Frequently Asked Questions

22 FAQs

  • Do I really need a REALTOR® when buying a home?

    We know you can do it on your own, but you really, really shouldn’t. this is very likely the biggest financial decision of your entire life, and you NEED a REALTOR® if you want to do it right. REALTORS® have loads of expertise. Real estate has its own language, full of acronyms and semi-arcane jargon, and your REALTOR® is trained to speak the language fluently. Plus, buying or selling a home usually requires dozens of forms, reports, disclosures, and other technical documents. REALTOR® have the expertise to help you prepare a killer deal – while avoiding delays or costly mistakes that can seriously mess you up.

    REALTORS® have access to the multiple listing service with thousands of listings available. They also have access to little hidden gems…Sometimes properties are available buy not actively advertised. A REALTOR® can help you find those.

    You want a savvy and professional negotiator on your side to seal the best deal for you. REALTORS® are there to negotiate the best deal for you, draw up a purchase agreement that allows enough time for inspections, contingencies, and all things crucial to your particular needs.

    REALTORS® might not know everything, but they make it their mission to know just about everyone who can possible help in the process of buying or selling a home.

    Not every real estate agent is a REALTOR®. A REALTOR® is a licensed real estate agent who belongs to the National Association of Realtors®, the largest trade group in the country. Realtors® are held to a higher ethical standard and must adhere to a Code of Ethics.

  • Should I talk with a lender before looking at homes?

    The answer is YES!  There are many reasons why you should talk with a lender and get pre-approved before looking at homes.

    First and foremost, talking with a lender before looking at homes can help you understand exactly how much you can afford.  Looking at homes you cannot afford can cause frustration.

    If you’re a first-time home buyer, talking with a lender before looking allows you to learn of the many “first time buyer” programs.

    Another important reason to talk with a lender before looking at homes is so you understand exactly what costs are associated with buying a home.  There are many home buyers who don’t understand the difference between a down payment, pre-paid items, and escrows, which can be thoroughly explained by a mortgage professional.  A mortgage professional can give you advice on the type of financing you should be obtaining and also whether or not you should request the seller to contribute towards your closing costs, also known as a seller’s concession.

  • Should I buy or continue to rent?

    Buying a home can be a very solid investment.  This being said, renting can also be a better option for some, depending on the circumstances.  The current interest rates are incredible.  Since the interest rates are so low, it actually can be cheaper to pay a mortgage right now than paying rent.

  • What is a Multiple Listing Service (MLS)?

    REALTORS® have spent millions of dollars to develop Multiple Listing Services (MLS) and other real estate technologies that make the transaction more efficient.  An MLS is a private offer of cooperation and compensation by listing brokers to other real estate brokers.  Sellers benefit by increased exposure to their property.  Buyers benefit because they can obtain information about all MLS listed properties while working with only one REALTOR®.

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

    If you’re pre-qualified it means that you POTENTIALLY could get a loan for the amount stated to you, assuming that all of the information you provide to the bank is accurate and true.  This is not as strong as a pre-approval.

    If you’re pre-approved, it means that you have undergone the extensive financial background check, which includes looking at your credit history, previous tax returns and verifying your employment – and the lender is willing to give you a loan, basically meaning you’re approved!

    You will usually be provided an accurate figure which shows the maximum amount that you are approved for.  Most sellers prefer buyers that have been pre-approved because they know that there will not be any problems with the purchase of their home.

  • What is a contingency?

    A contingency is a provision included in a sales contract stating that certain events must occur or certain conditions must be met before the contract is valid.

  • How many homes should I look at before putting in a purchase offer?

    This question is often asked and is a simple answer. The answer is, there is no specific number of homes you should look at before buying a home. Don’t feel that if you were to purchase the first home you look at that you’re making a mistake. Same can be said if it takes you looking at 25 homes.

  • What is an earnest money deposit?

    An earnest money deposit is also frequently referred to as a good faith deposit.  When a buyer purchases a home, they provide a deposit to be held by an escrow agent.  The primary purpose of this deposit is to show a seller you are serious about purchasing their home.  The amount that is deposited is subtracted from the final figure that a buyer pays at the closing table.  In most cases, the larger the deposit, the stronger a purchase offer looks to a seller.

  • Why should I use a REALTOR® to sell my house?

    Selling a house can be a complex process.  A Realtor® can help you at every stage, from setting a price to marketing the property to closing the sale.

    A Realtor® can give you up-to-date information on what is happening in your local marketplace, as well as the price, financing, terms and condition of competing properties.  These are key factors in marketing your home and selling it at the best price.  Often, your Realtor® can recommend repairs or cosmetic work that will significantly enhance the salability of the property.

    The next step is a marketing plan.  A Realtor® will provide a marketing plan to expose your property to the public as well as to other real estate agents through the Multiple Listing Service, other cooperative marketing networks, open houses, and so on.  In most markets, a substantial portion of real estate sales are cooperative sales; that is, a real estate agent other than yours brings in the buyer.  The Realtor® Code of Ethics requires Realtors® to use these cooperative relationships when they benefit clients.  A Realtor® will also know when, where and how to advertise your home for your market.

    A Realtor® can help you objectively evaluate every buyer’s proposal without compromising your market position.  This initial agreement is only the beginning of a process of appraisals, inspections and financing – a lot of possible pitfalls.  Your Realtor® can help you write a legally binding, win-win agreement that will be more likely to make it through the process.

    A Realtor® will monitor, renegotiate as needed and bring the transaction to closing.  Between the initial sales agreement and the closing, questions may arise.  The required paperwork alone is overwhelming for most sellers.  Your Realtor® is the best person to objectively help you resolve these issues and move the transaction to closing.

    All real estate licensees are not the same.  Only real estate agents who are members of the National Association of Realtors® are called Realtors®.  Realtors® subscribe to a strict code of ethics and are expected to maintain a higher level of knowledge of the process of buying and selling real estate.  Realtors® are committed to treating all parties to a transaction honestly.

    Finally, consider the scale of your transaction.  Selling your home is one of the biggest financial decisions you’ll make.  Transactions today usually exceed $100,000.  If you had a $100,000 income tax problem, would you attempt to solve it without the help of a CPA?  If you had a $100,000 legal question, would you deal with it without the help of an attorney?  Considering the relatively small cost of hiring a Realtor® and the large potential risk of not hiring one, it’s smart to find a professional to sell your home.

  • How much needs to be done to my house before putting it on the market?

    Many sellers have extreme anxiety over the thought of having to clear out and fix up their home, so much so that it can prevent them from putting their home on the market in the first place.  BUT, in most cases, there’s no need to panic here – or to overshoot your goals.  Very often, there’s far less to do than homeowners think.  So before spending months and thousands upgrading your home – or just throwing up your hands and giving up before you begin – show your home to a Realtor®.  You might be pleasantly surprised by your current sales prospects.

  • How should I price my home?

    The exact price of your home will depend on its size, neighborhood, and lots of other factors.  People seem to compare their home to the most expensive sale in their neighborhood.  Instead, look at the prices of similarly sized homes that have recently sold in your area – data that agents call comparative market analysis or “comps”.  Then price your home strategically.  If you price too high, your home is likely to linger on the market.  Meanwhile, pricing low can have major upsides, resulting in multiple bids that could ultimately increase your price.  Discuss pricing with your Realtor® to come to a number that feels right for you and is realistic.

  • Is staging really important?

    On average, a staged home sells 88% faster and for 20% more money than a home that’s left in a “lived in” state.  The reason it works, of course, is it gives buyers a “stage” onto which they can play out their home-owning fantasies and envision themselves living in your home.

  • Should I be present when buyers view my home?

    “NO!”  There is not any situation in which this is appropriate.  Having the owner in the home makes the buyers uncomfortable.  They feel as though they can’t make comments or ask questions that could be offensive.  The owner who has a history and attachment to the home has the tendency to argue if a potential buyer makes a comment that could be a little negative.  This can turn off buyers and lose you offers.

  • What is the agent’s commission?

    While commissions can vary, it is typically 6% of a home’s sale price and that’s usually shared with the buyer’s agent.  But what’s implied by this question is “What are Realtors® doing to earn that fat check?”  Here are some facts to keep in mind:  Unlike lawyers who get paid by the hour, or doctors who are paid by the appointment, listing agents don’t get paid unless they make a sale.  For every hour an agent spends with a client, he or she will typically spend nine hours on average working on that client’s behalf doing everything from networking to finding potential buyers to filling out paperwork.  And no, not all agents are created equal.  It’s no different from choosing an attorney, accountant, or doctor.  You want to be sure that you trust that person and are comfortable with them.

  • Do your vacation homes have internet service?

    Yes, all of our rental homes include WiFi internet service for your use. Login information is provided to you at check-in.

  • Should I bring pool towels?

    All vacation rental homes we manage have pool towels for you to bring with you to your neighborhood pool.

  • How far is the community from the Orlando attractions?

    The Villages, Florida is located about 60 miles north of the Orlando area attractions such as Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, Sea World and much more.

  • Can I forward my mail to my rental home while I am on vacation?

    If you plan to have mail forwarded while you are here, please make arrangements with the USPS, UPS store or Pack & Ship store to set up a PO Box. Mailboxes at the individual homes are for the personal use of the homeowner only.

    Below is a list of local mailbox locations.

    UPS store located in Pinellas Plaza

    UPS store located in Spanish Springs area

    Pack N Ship located in Palm Ridge Plaza

  • Do the vacation homes come with a grill?

    Some homes come with grills and some homes don't. If this is something that you would prefer please contact your reservationist for more information.

  • Do the homes come with a golf cart?

    Some of our homes come with a golf cart so you can drive around the community. If this is a feature you would like please contact your reservationist.

  • Do the vacation homes come with TVs?

    All of the vacation rentals have at least one TV in the house, most will offer them in the bedrooms as well. The cable service required is a basic package, if you wish to have a specific package or cable upgrade to include specific channels let us know. (There maybe additional charges for upgrades)

  • Clicking Links on Down Home Properties site leads me to spam/junk.

    If you are experiencing issues when clicking some links on our website where you are redirected to a page that seems to be spam, junk, or malware, please be assured that our website is secured with a constant malware scanner and firewall to protect our site and its users.

    Redirects may sometimes happen while browsing websites and are commonly the cause of the browser on your device.

    This could be the result of an advertising cookie in your browser cache, mobile app on mobile devices, or malware or spyware on your computer or device.

    Here are some steps you can take to resolve the issue:

    1. Clear your browser's history and cache. Depending on what device and browser you are using there are different methods of doing this. Some of the most common browsers and devices are Safari on Apple devices, Chrome on Android Devices, and Firefox, Chrome, and Internet Explorer on desktop computers. If you do not know how to clear your browser's history and cache and need help, you can submit a support ticket for assistance.
    2. If you have cleared your browser's history and cache and are still experiencing the issue, you can check your device for apps that may be causing the issue if it is a mobile device. Go to your installed apps list and search for any apps that you do not remember downloading or any apps that you may have recently downloaded before the issue began. You can uninstall those apps and check the links on our site again.
    3. While malware, spyware, adware, bloatware, and viruses are more common in desktop computers, mobile devices can also be vulnerable. We recommend always running a full scan of your device using a trusted virus and malware scanner.

    If you have tried these steps and are still experiencing issues, please submit a support ticket.