Buying a house is the biggest investment you will make in your lifetime, and the complex process can be intimidating.Â Knowing the right questions to ask and receiving professional advice will help make a sound investment.
Whether you are buying for the first time or moving across country, navigating everything from jargon to home buying basics can be scary and overwhelming.
Before you begin the purchase process, make sure you have answers to these top homebuyer questions.Â Each is a critical component to making an educated and informed decision.
Where do we want to live?
The first step is to help narrow down a location and define the home criteria that are most important to you.Â Understand that you will never get 100% of what you want unless you have unlimited resources.Â Define the criteria that are critical for your lifestyle and be prepared to compromise on the rest within your price range.
What factors are most important when it comes to choosing a neighborhood such as schools, commute to work, shopping, entertainment and how quiet or peaceful the neighborhood is versus a hustling and bustling urban area.
How much money do we need for a down payment, closing costs and still have some money in savings?
The mortgage product that you select will assist in determining down payment requirements.Â This is why it is so important that you pre-qualify with a licensed mortgage representative before getting in the car to shop for a home.Â By knowing your financial limitations you can focus on the properties that meet your affordability criteria.
There are additional costs associated with a purchase that you should plan for in addition to your mortgage payment, taxes, and insurance.
â–ªÂ Â Make sure you have enough money set aside for closing costs
â–ªÂ Â You will need to prepare for the cost of a property assessment, lender appraisal, and home inspection during the due diligence period.
â–ªÂ Â Donâ€™t forget moving costs including the transfer of all utilities and services such as heat, water, TV
How much you would like to spend monthly?
Unfortunately, many people bite off more than they can chew when purchasing a home because they look at the total purchase price instead of the monthly payments.
Keep in mind that what you qualify for isnâ€™t always the same as what they can afford.Â A pre-approval letter is something you should get at the front-end to ensure you are looking within the right price range.
A licensed mortgage loan officer can provide a total monthly payment including principal and interest, property taxes, homeowners insurance and monthly mortgage insurance if applicable.
You should also factor into your budget:
â–ªÂ Â Heating/Gas/Oil
â–ªÂ Â Electric
â–ªÂ Â Water
â–ªÂ Â Homeowners Association Fees
â–ªÂ Â Landscaping
â–ªÂ Â Cable/TV
â–ªÂ Â Sewer
â–ªÂ Â Pool and yard maintenance
â–ªÂ Â Set aside money for on-going repairs and maintenance
Why should you work with an Exclusive Buyerâ€™s Agent?
Choosing a real estate professional is one of the first decisions a buyer will make.Â It is also a very personal decision depending on the qualities most important you.
While traits such as honesty, integrity, knowledge, and experience are all very important; it is also vital that you choose an agent that represents you and only you.Â A buyerâ€™s agent works as an advocate, providing guidance as well as open lines of communication.Â Explaining the purchase process and keeping the buyer informed along the way is a way to work together through the buying process.
Any agent that lists properties does not have an exclusive fiduciary responsibility to you as a Buyer.Â They have an inherent conflict of interest.
Exclusive Buyer's Agents give buyers their undivided loyalty.Â Most real estate agents and buyer's agents work in traditional brokerages that take listings.Â Because of that, they have an inventory that they must sell. In addition, if that brokerage brings both the buyer and the seller into the transaction, they get to keep the entire commission, making the transaction more profitable.Â These can be strong incentives to steer a buyer to one of their own listings.Â It also means thatÂ their buyer loses many of the benefits of hiring a real estate agent including negotiating on his behalf as well as the agent's ability to point out reasons why the buyer might not want to purchase that particular property.Â Since Exclusive Buyer's Agents must work in a brokerage that only works with buyers and never takes listings, a buyer can rest assured that the EBA will remain on their side throughout the entire transaction, getting the buyer the lowest price and the best terms possible.