(800) 279-2211  
(520) 906-0168  
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Gene Thiel CRS, GRI, RIS
Long Realty
3777 E. Broadway, #100
Tucson, Arizona 85716
Office: (520) 918-5158
Cell phone: (520) 906-0168
Toll free: 1-800-279-2211
Web: www.tucsonishome.com
e-mail: gene@tucsonishome.com

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: I don't have good credit. Can I still buy a home and what should I do?

Q: If I can find homes for sale or list my own home for sale on the Internet, why do I need a real estate agent?

Q: What is Earnest Money?

Q: What should I offer for a property?

Q: What are the tax advantages of home ownership?

Q: What is the difference between list and sales prices, and how do they relate to the appraised value?

Q: What can I expect for utility bills?

Q: What are the special benefits, if any, of using a Realtor® with a CRS designation?

Q: When hiring a Realtor® to help me buy or sell a home, what types of questions should I ask?

Q: I don't have good credit. Can I still buy a home and what should I do?

A: Yes, you can still buy a home. There are hundreds of programs available that will allow you to buy a home. However in some cases the interest rates might be very high. I would recommend that you clean up your credit, talk to a loan officer and a real estate agent, so you can find out exactly what type of loan is available for you and what kind of properties you can purchase that will fit your budget. Above all don't be discouraged if your credit history doesn't sparkle. Here are some hints for correcting inaccuracies on your credit report:

  • Request a copy of your credit report from one or all three major credit reporting agencies: Experian (formerly TRW), Equifax or TransUnion. All have 800 numbers and can tell you wht they need. Sometimes there are inaccuracies on the report you can corect before getting too far into the loan process. Reports usually cost $3-$8 (depending on your state and report complexity), and take between 1 -3 weeks to receive. Some lenders will provide you the credit reports as part of their service.
  • For those credit issues that affect your ability to buy today, develop a budget to make your debt payments-and stick to it. If may take a year or more to clear everything up, but perseverance will pay off. Please remember a good loan officer will be able to help you in terms of which debt to take care of first and how to handle it.

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Q: If I can find homes for sale or list my own home for sale on the Internet, why do I need a real estate agent?

A: The internet and the various web sites that list homes for sale (such as mine), are fantastic resources that the professional real estate community has embraced. If you are beginning your search for a home, please visit those sites. The internet can help you zero in on a neighborhood that you like, consider and evaluate more homes in less time, and provide a wealth of information about financing a home. The services of a real estate agent or broker add value to your initial research. In preparing the home for sale, I can recommend small improvements that may add thousands of dollars to the value of the home. When advertising your home, I have access to promote your property on more sites than the average consumer. Also when selling property, one has to keep in mind there are many more ways to market the property that goes beyond the internet. I can steer you through the many steps involved in financing and closing. Help you see each home and help do all the necessary inspections to insure you are buying a sound home. And my skills as a negotiator can help you obtain the best price for a home, whether you are buying or selling.

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Q: What is Earnest Money?

A: In legal terms, it is the money pledged to show ability and intent to perform a contract. In a real estate transaction, it represents the buyer's sincerity and eagerness to purchase the home. When the buyer makes a written offer, generally the seller requires a monetary deposit. The deposit is kept in the trust account of the real estate company that is handling the listing or escrow company (3rd party) that is handling the paperwork-it's not turned over to the seller. It is totally refundable if the offer is not accepted or if some condition of the contract is not satisfied. If everything proceeds smoothly, the deposit applies in full toward the purchase price at closing.

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Q: What should I offer for a property?

A: The answer to that questions really is, how much do you want the property. As a buyers representative, I advise, that the real estate agent representing the buyer gather information about the property and the neighborhood. The agent should find properties that have sold in the area with similar features in the last 6 months. This information lets you know what the current market conditions are and what the property is worth. Other considerations need to be made, such as, how long do you plan on living in the property?

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Q: What are the tax advantages of home ownership?

A: Four key advantages are: Mortgage interest is tax deductible. Real estate taxes are tax deductible. Local tax benefits are available in many areas. You can enjoy tax-free profits of up to $500,000 from the sale of a primary
residence that you have occupied for two of the last five years if you are married and filing jointly. If you are single or married and filing separately, you can enjoy tax-free profits up to $250,000. Moreover, you can use the exclusion as often as you meet the qualifications.Mortgage interest is tax deductible.

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Q: What is the difference between list and sales prices, and how do they relate to the appraised value?

A: The list price is the advertised price a rough estimate of what the seller would like to get for a home. Be aware that sellers can set the lsit price higher or lower than what they're expecting to get, so compare prices in the area to see how a particular listing measures up. The sales price is the actual price the buyer pays for the home. And the appraisal value is the estimated worth of a property determined by a certified appraiser, based on criteria such as the property's condition and comparabel sales. A good real estate agent should also be able to help you determine fair market value!

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Q: What can I expect for utility bills?

A: You can call the utility companies and they will give you an average, based on previous usage for a particular home you are interested in. Please keep in mind that everybody lives in a house differently. Some people like a warmer home, so during the summer the air conditioner might not be running as much or the furnace might be running more in the winter. Each home is also different. Some are insulated better than others and some homes have more effecient equipment. So when you call the utility companies to get the figures, keep in mind this is only an idea of what the bills will be, because the only way you will find out, is living in the home.

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Q: What are the special benefits, if any, of using a realtor® with a CRS designation?

A: Buying or selling a home is one of the most significant financial transactions of your life. In all areas of life, we rely on specialists for their advanced expertise and skill. For example, if we need medical or legal advice, we consult a doctor or attorney who has the credentials to address our specific needs. Similarly, to fill the specific residential needs of home buyers and sellers, the Council of Residential Specialists of the National Association of Realtors® created and maintains a class of expert
real estate professionals designated as Certified Residential Specialists (CRS). The Council created the CRS designation, considered the "CPA" of residential real estate, to give home buyers and sellers an easy way to
identify highly trained agents who have a proven track record handling residential real estate transactions as well as advanced education in related areas such as finance, technology and marketing. Only about 37,000 realtors® have met the rigorous requirements leading to the CRS
designation, equaling only 5 percent of all realtors® in the United States. While the number of CRSs is small relative to the total number of real estate agents from coast to coast, CRSs are involved in 25 percent of the residential
real estate transactions nationwide.

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Q: When hiring a realtor® to help me buy or sell a home, what types of questions should I ask?

A: The following questions would be appropriate:
Do you have an active real estate license in good standing? What professional designations and affiliations do you have and from whom? How long have you and your firm been in practice? Do you work part time or full time? Which party will you represent - the buyer or the seller? What level of experience do you have with properties in my price range in this particular geographic area? As may be appropriate: What is your track record representing buyers or sellers? From the buyer's perspective: How can I expect you to serve me? From the seller's perspective: How will you market my home?
Can you provide me with references? The names of a few buyers (or sellers) whom you have worked with recently?


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