top of page

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the best time of year to sell a house?

If you are considering selling your home, the time of year and other factors will come into play. Factors such as whether you will be in the market to buy a house (before or after) you sell, the time of year (different States have different seasonal consequences, market conditions, etc. Your Hasse-L-Free Realty Realtor/Agent can assist you in navigating the options and help you make a buying decision, based on what you are trying to accomplish. In northern markets, such as Michigan, the winter months often see less homes for sale due to the time of year and weather conditions. There is less inventory (competition), but also less buyers. One thing is for certain, if a buyer is going to deal with the colder temps and weather, you can bet that they are a serious buyer. Contrast that with the Spring and Summer markets where the weather is nicer. Inventory levels will be higher and buyer will be more plentiful. If marketed properly, you will have more showings-but there will also be more "tire kickers" and nosy neighbors wanting to see what you have to offer. Again, Your Hasse-L-Free Realty Realtor/Agent will help you separate the serious buyers from the not so serious.

How long does the selling process take?

The selling process can vary timewise, depending on a variety of factors. Factors like time of year, market conditions, how much you are asking for your home, the condition of your home, the marketing efforts of your agent and the time that it takes the Lender and Title Company to process the sale. Typically, if you price your home properly (based on a Competitive Market Analysis-CMA) of homes similar to yours, the average time on the market should be similar to those that have sold prior to yours. At Hasse-L-Free Realty, we pride ourselves in proper pricing and negotiation skills-resulting in getting you the highest possible price, in the least amount of time. After an offer is accepted, home sales typically require an additional 30-to-45-day period of time before the home is officially closed on and sold. Keep in mind that the acceptance of an offer may require additional time due to negotiations and inspections. The 30–45-day clock starts once those items are complete and the buyer has made formal application for a mortgage. Though the process may vary from seller to seller, the typical selling process looks like this:

  1. Review the offer(s) on your home with your Hasse-L-Free Realty Realtor/Agent.
  2. Decide if the offer is one that you want to accept, based on the offer price, terms and conditions.
  3. If necessary, a counter-offer may be in order-which will add to the time frame.
  4. Once the offer has been accepted and all terms have been agreed to by both the Seller and the Buyer, the buyer will usually make arrangements for a home inspection. Again, depending on the results of the inspection-the Buyer may want to re-negotiate the offer.
  5. After a satisfactory inspection, and any re-negotiations have taken place, the 30-45 day clock to closing begins.
  6. During this time period numerous things will be taking place. The Title Company(s) will be verifying the Title and Deed to the property and oordinating with the agents and the Lender. The Lender will be verifying information that was provided from the Buyer, possibly asking for more, the ordering of an appraisal, compiling of all the information and submitting all of the above to underwriting. Once underwriting has given a "clear to close", the Title Company will prepare the Closing documents. The closing will usually take place within a few days after the clear to close from underwriting.
At Hasse-L-Free Realty, we use an "Offer to Closing" checklist to follow the sale of your home through the entire sales process. There are literally dozens upon dozens of items that need to be completed and followed up on and we want to make sure that nothing falls through the cracks and that we can close within the time frame desired.

Should I sell my current home before buying a new one?

That depends on your current financial situation and objectives, which your Hasse-L-Free Realty Realtor/Agent will discuss with you. In most cases, the purchase of your new home and the sale of your current home will take place simultaneously. If the built-up equity in your current home will be applied to the down payment on the new home, naturally the former will need to close first, but the negotiating tactics and experience of your Realtor/Agent can design the offer/purchase to accommodate your situation. Some home buyers decide to turn their current home into an investment property, renting it out. In that case, the current home will not need to be sold. However, your loan advisor will still need to evaluate your risk profile and credit history to determine whether making a loan on a new home is feasible while retaining title to the old home. Buyers often have a short time frame to sell their current home when relocating to a new city because of a job transfer. If you are moving but taking a position with the same employer, check to see if they offer relocation assistance to help offset some of the costs. Hasse-L-Free Realty is positioned to help with this relocation assistance

Should I attempt to sell my house on my own, or hire an agent?

Selling a house is a process that involves many twists and turns. Being that for most people your home is the largest asset you have, it's probably in your best interest to hire a professional to Market, Present, Negotiate, Handle the Details and Represent you throughout the sales process. Selling "By Owner" isn't all that it appears to be. It doesn't give you the necessary exposure (Demand), doesn't save you the money that you are expecting to save (Gets you a lower price & Buyers want the same commission that you are trying to save), takes longer (Costing you more money), can cause problems with your next purchase, Involves inconveniences (Must answer calls and be Available for all showings and handle all of the Details), Exposes you to Negotiating mistakes and numerous other issues. In most cases, enlisting the services of a Hasse-L-Free Realty Realtor/Agent will get you More Money, In Less Time and with Less Inconvenience to you.

How do I select an agent?

Selecting a real estate agent is both an important and crucial step in the buying and/or selling of your home. The agent that you hire can make or break both the experience and the success, or non-success, of the sale. Equally as important as the agent that you hire is the Company that they work for. If the agent is not properly trained or getting properly trained, that could be an issue. A Broker that is active in the business and available to step in and handle issues should they arise is also critical. At Hasse-L-Free Realty we take great pride in the agents that we hire. We hire on a culture that promotes honesty, integrity, knowledge, and the willingness to go the extra mile for our customers. Our customers’ needs and desires are first and foremost. We do everything within our power to ensure that you receive the finest service that is offered in the real estate industry. Both the agent and the office that they work out of should be near the area that you are looking to buy or where the house that you want to sell is located. They should be familiar with the area and/or willing to research the area to make sure that they are able to fulfill their obligation of helping you buy or sell. It is also important to note that choosing an agent based on how many homes they have sold is not always the best choice. Even though they may have "teams" in place to assist, odds are their sales volume level may not be reflective of quality service. Agents commonly market themselves according to how many houses they have sold, but that does not necessarily mean that they are giving quality service. You don't want to end up being just another number in their list of clients. More important than sales volume and years in the business is honesty, integrity and a commitment to you as a customer. Are they going to make you a priority? Are they going to be honest with you? Do they have a moral compass? What is there Company's philosophy? These are critical traits that you should look for when deciding which agent to hire. These are traits that you receive when you hire a Hasse-L-Free Realty Realtor/Agent.

What is the first step in buying a home?

Meeting with your Realtor/Agent is the first step. Together you will discuss the home buying process and strategy. Your Hasse-L-Free Realty Realtor/Agent will connect you with qualified Lenders to get you pre-approved. Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is essential to the home buying process. Getting a pre-approval letter from a lender will get the ball rolling in the right direction. Here’s why: You need to know how much you can borrow. Knowing how much home you can afford narrows down online home searching to suitable properties; thus no time is wasted considering homes that are not within your budget. (Pre-approvals also help prevent disappointment caused by falling in love unaffordable homes.) The loan estimate from your lender will show how much money is required for the down payment and closing costs. You may need more time to save up money, shore up credit, liquidate other assets or seek mortgage gift funds from family. In any case, you will have a clear picture of what is financially required. Finally being pre-approved for a mortgage demonstrates that you are a serious buyer to both your real estate agent, the Sellers agent and the person selling their home. Most real estate agents will require a pre-approval before showing homes - this is especially true at the higher end of the real estate market; sellers of luxury homes will only allow pre-screened (and verified) buyers to view their homes. This is meant to keep out "Looky Lous" and protect the seller’s privacy. What’s more, by limiting who enters their home, sellers are given extra security from potential thieves trying to case the home (like identifying security systems, locating expensive artwork or other high-value personal property).

How long does it take to purchase a home?

From start (initial interview with Realtor/Agent), getting pre-approved, searching for and looking at houses, making your offer(s), inspections, Title Work, Mortgage approval, to finish (closing escrow), buying a home usually takes about 8 to12 weeks-depending on various factors. Once a home is selected and the offer is accepted, the average time to complete the escrow period on a home is 30 to 45 days (under normal market conditions). Though, well-prepared home buyers who pay cash have been known to purchase properties faster than that. Market conditions are a major factor in how fast homes are sold. In hot markets with a lot of sales activity, buying a home may take a little longer than normal. That’s because several parties involved in the transaction get behind when business suddenly picks up. For example, a spike in home sales increases the demand for property appraisals and home inspections, yet there will be no increase in the number of appraisers and inspectors available to do the work. Lender turn-around times for loan underwriting can also slow down. If each party involved in a deal takes a day or two longer to get their work done, the entire process gets extended.

How many homes should I look at before I make a purchasing decision?

That’s up to you! For sure, home shopping today is easier today than ever before. The ability to search for homes online and see pictures, even before setting a foot outside the comfort of your living room, has completely changed the home buying game. Convenience is at an all-time high. At the end of the day, purchasing a home still involves people, and nothing beats visiting a home to see how it looks and ‘feels’ in person. At Hasse-L-Free Realty, we use and implement time-proven systems to help you find the house of your desire in less time, and with less hassle than the usual house hunting process. We then negotiate the best pricing, terms and conditions for your offer/purchase.

When is the best time of year to purchase a House?

Does the time of year actually matter when buying a house? The short answer: yes and no. Seasonality tends to affect factors such as inventory (the number of homes for sale) and purchase price. During spring, inventory is plentiful, but competition among buyers may cause prices to rise. By contrast, home prices may be lower during winter, but inventory is usually limited-making for a smaller selection of homes to consider buying. And moving in may be more difficult, depending on the weather. Also, the best time to purchase a home isn’t always when inventory is highest or when prices are the lowest. These are important factors to consider, but broader market conditions and your personal needs also play a significant role. The upshot? You can find houses during all seasons. Determining the best time to jump into homeownership means understanding the pros and cons of buying a house at different times – and deciding when it’s best for you. Your Hasse-L-Free Realty Realtor/Agent can review with you how the time of year affects home buying, plus other factors to consider beyond seasonality. From there, we’ll help you determine your best time to buy a home.

How much house can I afford?

To calculate how much house you can afford, a lender will consider a few primary items, such as your household income, monthly debts (for example, car loan and student loan payments) and the amount of available savings for a down payment. If you obtain home financing, you’ll repay more than the amount you borrowed because the amount you repay is determined by several factors, including the interest and loan amount. Your monthly mortgage payment is typically made up of four parts: Principal. The part of your monthly payment that reduces the outstanding balance of your mortgage. Interest. The part of your monthly payment that goes toward the cost of borrowing the money. Interest rates are based on current market conditions, your credit score, down payment, and the type of mortgage you choose. Currently they are around 6% for a conventional fixed 30-year mortgage. Taxes. The part of your monthly payment that goes toward property taxes charged by your local government. Typically, a portion of these taxes are collected in every mortgage payment and funds are held in an escrow account for tax payments made on your behalf as they become due. Insurance. The part of your monthly payment that pays for homeowners or hazard insurance, which provides protection against losses from property damage due to wind, fire, or other risks. Like taxes, insurance costs are usually collected and paid from an escrow account. Depending upon your property location, property type, and loan amount, you may have other monthly or annual expenses such as mortgage insurance, flood insurance, PMI insurance and/or homeowner association fees. The mortgage calculator we have included on our site takes these portions of your payment into consideration. In addition to the above charges, it also allows you to include the following items into your payment. PMI: (Private mortgage insurance) is a type of mortgage insurance you might be required to pay for if you have a conventional loan. Like other kinds of mortgage insurance, PMI protects the lender—not you—if you stop making payments on your loan. Unless you are able to put 20% down on a home your lender may force you to secure private mortgage insurance (PMI) prior to signing off on the loan. PMI premiums can range from 0.2% to over 1% of the loan amount per year, paid in monthly installments. HOA: (Homeowner’s Association) is an organization that makes and enforces rules to maintain a neighborhood, subdivision or building. Members of the HOA pay a fee in exchange for the HOA to maintain common areas, establish rules and sometimes provide amenities. These fees may be due monthly, quarterly, or yearly. This amount is usually not included in your mortgage but may be used in determine debt to income ratio by the lender. What our mortgage calculator doesn’t consider is Discount Points and Origination Charges. These fees should be discussed with your lender but may impact your final mortgage amounts. And finally, a better question is how much money can you borrow for a house? An important metric that your lender uses to calculate the amount of money you can borrow is the DTI (Debt to Income) ratio — comparing your total monthly debts (for example, your mortgage payments including insurance, property tax payments, PMI, Association Fees) to your monthly pre-tax income. Lenders typically say the ideal front-end ratio (amount for housing) should be no more than 28 percent, and the back-end ratio including all expenses (housing, credit cards, car payments, other loans, etc), should be 36 percent or lower. In reality, depending on your credit score, savings, assets and down payment, lenders may accept higher ratios, depending on the type of loan you're applying for. For conventional loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, lenders now accept a DTI ratio as high as 50 percent. That means half of your monthly income is going toward housing expenses and recurring monthly debt obligations. To determine the front-end ratio, take your total monthly income multiplied by 0.28. (Example; If you total monthly income is $4,500 (before taxes), multiply $4,500 x .28 = $1,260. Use this as a guide for estimated total monthly payments-mortgage portion only. You also need to add in the amount for monthly taxes, insurance and PMI if putting less than 20% down. The determine the back-end ratio take your total debt amount and divide it by your income. For instance, if your debt costs $2,000 per month and your monthly income equals $4,500, your DTI is $2,000 ÷ $4,500, or 44 percent. Total debts should include your current house or rent payment, any HOA fees, auto loan payments, student loan payments, child support or alimony payment, credit card payments and personal loan payments. The following expenses should be excluded from your monthly debt payment calculations. (Utility costs, Health insurance premiums, Transportation costs, Savings account contributions, 401(k) or IRA contributions, Entertainment, food and clothing costs). Both ratios are usually factored in when a lender says they’re considering a borrower’s DTI. Use the above calculations as a guide, however, the actual amount could be higher.

bottom of page