Advice for 1st Time Home Buyers
Even for experienced home buyers, it can be a confusing process, but can be especially intimidating for the 1st Time Home Buyer, so here are some tips to help guide you through the process.
Get Prepped in Home Buying Basics
Before you begin, get educated about the home buying customs where you live. Relatives or friends who live in another state might have some good general advice for you, but chances are the process is very different in their area, so avoid the mistake of relying solely on their advice to make important decisions.
So How Do You Learn the Basics?
Talk to a real estate agent for advice about the typical home buying scenario. This does not mean you have to sign an agreement for the agent to represent you, but it is a good opportunity for you to gain some knowledge off of an expert who deals with these transactions on a continuous basis and allows you to get a feel for me as your potential agent when you are ready to make that decision. You can also talk to a bank loan officer or mortgage broker, they look at home buying from a different perspective, but can usually give you a basic overview of the process.
Home Buying Questions to Ask
1. Will the agent help you compose your offer to purchase a home? If not, who does help? If the agent uses fill-in-the-blank forms, ask for a blank sample copy to take home and study.
2. What types of disclosures are sellers in your area required to give to buyers? Can the agent give you a sample copy of typical disclosures?
3. What types of home inspections are standard in your area? Are there other inspections that the agent recommends? How much do the inspections usually cost? Are they regarded as a buyer expense? When are inspections done?
4. Is a survey required for most transactions? If so, who typically pays for it, the buyer or the seller?
5. Does an attorney or title company do a title search to verify that the deed is problem free? What's the average cost for that service?
6. Who acts as settlement agent, the person who puts together final paperwork for you to sign? (attorney, title company personnel, real estate broker, other)?
7. Other than loan costs, what's the average total cost for other closing fees? Taxes, settlement agent fees, etc.
8. How long does it usually take to close on a home once an offer is accepted?
That's a good start. After you have the answers to those questions, you'll have a better feeling for the basic customs in your area.
Understanding Your Local Real Estate Market
It's important to study your local real estate market before you seriously look at houses so that you can make educated decisions through out the process. As your agent, I can get you a report of sold comparables and we can look at what current listings are being priced at to reveal the mindset of sellers in your market. Start browsing the real estate market in your town now, before you talk to a real estate agent or for sale by owner seller.
· Browse listings on the my website of the entire MLS market
· Pick up real estate for sale books in your area.
· Read real estate ads in the local newspapers.
· Take drives and look for "For Sale" signs. Note which neighborhoods you like the best.
· Make changes to your Wants & Needs list if necessary.