Here is a collection of frequently asked questions that we have put together to assist you. If you have any other questions, not listed here, feel free to call or send an e-mail.


Common Questions from First-time Homebuyers from Exit Realty - Thomas Meyer Associates


  • Why should I buy, instead of rent?

    Answer: A home is an investment. When you rent, you write your monthly check and that money is gone forever. But when you own your home, you can deduct the cost of your mortgage loan interest from your federal income taxes, and usually from your state taxes. This will save you a lot each year, because the interest you pay will make up most of your monthly payment for most of the years of your mortgage. You can also deduct the property taxes you pay as a homeowner. In addition, the value of your home may go up over the years. Finally, you'll enjoy having something that's all yours - a home where your own personal style will tell the world who you are.

  • How do I know I am getting A good deal?

    At Exit Realty -Thomas Meyer Associates we understand the market and have access to many types of properties in all price ranges. Our job representing you in your purchase is to find the right property and help you every step of the way.

  • Can I become a homebuyer even if I have I've had bad credit, and don't have much for a down-payment?

    YES. With todays second chance financing programs and our expertise in “getting the deal done” will make the transition from rental to a home owner a reality.

  • Are there special homeownership grants or programs for single parents?

    There is help available. Start by becoming familiar with the homebuying process and pick a good real estate broker. Although as a single parent, you won't have the benefit of two incomes on which to qualify for a loan, consider getting pre-qualified, so that when you find a house you like in your price range you won't have the delay of trying to get qualified.
  • Should I use a real estate broker? How do I find one?

    Using a real estate broker is a very good idea. All the details involved in home buying, particularly the financial ones, can be mind-boggling. A good real estate professional can guide you through the entire process and make the experience much easier. A real estate broker will be well-acquainted with all the important things you'll want to know about a neighborhood you may be considering...the quality of schools, the number of children in the area, the safety of the neighborhood, traffic volume, and more. He or she will help you figure the price range you can afford and search the classified ads and multiple listing services for homes you'll want to see. With immediate access to homes as soon as they're put on the market, the broker can save you hours of wasted driving-around time. When it's time to make an offer on a home, the broker can point out ways to structure your deal to save you money. He or she will explain the advantages and disadvantages of different types of mortgages, guide you through the paperwork, and be there to hold your hand and answer last-minute questions when you sign the final papers at closing. And you don't have to pay the broker anything! The payment comes from the home seller - not from the buyer.

  • How much money will I have to come up with to buy a home?

    Well, that depends on a number of factors, including the cost of the house and the type of mortgage you get. In general, you need to come up with enough money to cover three costs: earnest money - the deposit you make on the home when you submit your offer, to prove to the seller that you are serious about wanting to buy the house; the down payment , a percentage of the cost of the home that you must pay when you go to settlement; and closing costs , the costs associated with processing the paperwork to buy a house.

    When you make an offer on a home, your real estate broker will put your earnest money into an escrow account. If the offer is accepted, your earnest money will be applied to the down payment or closing costs. If your offer is not accepted, your money will be returned to you. The amount of your earnest money varies. If you buy a HUD home, for example, your deposit generally will range from $500 - $2,000.

    The more money you can put into your down payment, the lower your mortgage payments will be. Some types of loans require 10-20% of the purchase price. That's why many first-time homebuyers turn to HUD's FHA for help. FHA loans require only 3% down - and sometimes less. Also we have access to 100% financing programs and other types of mortgage products to go from renter to owner a reality.

    Closing costs - which you will pay at settlement - average 3-4% of the price of your home. These costs cover various fees your lender charges and other processing expenses. When you apply for your loan, your lender will give you an estimate of the closing costs, so you won't be caught by surprise. If you buy a HUD home, HUD may pay many of your closing costs.

  • How do I know if I can get a loan?

    Use our simple mortgage calculators to see how much mortgage you could pay - that's a good start. If the amount you can afford is significantly less than the cost of homes that interest you, then you might want to wait awhile longer. But before you give up, why don't you contact EXIT REALTY.  We will help you evaluate your loan potential. A broker will know what kinds of mortgages the lenders are offering and can help you choose a lender with a program that might be right for you.
  • How do I find a lender?

    Answer: Exit Realty - Thomas Meyer Associates
     is your one stop shop, providing the answers to all your questions as well as the financing options to meet your specific lending requirements. Good Credit, Bad Credit, Divorce…It doesn't matter. We can get your financing to make home ownership a reality.

  • In addition to the mortgage payment, what other costs do I need to consider?

    Well, of course you'll have your monthly utilities. If your utilities have been covered in your rent, this may be new for you. Your agent here at Exit Realty will be able to help you get information from the seller on how much utilities normally cost. In addition, you might have homeowner association or condo association dues. You'll definitely have property taxes, and you also may have city or county taxes. Taxes normally are rolled into your mortgage payment. Again, your broker will be able to help you anticipate these costs.

  • So what will my mortgage cover?

    Answer: Most loans have 4 parts: principal: the repayment of the amount you actually borrowed; interest: payment to the lender for the money you've borrowed; homeowners insurance: a monthly amount to insure the property against loss from fire, smoke, theft, and other hazards required by most lenders; and property taxes: the annual city/county taxes assessed on your property, divided by the number of mortgage payments you make in a year. Most loans are for 30 years, although 15 year loans are available, too. During the life of the loan, you'll pay far more in interest than you will in principal - sometimes two or three times more! Because of the way loans are structured, in the first years you'll be paying mostly interest in your monthly payments. In the final years, you'll be paying mostly principal.

  • What do I need to take with me when I apply for a mortgage?

    Answer: Good question! It could be as simple as a no doc loan where simple credit check is necessary to a full doc loan. It's a good idea to have 1) social security numbers for both your and your spouse, if both of you are applying for the loan; 2) copies of your checking and savings account statements for the past 6 months; 3) evidence of any other assets like bonds or stocks; 4) a recent paycheck stub detailing your earnings; 5) a list of all credit card accounts and the approximate monthly amounts owed on each; 6) a list of account numbers and balances due on outstanding loans, such as car loans; 7) copies of your last 2 years' income tax statements; and 8) the name and address of someone who can verify your employment. Depending on the lender, you may be asked for other information.

  • I know there are lots of types of mortgages - how do I know which one is best for me?

    You're right - there are many types of mortgages, and the more you know about them before you start, the better. Most people use a fixed-rate mortgage. In a fixed rate mortgage, your interest rate stays the same for the term of the mortgage, which normally is 30 years. The advantage of a fixed-rate mortgage is that you always know exactly how much your mortgage payment will be, and you can plan for it. Another kind of mortgage is an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM). With this kind of mortgage, your interest rate and monthly payments usually start lower than a fixed rate mortgage. But your rate and payment can change either up or down, as often as once or twice a year. The adjustment is tied to a financial index, such as the U.S. Treasury Securities index. The advantage of an ARM is that you may be able to afford a more expensive home because your initial interest rate will be lower.. Talk to your Exit Realty agent about the various kinds of loans, before you begin shopping for a mortgage.

  • When I find the home I want, how much should I offer?

    Again, your EXIT REALTY agent can help you here. But there are several things you should consider: 1) is the asking price in line with prices of similar homes in the area? 2) Is the home in good condition or will you have to spend a substantial amount of money making it the way you want it? You probably want to get a professional home inspection before you make your offer. Your real estate broker can help you arrange one. 3) How long has the home been on the market? If it's been for sale for awhile, the seller may be more eager to accept a lower offer. 4) How much mortgage will be required? Make sure you really can afford whatever offer you make. 5) How much do you really want the home? The closer you are to the asking price, the more likely your offer will be accepted. In some cases, you may even want to offer more than the asking price, if you know you are competing with others for the house.

  • What if my offer is rejected?

    They often are! But don't let that stop you. Now you begin negotiating. Your broker will help you. You may have to offer more money, but you may ask the seller to cover some or all of your closing costs or to make repairs that wouldn't normally be expected. Often, negotiations on a price go back and forth several times before a deal is made. Just remember - don't get so caught up in negotiations that you lose sight of what you really want and can afford!

  • So what will happen at closing?

    Basically, you'll sit at a table with your broker, the broker for the seller, probably the seller, and a closing agent. The closing agent will have a stack of papers for you and the seller to sign. While he or she will give you a basic explanation of each paper, you may want to take the time to read each one and/or consult with your agent.

         See our 100 questions and answers about buying a home.





Can a home depreciate in value?
Is an older home as good a value as a new home?
What are closing costs?
What does FSBO mean?
What is a "One-Time Show" listing?
What is a broker?
What is a contingency?
What is a debt-to-income ratio?
What is a Multiple Listing Service (MLS)?
What is a REALTOR®?
What is an escrow officer?
What is homeowners association (HOA)?
What is the difference between being prequalified and preapproved for a loan?
What is title insurance?
What's the Difference between a "Listing Agent" and "Selling Agent"?
Why should I use a real estate agent?


Are lenders limited in the amount of escrow funds they can collect from borrowers?
Can I pay my own taxes and insurance?
How can I avoid private mortgage insurance?
How is interest calculated on a mortgage loan?
How long does the loan process take?
How much time will it take to close my loan (sign the loan documents)?
Is there a minimum credit score?
Must I use the mortgage company that my builder directs me to?
Should discount points be paid to lower (buy down) an interest rate?
What are the benefits of doing a first and second lien conbination?
What benefits do I receive from private mortgage insurance?
What do I do if I receive a tax statement?
What does Prepaid Interest mean?
What does the origination fee cover?
What is a gift letter?
What is a lock in?
What is an ARM loan?
What is an escrow account?
What is my credit score and how is it calculated?
What is PITI and what does it stand for?
What is preapproval or prequalification?
What is underwriting?
Why did my mortgage payment amount change?
Why does the title have to be cleared before I can get a mortgage?
Why is the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) on the Truth in Lending Disclosure higher than the rate shown on my note, which is the rate I thought I chose?


Can I back out of my contract with one buyer and accept a new, higher offer from a second buyer?
Do I have to sell to the person with the highest offer?
How should I price my home?
Is there a "best time" to put my house on the market?
What are comparables or comps?
What are disadvantages of pricing my home on the high end?
What does an appraisal mean?
What is a counteroffer?
What is an "Exclusive Right to Sell" listing?
What is an "Exclusive Agency Listing"?
Who is responsible for making repairs, if any, as a result of home inspection reports conducted for the buyer?
Why should I use a real estate agent?
Thomas M. Meyer, Broker
Phone: 573-334-2875