SEATTLE – Oct. 31, 2011 – Overall, today’s homebuyers tend to be fairly knowledgeable about the real estate market, but there are still a few points of confusion in the process, especially for buyers just entering the market. Here are the five main areas of confusion found in a survey by Zillow:
• Appreciation: About 42 percent of homebuyers believe home values will appreciate by 7 percent a year. Reality: Historically, home values in a normal market appreciate by 2 to 5 percent in a year.
• Appraisals: 56 percent of the buyers said the purpose of the appraisal was to determine if a home was in good condition. Reality: That’s the purpose of a home inspection; an appraisal estimates fair market value.
• Homeowner’s insurance: 37 percent of homebuyers think that buying homeowner’s insurance is optional. Reality: Lenders require homebuyers to purchase homeowner’s insurance if they carry a mortgage.
• Ownership: 47 percent of homebuyers said a prospective buyer owns a home after the purchase contract is signed by the seller – when the two parties reach agreement. Reality: The purchase and sales agreement is the beginning of the closing phase, but it can be a long process until they finally take ownership.
• Mortgage insurance: 41 percent of buyers think they must purchase private mortgage insurance, regardless of the amount of their downpayment. Reality: Buyers only need to purchase PMI if their downpayment is less than 20 percent of the home’s purchase price.