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Bruce Clark from the Clark Group and Coldwell Banker: 949.285.1207: Orange County's Leading Luxury Home Broker

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 » REAL ESTATE FAQ'S

Table of Contents
What should I look for it a Realtor?
Above all else, you should find someone who has honesty, integrity, experience, and knowledge. These are the 4 most important items to first consider and are critical to the process, linchpins of how the Clark Group conducts business. Naturally, you will also want to find someone with whom you are comfortable, someone you can trust to assist you through the process of buying or selling. To contact us, please click here or click here for our feedback form.

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What can a team offer that a single agent - or other team - may not?
Some Realtors specialize in representing only buyers; others only sellers. And some only work on a referral basis. There are specialties that are available to agents in terms of education and designations, and areas of specific interest that can develop into expertise. We represent both buyers, sellers and those looking to lease in not only residential but also investment real estate. We believe this allows us to better represent our clients since we stay abreast of multiple trends and don't limit our breadth of knowledge to just one small segment of the real estate market.

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What does "Multiple Listing Service" (MLS) mean?
Just about all real estate agencies cooperate with other agencies in showing and selling their specific listings. When one decides to sell property, one finds an agent to work for them in the marketing and sale of their property. When the agent has obtained a signed listing agreement, the property is entered into the MLS database (and reciprocal MLS databases if necessary). MLS information is also distributed to Internet sites as well. If you are searching for property to buy, the agent you have chosen to represent you is in a position to show you all property, whether listed with that agent's office or another. In most cases, the listing agency has agreed to share their commission with the selling agency.

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What is a buyer's agent?
A real estate agent who is working on his/her buyer's behalf, representing that buyer-client and advocating for that client's interest. A buyer's agent, under a buyer's agency agreement with the buyer, acts solely on behalf of the buyer. Buyer's agents will disclose to the buyer known information about the seller which may be used to benefit the buyer.

The duties of a buyer's agent include:
  • Promoting the best interest of the buyers.
  • Fully disclosing to the buyer all facts that might affect or influence the buyer's decision to tender an offer to purchase.
  • Keeping confidential the buyer's motivations for buying.
  • Presenting all offers on behalf of the buyer.
  • Disclosing to the buyer all information about the willingness of the seller to complete the sale or to accept a lower price.
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What is a seller's agent?
A seller's agent is someone who is representing the seller in the sale of their home under a listing agreement. By law, a seller's agent must disclose material facts about the property, including items such as structural problems, water damage and other facts that are material to the purchase. A seller's agent cannot disclose personal or confidential information about the seller unless the seller has authorized the agent to release the information.

The duties of a seller's agent include:
  • Promoting the best interest of the seller.
  • Fully disclosing to the seller all facts that might affect or influence the seller's decision to accept an offer to purchase.
  • Keeping confidential the seller's motivations for selling and any other personal information.
  • Presenting all offers to the seller.
  • Disclosing the identities of all buyers and all information about the willingness of those buyers to complete the sale or to offer a higher price.
  • Disclosing to potential buyers all required information.
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When should I find a bank or mortgage company?
We recommend that, before you begin your house hunting, you contact a lender. If you don't have a preferred lender, email us or call the Clark Group at 949-285-1207 and we will put you in touch with my preferred lenders and loan officers. There are many different loan programs available, both "conventional" and "government", and many lending institutions offer a wide variety of loan programs, which is why we believe it is important to contact a lender before beginning the house hunting process.

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How do I make an offer after I find the right property?
The agent you select to represent you will need to fill out a Purchase Agreement, plus the buyer must sign an Agency Agreement, a Statewide Buyer/Seller Advisory, and any other forms required by law to tender an offer to purchase real estate. These California Association of Realtors (CAR) approved forms contain contingencies for inspections, financing, title search, and allows for additional concerns/items that pertain to your purchase. After the offer is presented to the seller(s) by their listing agent (or representative of that agent), the sellers response should be communicated to you within the timeframe indicated on the offer. Many times, there will be will counter offers involved: the original offer is acceptable except for certain items that will be addressed by the seller. This could involve the price and/or terms of the offer. Terms could include the Close of Escrow (COE) date, who pays what fees, the amount of the initial deposit, and other important issues. The negotiation process may be quick and easy, or it may be tedious and require an extended period of time. Whatever the case, a good agent will work with you every step of the way to fully explain the offer(s).

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After I find a home to buy, how long does it take?
Once you reach an agreement to purchase the home, typical financing takes between 30 and 60 days to "close" the transaction. During that time, the lender will be receiving documentation verifying information which you provide to them at the time of loan application. They will be gathering information pertaining to the property as well, such as the appraisal of value and the title documentation from the title company who does the title search. After acceptance of the offer to purchase, the buyer will have many more forms to negotiate, including the Transfer Disclosure Statement (TDS), Seller Questionnaire, Lead Paint Disclosure, Smoke Detector and Water Heater Disclosure, and others.

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Is it important to have a home inspected?
We always recommend one have a home inspection when purchasing a home. Each home has characteristics of its own, some which may be considered to be problems to one buyer and not to another. Sellers are required to provide property disclosures to the buyer, but there may be issues developing that they know nothing about. Inspections usually take 2 - 3 hours, and are valuable not only from the aspect of diagnosing defects but also from the educational value you gain from learning about the home you wish to buy. It is also good to learn what maintenance needs to be done so as to keep problems from developing in the future. Inspections which are most frequently performed include, but are not limited to, general building inspection (covers structure, electrical, plumbing, and basic heating systems), septic systems, wells, pest, radon (both air quality and water levels), lead, and water quality. A developing area of concern pertains to mold. There are inspections available for this, and you should consult your home inspector with questions and concern about mold.

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What is the difference between an inspection and an appraisal?
A home inspection is typically required by the financing institution. An appraisal is always required. The home inspections are to discover/learn everything that you can about the home you wish to buy. The appraisal is done by a licensed appraiser, chosen by the lender, to verify the property value. (It is said many times that the job of the buyer is to discover and the job of the seller is to disclose.)

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