Home Buying Frequently Asked Questions

How many homes should I look at?

The number of homes can vary from buyer to buyer. Some people purchase the first home they see, while others look at dozens of houses. When you view a home, keep in mind the following questions: Am I attracted to this house? Will it meet my needs and priorities? A Shepherd Real Estate advisor can help you work through this evaluation process. We will also help you filter through the many homes on the market to identify the few that most closely match your buying criteria.


How do I know what I can afford?

Shepherd Real Estate can help you with a preliminary estimate and can recommend local mortgage lenders to determine your buying power. A simple mortgage pre-approval takes little time and is an important early step in setting your price search criteria for the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).


How do I get a mortgage?

Shepherd Real Estate can recommend several reputable mortgage lenders in Lancaster County with whom you can communicate, usually by phone or email. The first step is to obtain a mortgage pre-approval to identify the general price range you can afford. Once you have a home under agreement, the lender will request financial documentation to verify your eligibility for a mortgage. You will sign the mortgage paperwork at your settlement.


Why should I use a REALTOR®?

The list of available properties(link to search page) that meet your search criteria is constantly changing. Your Shepherd Real Estate advisor will keep you updated as new homes become available and help you evaluate how they meet your needs. The home buying process is about much more than identifying the home you want to purchase. Your journey will also involve navigating through negotiations, home inspections, appraisals, and financing issues. Shepherd Real Estate will expertly guide you through negotiating the contract and the many other steps along the way to the settlement table. Please see The Home Buying Process for more details.


How much will it cost me to use a REALTOR®?

Generally, a buyer should pay NO fees to a REALTOR® in the purchase process. The buyer’s REALTOR® is usually compensated by splitting the seller’s commission with the listing broker. Some local real estate companies now charge a buyer fee in addition to the commission. We will not charge these nuisance fees, as we feel they are unnecessary. For more information, please contact us about our unique, client-focused No Obligation Buyer Representation Plan.


What should I do if I am interested in a For Sale By Owner or Auction property?

Contact your Shepherd Real Estate advisor first, as these properties sometimes offer compensation to buyer representatives. We will make contact with the seller or auction company to obtain information about the property and arrange for you to view the home. At Shepherd Real Estate, we have developed a special program – our No Obligation Buyer Representation Plan – to help you in purchasing these types of properties.


Are there any differences between buying new construction versus an existing home?

Shepherd Real Estate can assist you with any type of home purchase. The new home construction process can be daunting to many home buyers. We will help you identify Lancaster County communities and new home builders that will meet your needs and walk you through the design process. When purchasing a new home, there may be limited ability to negotiate the terms of the sale. When visiting new construction homes, you should always tell the agent on duty that you are working with a real estate agent from Shepherd Real Estate.


Can I go to open houses without my REALTOR®?

Yes. However, please immediately disclose your Shepherd Real Estate advisor’s name to the agent hosting the open house. Remember, only your REALTOR®, not the host of the open house, has been hired by you to represent your best interests. If the property appeals to you, call your Shepherd Real Estate advisor and have them schedule an appointment to go through the property with you.


How can I tour a home that I am interested in?

Contact Shepherd Real Estate by phone or email to schedule a private showing. We can arrange for you to see homes listed for sale by any real estate company in the area.


Do I have to contact the company on the yard sign for information on a particular property?

No, you can use Shepherd Real Estate to search all local homes for sale or schedule a showing for any property in the area, including those marketed by other real estate companies.


Who will coordinate home inspections?

Shepherd Real Estate will contact the inspector and make arrangements for your home inspection. We recommend that you attend the home inspection. It is important for you to understand any issues that may arise, as their solutions may need to be negotiated with the seller.


Who will coordinate settlement?

Shepherd Real Estate will arrange for a pre-settlement walk-through of your new home, to ensure that the condition of the property has not changed. We will work with the settlement agency to coordinate the title insurance, mortgage documents, settlement sheet and schedule the settlement date and time. Our goal is to make the Home Buying Process a pleasant and enjoyable experience for our clients.


How do I make an offer?

You will meet with your Shepherd Real Estate advisor to discuss the various terms of your offer. There are many things to consider other than purchase price, such as settlement date, earnest money, inspections, personal property to be included in the sale, etc. Once you determine the terms of your offer, we will put them into a written contract for you to sign. Shepherd Real Estate will then deliver the written offer to the seller or seller’s REALTOR®. The seller can choose to accept or reject your offer, or they may make a counter-offer. This process will continue back and forth until both parties come to an agreement, or you choose to look for another home.


Can I use the same REALTOR® to sell my house and buy a new one?

Yes. Shepherd Real Estate offers fantastic programs for both buyers and sellers. It can be very helpful to use the same REALTOR® for both transactions to coordinate the negotiations and many scheduling factors involved to make the process run smoothly.