Downpayment?

Answer: It depends on your loan type. Usually 3% to 5% down.

The most common answer is 3% to 5% of the purchase price. FHA loans just dropped their requirement from 3.5% to 3.0%. There are also some conventional loans that only require 3% down. Veterans are usually eligible for a VA loan, which requires no money down. Properties in rural areas are usually eligible for a USDA loan, which also requires no money down.


What Fees Are There?What Other Fees Are There, Besides the Downpayment?

Answer: Mainly loan origination and closing costs.

The downpayment is usually the largest cost associated with buying a house. Lending fees are the second largest costs to homebuyers. Most lenders will charge between 2% to 4% of the loan amount for loan origination fees, depending on the loan type. Conventional loans usually have lower loan origination fees, but require more money down. Your loan officer will be able to help you determine how much you can expect to pay towards loan origination and closing costs.

For a detailed list of all potential home buying fees, see our article entitled “How To Avoid Sticker Shock at the Closing Table?

5 Common Home Buying Fees When Buying Real Estate


When Do I Get The Keys?When do I get the keys?

Answer: At Closing

Under normal circumstances, you will get the keys at the closing. A closing typically takes about an hour. In some cases, the lender will need time to fund the loan and you will need to pick up the keys after the loan has been funded. If you have a Friday evening closing and the loan cannot fund until Monday, you may not get the keys until Monday. Make sure to coordinate your closing to get the keys on the same day, if that is what you need.


Do you have a real estate question that you would like answered? Feel free to contact me directly, or leave a comment below for others to answer as well. Remember, a good REALTOR® is your best source of information when buying a home. Once you have a REALTOR® that you trust, start asking as many questions as possible. They will gladly inform and educate you through each step of the home buying process.

Remember to have fun. Buying a home is an exciting achievement!

The 10 Most Common Homebuyer Questions


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Andrew Fortune Great Colorado HomesHi there! I'm Andrew Fortune, a REALTOR in Colorado Springs, CO and the owner of Great Colorado Homes. Real estate is a passion of mine. I enjoy writing for home buyers and sellers to help simplify the process in a visual format. I also enjoy writing for Realtors and sharing some of the technology tricks I've learned over the years. Feel free to contact me directly, or leave a comment in the comment section below. You can also follow me on any of these social platforms. :)

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9 Responses to "The 10 Most Common Home Buyer Questions | Real Estate FAQ's"

sean wrote: Thank you for addressing the other fees besides the down payment. I know that I have been in a situation before where I chose a down payment that extended my budget, only to be over extended by the other fees. It is important to know what you can afford after everything is said and done. http://www.quadcitiesarearealestate.com

Posted on Monday, March 30th, 2015 at 10:37am.

Deb @ Housefax wrote: Great tips for buyers, Andrew. Really like the fun and colorful look of your blog!

Posted on Monday, March 30th, 2015 at 2:30pm.

Andrew Fortune wrote: Thank you Deb. I appreciate your comments. :)

Posted on Monday, March 30th, 2015 at 3:36pm.

Nora Moore wrote: I hadn't realized that you can take about 30 days to close on a house. My sister has never bought a home before, so this site should be useful for her. She got married about a year ago and now they are looking for a more permanent place to live.

Posted on Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015 at 9:17am.

Sheldon Carter wrote: I always had that second question in my mind that how long does it take to buy a home.Thank you andrew for providing the answer very sensibly.

Posted on Thursday, August 6th, 2015 at 5:31am.

Rose Henderson wrote: Thank you so much for answering all of these questions. My husband and I are looking buy our first home in about a year, and we are very nervous. I want to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible. I guess we will need to spend this year building our credit since we don't really have any yet. I just got a credit card for the first time, so it's good to know what I need to work towards. Thanks again!

Posted on Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015 at 12:49pm.

Ethel wrote: I am looking into buying a new home and so are my parents, they are seasoned buyers whereas I am the definition of a newbie. They have a lot of advice to give me, but I want to learn more. The questions you mentioned (especially question number 10!) can help any home buyer, of any kind, get things done. Thanks for sharing these insights.

Posted on Thursday, October 1st, 2015 at 1:59pm.

Anita Mas wrote: So there are different kinds of loans for buying a house? That would be useful to know. It's exciting, but intimidating to buy a house. It's such a big, long lasting decision. I'll have to do quite a bit of research first.

Posted on Thursday, October 15th, 2015 at 8:16am.

Anna Picket wrote: I can see how getting approved for a mortgage would be the first step in buying a house. We do not have that kind of cash on hand, so we'd need a loan. At least I have a good enough credit score according to this article to get a home. I guess I didn't have to worry about my credit as much as I had been. It would be nice if we could get a great rate because our credit score is higher than 620.

Posted on Wednesday, April 13th, 2016 at 6:56pm.

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