Frequently Asked Questions about Buying a Home
Are you thinking about buying a new home? Whether it’s your first time around or you’ve bought a home before, you may have some questions about buying real estate in today’s market. In this article we’ll answer a handful of common questions about the home buying process including what to look for, how much to offer, and when you can begin moving in.
What is the First Step to Buying a Home?
The first step that you’ll need to take towards buying your next home is to determine whether or not you can afford it. You may need to pay at least 20 percent of the purchase price in as a down payment – so ask yourself if can you afford to invest this much in a new home? You’ll also be paying mortgage payments every month for the next ten or more years. Is your income stable enough to support this?
When you have your finances in order and you’re ready to get the process rolling, your next step will be to recruit a real estate agent to help with the buying process and a mortgage professional to assist with financing.
What Should I Look for in a New Home?
Location – The community that you live in will greatly affect your quality of life, so choose wisely. If possible you’ll want somewhere close enough to schools that the kids can walk, safe enough that they can play outside and close enough to your workplace that you aren’t suffering a lengthy commute each day.
Fixtures and Amenities – What features are important to you in your home? Do you want a hot tub, or are you more of the gardening type? Do you need a large garage so you have room to fix up an old car, or are you more interested in lying on the patio reading a good book? Jot down some of your preferences for items you would like to have in your next home and keep an eye out for them during your viewings.
Size and Layout – How big of a home do you need? If you are planning on having more children, ensure that you buy a home with extra bedrooms. Give some thought as to how your dream home would be laid out as well.
How Much Can I Afford?
Determining your budget is an important part of the real estate buying process as it helps you to determine factors such as the neighborhood or community, the size of the home, the fixtures and amenities it comes with, and more. How much you can afford comes down to your personal financial situation now and in the near future, and how much your bank or mortgage underwriter is willing to lend you.
Give some thought to what the next few years look like for you and your family – do you plan on having children? Are there some large expenses coming in the near future, such as healthcare costs? You’ll need to ensure that you have enough income that you can make your mortgage payment on time every month without missing payments. It’s best to seek out a mortgage lender for their expert advice and to have them run a full profile on you to determine how much you could reasonably borrow.
How Much Should I Offer When I’ve Decided to Buy a Home?
When you’ve found the home that you want to purchase the next step is making an offer to the seller. As someone who has gone through this process hundreds of times, this is one of the areas that your real estate agent can help. When crafting your offer you’ll need to consider factors such as how long the seller has had their home on the market, whether there are multiple bids on the listing, whether you want to test the waters with a lower starting bid, and more. If the asking price is fair and reasonable, you may want to stick with an offer that’s slightly lower. If you feel that there’s little chance the seller can get what they’re asking, you can drop your initial offer to see if it sticks.
If the Home Inspection Reveals Problems with the Property, What Should I Do?
Rest assured that in the vast majority of home inspections there are few instances where problems are found that are serious enough for you to walk away from the deal. However it’s not unheard of for a home inspection to uncover some serious structural or other flaw that exposes you to the risk of expensive repairs within the months or years after you close on the home. If your inspection does find something serious, you’ll need to decide how you want to move forward. Are you still willing to buy the home if the flaw is repaired? If so, mention it to the seller and see if they are willing to pay for the repairs to take place before the home changes hands. Is the flaw or problem something that you will think about constantly even if it is repaired by a professional? It may be better to walk away from the deal.
Remember that houses – especially older ones – are bound to collect a few nicks and dents over time. If your home inspection comes up with issues that are relatively minor, you can work with the seller and your agent to get them patched up.
When Do I Get to Move In?
After you’ve completed your home inspection, finished the appraisal process, finalized all of your mortgage paperwork and completed any of your obligations in the purchase agreement you’ll be all set to move in. The actual date is dependent on how much time the seller has to move out of their home after they receive the proceeds of the sale, which is a term that you both would have agreed upon. In most real estate transactions the seller has anywhere from 24-72 hours after the closing process has fully completed and they’ve received their payment.
If you have other questions about the home buying process or if you’re ready to get started with finding that perfect new dream home, contact 8z Real Estate. Our friendly team of local real estate professionals is happy to answer your questions, consult with you to determine your needs and get viewings booked for properties you’re interested in. We look forward to working with you.