What are the costs involved in selling a house?  

In addition to the obvious costs you would incur to prepare your home for sale (painting, repairs, landscaping, staging, etc.), your major financial outlay would be the real estate commission you would pay to the selling agent. 

What are the steps to selling a house?

The first steps would be to evaluate the condition of the home, addressing any issues such as repairs, upgrades to the bath or kitchen areas and updates like painting and landscaping. Next, determine the approximate value of your home by reviewing similar homes for sale or have been recently sold. The final step would be to contact a real estate agent in your area.

What is an escrow account?

An escrow account consists of funds held by mortgage lenders used to pay property taxes and insurance. A portion of the monthly payment is deposited into an escrow and, at the end of the year, it is adjusted based on the actual tax and insurance bills. 

Can a home depreciate in value?

One of the most important factors in real estate is location. While real property rarely depreciates in value, factors like the community and surrounding amenities (schools, parks, etc.) can help contribute to the value of a real estate investment. 

What is the difference between being prequalified and preapproved for a loan?

Being prequalified for a loan means it is possible you may secure a loan, while being preapproved means you have met all the financial requirements (credit history, previous tax return records and employment verification) necessary for securing a loan.

Buying or selling a home? 

How long does it take to close a loan?

It can vary, but on the average, approximately 30 to 45 minutes, depending on whether the buyer and/or seller have questions.

What is a broker?

A real estate broker is the intermediary between buyers and sellers of homes and property. Brokers are also authorized to establish their own agencies. 

What does FSBO mean?

FSBO means For-Sale-By-Owner. A common term in real estate, it means that there are no certified or licensed real estate professionals involved. If you are considering selling your home yourself, be aware there many factors involved in doing so.

Whether you're buying or selling you are probably going to have a lot of questions.

As a realtor I try to be a go to source of information for my clients. If you don't see an answer to your question here, please contact me at malu@Isellamcanyonhomes.com or by calling 707.218.2193

How can I avoid private mortgage insurance?

Private mortgage insurance (PMI) is not required if a buyer elects to paying a 20% down payment. It can also be avoided if only 5% or 10% is the down payment by combining first and second mortgages. 

Where can information about new properties for sale be found?

In today’s computerized world, homes for sale are just a click away. You can narrow your search by selecting number of bedrooms, baths, lot size, garage size, and much more. You can even take virtual tours of homes. In most cases, the sites you visit are those of realtors, who are standing by to answer any questions you may have.

What is PITI and what does it stand for?

In real estate, PITI (pronounced "pity") is an acronym for a mortgage payment that represents the total monthly house payment: principal, interest, taxes, and insurance. 

What is a counteroffer?  

In negotiating a contract, a counteroffer can reject the original offer, but requires an acceptance of specific terms proposed in the counteroffer. 

What are closing costs?

Closing costs are expenses incurred by buyers and sellers in transferring ownership of a property. Fees vary depending on the type of property as well as what is negotiated in the sale. Your Realtor® can provide an estimated closing statement to give you an estimate of what is to be paid as part of the sale. Some costs include lender fees, escrow fees, home inspection and appraisal.

What is a realtor?

A realtor is the liaison between buyers and sellers. A realtor is associated with the National Association of Realtors, and operates as an agent or with an agency that is part of the local or state board of realtors.

Is an older home as good a value as a new home?

A home choice – whether new or old – depends upon a buyer’s taste. While many prefer newer homes with a long list of conveniences and amenities, there are others who appreciate the charm and character of an older home. In the case of an older home, buyers are encouraged to invest in a home warranty, many of which can cover a number of needed repair costs such as furnace, plumbing, appliances, etc. 

How can a home’s value depreciate?

Unmaintained property can be a tremendous detriment to the value of your home. It is essential that the upkeep of the physical structure and components like furnace, plumbing, roof be maintained, or you can run the risk of your home selling far less than it should based on similar properties in the area. 

How long does the loan process take?

While there is no set timetable, the typical scenario generally takes about 45 days. However, the loan process from application to closing is based on a number of factors: documents required from the borrower, the amount of time needed to satisfy any contingencies (for example, any potential repairs to the property), appraisal and lender underwriting 

What are comparables or comps?

These are based on similar properties in the area, and help determine the average value and selling price of the property being offered.

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What is my credit score and how is it calculated?

A credit score is an analysis of a person’s credit, and represents their creditworthiness. It is largely based on such factors as earning power and previous record of debt and repayment. Banks, credit card companies and others use these scores to determine if there is a potential risk in lending money. These scores help determine who qualifies for a loan, the interest rate and credit limits. 


What is a Multiple Listing Service (MLS)?

Widely used by real estate agents, MLS is a computer database consisting of properties that are for sale. 

What are the advantages of private mortgage insurance?

To protect the lender, private mortgage insurance (PMI) is required when the borrower has a down payment of less than 20%. However, this requirement also works in favor of the buyer since, with PMI, buyers are able to purchase their dream home a down payment of 20% can allow buyers to buy the home they want who cannot afford a 20% down payment to purchase the home 

What is a homeowners association (HOA)?

An HOA is a nonprofit organization that manages a particular subdivision, planned community or condominium complex. It has the power to write and enforce rules for the property and collects monthly or annual fees from its residents to pay for community expenses.

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Why should I use a real estate agent?

A valuable source for someone looking for a home, a real estate agent constantly monitors the every-changing market trends. In addition to providing you with the most up-to-date information about the latest listings, the agent is the key component between buyers and sellers.

What is a contingency?

In real estate, a contingency is an usually an arrangement included in the contract between the buyer and seller that allows the potential buyer a specific amount of time to sell the existing home before completing the purchase of a new one.   

Are lenders limited in the amount of escrow funds they can collect from borrowers?

Yes. Regulated by the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), mortgage lenders cannot exceed one-twelfth (1/12) of the total estimated annual taxes, insurance premiums and any other charges.


What is an appraisal?

An appraisal of a home is based on a number of factors, including its condition, functionality and quality. A licensed appraiser performers and inspection, then compares it to similar properties in the area. The final determination of all these factors helps to establish a home’s overall value. 

What is underwriting?

Underwriting is the process of evaluating a loan to determine whether the loan is a good risk.

What's the Difference between a "Listing Agent" and "Selling Agent"?

Both the Listing Agent and the Selling Agent work for the buyer. The Listing Agent represents for the seller of a home, and designs a plan that will best represent the property. This can include a marketing analysis that determines the selling price based on the value of homes sold in the area, coordinating showings and negotiating the highest possible selling price. 

The Selling Agent – sometimes referred to as the Buyer’s Agent --- represents you during the process of finding a home, including providing information about the property, arranging times for you to view homes you are interested in, taking any offers to the listing agent, and representing you in the closing process.

Both sellers and agents must abide by the exclusive Listing Agreement, which includes how the listing agent will market the property, terms of the listing and the commission. 

How is interest calculated on a mortgage loan?

The interest is based on a number of factors: the term of the loan (generally 30 years), the principal (amount financed) and the interest rate of the loan.