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Most Frequently Asked Questions In My Career As A Real Estate Agent

As a Real Estate Agent in the Greater Lafayette and West Lafayette area for over the last 13 years, I have been asked several questions about the home buying/selling process. I thought I would create a list to help, and get the information out there to you.

If you have a question that is not on this list, let me know! I will happily answer your question and add it to our list. Because if you are asking, you are not the only one who wants to know. 

What is the difference between appraisal and inspection? 

An appraisal is conducted by an appraiser to give the monetary value of a home based on today’s market. The appraiser is typically hired by the buyer’s lender, to gain an unbiased opinion of the home’s value. 

An inspection is performed by an inspector to gauge the condition of the home and look for items that affect the health, safety and longevity of the home. The inspector is hired by the buyer of the home to make them aware of the condition of the home they are potentially purchasing. 

What happens during a closing? 

The closing is the last step in the home buying process. This typically happens at a Title Company and is where the ownership is officially transferred and recorded. This article will explain more in depth of what to expect at closing. 

Why is my assessed value different from my appraised value?

The assessed value of your home is determined for property tax purposes. The appraised value is the fair market value of the home that a buyer would be willing to pay. As the appraised value of your home increases so will the assessed value, therefore increasing your property taxes. 

How accurate is the Zillow estimate?

I feel the Zillow estimates are not always accurate. Zillow estimates do not factor in the condition of the home, any improvements made or current market trends. The best way to learn your home’s value is to have a professional, like me, come and tour your home to perform a Consumer Market Analysis to give you the most accurate information. 

How do I get an appraisal?

If you are financing the purchase of a home, your lender will order the appraisal on your behalf using a third party appraiser. After the appraisal is complete you can ask for a copy of the appraisal report for more information about the property. If you are the owner of a home, and would like an appraisal of your property, you can contact local appraisal companies to order one yourself for your own personal information.

What is a Seller’s Market?

A “Seller’s Market” is when there are more buyers in the market looking for homes than there are homes available. This creates more competition amongst buyers, creating multiple offer scenarios thus driving home prices up. A “Seller’s Market” is ideal for selling homes because they typically sell quickly with higher prices. 

What is a Buyer’s Market? 

A “Buyer’s Market” is when there are more homes on the market than there are buyers looking to purchase. This creates more competition amongst home owners to sell their homes. Home prices tend to be lower as the home owners are trying to attract buyers. A “Buyer’s market is ideal for buying homes because prices tend to be lower and there are more homes on the market to choose from. 

Do I need a final walk through? 

I do recommend buyers to have a final walk through of the home before closing. This is the buyer’s final visual review to ensure that all agreed upon changes, repairs and activities have been completed and that the house is empty.

When do I need to set up utilities?
As always, utilities will need to be scheduled to be turned off in advance at least 3 days prior to closing. Please do NOT wait until the day of closing to schedule them to turn off. Allow 3 business days for the switch over.  Some sellers will choose to have the utilities shut off for the day of closing. Sometimes sellers will have them shut off the day after closing to allow the buyer to get the utilities registered in their name. Most commonly the challenging utility is water for buyers.  Helpful phone numbers are linked to help you with this process.

What is Earnest Money? 

Earnest money are funds that the buyer agrees to provide, to show good faith in the purchase of a home. Typically this is a percentage of the purchase price. Once the deal gets to the closing table these funds are credited to the buyer’s purchase of the home. However, if the deal falls apart before closing, the earnest money could go to the seller or sometimes back to the buyer depending on the situation. 

Do I, the seller, need to be present for the home inspection? 

The seller does not need to be present for the home inspection. This is the buyer’s opportunity to have their hired inspector tour and check the house. It is best if the homeowner is not present, to give the inspector the space they need to do their job. The inspector will schedule the inspection, and access the home in the same way other agents did during the showing process.

How does it usually go for the homeowner for the payment since we still owe some on our mortgage? 

Typically the title company will communicate with you to obtain your mortgage information, contact your lender and calculate your payoff amount. At closing your current mortgage will be paid from the proceeds of your sale. (The title company handles this) The figures will be outlined in the settlement statement. You will receive a copy of the settlement statement before closing to double check the figures and be sure everything is correct. 

After the mortgage is paid off, you should receive a letter from your lender stating the loan is paid in full, and closed. 

If you have a payment due before closing, it would be best to contact your mortgage company to see how they want to handle that, as they are all different. Typically, most encourage the borrower to make the payments on time. 

If you have more questions about the process the title company performs to pay the mortgage, I encourage you to speak with the processors working on your transaction.


For current market information for your Lafayette and West Lafayette communities or a free consultation, contact The Aimee Ness Realty Group Lafayette Indiana. Our team with over 10 years of local experience, has your back to find your dream home, or sell your current home. 

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