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For Home Sellers Frequently Asked Questions, go here.

Home Buyers Frequently Asked Questions

Q.  What are the steps to buying a home in Las Vegas?

A.  Here are the must-do steps to take when you buy a new or resale home here in Las Vegas.    

1. Six months before you plan to buy a home, check out your credit report.  If you find any problems or errors on it, take steps immediately to clear them up.  A good credit rating can mean a lower interest rate and a lower payments for your new home -- saving you a great deal of money over the years.

2. Talk to a lender--before you start house-hunting to find out the amount of a loan you can qualify for. You can save a lot of time by knowing from the outset what price range you can afford.  When you apply for a home loan, ask for a ... [more]

Q.  Who pays for what fees and costs when buying a home in Las Vegas?

A.  There are some customary allocations of costs involved with the sale and purchase of a home in Las Vegas and Clark County.  For a list of what buyers and sellers usually pay for, click here.

Q. What is a "Good Faith Estimate"?

A. This federal government document, required for most loans, requires the lender to list and disclose all costs for your loan upfront, including their fees, closing costs, points, appraisal, etc.  It was developed to eliminate last minute loan surprises.  Be sure to insist that you receive a Good Faith Estimate when you apply for the loan. The actual lender -- not the broker -- must give it to you within 3 days of your application.

Q.  What is earnest money?

A.  Earnest money is a deposit that a prospective buyer makes to show that he/she is serious about buying a property.  The more expensive the home, the larger the earnest money deposit usually is.  Once a sales contract has been agreed to by the seller and buyer, the buyer's earnest money check is deposited in the escrow account as part of the down payment on the home.

Q. What is escrow and why does it take so long?

A. When a purchase contract has been agreed to by both buyer and seller, that contract along with the earnest money are given to the escrow company, an impartial third party that can only take action based on instructions from both buyer and seller.

After escrow is open, the escrow officer begins to assemble all documents required to complete the terms of the contract.  For example, the officer gets current property tax records to determine how much property tax each party will pay.  The escrow company also need proof of the buyer's homeowners insurance, all the paperwork and money for the buyers' loan.  It sometimes seems as if there are hundreds of pieces of paper and disclosures that need to be signed!  

Finally, after all documents are collected and signed by all parties and the money arrives from the lender, escrow closes.  Both buyers and sellers get a final accounting of all money.  Then the sellers get the money, the buyers get the keys to their new home!

Q. What is a FICO score?  What does it have to do with buying a home?

A.  FICO is an abbreviation for the Fair, Isaac Company which developed a mathematical model to predict credit risk of consumers.  Using the FICO formula, credit bureaus come up with a number that is assigned to you based on your credit history.  Essentially, each time you are late with a payment, your score goes down. When you pay your bills on time, your FICO score goes up. Your aim should always be to have as high a score as you can.  The higher your score the more likely you will qualify for a loan and the lower your home loan interest rate.  And these days most banks require a very high score before they will even consider making a loan to you.

For an online tour of the best Las Vegas neighborhoods, go here.

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