You Have Real Estate Questions, We Have Real Estate Answers


This is a list of questions to ask real estate agent professionals.

You can always ask The Madrona Group questions directly via phone, text, email, Zoom, Messenger, our contact form or any other form of communication.

A great source of accurate information about all things real estate is the Realtor Magazine.

Otherwise we hope that you find what you are looking for on this page.

Most people tend to call their real estate agent first... but it is actually your lender that should get the first call.

The first step to buying a home is getting pre-qualified.

You need to find out how much money you can borrow based on your credit score, income, debt and cash on hand.

Once we know how much you qualify for than we can meet and come up with a home buying strategy that meets your needs.



With this program we have the ability to present you with an instant cash offer for a house in Seattle without putting it on the market.

That means:

  • No Cleaning
  • No Landscaping
  • No Staging
  • No Pictures
  • No Open Houses
  • No Night Time Showings
  • No Waiting For An Offer

Just getting an offer and planning your move out.

How it works:

  1. We fill out a property checklist and along with photos we submit your properties information to the John L. Scott buyers department.
  2. We will present you with a firm cash offer within 48 business hours.
  3. We will discuss the difference between taking the cash offer and putting your home on the open market.
  4. If you accept the cash offer an estimator will perform an in-person home assessment of your property.
  5. If major repairs are needed a credit for the repair costs will be requested.
  6. You decide on a settlement date that works best for you.


John L. Scott offers the Market Ready Plus+ program.

We apply for an enhancement loan to make minor repairs to your house to get it ready for sale. Then you pay it back when the house closes.

(restrictions apply)

The answer to these questions to ask real estate agent professionals can vary significantly based on many different factors.

Once a home has been selected and an offer accepted the closing process takes between 20-45 days.

The short answer is add 20-45 days to the amount of time it takes us to get pre-approved, find a home you love and get an offer accepted.

We have helped a family buy a house in about 24 days and we have helped families that have taken many months.

If you are paying cash for your home then the closing time can be reduced to as little as 5-10 days.

Most people have heard the media talk about the best time to sell is in the Spring.

Big data shows that there are more houses that are available for sale in the spring, meaning that more people sell their house in the Spring.

That does not translate into the best scenario for you.

For example in 2020 the average home price in the NWMLS in April was $516,676 and in November it was $579,098 according to NWMLS Infosparks.

The short answer to this questions to ask real estate agent professionals is the best time to sell your home is when it makes the most sense to your situation.

A good home priced correctly and marketed heavily will sell at a good price not matter what time of year it is.

Have you heard the term "Seller's Market"?

A "Seller's Market" is when there is less than 3 months of housing inventory.

That is based off of the Law of Supply and Demand.

Generally, low supply and high demand increase price and vice versa.

For supply we use a term called Inventory, or how many houses are for sale.

Demand is impossible to pinpoint but we use some key indicators such as population size and growth,  job growth rate, access to capitol, interest rates and how quickly homes sell.

When we talk about inventory it is in terms of how many months of inventory we have to sell.

That is the number of active listings divided by sales and pending sales.

A neutral market once was considered 5-6 months of inventory.  Recently the economists have shifted it to 3-4 months of inventory.

One of the questions to ask real estate agent professionals is what is a "Buyer's Market"?

A "Buyer's Market" is when there is more than 3 months of housing inventory.

That is based off of the Law of Supply and Demand.

Generally, low supply and high demand increase price and vice versa.

For supply we use a term called Inventory, or how many houses are for sale.

Demand is impossible to pinpoint but we use some key indicators such as population size and growth,  job growth rate, access to capitol, interest rates and how quickly homes sell.

When we talk about inventory it is in terms of how many months of inventory we have to sell.

That is the number of active listings divided by sales and pending sales.

A neutral market once was considered 5-6 months of inventory.  Recently the economists have shifted it to 3-4 months of inventory.

The answer to these questions to ask a real estate agent is that there are 3 phases to selling a house.

  1.  Getting it ready for sale
  2. Putting it on the market
  3. The Closing process

The fastest we have ever sold a house was 2 days to get ready for the sale.  3 days on the market.  21 days to close. For a total of 26 days.

That was a family that was ready to go with a good quality home, priced right, in a seller's market with a buyer who paid cash.

That result is not typical.

Getting it ready for sale

As your real estate agents we only need 2 days to get your home on the market.

The bigger factor is how long it takes you to get your home market ready day one.

Putting It On The Market

Once the listing is live it is our goal to get your home sold as quickly as possible for the most amount of money.

The Average Days on Market for our listings is 27 days.  But our Median Days on Market is 6.

That means we get an occasional listing that is overpriced or is difficult to sell that takes a while, but generally we sell your home in the first week on the market.

The Closing Process

Typically the closing process takes between 21 and 45 days.  If it is a cash buyer it generally goes quicker and if it is a FHA or VA buyer it can take a little longer.

The internet is flooded with AVM tools or Automated Valuation Model tools, like Zillow.

They use an algorithm to determine the value of your home based off of location, size, bedrooms, bathrooms, etc.

They are usually only accurate within a 5-20% range.  Meaning they are generally either to high or to low.  And sometimes, they miss the mark completely.  Every once in a while we actually sell a home the same price as the Zestimate.

These Instant Home Valuation Tools are good for getting a general idea of the value of your home but not the last word.

The real estate industry uses a method called, Comparable Market Analysis.  We use the 5-10 most comparable homes for sale, pending sale and sold to get a value.  Then we adjust slightly for condition, neighborhood, view, season, market conditions, updates, etc.

Your best bet is to give us a call and schedule a no obligation quick home tour with us and we will provide you a complete Comparable Market Analysis in a hard bound binder.

Technically you do not pay an agent anything to help you buy a house, the seller does.

When a home gets listed on the MLS the seller agrees to pay a commission to the buyer's agent. That percentage gets paid at closing.

Some agents may require you to sign what is called a Buyer's Agreement.  This is a contract that states that if you buy a house you agree to give your buyer's agent an agreed upon commission.  It is possible that if you agree to pay your agent a commission that is higher than the amount that the seller has agreed to pay that you would pay the difference.

Absolutely.  Everything is negotiable.

The price of the home, the earnest money deposit, the down payment amount, the time to close, what stays with the house, what goes, if work needs to be done, whether or not there will be an inspection, how long you have to get the inspection done, if the sellers would like to rent the home after closing or just need to stay a little longer.

We have negotiated chairs staying to foundations being rebuilt and everything in between.

This is why it is super important to choose a real estate agent that studies and practices strong negotiation techniques to ensure the best possible outcome.

580 minimum for FHA.

620 minimum for Conventional.

There are some programs that will let you go lower than that but the terms will not be as favorable.

The higher your score the more favorable your loan terms become including less fees and lower interest rates.

There are still plenty of 0% down loans available for conventional loans.

There are good 3.5% and 5% down loans available for FHA loans.

Often times people think that you need 20% down to buy a home.  However, that is actually less common than 0%, 3.5%, 5% and 10% loans.

The reason most people assume you need 20% is that is the amount you need to avoid paying private mortgage insurance (PMI). 

The insurance is a percentage of the loan amount annually, paid monthly with your mortgage payment.

PMI is nothing to be afraid of. PMI simply protects the lender in the case of foreclosure, and its cost is generally well worth the gains in home equity associated with purchasing sooner and making a smaller down payment.

It is best to talk to a professional mortgage broker about what would be best for you.

Not necessarily.  It will really depend on your financial situation and the reason and urgency of your move.

You can buy a new home contingent on the sale of your current home.  It is a bit more challenging to do, but is a part of our normal business.

If you can afford to purchase your new home without the capitol from your current home that is probably the best case scenario.

When you are buying contingent it takes away some of our bargaining power.  This is because the seller will be taking a risk by accepting your offer.

The risk is that your home may not sell quickly, or for as much as you had listed it for, or at all.

In addition, you are also in a position to be bumped. The bump clause allows the seller to continue receiving offers and if an offer comes that is not contingent they can bump your offer for the better offer.

You the buyer would have an agreed upon number of days to either get your home in contract, waive the contingency (which would put your earnest money in risk if you were not able to close in time), or get bumped for the new buyer.

You can put yourself in a stronger buying position by selling your home first and once your home sale is in pending status, then start your home search.

At that point you are upgraded from buying contingent to buying Pending Sale.  It is a stronger position, although still a weaker position than just buying without the need to sell a house.

These are all great questions to ask real estate agent professionals.

We recently switched our mobile phone service back to Verizon from the discount service that we had switched to last year.  It is true that the bill was less, but we are dependent on our phones and experienced spotty service.  We feel like we may have missed important phone calls that lost us money.  In the end the small savings was not worth the potential of loosing significantly more money.

I love saving money as much as the next guy.  There are places that you cut and places that you don't.

The bare minimum for listing a home for sale is entering it in the MLS and putting a cell phone picture of the house in the MLS.

Here is what we do when we list a home.

Maybe even more important than that is your agents level of engagement in the negotiation portion of the transaction.  If your agent is not fully committed to your transaction they might not feel as obligated to fiercely negotiating on your behalf.

The bottom line is that if you go with a discount broker it might end up costing you more money in the long run.

It is a deposit that you pay to the seller to show good faith toward buying the home.

When you submit an offer you will agree with your agent on an earnest money amount.  Typically between 1-3% of the purchase price.

When your offer is accepted you will have 2 business days to provide a check or money order to your agent or the escrow office.

This sum of money will be held by the escrow company and when the transaction closes will be applied to the down payment and cost of the home.

If the transaction does not close the earnest money is refundable as long as the buyer does not terminate the sale for contingencies not listed in the contract, or miss timelines as agreed upon in the contract, or if they simply decide to walk away for no reason.

Your real estate agent should keep you informed of any situations that puts you in danger of loosing your earnest money.

One of the things that you will agree on with your agent is an offer expiration date.

It is a required field on a Residential Purchase and Sale Agreement with the NWMLS.

A high quality buyer's agent will explain the strategy behind picking an expiration date.

For example if the listing is an estate sale and they set an offer date and state that the attorneys will need 3 days to determine which offer they will accept then you would set the offer expiration date to 3 days after the offer review date.

However, if a listing had an offer review date of Tuesday and we wanted to try to negotiate the sale on Friday and were making a strong offer we might make the offer expire that night.

If the seller does not respond by the offer expiration date then the offer is voidable.

That being said if the seller responded the next day by signing the offer the buyer could still choose to move forward with the contract, but would not be legally responsible to.

These are good questions to ask real estate agent professionals.

This is really up to you and depends on what condition it is in, your urgency for moving, how much you hope to profit and how much capital you have.

As a general rule of thumb you should make sure that everything is in good working order, your yard is landscaped, you have new/clean floors, freshly painted walls and the home is clean and decluttered.

If the home is going to be vacant then we do recommend staging it.  This help potential clients imagine what it will be like living in your house.

Most of the time it is not advisable to make major updates to sell the home, as this does not generally produce a positive return on investment.

For a more thorough list of things you can do to increase your curb appeal CLICK HERE.

Every month I create detailed real estate market analysis reports for Snohomish County and Seattle that you can find here:

If you buy a new construction home you should make sure that it comes with a warranty. Most new construction will come with a 1 year builder warranty.

There are differences in warranties from builder to builder, generally, they cover all of a home’s materials and workmanship.

There is also home warranty that you can add to any home purchase. The home warranty is purchased by the buyer. Although it can be a part of the negotiation and part of what a seller is offering.

A home warranty can cover systems like; Heating, Plumbing and Electrical. Appliances such as; Washer, Dryer, Refrigerator, Dishwasher, Range & Garbage Disposal. Additional items like; Ceiling Fans, Garage Door Openers & Doorbells.

There are a few different brands of home warranty although we generally use American Home Shield.

We are licensed by the NWMLS and technically can work anywhere in the state.

We have our office in Lynnwood, WA and prefer to work in Snohomish County and King County.

You can learn more about our areas of expertise here:

Yes.  Although it may not be without consequences.

Generally when you make an offer to purchase a property you offer what is called Earnest Money, or a small deposit on the property.

If the transaction does not close the earnest money is refundable as long as the buyer does not terminate the sale for contingencies not listed in the contract, or miss timelines as agreed upon in the contract, or if they simply decide to walk away for no reason.

If you decide to walk away for no reason then your earnest money will be at risk.

However, if you find that the home was not what you expected after conducting a home inspection or the appraisal comes in low or you have a financing addendum and your funding falls through, and you walk away, your earnest money is not at risk.

Worst case scenario you walk away and lose your earnest money.

The assessed value of your home might be different than the current market value for many different reasons for example:

  • Seasons
  • Neighborhoods
  • Updates
  • Current Trends
  • Assessors do 1 valuation a year as opposed to the current market price

"State law requires that county assessors appraise all property at 100 percent of its true and fair market value in money, according to the highest and best use of the property. Fair market value or true value is the amount that a willing and unobligated buyer is willing to pay a willing and unobligated seller. The county assessor values real property using one or more of three professional appraisal methods." (DOR)

While it is a general rule it is not required.

Generally when a real estate broker is going to do less work to sell your home they will charge less than 6%.

3% of the total generally goes to the selling agent or the buyer's agent.  This is the amount that incentivises agents to show and sell your home.

The other 3% goes to the listing firm, in our case John L. Scott.  With that they pay for our insurance and brokerage fees and give us the rest.  We then use that to pay for our personal insurance, taxes, licensing fees, office fees and marketing fees.

These are good questions to ask real estate agent professionals.

This really depends on the buyer.  We have had clients that fell in love with the first home we showed them and clients that have viewed 10 or more before they found the one.

What helps is completing a wants/needs analysis with all parties involved in the buying process.

If you have a good idea of what is important to you and your agent has done a good job of informing you of what is possible in your particular price range then you should feel pretty confident while doing your home search.

Whether it is 1 or 10 usually you will walk into a house and just know that this is the one.

The amount of the sales price that the seller receives is called the Net Proceeds.

The Net Proceeds are calculated by subtracting all the expenses of selling from the Home Sales Price.

The expenses include:

  • Real Estate Commission
  • Staging and Prep Work
  • Seller Concessions
  • Home Transition and Overlap Costs
  • Title, Escrow, Notary, and Transfer Tax
  • Repairs Needed to Sell Home
  • Mortgage Payoff Amount

A general rule-of-thumb, but by no means official, is subtract 9% of your sales price less your mortgage payoff.

Even with the very best Lynnwood Real Estate Agents this can happen from time to time.

You find a house that you fall in love with and we submit an offer only to be beat by another party that loves the house.

If your offer is rejected by the seller than nothing happens.  There is no money trading places, or contracts being made.

Simply, you just start your home search again.  This time a little more experienced.

If you find that this is happening consistently or are not getting good feedback as to the cause, you should consider finding a different real estate broker.

If you are going to buy your new house with all cash you do not need to get pre-approved with a mortgage banker first.  Otherwise, you need to get your financing secured before you start your home search.

No matter how much of a financial wizard you are without approval from a mortgage company we will not know how much money they will lend you.

Knowing how much mortgage you are approved for helps us navigate your home buying journey.

In addition, at this time (2021) we are in a Sellers Market.  That means that there is less than 3 months of inventory.  What that also means is that when trying to purchase a quality home that is priced well the seller will want to know that a bank has pre-approved your purchase price before they accept your offer.

30+ Questions To Ask Real Estate Agent Professionals

This one might even be one of the questions to ask real estate agent professionals that you were not aware of.

Wire fraud is a real concern in today's climate but one that is easy to protect yourself as long as you know how.

"Wire fraud typically involves a hacker gaining access to an email account and posing as a trusted party involved in your real estate transaction. This could be someone pretending to be your real estate agent, loan officer, title agent, or even an attorney. Once the hacker has access to a trusted email account, the hacker sends an email from that account or from a similar account that looks “almost” the same as one of the parties in the transaction – with information related to your transaction, including wire instructions for your closing funds" (Ticor Title)

"When you buy or refinance a home, title insurance confirms there are no disputes over who has rights to the property." (Ticor Title)

In Washington State, the Seller customarily pays for the Buyer’s owner policy and the Buyer pays their lender policy.

All title insurance rates and policy forms are filed with the Office of the Insurance Commissioner.  If the Commissioner finds that a title insurance rate is excessive, inadequate, or unfairly discriminatory, he can order the modification of the rate on a prospective basis.

Now that you’re ready to buy or sell a home it’s time to close the deal. But what does that really mean? What happens at closing and how long does it take? Well the process varies depending on your location, but here’s a general overview of what you can expect at closing.

Escrow carries out instructions per the terms of sale
It all starts when a buyer and seller agree on the terms of sale and ends four to eight weeks later at closing. In the middle, all kinds of stuff happens to make sure the terms of sale are met. It’s the kind of stuff you’re thankful someone else does while you’re getting ready to move.

Then at closing, the escrow officer confirms the terms of sale are met, makes sure the funds are distributed, the deed is recorded, and the keys are delivered. if you’re the buyer, this is when you finally get possession of your house.

5 Biggest Deciding Factors For Buying a Condo Vs. House

1. Price

2. Maintenance and Upkeep

3. Privacy

4. Risk

5. Resale

Read the complete answer here: Condo Vs. House

Your escrow officer is an essential partner who mediates a complicated financial transaction to make sure it’s done accurately and fairly.

Here’s how it works:

When a buyer and seller come to an agreement on the terms of sale, everyone involved gives their part of the transaction to the escrow officer. Then the escrow officer ensures everyone does what they agreed to do before handing over the deed and distributing funds appropriately.

And by the time the property changes hands or the refinance is complete, all the variables are coordinated and everyone has peace of mind it was all done correctly!

Selling A Personal Residence & Doing a 1031 Tax Deferred Exchange…Some Strategies

The number of calls that we receive weekly from parties that think that somehow a Section 1031 tax deferred exchange may have something to do with the sale of their primary residence are numerous. When we combine that together with parties thinking about exchanging out of an investment property and acquiring a property that will become their primary residence, the number of calls increase dramatically.

I find myself talking about this related topic of selling a primary residence quite often. I think it is appropriate this week to go over this question one more time as there are so many misunderstandings out there among our customers.

When dealing with residential properties, it is common for folks to bring up their home or what we in the trade call their “primary residence”. Of course, it is often the largest investment most consumers deal with in their lifetime. The IRS does not consider it technically as “an investment” as such because it is not held for productive use in a trade or business. We all know, of course, that you cannot purchase or sell a personal residence in a tax deferred exchange. The good news is, in most cases, you do not have to. Actually, another section of the tax code provides an even more favorable tax savings opportunity than a tax deferred exchange!!!

There is the IRC Section 121 Exemption that allows a homeowner to exempt $250K in capital gains for an individual and $500K in gains for a married couple. You simply need to live in the primary residence for two (2) out of the last five (5) years. In other words, you could have moved out of it 3 years ago, and still be eligible for that exemption, even if you are currently renting it. That is correct. You can take advantage of this special rule once every two years if you can convince your family to move that often.

Selling Your Primary Residence [Where to Find Tax Information]  

There is a publication that the IRS revises annually that spells out all those details. Go to the website, and then use their search field to look for the Publication (PUB 523) called Selling Your Home. They make very few changes from year to year. This is a wonderful consumer friendly statute that has a long history since 1997 and was not impacted at all by that major tax law change in 2017.

“I Thought You Could Only Use That Exemption Once In a Lifetime” [Information on All the Misunderstandings out there among our Customers]

There used to be one exemption available called a “once in a lifetime $125,000.00 exemption”. That is really old law and has not been good law for many years. Still customers call us thinking it may be available. That law no longer exists.

In addition, there used to be a time where a homeowner had a period of time after a sale of a primary residence to buy another. [This still comes up as it is so similar to a 1031 exchange]. It, too, is no longer good law.

Before May 7, 1997, the only way you could avoid paying capital gains taxes on your home-sale profit was to use the money to buy another, more-expensive house within two years. Sellers age 55 or older had one other option. They could take a once-in-a-lifetime tax exemption of up to $125,000 in profits. And in all instances, there was tax paperwork (Form 2119) to fill out to show that you followed the rules. That all changed when the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 became law, which led to our current Section 121 Exemption that is available every two years.

Special Rule After a Tax Exchange

The only exception would be if you had previously exchanged into that home via §1031. The IRS grew wise to those who were taking advantage of the opportunity to avoid paying the gains all together. Today, when you sell your residence, you will find a tax forms in the closing documents that ask those specific questions. If you exchanged into the property and convert that property to your primary residence, you MUST own it for a full 5 years and live in it as a primary residence to qualify for the full exemption. That five-year ownership requirement became effective with the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004.

The bottom line is simple now. If you live in the property as your primary residence two out of the last five years, you have an exemption and usually don’t need to exchange.

Adam Grubbs

McFerran Law, P.S. &

Tax Deferred Exchange Services, Inc.

[email protected]

253-383-1200 or 800-236-4948

  • The home should be in broom clean condition.

  • All the negotiated repairs have been completed, with proof of receipt validating that the work was taken care of, together with the date.

  • All appliances included in the sale should be clean and functioning properly.

  • All fixtures, such as doorknobs, cabinet handles, etc., should be included and in place unless it was indicated in writing that they will be the property of the seller.

  • If you're buying a new construction home, make sure to look for defects and other cosmetic issues.

  • Open and close all doors and windows and make sure they lock correctly.

  • Test out both heating and cooling using the HVAC system, even if it's freezing or scorching hot outside, and see if they’re working satisfactorily.

  • Turn on and off all the light switches and ceiling fans.

  • Plug your phone charger in every electrical outlet to make sure they’re functional.

  • Inspect all walls, ceilings, and floors to check if there’s any damage or mold that wasn’t there before, especially in spaces where there used to be furniture.

  • Run the garbage disposal.

  • Run the exhaust fans or extractor fans in the kitchen and bathrooms.

  • Test all faucets and the showerhead to make sure they have both hot and cold water.

  • Check the bathrooms and make sure they’re free from any mold, leaks, and water damage.

  • Flush toilets to check for leaks.

  • Test out all garage doors, doorbells, and any smart security systems.

  • Make sure that all garbage, debris, personal belongings, and other items have been removed.

As a "general rule of thumb" in WA State you can expect to pay approximately 8.5%* of the sales price in closing costs.

(*estimated percentage subject to change)


WA Real estate excise tax (REET) is a tax on the sale of real property. All sales of real property in the state are subject to REET unless a specific exemption is claimed. The seller of the property typically pays the real estate excise tax, although the buyer is liable for the tax if it is not paid. Unpaid tax can become a lien on the transferred property.


A typical commission is usually between 5 and 6% of the sales price of the home, which will be split between the listing agent and the buyer's agent. The real estate commission is usually the biggest fee a seller pays, but there’s a higher risk if you choose not to hire an agent and choose to For Sale by Owner (FSBO). Since selling a home is a complicated process, it’s better to have a professional by your side who will guide you through every step and make sure you get the most profit from the sale of your biggest investment.


Another fee to keep in mind when you sell your home is title insurance fees. Sellers typically pay the buyer's title insurance premium as part of closing costs, and the fee often varies from state to state and also based on the sales price of the home. Title insurance protects the new owner and lender in case there are issues with your home’s title.


An escrow account is held by a third party provider that protects both the buyer and seller by keeping either party from escaping with the other's money. You can also think of escrow like a savings account that keeps the earnest money deposit safe.

Escrow costs are usually between $500 and $2,000, or about 1 to 2% of the home sale price. The fees for escrow are usually split 50-50 between you and the buyer.


When you sell your home, you'll be responsible for prorated property taxes that have accrued up to the closing date, at which point the buyer or the new owner will take over. Be prepared as you may have to pay property taxes at closing to bring yourself up to date.


If you're living in a neighborhood that is governed by a homeowners association (HOA), there may be HOA transfer fees to pay on top of all other closing costs mentioned above. These are standard fees that may occur when a property is transferred from one owner to another. Transfer fees are meant to cover the costs associated with preparing documents, handing out HOA’s rules to the new owner, dealing with property inspection records, changing names in the homeowner databases, changing security codes, creating new security cards, and other administrative costs.


Any unpaid utilities paid up to closing date.

As a "general rule of thumb" in WA State you can expect to pay approximately 3%* of the sales price in closing costs.

(*estimated percentage subject to change)


Within three days of receiving your application, your mortgage company has to give you a Loan Estimate which itemizes estimated interest rate, monthly payment, and total closing costs for the loan. Here are some of the fees that could be included in that list:

·       Loan Origination Fee – This is the fee for generating and processing your loan. The rate is usually 0.5-1% of the total loan amount.

·       Discount Points – Basically this is for when you want to buy an interest rate. The amount of this depends on what rate was initially given to you and what rate you want to apply for. Note that this may be optional.

·       Processing Fee – This is for submitting and gathering your loan application. Usually this costs less than $500 in the United States.

·       Appraisal Review Fee – A professional appraiser will check the property for its market value. Lender require this to make sure that the house is actually worth what was declared in the contract.

·       Credit Report Fee – A credit report is a detailed account of your credit history and your credit points. Lenders require this for qualification purposes for the loan. Usually it's the lender’s company themselves who order this from a credit report bureau.

·       Courier Fee – Lenders employ couriers to deliver documents during the transaction. Some lenders will put this under the processing fee.

·       Underwriting fee – This fee is for a series of steps that evaluate your loan application, like verifying the documents that you have passed, checking if the appraisal on your house is consistent with comparables, and assessing whether you income level is at par with your liabilities.

·       Documentation preparation – Once the underwriting approves your loan, legal documents and miscellaneous such as the mortgage note and deed of trust should be prepared for closing.

·       Wire transfer fee – This is the cost for wiring funds to an escrow company.


·       Recording Fee – This fee is for recording the deed and mortgage at the local court house. The amount for this fee depends on the number of pages in the document

·       Notary Fee – Documents such as the deed of trust must be notarized by a registered Notary Public before it can be recorded at the court house. This amounts to usually $10.

·       Title Insurance – This is protection for you as a buyer to make sure that the title is clean and that no contentions will be made against you as the new owner of the house. This may be optional.

·       Escrow fee – This is paid to the escrow company or the attorney who made the closing. This is usually a split expense on the buyer and seller.


·       Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) – This is required by lending companies if you made a down payment below 20%. When the deal is closed, this expense will be rolled into your monthly mortgage payment.

·       Homeowner’s Insurance – This financially protects the property and its contents from disasters such as fire and theft. Most lenders require 1/6 of the amount of this to be put into an escrow account at closing.

·       Flood Insurance – This will be required from you by the lender if the house is located in a flood zone.

We hope that we have answered any questions to ask real estate agent professionals that you may have had.

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About Real Estate Questions You Should Ask Real Estate Agent Professionals



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