Celeste Ulberg Hansen - "The Real Estate Mama" - BRE License: 01396566 | THE ALCHEMY COMPANY - BRE License: 02053569


Welcome to The Real Estate Mama FAQs! If you have questions about buying or selling a home, you can find your answers here. If you can't find your question/answer here, please use the contact form to send in your question, and I will get you and answer as soon as possible.

Home Buyer Questions

Should I buy a home?

Buying a home is typically the largest purchase that the average person will make in his or her life! Owning a home will provide you a place to live, and in addition, will potentially allow you equity growth in your investment. Renting may make more sense for an individual or family who moves frequently b/c of job changes or other factors. If you do not see yourself staying in your home for several years, the potential equity grown over the first few years will be lost through selling costs and commissions.

Can I afford to buy a home?

There are several loan programs out there; typically a buyer should have enough savings to cover a down payment of 3.5%, 5% or even up to 20% of the purchase price. Before you begin to look for a home, I strongly encourage each of my buyers to speak with a respected lender to determine the loan they can afford - and in return see if that budget matches what they want in their new home.

How should I select an agent?

Interview the agent you wish to work with. Determine their level of experience in the area you are looking to purchase. Ensure that the agent is licensed by the California Bureau of Real Estate, and that they have no disciplinary actions that may be important to you in selecting your agent. Ask for references!! Past clients will always be your best insight to who the agent really is and how they operate!

What are the top 5 things to determine before finding your home?

The top 5 things to determine before finding your new home are:

  1. The Location, Location, Location
  2. Bedroom Count
  3. Size of Lot
  4. Proximity to work, school, stores and hospital
  5. Are there special assessments or HOAs that will effect your monthly expenses?

How do I present an offer?

As your agent, I will bring you the best evaluation of what the homes value is, based on what the other properties that have sold for in that immediate neighborhood. However, it is ultimately up to you to decide what you wish to offer for the home. In the offer contract, I will explain the details of the offering price, the deposit, the contingencies and any other special conditions we choose to write into the offer.

How do I know the true condition of the home?

Once we have an accepted offer on a home that meets your search criteria - we will hire a qualified inspector to evaluate the home. They will inspect the electrical, plumbing and structural integrity of the property; giving us one more opportunity to re-negotiate any necessary repairs with the seller. All buyers should remember that every home will require maintenance and sometimes unforeseen repairs. Plan this into your budget as a homeowner.

What is close of Escrow?

A real estate transaction involves many steps, multiple parties and a ton of documents. If you have an agent with experience and top of the line communication skills, the process will run smoothly. Be sure to do your homework, understand the importance in who you are hiring and trust that they will guide you through the process to a successful close of escrow.

Home Seller Questions

How long have you been in the business?

I began my real estate career in 2000. I started with a mortgage company as a telemarketer. It is then, while on the phones for hours a day, that I picked up my skills in communication. I was quickly promoted to Senior Loan Officer - I helped homeowners refinance their current mortgages and I worked with buyers to obtain their purchase loans. In about 2006 I decided to make a shift over to the real estate sales side- leaving behind loans and just focusing on representing buyers and sellers. In addition to the years of experience I bring to the table, I have a wide range of success stories with buyers and sellers with different needs. First-time buyers, Move-up buyers, Relocation sellers, Trust sales, Short sales, FHA, VA, Cash rehabs and even a Deed-in-lieu.

What do I need to do to my home before putting it on the market?

First of all, there is NO need to panic. Many people think you have to completely clear everything out and totally remodel their home - which ultimately leaves them feeling to stressed out and prevents them from putting the home on the market. In most cases, there is no need to do much at all. Invite me over!! Show me your home and I will gladly give you some minor suggestions. More importantly I will show you the current sales prospects and how your home value is determined. Many sellers will be pleased to know they don’t have to do much to compete with the sales comparables and can obtain fair market value for their home in an “As Is” condition.

How much is my house worth?

We will start by analyzing the prices of similar sized homes that have sold in your area - this data will be based on neighborhood, similar size and condition of your home. We will then discuss a number that feels right to you, but is realistic. In my opinion, it is all about strategic pricing! If we price your home too high, the home will likely linger on the market much longer than a home that was priced a tad lower and has received multiple bids.

Is staging really important?

On average, a homes does sell faster when staged than a home that’s vacant. It works because it gives buyers a vision of what living in the home can look like.

Should I be present when buyers view my house?

I always ask my sellers to either step outside while buyers tour or go for a slow walk around the block. Having the owner in the house makes every buyer uncomfortable. Buyers feel like they cannot make comments or ask questions as they don’t want to offend the owner. Being present can actually lose you offers. Give them some space to tour and trust the process.

What will it cost me to sell my home?

Commissions are typically 6% of the homes sales price. The commission is shared with the buyers agent. Agents will spend hours working on a clients behalf, networking for buyers, filling out paperwork and facilitating showing appointments. Both listing agents and buyers agents are not paid by the hour or by the appointment like some professionals (i.e. doctors or attorneys) Agents only get paid unless they make the sale. If you get someone who’s charging less, are you getting reduced services for reduced commission?

Do you have any other questions? Use the contact form, and I will answer as soon as possible!

Buying or Selling A Home? Contact Celeste Today!