Real Estate FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions from Home Buyers and Sellers
Whether you’re a first-time home buyer or looking to sell your home, chances are you have plenty of questions. While the realtors of RE/MAX Service First are always happy to field questions in person or over the phone, we have provided a list of the most commonly asked real estate questions along with our expert answers. This section offers as a convenient and quick resource to accommodate your busy life.
Even if you don’t find the answer to the question you have, you’re bound to find something useful here. You can also submit your questions to us. From time to time, we may even feature a reader’s question in our blog.
What do I need to know before I sell my Wisconsin house?
You’ll always want to start the home selling process by contacting our local realtors for assistance. Before putting your home on the market, you’ll want to know how other homes in the area have sold. With RE/MAX Service First, we provide a free market analysis to show you the value of local homes and how they have sold. This will determine the best listing price for your home.
Next, you’ll want to begin staging your home for open houses and tours. You’ll want to make your house as presentable as possible for interested buyers. Our realtors have plenty of experience preparing homes for visitors.
In Wisconsin, sellers must disclose information about flaws with the home to potential buyers. This would include mentioning leaks, water damage, electrical problems, or other issues. Even though sharing this information may seem detrimental to the sale of your home, it is legally required. Failure to disclose can result in lawsuits from the buyers.
Finally, check to see if your property has an liens which would complicate the sale. While a home can still be sold with a lien against it, the amount will be taken out of your closing cost profits.
Can I sell a home I own but am renting out to tenants in Wisconsin?
There are ways to sell a home if you currently have renters present. The first step will be to communicate with them about your plans. Otherwise, they can negatively influence the sale by refusing to cooperate with visitations and open houses.
You may have to wait until their lease is up before selling the property. In most areas, a minimum of 30 days’ notice is necessary before forcing a tenant to move out.
If you are selling to another landlord, the situation may be easier on your tenants since they won't be displaced. Selling directly to your current renters is another possible solution.
Can I sell property around my home without selling the house?
Subdividing and selling parcels of land around your home will depend on the size of the lots created and their location relative to roads and utilities. You’ll have to check zoning requirements in your area to make sure you have enough land to be divided at acceptable sizes. You will need to have the land surveyed and pay for various inspections and permits to subdivide your land. There may be rules on how the land can be developed as well, limiting your potential buyers.
Can I sell a house which is in disrepair?
Yes, homes can be sold in any condition "as is". However, such a sale will be difficult to pull off as buyers will be hard to attract. Occasionally, deals can be made where the price of the home is lowered to make up the difference of repair costs. In some cases, the buyer may request the repairs be completed before closing the sale. It may be harder for buyers to get loans if the home is not livable and requires extensive work.
Can I sell my home if there is a lien against it?
Yes, homes can be sold with a lien against them. As with mortgages, the lien must be paid off at the time of sale. The amount can be settled using proceeds from the sale of the house. If there is not enough to pay the balance, selling the home will be difficult since very few buyers are willing to take a risk on a property with a lien.
How do I know if I need a short sale?
A short sale is when the sale of the home’s proceeds are less than the payoff of loans, liens, or mortgages against the property. You will need one if there is no way for you to pay the remaining balance.
Can I sell my home if I have a reverse mortgage?
Yes, homes with a reverse mortgage can be sold at any time. The loan and interest must be paid off over the course of the sale.
Can I sell my home if I have a mortgage?
Yes, you can still sell your home if you have a mortgage. It is very common, as most mortgages last for 30 years and there are plenty of reasons for someone to move in that time. You will have to pay off the remainder of the mortgage. You can either pay yourself or take out a loan. Many homeowners use the money from the sale of the house to cover the difference. It may mean less of a profit, but it removes your old mortgage. A realtor from RE/MAX Service First will help you get the most out of your sale to help cover your mortgage.
If you cannot cover the remaining mortgage, you may have to arrange a short sale.
Can I sell my home if I have a second mortgage?
Yes, you can sell a home with a second mortgage. However, it may be more difficult than if you just had one mortgage to deal with. You will need to pay off both mortgages, either using money from the sale of the house, another loan, or savings.
If you cannot cover the remaining mortgage, you may have to arrange a short sale.
What do I need to know before buying land in Wisconsin?
Land for sale in Wisconsin has many potential uses. You don’t want to get too far into the buying process without having as much information as possible. RE/MAX Service First will inform you about each of our land listings so you know everything about the property.
Make sure you know how the property is zoned. Some land may only be for commercial use while others are agricultural or residential. If you plan on building a new home, you’ll want to know which permits you’ll need and how to get utilities. Our realtors will gladly tell you about any potential neighbors, zoning ordinances, and other construction in the area.
You’ll want to be check how accessible the property is. Wisconsin land for sale can be very remote with limited access. We list how many acres each property is to give you an idea of how much space you will have.
If you have any additional questions about buying land in Wisconsin, just contact the realtors of RE/MAX Service First.
Who is part of RE/MAX Service First?
RE/MAX Service First is a group of local Waukesha realtors with decades of real estate experience. We are able to act as buying and selling agents for our clients.
How is a realtor different from a real estate agent?
A real estate agent can be anyone with a real estate license. They are able to assist in the buying and selling of property. They must with a licensed broker, someone who has passed the broker’s license exam. As a result, real estate agents tend to have less freedom since they require supervision of a broker.
Realtors are real estate agents who have been approved for membership in the National Association of Realtors. To maintain membership, they must follow a strict code of ethics not required of regular real estate agents.
The real estate agents of RE/MAX Service First are all realtors.
What does it mean if a selling agent is also a buying agent?
If a selling agent is also a buying agent, it means the real estate agent in question can work on both sides of the real estate market. For the realtors of RE/MAX Service First, this means we are able to help you sell your current house and buy a new one.
Are there advantages to working with a realtor who has experience buying and selling?
The short answer is yes.
The longer answer: Having a real estate agent who has worked on both sides of the market is incredibly helpful, especially to first-time home buyers or sellers. The realtors of RE/MAX Service First understand how to negotiate a fair deal between buyers and sellers since we have worked with both before.
What if my offer is rejected?
If your offer is rejected this does not mean that you must move on. There are typically four responses to an offer: accepted offer, counter offer, rejected offer and a final offer that is not responded to. If your offer is rejected you can then make a new offer if they do not counter offer.
How should I price my home when putting it on the market?
There are various factors to consider when pricing your home. A home should be priced to sell. RE/MAX Service First provides a free comparative market analysis which looks at all comparable homes in your neighborhood. This knowledge will assist with getting the best price for your home. It’s important for home sellers to not over price their home. Over pricing could lead to many missed opportunities prolonging the sale of your home and ultimately devaluing your home.
Do I need a real estate agent?
It is not required that home buyers or sellers have an agent yet it is highly recommended. A realtor will assist with all legality issues when it comes to buying or selling your home. Making certain all necessary paperwork is handled properly will ensure your final transaction runs smoothly.
What can I do to sell my home fast?
Being a motivated seller will significantly increase your chances of selling your home. Listing your home with a price to sell will attract more potential buyers. Keeping your home well maintained is also a key contributor.
- Upkeep of your home's exterior and interior
- Making certain your home is available for showings as needed
- Locking up pets for showings
- Ensuring pet odors and other strong odors are removed
- Remove any clutter – more space is better
How many homes should we look at before putting an offer in on a home?
There is no right answer to this question. When you find the home right for you, we recommend making an offer. Homes sell fast so it’s important that homebuyers move just as fast.
Do I need to sell my home before buying another home?
There are no penalties against owning two homes, yet it’s important to determine beforehand whether you can afford two mortgages. When putting your home on the market and deciding to purchase another home, homeowners must be financially prepared in the event their home doesn’t sell. Many times, homeowners will only purchase a home with a contingency that their existing home will sell. In the event your home doesn’t sell then you are not legally required to move forward with the new home purchase.
What is a short sale?
A short sale is when the sale of the home’s proceeds are less than the balance of debts secured by liens against the property and the homeowner cannot afford to pay the liens in full. When considering a short sale, it’s important to be flexible. A short sale may take an unpredictable amount of time to complete with no guaranteed closing date.
What do I need to consider when purchasing a home?
There are many factors to consider when purchasing a home and depending on what’s important to you will determine what to look for. Below are some factors to consider:
- If you have children, considering the neighborhood and school district is often a top reason to choose a particular area.
- The cost of the home and whether or not you can afford it is also a key factor when deciding on a home.
- Is there enough room for your family to grow?
- If you like to entertain, do you have the space?
- Whether or not the home is a fixer upper or is move-in ready. If you do not have the finances to take on a fixer upper, then a newer home is best.
Before you start looking for homes, it’s important to discuss needs and wants with your realtor. Your search criteria can then be filtered to provide a more efficient home search process.
Is buying better than renting?
Yes, if you are both financially and mentally ready. Buying a home has many short and long term advantages. You are not only building equity, you have home to call yours.
What should I look for during the final walk-through?
Considering this will be the first time you see your new home without any furniture, it’s important to check areas which may have been hidden before like corner walls and floors. It’s also important to verify all work required and agreed on after inspection was completed.
Do I really need to test for radon?
Yes. Radon is an invisible radioactive gas which has no smell or taste. As soil decays, gas is released letting off radioactive particles which then get circulated throughout a home. Risk of radon exposure is a leading cause of lung cancer. It is extremely important to test your home for radon prior to moving in.