Our Top 10 Questions We Receive About Buying and Selling Houses in Shoreline, WA.

As you might imagine, real estate agents, field quite a few questions every day. People are naturally curious, and it’s an agent’s job to guide folks through the often-complex world of home buying and selling. You might also imagine that some questions about real estate come up more often than others.

Need help selling houses in Shoreline? The housing market can be confusing to people, especially those who don’t have much experience with real estate. Here are the top 10 questions our professionals receive about buying and selling houses in Shoreline.

What Is the First Step in the Process?

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is the first step of the home buying process. Getting a pre-approval letter from a lender gets the ball rolling in the right direction.

First, you need to know how much you can borrow. Knowing how much home you can afford narrows down online home searching to suitable properties, thus no time is wasted considering homes that are not within your budget. (Pre-approvals also help prevent disappointment caused by falling in love unaffordable homes.)

Second, the loan estimate from your lender will show how much money is required for the down payment and closing costs. You may need more time to save up money, liquidate other assets or seek mortgage gift funds from family. In any case, you will have a clear picture of what is financially required.

Finally, being pre-approved for a mortgage demonstrates that you are a serious buyer to both your real estate agent and the person selling their home.

If you’re selling, finding a real estate agent experienced in selling houses in Shoreline should be your first step.

In hiring an agent, you can get all the guidance you’ll need – when to list, what steps to take to clean and improve your home, how much to price it for, and more – going through the process.

How Long Does It Take?

Oh, this is quite a loaded question and one we hear a lot.

From start to finish, buying a house can take about 10 to 12 weeks. Sometimes the process moves more quickly and sometimes it’s slower, but planning for about three months from start to finish is typical.

Market conditions are a major factor in how fast homes are sold. In hot markets with a lot of sales activity, buying a home may take a little longer than normal. That’s because several parties involved in the transaction get behind when business suddenly picks up.

Some houses can get up and on the market quickly, selling in a matter of days after being listed. In other neighborhoods, a house can sit on the market for weeks or months. The key is when selling a home, to plan to be in it for the long haul and try not to get impatient.

How Much Do I Have to Pay an Agent?

An agent’s rate is somewhat negotiable, but typically the commission is around 7 percent. That amount is split between the buyer’s agent and the seller’s agent. For most home sales, there are two real estate agents involved in the deal: one that represents the seller and another who represents the buyer.

Technically, the buyer doesn’t pay the agent at all. Instead, the money comes from the sale price of the home, with the agents’ fees being handed over at closing.

What Kind of Credit Score Do I Need?

Most loans require a FICO score of 620 or better.

Borrowers who have higher credit scores are less risky to the lender, often making it easier for them to secure financing. Conversely, home shoppers with lower credit scores may need to bring more money to the table (or accept a higher interest rate) to offset the lender’s risk.

How Much Do I Need for a Down Payment?

How much you’ll need as a down payment depends on the type of loan you take out.

For a traditional loan, you likely will want to have 20 percent of the purchase price saved up. Some programs require even less. VA loans and USDA loans can be made with zero down. However, these programs are more restrictive. VA loans are only made to former or current military service members. USDA loans are only available to low to-middle income buyers in USDA-eligible rural areas.

No matter what, it’s a good idea to begin saving something for your home purchase once you decide to start the process. Even if you don’t need it all for a down payment, you have those funds to use for moving costs, upgrades, or other things you may need.

Should I Sell My Home Before Buying One?

If you’re planning to use the built-up equity on your current home as a down payment on a new home, then you’ll need to sell your home before closing on a new one.

Some homeowners, however, choose to use their current home as a rental property once they move, or they’ve already got a down payment saved up for their new home. If you aren’t reliant on the sale of your current home to buy a new one, you can start the purchase process whenever you’re ready!

How Many Homes Should I Look at?

That number is completely up to you!

Some people spend days pouring over their computer screens, filtering through dozens of potential properties, before coming up with a shortlist to view in person. Others, however, prefer to really get inside a bunch of properties to get a feel for them.

The number of homes you should view depends totally upon how much time you have and how long it takes you to find the right one.

How Long Can I Take to Respond to Offers?

Typically, buyers and sellers give one another 24 hours to respond to offers and counter-offers. However, if there’s a situation that requires you to need more time to respond, make sure you’re upfront about that so the other party can be prepared.

Should I Order an Inspection?


If you’re selling your home, you may want to consider a pre-listing inspection. This home inspection will point out things, big and small, that could be problematic in your home’s sale.

While it may seem counterintuitive to get an inspection before you list your home, especially since you’re legally required to disclose major defects, it’s better to go into the process prepared. Getting this inspection out of the way early either prepares you to negotiate them during the sale process or to repair them before you list the home. In any case, it’s a good idea to get a pre-listing inspection when selling houses in Shoreline.

As a buyer, it’s always recommended to get an inspection of a property before you purchase. In many cases, your lender will require an inspection.

Who Pays Closing Costs?

In general, when it comes to selling houses in Shoreline,  both parties pay some closing costs, though buyers usually pay more than sellers.

However, this is negotiable, and, as a buyer, you can negotiate to have the seller pay the closing costs in exchange for your paying a slightly higher final price.

Professional Guidance When Buying and Selling Houses in Snohomish, WA.

We make it our mission to help you get the best deal when buying and selling houses in Snohomish, so contact us today at (206) 578-3438!

Emily Cressey

Emily Cressey is a real estate broker residing in Lake Forest Park, WA who services the Greater Seattle area including Shoreline, Mountlake Terrace, Brier, Lynnwood, Kenmore, Bothell and Edmonds, WA.

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