How much can I afford?
Before you begin your home search, it is a good idea to find a target price range that you can afford. A mortgage lender will want to make sure you can handle the down payment, plus a monthly mortgage payment made up of principal, interest, taxes and insurance. You can find out an estimate of your affordability by using an affordability calculator.

What is Title and Title Insurance?
Title is a bundle of rights in real property. Protecting purchasers and lenders against loss is accomplished by the issuance of a title insurance policy. Usually, during a purchase transaction the lender requests a policy (Lender's policy) while the buyers receive their own policy (Owner's policy). In short, the policy states that if the status of the title to a parcel or real property is other than as represented, and if the insured suffers a loss as a result of a title defect, the insurer will reimburse the insured for that loss and any related legal expenses, up to the face amount of the policy subject to exceptions and exclusions contained in the policy.
Provided by Talon Group NW

What is Escrow?
An escrow is an arrangement in which a neutral third party (the escrow agent) assembles and processes all of the components of a real estate transaction (including legal documents), records the transaction, and ultimately, disburses and distributes funds according to the buyer's and seller's instructions. Your transaction is typically closed by and Escrow Officer or LPO (Limited Practice Officer). People buying and selling real estate often open an escrow for their protection and convenience. Both the buyer and seller rely on the escrow agent to carry out their mutually consistent instructions relating to the transaction and to advise them if any of their instructions are not mutually consistent or cannot be carried out. If the instructions from all parties to an escrow are clearly drafted, the escrow officer can take many actions on behalf of the buyer and seller without further consultation. This saves much time and facilitates the closing of the transaction.
Provided by Talon Group NW

What is the difference between prequalified and preapproved?
These terms refer to your status in the loan approval process. Prequalification is determination of your probable ability to obtain a loan. To become prequalified, meet with a loan officer or mortgage company. They will help you determine the price you can afford, based on your monthly income and your current debts, as well as the cash you have for a down payment.

To receive a pre-approval you will need to submit the following: Application, employment history, W-2's, pay stubs, residence history, bank statements, and current debts. After the lender receives all of the information you will generally receive an accurate price range you should be searching within two or three days.

What is Earnest Money?
Earnest money is a "good faith" deposit submitted with your offer to show the sellers that you are serious about purchasing their home. Earnest money is a required part of an offer. There is no set amount that is required, but the amount sometimes makes a difference in the negotiation process. Earnest money eventually becomes part of the purchase, and will show as a credit to the buyers on the settlement statement drawn up by the escrow company.

What are Closing Costs?
Closing costs are charges paid to entities during the real estate transaction. They can include escrow fees, document preparation fees, cost of an inspection and lender fees. Occasionally, prepaid insurance premiums and property taxes are lumped into the term "closing costs" as well.

Do I need a home inspection?
We strongly recommend that you get a thorough inspection of your new property before you close on the house. Although a home may look perfect on the inside, it's quite possible it can be hiding problems in it's walls. A good inspector will spend 2-5 hours inspecting the property and review the entire interior and exterior of the home. They will provide you with a written report of their inspection including key issues that should be addressed. It is important for you to be present at the inspection so that you can ask questions as they arise. If you do not know an inspector, we would be happy to recommend one to you.

How much does it cost me to hire a real estate agent?
Nothing, it is free to you as a buyer. Our commission as real estate agents are paid by the seller, so you have nothing to worry about.

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