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Mary Beth Peacock

606 Baytree Rd

Valdosta, Ga. 31602




General Questions

What is the MLS?

MLS stands for Multiple Listing Service. This computerized system, usually run and supported by the local Real Estate Board, has details of almost every home listed for sale with a real estate agent. Licensed agents can submit and search the MLS for homes listed for sale. Finding a local Realtors web site is usually the best way to search the MLS.
Should I buy first or sell first?
This depends on your needs. If you are able to potentially pay on two mortgages, you could buy first and wait to sell your current home. If you need the equity built up in your present home to complete the purchase of a new home, you’ll need to sell first or consider a bridge loan or house sale contingency.

Who pays the typical fees during the home buying process?

It is important to remember that who pays which fees is almost always negotiable.

However, a Buyer typically pays for:

  • Appraisal
  • Credit Report
  • Discount Points
  • Escrow Payments
  • Homeowner’s Association Fees
  • Homeowner’s Insurance
  • Buyer’s portion of pro-rated interest
  • Mortgage insurance (if required by lender)
  • Origination Fees
  • Recording Fees
  • Title Insurance
  • Any fees associated with FHA or VA lo
  • Pest Inspection

The Seller typically pays for:

  • Seller’s portion of pro-rated interest
  • Real Estate Commission
  • Transfer Tax

Buyers Questions

What is the first thing I should do if I want to buy a house?

The most important thing you should do is to research how much home you can afford.
There are many calculators out there that can assist in this. But the best way to get a complete understanding of how much you can afford (and qualify to borrow) is to talk to a loan officer. Any good one will consult with you for free. Back to the top

Do I need a real estate agent if I am buying a new home?

A buyer’s agent will represent your interests in the home buying process, whether you are buying new or a resale. The builder has an agent representing his/her interests and while the agent won’t cheat you, he/she isn’t likely to try and find extras or negotiate a better price.

What should I consider when I start to look for a home?

First, put together a list of features and benefits you want in a home. Think of such things as pricing, location, size, and amenities. If you can't get a home at the price you want with all the features you're looking for, figure out what features are most important to you and rank them in priority so you know what you're willing to give-and-take.

You should also consider your future needs. Maybe now is the time to buy a larger home rather than buying a small home and expanding it in the future. Your agent can help you compare the price of homes with the features you are looking for or suggest alternate uses of space.

What is earnest money?

Earnest money is money applied "up front" from a buyer to show a seller the buyer is serious about the purchase. The earnest money is typically applied toward the buyer's down payment. Earnest money is forfeited by the donor, and given to the seller, if the buyer fails to carry out the terms of the contract or agreement. If the contract fails due to no fault of the seller, then earnest money is typically returned in full to the buyer.
Earnest money is not required, though the vast majority of sellers expect it, and an offer without any earnest money attached will usually be rejected. The amount required is whatever it takes to convince the seller you're serious about making the purchase.
Earnest money, like virtually any part of a real estate transaction, is a negotiable item.

What is title insurance?

In short, title insurance is an insurance policy that protects the lender against defects in the title. This insurance will pay the lender in the event there are flaws in the title, such as inadequate surveys, misrepresentation or fraud. The lender would not be left holding the property, and subsequently paying on the property or having another owner take the property with no compensation to the lender (or the owner).

Owner’s Title Insurance will protect you against these hidden risks which would not be disclosed by even the most meticulous search of public records. Lender’s title insurance protects the Lender if one of these things happens. YOU, if you don’t have owner’s title insurance, are left with NOTHING. Many title mistakes are made during real estate transactions, either because someone was careless, deceitful or uninformed. Title insurance protects your investment. This one time investment is much less costly than trying to settle a problem down the road.

As a buyer, do I have the right to obtain past information about the property I'm interested in purchasing?

Sellers are required to disclose all known property defects. With your agent's help, you can find out what has happened to the property in the past. You should make careful observations, examine the property, and request or otherwise obtain any important records. Put these requests in writing. If you decide to put an offer on a home, it's important to have a professional inspection completed before closing.

Should I get a home inspection?

Home inspections are not required before purchase. However, I recommend that every home have a professional home inspection during the buyer due diligence period.

A good home inspector will be able to tell you many things about the home you are considering purchasing. A good inspector can find structural problems, ensure the wiring and plumbing "meet code" and evaluate the condition of all the appliances included in the sale. They will check out the home from top to bottom and you'll walk away with a detailed report on just about everything in your home. Getting a professional home inspection is one of the most important steps in the purchase of a home, whether it was built 100 years ago or yesterday.

Sellers Questions

What is the best way to set a price on my home?

There are two main ways to establish a home listing price:
1) Get a full appraisal: A certified home appraiser will give you an estimated market price for about $300.
2) Get a "CMA" (Comparative Market Analysis): A CMA can be provided by a real estate agent. The agent will look at recent sale "comparables" and determine the market price for your home. A comparable is a house similar in size, age and condition that is physically located near your home and has sold recently. Comparable sales are the best indicator for what your house could sell for. Your real estate agent should provide this to you at no cost.
Ultimately the market decides what your home is worth. The true definition of "market price" is what an able and ready buyer is willing to pay.

What should I do to my house to get it ready to sell?

Your home should be removed of ALL clutter. It should be clean. You should make sure that the walls are in good condition (fairly good paint) and that the carpet is clean. And remember, first impressions are priceless. Make sure that your lawn is inviting and that your grass is always manicured.

These are just a few standard suggestions. Each home is unique and should be discussed at your listing appointment with the agent that you’re interviewing.