I realized there are a few questions I always get asked by our buyers. So I put together a list of the ten most commonly asked questions when my buyers are buying a home and included our answers.
1.Do I have to be preapproved to start viewing properties?
No, but you should. What we mean by that is you can always work with a Realtor to view homes or start attending open houses, but if you come across “the one” and you don’t have your finances together, there will be a great deal of disappointment when that home sells and you may feel remorse.
2. How much do I have to put down?
A down payment is the part of the purchase price the buyer pays in cash rather than financing with a mortgage. Buyers typically need a minimum 5% of the purchase price as a down payment. As for a deposit when making an offer, work with your realtor to discuss what makes sense for the property to make your offer appealing to the seller and what makes sense for you and your finances. This deposit becomes part of your down payment. The greater the deposit, the lower the monthly fees. Additionally, keep in mind that anything less than 20% down will require mortgage insurance.
3. Do I really need a Realtor to buy a home?
No. But it’s strongly recommended that you do. There are many reasons why you should have a Realtor represent your best interests when buying a home. Attempting to buy a home without a realtor will definitely make the experience more difficult, realtors have access to hundreds of listings because of a cooperative system called multiple listing system “MLS”. Realtors are experienced in local neighborhoods, costs and process of buying, strata documentation, zoning, etc. Realtors can provide a list of professionals to use in the buying process if needed. They are resourceful and involved with networks for ‘coming soon’ new listings. Also, realtors have access to history of sales and can ensure that your offer is attractive based on recent sales in that building or neighborhood.
Realtors have gone through rigorous schooling, have experience with the red flags to watch out for, can provide advice, and they carry insurance in the event there is an error or omission of the transaction. Not all Realtors are the same, so ask questions when looking for a realtor to represent you.
4. Who pays the Realtor fees when buying a home?
One of the most frequent reasons why buyers ask the question “do I need a Realtor when buying a home?” is because they don’t understand who pays the Realtor fees when buying a home. In most cases the seller pays the Realtor fees.
5.What is the age of ?
Asking the age of things is very important. Here’s a list of items to continue to keep asking about:
Hot water tank
Age of the home – this will help you better determine how old the plumbing, electrical, insulation, etc will be and it may need updating.
Oil tank (if applicable)
Air conditioner (if applicable)
6. What other costs are associated with buying a home?
But some costs to make sure to consider are property transfer taxes, lawyer fees, title insurance, inspections, home insurance, and utilities.
7. What is the market like right now?
The market changes almost daily/weekly. There are so many variables that affect the real estate market. And it differs with each type of home ownership. What you should ask your realtor is – how many units/homes sold last month? What is the benchmark price of the units/homes sold? Ask your realtor to look at past sales in that area or building and compare that home you are looking at. Is that potential home similar in bedrooms? Square footage? Renovated or not? Another reason to have a realtor as they can give you a good idea of what a fair market price is for the home you are looking at.
8. How long does it take to buy a home?
All depending on circumstances, but usually 30-45 days
9. What benefits are there for first time home buyers?
Lots start with your lender and ask about the down payment assistance programs or lower down payment options. A first time home buyer is someone who hasn't owned a home in 3 years NOT what you might think which is ever.
Your mortgage broker and lawyer will file the documents to ensure you receive this benefit.
10. How much are inspections?
Single family homes: Depending on the age of the home, if the home is on city water and sewer, and the homes heating method can make a difference on cost of inspections. Many people assume that when they get a home inspection, they will inspect everything. This is not true. Most inspectors will only inspect surface and accessible areas of the home, they are taking a snapshot of that day and they do not move personal items. Depending on the size of the house, a regular inspection can cost approx. between $500-800.
SO you will need a general inspection and if applicable – Septic inspection, perimeter drain scope, WETT Inspection, and well water testing. So if you need to perform all of these inspections, expect to have about $1500-$2000 put aside just for inspections.
New homes should still have a New Home Warranty Inspection so there are no surprises when you move in.