Buyers | Frequently Asked Questions
Whether you’re are a first time home buyer or experienced real estate owner, we will be there to advise and advocate for you to ensure a successful home purchase. We believe that buying a home shouldn’t be stressful, it should be fun!
What is the First Step in the Home Buying Process?
Unless you are planning to pay cash for the purchase of your home, you will need to get a mortgage. In order to know how much home you can afford, you will need to speak to a lender and begin the pre-qualification process. This is an important first step to buying a home, as it will help you determine how much house you can afford and set a firm budget. Sellers are more inclined to take your offer seriously if they know you have the financial ability to purchase the home. Today, most sellers require a pre-qualification letter to accompany any offer their receive.
What is the Difference Between Being Pre-Qualified and Pre-Approved for a Loan?
A pre-qualification is based on information your provide to the bank and assumes that the information is accurate and true. It will tell you what you could potentially be approved for. A pre-approval looks at the information you provide in addition to extensive financial background checks, credit history and score, previous tax returns and verification of employment and salary. A pre-approval states what the bank is willing to loan to you. Either way, a seller is likely to require one of the two prior to considering an offer.
What Does a Buyer's Agent Do and When Should I Hire One?
As your agent, we advise and advocate for you in the home buying process and work as your representative to ensure you get the best deal possible. We pretty much do everything, from helping you search for homes, to walking you through the necessary paperwork, negotiations and inspections, to signing the closing documents. We are there every step of the way to provide you with the tools and information you’ll need to successful buy your home. You should hire an agent from the beginning. Real Estate agents have access to the latest market information and have the ability to search homes on a more detailed level than publicly available. Not only will this help you find your dream home quicker and more efficiently, but it will also ensure you are getting the best representation possible throughout the process.
How Long Does it Take to Buy a Home?
There are many factors that can effect how long it takes to close on a property. Loan approval is probably the biggest factor of all. It is important that you give yourself time to do your due diligence and ensure that all of your home inspections and repair negotiations are done. As your agent, we’ll assess your personal situation and help you determine how much time you will likely need to close on a property.
What Should I Look for When Walking Through a Home?
First impressions are important, but also keep in mind that paint color and bathroom tile can be painted over and re-done. By the time you see your first home, it’s likely that you will already know how many bathrooms and bedrooms you need. You’ll probably have a list of things you would like to have. In addition, it is important to keep in mind:
- Does the location work for me? Is it far from work?
- What are the schools like in the area?
- Are there any obvious repairs that will need to be made prior to or shortly after closing?
- Does the floor plan work for your needs and wants?
- Does the home have good bones? Does the structure support what you’d ultimately like to have?
- Will your furniture fit in the space?
- Is the yard big enough?
- Is the home in proximity to grocery stores, nightlife, hospitals, etc?
What Happens Once My Offer is Accepted?
Once your offer is accepted, the due diligence period begins. During that time, your agent will assist in setting up home inspections, negotiating repairs and ensuring that you have all of the information you need to proceed to closing. During the due diligence period, the most important thing you can do as a buyer is work closely with your lender to ensure your loan approval is moving forward as quickly and smoothly as possible. It is also important to contact your home insurance company to ensure that there are no surprises in securing property insurance. If you are purchasing the home with a mortgage, it is likely that your lender will require proof of insurance as a condition of loan approval.
What Are Closing Costs?
Closing costs refer tot he costs of purchasing a home. Such fees include property tax, homeowners dues, lender fees and down payments.