The 10 Most Common Home Buyer Questions

Posted by Andrew Fortune on Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015 at 7:10am. 77,121 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 article 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. 

10 Most Common Homebuyer Questions

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 to 45 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: Usually 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 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

Andrew FortuneHi! I'm Andrew Fortune, the founder of Great Colorado Homes and the creator of much of the content on this website. Thanks for taking the time to read this article. Please feel free to share this article with someone who might benefit from it. I appreciate your time here on this site and am always open to suggestions and ideas from our readers. Feel free to leave a comment in the box below.


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30 Responses to "The 10 Most Common Home Buyer Questions"

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.

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.

James Bergman wrote: I agree that it is a good idea to only take advice from realtors when it comes to buying a home. This is one of the reasons it is so important to get a realtor that you trust. I know that when I was buying my home my parents and older siblings all gave me advice. Most of it good, but some of it not. Like you said, they are not experts, so even though I trust my family to give me good advice I always take it with a grain of salt.

Posted on Thursday, July 7th, 2016 at 8:17am.

Jade Brunet wrote: After reading this article, I know that I am well informed about the things a first time home buyer should know. It is good to be familiar with the fact that it takes around thirty days to finalize the process of buying a house. Something else to consider would be working with a realtor who knows the area and will be more able to help.

Posted on Thursday, September 1st, 2016 at 3:32pm.

Jeff Nelson wrote: You have a way of writing that is easy to understand and to the point. Thanks for the great post!

Posted on Sunday, September 11th, 2016 at 1:34pm.

Lillian Schaeffer wrote: Thanks for bringing to my attention that the first step in buying a house is the mortgage pre-approval. My husband and I just decided that we're going to move out of our apartment and into our first house. We want to get started on this process as soon as we can, so maybe we could start by getting pre-approved for a mortgage so we know exactly how much we can afford.

Posted on Thursday, December 22nd, 2016 at 1:23pm.

lenny strin wrote: Buyers should ask questions before buying a home. so many things that we want to know about.

Posted on Tuesday, January 10th, 2017 at 3:59am.

Jade Brunet wrote: It is good to know that realtors do almost everything in the home buying process. Being walked through the entirety of this process and learning about all of your options is highly beneficial!!!

Posted on Tuesday, February 21st, 2017 at 8:30pm.

Laura Ludwig wrote: very good information keep it up!

Posted on Sunday, February 26th, 2017 at 12:12am.

Leviticus Bennett wrote: It's good to know that my credit score should be 620+ to buy a home. I'm getting married in a few months and hope to increase my credit score so that I can afford a good home. We'd like to move into the home right after our honeymoon.

Posted on Wednesday, May 10th, 2017 at 12:59pm.

Jade Brunet wrote: It is good to know that one should have a credit score of 620 or higher when looking to buy a home. I am glad to know that a higher credit score offers better lending terms.

Posted on Wednesday, May 24th, 2017 at 8:59am.

Ridley wrote: I have some of these questions too! My wife and I want to buy a home, but I didn't know what to do first. Now I know that it's best to get a mortgage pre-approval, like you said.

Posted on Thursday, June 1st, 2017 at 10:06am.

Ivy Baker wrote: I have been thinking about buying my first home soon. So, I liked that you talked about how it would be good have a credit score of around 620. I haven't checked what my credit score is lately and I guess I should before trying to buy a home.

Posted on Thursday, June 29th, 2017 at 8:18pm.

Cameron wrote: I like that you mention that you mention that it takes at least 30 days to close on a home, so that should give homeowners what to keep in mind when buying a home. You want to make sure that you're not trying to rush the process and give yourself enough time for everything to process. Buying a home is a big responsibility, so you want to make sure that you are doing all of the steps right.

Posted on Wednesday, October 11th, 2017 at 11:49am.

Derek wrote: My wife and I are thinking about getting our first home together soon, but we aren't sure where to start. I like that you suggest using a professional real estate agent instead of a family member or friend when looking for a house. I want to get the best deal possible, so having a professional who knows the market would be really useful. Thanks for sharing!

Posted on Monday, October 16th, 2017 at 7:53am.

Derek Dewitt wrote: My wife and I are wanting to buy our first home together, but we aren't sure where to start. I like that you suggest using a trusted Realtor instead of a friend or family member. I want to have access to the whole market and the resources that professionals have, so I'll be sure to do this. Thanks for sharing!

Posted on Tuesday, October 17th, 2017 at 7:32am.

Marine Wellis wrote: It's good that you mentioned that it takes about 30 days for everything to be completed after accepting the offer. My husband has recently found a new job, and we need to look for a new home that's close to where he works. It's good to know that it won't take too long for everything to be completed. Thanks for the tips!

Posted on Monday, November 6th, 2017 at 9:52pm.

Hannah Schroeder wrote: I didn't know that you don't have to pay a Realtor anything if you buy a home. My husband and I have been avoiding getting one because we have a strict budget, and we don't want to go over it. We've been looking for a house for six months on our own, but I bet getting an agent would make it go a lot faster.

Posted on Monday, November 13th, 2017 at 5:32pm.

Silas Knight wrote: It's great to get some information on home buying. I had no idea that the very first step we need to do is get pre-approved for a mortgage. My wife and I need to start talking to our bank about that, then!

Posted on Friday, December 1st, 2017 at 10:49am.

Betty Gardner wrote: I am glad to have come across your site. Thank you for sharing your knowledge I have purchased a home, and years later sold it, throughout the process I, unfortunately, had a less than knowledgeable 'Agent', She made the whole process confusing, I believe she was confused herself. Nevertheless, I am more than happy to share your blog.

Posted on Sunday, December 10th, 2017 at 5:33am.

Jaque Christo wrote: Thank you for the 10 most common home buyer questions. I like the idea of having someone there to help you with all the paperwork as well as negotiating a price. Some people aren't assertive and having someone there to negotiate for you and tell you what you can reasonably get the house for is a huge benefit. I had been wondering where to start the home buying process but your helpful post made it super easy. I need to first get pre-approved so I know what I can even afford.

Posted on Thursday, December 14th, 2017 at 8:08am.

Greco wrote: Thanks for these questions and answers. I had the same question for #2. I had no idea how long it should take for our neighborhood because I thought a 2 weeks was too long! It is nice to know that buying a house should take this long, that brings me a bit of comfort, thanks!

Posted on Thursday, March 8th, 2018 at 2:05pm.

Sameer wrote: Nice article and very sensible one.

Posted on Thursday, November 8th, 2018 at 6:15am.

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