Q: What home can I afford?
A great question! It does depend on your income and other financial obligations. Try searching online for mortgage calculators or contact your favorite mortgage lender to come up with an approximate figure. This should be done before you start shopping, If you see houses you really enjoy outside your price range, it opens you up to disappointment. Meet with a lender to get pre-approved for a home loan Additionally, pre-approval makes you much more attractive to sellers. This is more important then ever, especially in our current sellers market. Contact us for a list of lenders we have found to have excellent customer service qualities.
Q: Can I buy a home and sell my current one at the same time?
Yes, you can, but it's the real estate equivalent of walking a thin line. On the one hand, if you buy a home before you sell the one you're in, you're overextended financially; if you sell before you buy, you might need to rent awhile before finding a new place. But there are ways to do both at once, and one option is to instate a sale contingency in your contract. This means you only agree to buy a home if you can sell the one you're in. The only downside is if your seller doesn't agree, which is possible if they want the timing set in stone.
Q: How many homes should I see before making an offer?
This is entirely up to your personal preferences. While home shoppers these days can look at hundreds of homes online, sometime you have to look at 30 or more homes before they put in an offer. But keep in mind, This varies greatly for each person, Some people find their home within hours of hunting. For others, it takes months. If you want to streamline the process, it can help to really hone in on a particular neighborhood, price, bedrooms, baths, etc.that said, if you feel limited by your options, it may be time to expand to surrounding areas.
Q: What do you think the seller will accept as a fair price?
As a rule of thumb, offering 5% less than asking price won't cause any harm. If it's been sitting on the market for months, you can venture below that, but the bottom line is that you, nor your broker will never know how low a seller will go, as they have different motivations for selling. If the sellers are eager to move, you could luck out and score a deal.
Q: How do I know if the property is a good deal?
Trust your real estate Brokers experience to give you a professional comparative market analysis. While there's no crystal ball on whether a certain home is a bargain and will appreciate, rest assured that with research, you can keep surprises to a minimum. The best way is to check out comps should be provided by your real estate broker. For example, what like properties are selling for in the neighborhood in which you are looking and whether those prices have been going up or down in the recent past.
Q: How quickly can I close?
Typical escrow periods are 30 to 60 days depending on your offer. This gives you enough time to do the investigation on the property and get your loan paperwork completed. Cash offers will, as a rule, close much sooner than a loan application offer.
Q: Should I get a home inspection?
Absolutely! While buyers often wonder if a home inspection is really necessary, most Realtors unequivocally say yes, yes! Home inspectors takes the weight off of your shoulders by looking into the condition of the roof, electricity, heating and air, plumbing and other aspects of the home. They can insure that these things work, which prevents you from paying to replace or repair them in the future. If some items are not up to par, you can negotiate with the seller to get those items repaired prior to closing. Even when purchasing a newly built home we will encourage you to get an inspection!
Q: When can I back out if I change my mind?
While buyers can often back out of a deal, doing so without good reason may forfeit their earnest money which can only be returned by approval of all parties. There may be some ways to walk with your earnest money in hand.
Contract contingencies can be such loopholes. For example, upon an unsatisfactory home inspection, the buyer can ask for their deposit back. Another loophole is 'subject to appraisal.' That means you can back out if the lender for your loan doesn't believe the property is worth what you offered.