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The 10 Most Common Home Buyer Questions

1.) What’s the first step in 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.

2.) How long does it take to close?

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. 

3.) 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; educate and inform you of all your options and represent you throughout the transaction and beyond. A REALTOR® is regulated by the National Association of REALTORS® and subscribes to a strict Code of Ethics. It is recommended that you work with a licensed REALTOR® to avoid potential problems.

4.) 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.

5.) What’s your best advice for first time home buyers?

Answer: Trust the Professionals

Real estate is a popular topic and almost everyone feels like they have some great insight to offer. In reality, those that know best are the people who work in the business. Good REALTORS® have sold hundreds (maybe even thousands) of properties. They know what to expect, what to look out for and will represent their client’s best interest.

6.) What kind of credit score do I need to buy a home?

Answer: Usually 620+

A 620 credit score, or higher, is recommended. 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.

7.) Is 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, FHA and USDA loans. Your lender can better explain difference between these loan types. Locally, the Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA) also offers the Great Choice Home Loan program which makes homeownership available and affordable for citizens of middle/moderate income.

8.) How much money do I need for a downpayment?

Answer: It depends on your loan type, consult with your lender

FHA loans usually requirement a down payment of 3.5% of the purchase price. 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.

9.) 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.

10.) 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, either via email at or via text (210) 204-8986. Remember, as a REALTOR®, I am your most trusted source for information when buying a home and I would love to partner with you on your home buying journey. I will gladly walk you through each step of the home buying process in order to help you find your perfect property!

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