Home Buyer Resources

Questions and Answers for Home Buyers

You ask, we answer.  Real Estate Questions and Answers - in text and in video.  Have a question?  Just ask!  We'll answer and share it with others who also have the same question.

We want to answer your real estate questions.  Answers are focused on the North Idaho area including Coeur d'Alene, Post Falls, Hayden, Rathdrum and other areas throughout Kootenai County.

We get a lot of questions - we want you to have all of the answers.  Whether you are an experienced real estate investor or a first time home buyer - you deserve to know everything you can about buying a home, condo, townhome or buying land or investing in multifamily and commercial properties in North Idaho.

Once your questions are answered, stroll on over to search the entire Multiple Listing Service for the Coeur d'Alene area.

Ask the Agent on video can be found on our blog.  We answer your questions live.

Have a question not answered here or on our video blog?  Just ask ------------------->>>>

Q. I've never purchased a home before.  Where should I begin?

A. Actually, you've already started the process. Fact-finding and reading articles is a great way to become a smart consumer. The highest priorities to focus on before you begin searching for specific areas, neighborhoods, or homes would be to:

  • Familiarize yourself with your personal finances.
  • Learn about the Coeur d'Alene, Idaho real estate market.
  • Carefully review your budget and begin to eliminate as much debt as possible.
  • Have a down payment and earnest money ready when the time comes to act and make your offer.


Q. I went to an open house, and the listing agent said he could represent me better than any other agent, so I really don’t need a buyer agent, right?

A. It would appear as though a listing agent would have “inside” information on the home. The reality is, any inside information cannot be shared by the listing agent with a potential buyer, nor can they provide unlimited buyer counsel as they represent the seller.  For example, the listing agent cannot tell you if a property is overpriced or how to negotiate the best purchase price on that specific property.  Ask yourself this: if the seller has representation, shouldn't you? As your buyer agent, we will always negotiate only in the best interest of you, the buyer. For more information about your rights as a consumer or a client in the State of Idaho, please review the agency disclosure form.

Q. Is there a contract or some other kind of paperwork associated with a buyer agent like there is with a listing agent?

A. For years, sellers have been entering into contractual relationships to “list” their properties with real estate brokers. They are called listing agreements. Buyers can also establish a contractual relationship with us by signing a buyer broker agreement which makes the agent legally accountable to the buyer. The buyer broker agreement is also a written commitment to you of services that we will provide.  Some agents will not work with a buyer without such an agreement. We are happy to serve you with or without that agreement.

Q. Do “listing agents” prevent “buyer agents” from having full access to all the available properties through the Multiple Listing Service?

A. No!  We belong to the Coeur d'Alene Multiple Listing service as well as the Spokane Multiple Listing Service.  We can show you any home listed with any agent through that service.

Q. Isn’t the agent who shows me the home representing me?

A. Not necessarily.  If you walk into an open-house or a new-construction-site model home and any agent tells you that they are the only one who can “write” up the paperwork… don’t believe them! Agents who list properties have entered into a signed contract with the seller to represent them in the sale of their property.  Our advice is that unless you have previously interviewed the agent and they have promised to represent only your best interest, walk away. You may find yourself working with an agent who is obligated to act in the best interests of the seller.

Q. If you work for the buyer and you negotiate the price down, aren’t you also lowering the amount of commission you will make? Isn’t that a conflict of interest

A. The difference is minimal. If we save you $5,000 on the purchase price of your home, we would only earn approximately $150 less in commission. Your goodwill and word-of-mouth advertising will be worth much more than that. We also have a legal obligation to represent your best interest.

Q. With all the bad news about mortgage products and home foreclosures, how do I avoid making a big mistake when deciding which type of loan to select?

A. Once we meet and review your finances along with your home buying needs, you should select a lending consultant. We can recommend several trusted lending professionals or you can choose your own. Having upmost confidence in your lender is important. Be sure you feel completely at ease with them.  They should speak to you in easy to understand terms. Ask lots of questions and never sign any document until you know what you are signing and feel completely at ease signing it. More and more lending professionals are recommending fixed interest rate loans and interest rates are still very attractive. Of course, the type of loan best for you depends on several factors. Here are just a few:


  • How much money do you have for a down payment?
  • How long do you plan to live in the home?
  • Do you qualify for a FHA or VA loan?


Q. If I work with a buyer representative does it really matter? Does it really make a difference?

A. Absolutely! Yes! Let’s put it this way: If you had to go to court, would you use the other person’s attorney? Real estate agents who act as seller agents must negotiate in the best interest of their clients (the sellers) and may not withhold information from them and must present their properties only in a favorable manner. Buyer agents negotiate in the best interests of the buyer, do not disclose confidential information about the buyer, and reveal all facts that affect the value of properties to the buyer.

Q. Why should I use an agent to buy a builder’s new-construction home?

A. The advantages are the same as those for purchasing a resale home.
Your agent:

  • Serves as your personal real estate consultant
  • Guides you through the home buying process with professional representation
  • Provides you with valuable insights into the market
  • Helps you find the perfect home quickly
  • Offers you expertise in contact writing, negotiation, and closing assistance
  • Gives you advice regarding all builder’s products
  • Finds the best match for your specific needs

The builder has a professional real estate representative watching out for his interests. You need and deserve the same expert representation watching out for your interests.

Q. Are there any advantages to not using an agent to purchase a new home?

A. There is no financial advantage for you to buy directly from the builder.  Builders have a “single price” policy, meaning that you will be charged the same price whether your interests are represented by an agent or not.  Just as in any resale, the builder pays your agent’s fee.  Most builders will make you give up your right to representation if you visit their model homes without an agent on the first visit.  Therefore, please call us if you would like to look at model homes, so you are given the representation you deserve.

Your next step is to contact us. As your home buying specialists, we'll protect your interest and manage the details of the real estate transaction on your behalf to your complete satisfaction. For more experienced buyers, a little brush up on the real estate process wouldn't be a bad idea. Of course, you'll need a really sharp Coeur d'Alene, Idaho real estate team to protect your interests too!

Questions? Just Ask!

By giving us your phone number and email address, you are giving Chuck & Christina Ethridge permission to contact you via email or phone.
Copyright © 2023 | Information deemed reliable, but not guaranteed. | Real Estate Website Design by Dakno Marketing.