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About Our Site
About Your Home Search
About Real Estate in General
Questions asked by Buyers AND Sellers alike
About Buying a Home
About Selling a Home
About Mortgages and Financing

*Answers to questions found in this portion of TheMLSonline.com® are not intended as legal advice. If you have questions in regard to legal issues, or if you desire legal counsel, please consult an attorney.

About Our Site
What is the MLS?
What is TheMLSonline.com®?
What is done with personal information submitted on this web site?

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About Your Home search
Why am I getting an invalid search request error?
Why am I not getting any results after I put in my criteria, knowing there are properties in that area?
How can I search more than one city at a time?
Why are some home photos missing?
Why do most listings have only one photo?
Why does the criteria disappear once I click the "back" button WHEN trying to return to the search page?

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About Real Estate in General
What if I'm unhappy with the real estate agent or broker I'm currently using?
Why is there so much paperwork when buying and selling a home?

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Questions asked by Buyers AND Sellers alike
What is the Agency Relationships in Real Estate Transactions form, also known as the Agency Disclosure form?
What is the difference between earnest money and a down payment?
What does it mean to have "title" to a property?
What is a Purchase Agreement?
What are assessments and/or special assessments?
What is a Seller's Disclosure Statement?
What are points or discount points?
What's the difference between Interest Rate and Annual Percentage Rate or APR?

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About Buying a Home
What if I'm planning on relocating to Minnesota... how can you help me?
Can I receive assistance when buying a home through TheMLSonline.com®?
Where can I find information to better understand the buying process in general?

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About Selling a Home
Can I list and sell my home directly through TheMLSonline.com®?
Why is it so important to accurately price my home when I'm selling?
How long does it normally take to list and sell a home?

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About Mortgages and Financing
How much "home" can I afford?
Pre-qualification and Pre-approval… What's the difference?
What are FHA and VA loans?
What is meant by the term down payment?
How much money down do I need to buy a home?
What is the difference between a mortgage lender and a mortgage broker?

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About Our Site

What is the MLS?
The Multiple Listing Service or "MLS" is the collection (or database) of properties listed for sale by nearly every real estate broker in a particular market or region. Multiple Listing Services are usually separate entities jointly owned and controlled by local real estate associations.

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What is TheMLSonline.com®?
TheMLSonline.com® is a web site that features virtually all active listings for sale from local MLS databases - viewable by the general public. TheMLSonline.com also offers local, professional real estate assistance for home buyers and sellers. Full buyer representation is available for nearly every property - unlike anything you'll receive when you buy from a listing agent. TheMLSonline.com serves the entire Minneapolis area and surrounding communities. To speak with a local professional, call 763-576-8286.

TheMLSonline.com, Inc. is not a multiple listing service but is a member of RMLS.

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What is done with personal information submitted on this web site?
Please read our privacy policy

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About Your Home Search

Why am I getting an invalid search request error?
In order to use our search, you must have cookies enabled in your internet browser. Turning your cookies off will result in this error. After turning your cookies on, if you still receive this error please send an email to webmaster@themlsonline.com with detailed examples of the error(s) and the market you are searching.

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Why am I not getting any results after I put in my criteria, knowing there are properties in that area?
Usually, when a search returns no result, the criteria you have entered may be too specific. Try leaving out the square footage, year built, amentities, etc. from your search. Or, if you don't have a minimum price, leave it at "No Minimum". Many times, you will miss properties that are priced below your range with the same features as more expensive homes. If you still are having trouble returning a set of results, call 763-576-8286 and let us know exactly what problem you are having.

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Why are some home photos missing?
Most often, when home photos are missing, it is because they were never submitted to the MLS when the home was listed. In other cases, photos have been submitted but do not appear for technical reasons. Photos take up to three days to appear on the web site after submission by the listing agent or broker. Photos usually appear within 24-48 hours after they were submitted to the MLS.

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Why do most listings have only one photo?
Virtually all home photos are submitted by listing agents and/or listing brokers. Agents and brokers are not required to add photos to a listing, but they may submit up to 18 photos per listing to the MLS database.

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How can I search more than one city at a time?
First, go to the home search page. Second, choose your state and county. Next, choose the cities you want to search by highlighting each one individually. You may do this one-by-one or select multiple cities by holding the "Ctrl" key and clicking each city. When you have chosen the cities you wish, click the "Add >" button. Finally, enter any other criteria you wish and click "Search".
CLICK HERE TO BEGIN A NEW SEARCH

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Questions asked by Buyers AND Sellers alike

What is the Agency Relationships in Real Estate Transactions form, also known as the Agency Disclosure form?
This form covers issues that Minnesota law requires be discussed before real estate agents or brokers discuss most any other issue with consumers. This form is not a contract of any type. It is designed to inform you, the consumer, by discussing and disclosing the five different types of relationships that you may have with a real estate agent or broker.

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What is the difference between earnest money and a down payment?
When a buyer makes an offer on a property, they put forward an initial amount to show their "earnest" desire to own the property. If the offer is ultimately accepted and the transaction goes to closing, the earnest money is applied or credited towards the buyers down payment or closing costs. It is not an extra amount or overpayment by the buyer. If the purchase agreement is never accepted in writing by all parties, the earnest money is not retained by the seller or the seller's broker. If the purchase agreement is accepted in writing by all parties, the earnest money may be forfeited or refunded depending on the specific terms of the purchase agreement.

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What does it mean to have "title" to a property?
Having "title" to a property is not referring to some type of "official document" declaring a person's (or party's) ownership of a property. Rather, having "title" to a property is simply way of saying that you have an ownership position (also known as "a legal interest"), in a property.

What is a Purchase Agreement?
A purchase agreement is exactly that: an agreement to purchase property. A purchase agreement specifies the terms under which all parties to a transaction will agree to consummate or close the deal. Agreements to purchase are only valid with real estate when they are in writing. After an agreement to purchase has been signed by all parties, it is cancelable only if the terms within the agreement itself allow cancellation. So, an agreement to purchase can be written by anyone and signed by all parties to the transaction, however, be very careful. If an agreement to purchase does not contain certain statements and clauses, it may not be enforceable - or cancelable.

If you would like assistance in the purchase of a home (and you're not already under contract with a real estate agent or real estate company in the State of Minnesota that is representing or assisting you in the purchase of a home or property), please go to the Buying a Home portion of our site and fill out the "Home Search Criteria" form. After filling out and submitting this form, a representative from TheMLSonline.com® will contact you as soon as possible for assistance.

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What are assessments and/or special assessments?
Special assessments can be simply thought of as "extra taxes" or "special taxes" charged by a city to a property owner for specific improvements (like a sidewalk or new curbs). If these special taxes have not been paid by the seller before a property goes on the market, it is customary (but not required) for the seller to payoff these special taxes before closing.

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What are points or discount points?
Points can be thought of simply as an "interest cost" charged at the time of closing. In most real estate transactions, points can be paid by either the buyer, the seller, or the buyer and seller. Points are used to lower the advertised "interest rate" that is used to calculate your monthly payments. However, the advertised "interest rate" that is used to calculate your monthly payment is not the actual rate of interest you will be charged during the first year of your loan. To better understand the difference between the terms "interest rate" and "annual percentage rate", please refer to the question "What is the difference between interest rate and annual percentage rate?" below.

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What's the difference between Interest Rate and Annual Percentage Rate or APR?
The Annual Percentage Rate or "APR" is the rate given at closing that reflects the actual amount of interest the lender is charging you during the first year of your loan. The APR includes the advertised "interest rate" used to calculate your monthly payments, PLUS points, PLUS all other fees charged by the lender in connection with the loan. The Annual Percentage Rate or APR, then, is the true rate of interest a consumer is charged during the first year of a loan.

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About Buying a home

What if I'm planning on relocating to Minnesota... how can you help me?
If you're relocating, TheMLSonline.com® is your perfect partner! Whether you're moving across town or across the globe, TheMLSonline.com® can make your transition to the Twin Cities a smooth one. Our relocation specialists can assist you in finding a home that's right for you, as well as recommend a local professional to list and sell your existing home. Just call us toll free at 1-866-MLSonline or email us at: relocation@TheMLSonline.com to start the process.

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Can I receive assistance when buying a home through TheMLSonline.com®?
Yes. TheMLSonline.com® can provide local Realtor® assistance throughout the buying process. However, if you are already under contract with a real estate agent or real estate company in the State of Minnesota that is representing or assisting you in the purchase of a home or property, we cannot provide personal assistance to you. At such time that you are no longer under contract for representation, we can assist you.

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Where can I find information to better understand the buying process in general?
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is a great source to find objective information about home buying. Visit the HUD buying resource page.

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About Selling a Home

Can I list and sell my home directly through TheMLSonline.com®?
Yes. TheMLSonline.com can directly list and sell your home or residential property. We provide a wide range of services designed to sell your home quickly and efficiently, while maximizing your equity potential. For details on how we can further assist you in the sale of your home, please visit the Selling A Home portion of our site.

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Why is it so important to accurately price my home when I sell?
Pricing your home right when you first list your home is critical in order to maximize your equity potential and ensure your overall satisfaction in the process of selling. The cost of under-pricing your home is obvious - you get less than you could have. In order to avoid this scenario, sometimes sellers decide to inflate the price of their home beyond what they know is truly reasonable in hopes of finding that "unique buyer" who'll pay a premium. In these circumstances, it is most often the seller that pays the price. When a home is over-priced, often it works against the seller by making other similar homes look like a "good deal".

After weeks of showings, frustration often settles in as buyers make offers on other lesser-priced, similarly featured homes. If you are ready to sell and would like professional assistance in estimating your home's current value, please contact us at 763-576-8286 or simply click here to inquire online in the Selling A Home portion of our site.

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How long does it normally take to list and sell a home?
The answer to this question depends on many factors such as the time of year that you sell, your home's price range, the condition of your home, your neighborhood characteristics, current interest rates, the economy, and other factors too numerous to mention. That being said, the average pre-owned home in the Twin Cities metropolitan area took approximately 141 days to sell in September of 2007.

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About Mortgages and Financing

How much "home" can I afford ?
If you're like most buyers, you already have a good idea what kind of house you're looking for. But, you may be less certain of how much "home" you actually qualify for (or what price range you should be looking in). The first thing you should do when looking for a home is contact a mortgage lender or broker. They can help you determine how much you qualify for and help you find a loan that's right for your situation. As with any other product or service, there are many different plans and options available, so there's bound to be a mortgage solution that's right for you. To get qualified and pre-approved, please visit the Mortgage Approval portion of our site. A mortgage professional would be happy to assist you.

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Pre-qualification and Pre-approval… What's the difference?
There are two general steps in the loan process: pre-qualification and pre-approval. Pre-qualification is generally the process that gives you "a darn good idea" of how much home you could afford, or "qualify for" (given your credit, income, and other factors). Whereas, pre-approval is the process by which the lender determines the actual amount they will lend you after verifying your credit, income, and other factors considered during the pre-qualification period. Going beyond pre-qualification and getting pre-approved puts you in a much stronger bargaining position when it comes time to make an offer on a home. To get qualified and pre-approved, please visit the Mortgage Approval portion of our site. A mortgage professional would be happy to assist you.

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What are FHA and VA loans?
FHA and VA "loans" are actually loan programs available through lenders - provided by the U.S. government. The government, through FHA and VA, does not actually lend money to home buyers. FHA and VA programs simply offer a guarantee that if a buyer defaults on a loan, that the lender will be repaid by the government. You can think of it simply as an insurance plan to protect the lender. For more details, or to get qualified under an FHA or VA program, please contact a home mortgage professional under the Mortgage Approval portion of our site.

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What is meant by the term down payment?
There are two very different definitions to the term "down payment", therefore there are two very different ways to think about it. When many people talk about the term "down payment", they are referring to the idea of "how much money TOTAL they will need" to get into a house. However, a more accurate definition (used in the industry) refers only to the amount you will pay directly towards the purchase price at closing. For example (using the correct definition): If you bought a house for $100,000 and you put $5,000 down - at closing you would need $5,000. PLUS closing costs charged by the title company, loan origination fees charged by the lender, and any other miscellaneous expenses related to completing the transaction.

In compliance with state guidelines, every loan officer should give you a Good Faith Estimate. A Good Faith Estimate is the written statement designed to give you a true estimate of the "over-all" dollar amount you'll need to close the loan.

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How much money down do I need to buy a home?
There are numerous programs available that can be tailored to your specific needs. We recommend that you speak directly with a loan officer to find a program that's right for you. For more details, please contact a professional mortgage representative under the Mortgage Approval portion of our site.

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What is the difference between a mortgage lender and a mortgage broker?
A mortgage lender is the actual source of the money lent to borrower(s) in a mortgage. Mortgage lenders offer government guaranteed loans as well as their own loan programs. Mortgage brokers, on the other hand, do not actually lend borrower(s) any money. They simply offer the mortgage programs of various lenders. Mortgage brokers are paid to find borrowers and "create a file" for lenders. Therefore, brokers add value by marketing and selling loan programs for lenders.

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About Real Estate in General

What if I'm unhappy with the real estate agent or broker I'm currently using?
Real estate agents and real estate brokers work hard to earn your trust and your business. In the event that you are not satisfied with the level of service you have received, or are receiving, you may want to discuss the terms of your contract with your agent or broker. Most issues can be resolved in a manner that satisfies both parties. If your issues are not resolved and your contract expires (or is canceled), a representative at TheMLSonline.com® would be happy to assist you in the purchase or sale of a home.

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Why is there so much paperwork when buying and selling a home?
As most people understand, issues in real estate can be very complicated. By and large, most paperwork attempts to detail issues line by line to inform consumers of the implications of their purchase or sale. Most issues are spelled out in such detail due to requirements in the law, major court cases, and misunderstandings and problems over the years. This is generally done to bring clarification to issues and to avoid the same or similar problems from arising in the future.

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