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We know that buying a home is a big financial and time committment, and you’re likely to have many questions about the home buying process. Here are a few of our most frequently asked questions about buying a home.


What are the advantages of buying a home?

Owning a home is a great way to build equity, take control of your living situation, and invest in your family and community.

Why should I work with a real estate agent?

Buying a home will most likely be the largest purchase you will make, and you deserve to be represented throughout the transaction.  At Gillis Realty, we take this responsibility very seriously and look forward to helping you find the home that is best for you.  As your real estate agent, we will walk you through every part of the home buying process and negotiate

 hard to help you achieve the best terms and will do our best to manage the transaction—always keeping your best interest in mind, through the day of closing.

How much do I have to pay my REALTOR as a homebuyer?

 In 9 out of 10 cases, the listing broker has agreed to cooperate with and pay the buyer’s agent a commission.  That means you have full representation at no out-of-pocket expense to you and it does not inflate the cost of the home!  Research has shown that consumers who work with a buyer’s agent receive a better value than those who don’t.

Is there a difference between a real estate agent and a REALTOR?

Yes, a REALTOR is a real estate agent who holds membership in the national, state, and local real estate boards.  A REALTOR is held to a higher standard of ethics and a strict code of conduct. You can read the Code of Ethics of the National Association of REALTORS here.  All of the real estate agents at Gillis Realty are REALTORS, and are involved in as many as 20 steps to complete a real estate transaction. Additionally, our agents will help you with pricing strategies and negotiation skills—helping you get the most out of your money. We know the most current local market conditions and will work with you to make sure you have the tools you need to make a confident purchasing decision.

Whats the first step in the home buying process?

The Mortgage Pre-Approval. Unless you are paying cash for a house, you will have to get a mortgage. In order to know how much home you can afford, you will need to get pre-approved for a loan.

Most lenders follow these two rules to determine how much you can afford for your home and mortgage:

  • Your monthly mortgage payment should not exceed 25% of your gross monthly income.

  • Your maximum debt load, including your home, should not exceed 30% of your income.

Try using a mortgage calculator to figure out approximately how much house you can afford in different loan and rate scenarios.


If you’re worried that you have too much debt to qualify for a loan—don’t worry! As your REALTOR, we will help you find a home buying program that fits your needs and will get you into the home you’ve always wanted. Remember, a home is an investment.

What is the difference between being prequalified and being preapproved for a mortgage?

Prequalification is an informal determination by a lending professional that estimates how much mortgage you can afford. This will help guide your home search to the correct price range.

Preapproval is a written guarantee by a lender or mortgage broker to grant you a loan up to a specified amount. It is a good idea to get preapproved before submitting an offer; sellers will take your offer more seriously than an offer from someone who is only prequalified.

Where should I buy a home?

 The best thing to do is find a community that provides what is important to you. Are you looking for the best education for your children? Would you like to be close to shopping malls or public transportation? Or do you prefer a community in a more rural area with peace and privacy? Above all, make sure you are in a neighborhood that you can live comfortably and enjoyably. We can help you during this process and provide you with resources of communities in the area to help you choose the one that’s right for you.

How long does it take to buy a house?

The timeline for finding a house varies greatly from person to person. Once you find a house and have an accepted offer, it usually takes around 30-45 days to close.

Should I have a home inspection?

Yes. The home inspections give the buyers an overall idea of the condition of a home before officially buying it. They can find problems which may have otherwise been missed when you visited the property and give buyers a peace of mind about a home they want to buy, assuring them it is in good condition. Home inspections can be used for negotiating in a closing as well as let buyers be aware of any maintenance needing to be done in the future. 

When do I get the keys?

Under normal circumstances, you will get the keys at the closing. A closing typically takes about an hour. In some cases, the lender will need time to fund the loan and you will need to pick up the keys after the loan has been funded.

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