Welcome to the SoldByDenise.com Blog

2015-11-10 12:53:16
Answers to Common Utah Home Buyer's Questions

Isn't it better to work with many agents to make sure I see every available home?

No. All Realtors use the same central called the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) so Denise has access to ALL available listings. Working with just one Realtor, with whom you feel comfortable and can trust, will save you time and confusion. It is not necessary to work with the Realtor who listed a home since Denise can show it to you and will represent your best interests, not the seller's.

Do we need to bring anything when first meeting with Denise?

Yes. Decide what features you like in your present home that you want in your next home. Also, decide what additional features you would find appealing in your new home. Basic search criteria could include:

  • How old of a home are you willing to look at?
  • How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need at a minimum?
  • What areas of Utah County do you prefer?
  • What particular requirements do you desire (such as a fenced yard, or a family room, etc.)
  • What is your price range?

Do I need to have my mortgage loan approved before looking at homes with Denise?

No.  However, Denise will ask you to call or meet with a lender as soon as possible in the home shopping process. That way, both of you will know the best price range to search in.  A lender can pre-qualify you for a loan by asking a few questions.  Better yet, begin to work on the pre-approval process right away.

What is the difference between getting pre-qualified and pre-approved for a mortgage loan?

Pre-Qualification:  The lender will ask you a series of questions such as your income, debt, time on job, and how good you feel your credit is.  Generally, nothing is verified, a credit report is not run, and the lender simply gives his/her educated opinion (based on what you say) on the top home price you are likely to qualify for.

Pre-Approval:  In addition to asking you questions, you will need to complete the loan application and the lender will run your credit report, verify your employment, ask you to present your last two bank statements and your last two pay stubs, plus your last two tax returns.  They will then approve you for a loan pending on the property you choose appraising for the sales price.

Does Denise do all the searching or should I keep looking myself?

While Denise will regularly monitor the market, we recommend you continue to search on SoldByDenise.com yourself.  Denise has even set-up a 'Listing Flash' system to automatically notify you whenever a new listing matching your criteria becomes available.  Sign-up, then simply call, text, or email Denise whenever you see a home that interests you and a showing will be arranged.

How long does the home buying process take?

Searching for a home could take as little as one day or as long as a month, depending on whether the right property is available during the time you are home-shopping.  Once you find your new home, the loan process and contract period takes typically 30 - 60 days.

When should I give my landlord notice I'm moving?

Unless you are under a month-to-month rental agreement, you need to confirm when your lease period is completed so you aren't hit with extra payments. Then, once you identify your new home and have an accepted offer, let your landlord know as soon as possible.  It is normal to give your landlord at least a 30 day notice and frequently they prefer you move out before the first of a month.

How will I know I'm not over-paying for my new home?

First, you have Denise's extensive market knowledge and experience to rely on.  Second, after previewing several homes in a specific price range, you will get a feel for the right price. Third, Denise will gladly perform a Competitive Market Analysis (CMA) where she researches nearby active listings, under-contract properties, and recently sold listings to help you make an educated offer. Finally, before your lender will approve your home loan, an appraiser will be sent to the property to confirm its current market value.  

What do I need to know about the Utah Real Estate Purchase Contract (REPC)?

All Utah Realtors use a standard Utah Real Estate Purchase Contract that has been approved by the Attorney General's office, the Division of Real Estate, and the Board of Realtors.  It consists of six pages plus several addenda.  Denise will review the contract with you when you make an offer but if you want to read and review it before you find your new home, she is happy to provide you a blank copy.  Denise is highly trained on the purchase contract as well as negotiating and is able to answer any questions you may have.

Can I add terms or inclusions into the REPC?

Yes.  The REPC and addenda are the only place where everything about the home purchase is clarified. If you want the washer/dryer included, would like the dining room chandelier to remain, or want the refrigerator to be left behind it must be added in the purchase offer. Still, you should consider the possibility that the sellers had personal or financial reasons to exclude these items. However, Denise will do her best to negotiate with the seller any inclusions or special terms you desire through the offer process.

What is Earnest Money?

To show that an offer is serious and made in good faith, you will need to accompany it with a personal or certified check known as an 'earnest money deposit.' The amount recommend is 1% of the purchase price but is commonly only $500 or $1000. This money is not turned over to the seller but is held by the Title Company.

Can I get the Earnest Money refunded?

Yes.  There are several conditions where you will automatically have your earnest money refunded, including:

  1. For any reason during the Buyer's Due Diligence period (typically 14 - 21 days)
  2. If your mortgage loan is not approved
  3. If the appraisal doesn't confirm the sales price is accurate
  4. If the seller does not perform on his/her agreements

What is Buyer's Due Diligence?

This is a period of time homebuyers are given the opportunity to investigate the property as deeply as they desire.  The seller is required to provide a form called the 'Seller's Property Condition Disclosure,' in which they disclose everything they know about the property.  You are then given time to perform any personal or professional inspections you desire including a general home inspection, roof inspection, meth test, mold test, radon test, etc.  If you disapprove any of the disclosures or any inspection, you have three choices:

  1. Negotiate with the seller as to which problems will be repaired or to lower the sales price
  2. Cancel the offer and get your earnest money back
  3. Accept the problem and fix it yourself once you own the property

What is Settlement?

The buyer and the Buyer’s Agent meet with the Closing Officer to sign the loan documents and review and sign the Settlement Statement. You need to bring a certified check for the balance of the down payment and closing costs to the Settlement. You also need to bring your new homeowner’s insurance policy and a photo ID. The Settlement usually takes about one hour.

What is Closing?

After completing Settlement, the Closing Officer overnights the signed loan documents to your lender to have the loan funded. Upon receipt, the lender wires the loaned money to the Closing Company’s bank. The Closing Company then pays off all of the seller’s liens and obligations and gives the seller the balance. Then, the Closing Company takes the Warranty Deed, which was signed by the seller during their Settlement, to the County Recorder’s office and records it. At this time, the transaction is considered closed and the house belongs to you.

What is Buyer's Remorse?

Buyers usually second-guess themselves as to whether or not they made the correct decision. This normally occurs between the time the contract is signed and is closed. You may want to contact your Realtor if you begin to get these feelings and discuss it with him or her.


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Denise Martin
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