Top real estate questions and answers you need to know before buying a home

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with RealEstateAgent.com

We wanted to make an article showcasing some of the most searched queries of our real estate questions page, however, it would be no fun to just list them and talk about it. You know us, we’re all about the challenges of writing in fun fresh ways.

So, here’s the concept behind this one:

We’ll try to make a story with an imaginary home buyer stumbling upon all of those questions (we’ll link them so you can go more in-depth when necessary) and make it fun.

 

Here are our Top Real Estate Questions for 2019 for you to follow and every time one of those appears you can mentally cross it off your head:

1- Who pays the real estate agent?
2- Do I need Flood Insurance?

3- What is the difference between a condominium and an apartment?
4- What is the difference between an apartment and a flat?

5- What does it mean when a home is sold “AS IS”?

6- Can I convert a warehouse into a home?

7- What is cash offer?


Ok? Put yourself in her shoes, maybe you will learn that some of her questions are the same as yours! Let’s do this:

Gabrielle Gutemberg was a 30-something gal from Texas living in Arizona when her life took a sharp turn and all she could do was cry. But truth be told it wasn’t the first time that happened.

Her mom and dad weren’t very much present in her life due to a silly thing: she decided to skip college in order to pursue a hip-hop career. Her suburban parents were mad about it and tried to do anything they could to put some sense in her head. In their mind, there was no future in hip-hop – especially for a sweet blonde freckled girl like “Gabby-G”. And, in a way, they were right. She left Texas and headed to California hitchhiking with no money, doing some graffiti paintings here, some musical gigs there, sharing a van with her boyfriend (and producer) “Tommy-T”… but the hip-hop dream was soon overpowered by reality. Tommy-T changed Gabby-G for Tina-T (a spicy J-Lo-like singer), and Gabby, filled with rage, waited outside a Tina-T concert to get the van and fly away with it. She drove (crying) all the way to Arizona until the van ran out of gas.

She stayed there. Parked the van at a mobile home park and was ready to put the past behind. Spent 3 years working (and crying) at a Walmart, two years waitressing (and crying), and one driving a borrowed Lyft. Not crying so much; she liked driving around and talking with people.

That’s when it happened: a very lame tech-startup she painted some also very lame murals almost ten years back in California did its IPO and suddenly, Gabby - who acquired some minimal shares of the company because they were too cheap to pay it accordingly - suddenly had more money than she ever had in her hand!

Did she cry? You bet. Tears of joy this time.

After more than a decade living in a van, finally having a nice steady relationship, she knew one thing she wanted to do with that money: buy a home. And maybe a place to make a business out of it? Somewhere she could host musical gigs but also graffiti stuff? She was a bit lost… had a vague idea of it.

So she did what most people that want to do something (but don’t know how to) do: went online and searched and searched. But to every real estate answer she got, another real estate question was created. Overwhelmed, she cried.

Gabby understood right off the bat that she needed a real estate agent because she knew nothing about this, real estate is a very unique business in its dealings. But one real estate question was hammering stronger than others:

 

Who pays the real estate agent?

 

Gabby never had a dime to spend, so she was really self-conscious about it. It was like a God-given miracle that money she earned and she felt a tremendous responsibility towards it. Afraid to make one mistake and lose it all the same way she earned it all: suddenly.

So her first worrying was related to the issue of who pays the real estate agent and how much does a real estate agent make. She didn’t want to lose money. And it’s a bit ridiculous because, although she soon learned that the answer to the question of “who pays the real estate agent” is, in a way, both the home seller and the home buyer, she felt losing money because she couldn’t help but including the real estate commission in her costs. She couldn’t help but imagine that a $120,000 house would actually cost around $112,800, excluding the real estate commission.
Knowing she was way in over her head and desperately needed the aid of a real estate agent, Gabby hired Real Estate Agent Rodney and, after asking thousands of real estate questions to the poor fella, gave him the mission to start looking for ways to make the whole thing cheaper in her pockets.

First thing Rodney suggested, considering she had a lot of money at her disposal, was for her to consider a cash offer.

“What is cash offer?” - Gabby asked.

 

Poor Gabby. Completely clueless. But understandable… real estate was something completely foreign to her. She never imagined she would be in this spot.

After Rodney explained what is cash offer, and how doing one could convince the home seller to sell the property for less… she still didn’t feel confident about it. She never had money and all of a sudden, in one swing, she would “lose” half of it?!

No. Gabby decided to go the mortgage route. Her credit score was decent. By having a mortgage she could “feel” rich longer. She deserved that foreign feeling longer.

On the way out of the meeting with Rodney where she told him about her refusal of a cash offer, Gabby saw the most beautiful house. It was all white with big pillars at the entryway, a nice lawn… and a big sign saying “$200,000 sell AS IS”. She quickly called Rodney:

“What does it mean when a home is sold as is?”


“Axis?” – Rodney asked over the phone. Gabby had a thick southern accent.

“No, dum-dum! What does it mean when a home is sold as is? I just saw a for sale sign saying a 4 bedroom house costs $200,000 dollars as is. I don’t know what that means but that price is amazing!”

“Well, it means the house should be sold the way it currently is. The home seller is not willing to do any renovations nor fix any defects on the home.”

“That’s it?! Pfff… let’s make an offer on that house right now!”

“I should warn you, though, Gabby: if any problem comes up with the home inspection you will have to deal with it. And you told me you want to use the home as a studio and a commercial place… an old house like the one you described is likely to encounter a lot of problems regarding sound and heat insulation that one music studio requires; not to mention the liability should you turn into a mixed-use property, living in it and doing commercial stuff, so… I’ll take a look at the property but trust in me, let me get you some other options, ok?”

Gabby said yes. But deep down she was already tired of all of that. The real estate questions weren’t even the worst part of it; it was the uncertainty of it all. She thought money would solve things, but it seemed to do the contrary. At her van, alone, she cried and longed for simpler times. Why was everything so hard?!, she asked herself.

Rodney came back with some options. In that area, for the price that Gabby was searching, the best he could find was a condominium. But if she was serious about using her home as commercial property as well, she would have to spend some money soundproofing the place because neighbors would freak out. Not to mention he had another client from that condo and knew the homeowners association there was pretty rigid, so he wasn’t really sure about it. Rodney gave the option to get two flats and buy them both so one floor could be used for commercial purposes and the other just as Gabby’s residence.

Gabby freaked out. It was too much information.

“Rodney! This is just too much. I’m sorry. Maybe I should stop this craziness. I’ll just buy a new mobile home, it’s much easier. No real estate questions anymore! I’ll just enjoy the money I have left…”

“Calm down, Gabby. The process is like this… but we’re progressing!”

“Progressing?! I’ve been working with you for two months and every time I talk with you things get crazier and my dream seems more distant!”

“No, I can assure you. Everyone’s process is different but it does take time…”

“I’m just… I’m not prepared for this!”

“That’s why I’m here!”

“You say condo, apartment, flat… I’m not fit for that! I don’t know what is the difference between a condominium and an apartment! Much less what is the difference between an apartment and a flat!

“Gabby, Gabby! Breathe! Listen… You sound like you need someone to talk to. I can’t go to you because I’m stuck at this thing I’m doing close by the lake. But I’ll be over in a bit. Could you come over and we’ll talk more about it?”

Desperate, Gabby came to meet Rodney.

He was at a warehouse doing some evaluation of a property for a commercial real estate client. But it wasn’t the right fit for him. Gabby, however, thought that was one cool location. That’s when it hit her:

Can I convert a warehouse into a home?” – she asked Rodney with her eyes dazzling with elation due to the future she could foresee.

“Well… yes. You will have to do some heat insulation – don’t have to worry too much with noise pollution because there aren’t a lot of people here near this lake – but, as a matter of fact: yes! You can convert a warehouse into a home! That might be a great idea, actually, Gabby!”

“I’ll learn how to reduce noise pollution by myself so I can save money!” – said Gabby quickly, being the “auntie scrooge” life taught her to be.

“Well, it won’t be a problem budget-wise because the owner is not asking too much. It’s an old guy with no family, he’s just trying to make some bucks to cover his medical bills. We can low ball him.”

“Let me talk to him directly! I’m feeling pumped to even make a cash offer if he lowers the price because this is just perfect! I’m feeling something about this place” – said Gabby with an excitement last seen when she was first starting out in California.

But then, right after she said “Hello” into the phone, the most magical thing happened:

“Gabby?! G-Gabby, my dear, is that you?”

The owner of that warehouse was Gabby’s father!

Gabby, of course, started crying right away.

If that wasn’t the destiny—what else could it be?

They reconnected. Her father was too proud – actually, they both were – to let Gabby not pay for the warehouse, but he cut a nicer price and Gabby soon flew her Dad and Mom to live with her in the warehouse by the lake. Hip-hop was present not with music but with the graffiti workshops she started putting on for teens.

When she signed the contract, Gabby asked Rodney: “Hold on, one more thing! We’re close by the lake. Do I need flood insurance?”

And while Rodney was considering his answer, Gabby replied herself:

“You know what; I think I have the answer to this question. If not for the lake; for the number of times I cry. Yes; I better get some flood insurance!” – she quipped.

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