Being able to buy a home is such an exciting occasion. You want to be educated and informed of the process BEFORE your home search begins. Here are some items to consider when buying a home:
How much we can afford to pay for a home?
Talk to your lender to find out what you qualify for. If you do not have a lender, talk to your real estate agent to help you find a lender that may work for you.
How can I determine my housing needs before I begin the search?
Your home should fit the way you live, with spaces and features that appeal to the entire family. Before you begin looking at homes, make a list of your priorities: location, size, lot, amenities, etc. Establish a set of minimum requirements and a “wish list”. Minimum requirements are things that a house must have for you to consider it, while a “wish list” covers things that you’d like to have but aren’t essential.
What is the MLS and how does it work?
MLS stands for Multiple Listing Service. The MLS is a private database that is created, maintained and paid for by real estate professionals to help their clients buy and sell property. It is extremely convenient, does not cost a penny to buyers, plus you get a qualified and experienced guide to help you through the complicated process of becoming a homeowner. You can search the MLS at the Village Concepts Realty Group website at http://www.villagesells.com/homes-for-sale-search/
What should I look for when walking through a home?
In addition to comparing the home to your minimum requirement & wish lists, consider the following:
- Is there enough room for both the present & the future?
- Are there enough bedrooms and bathrooms?
- Is the house structurally sound?
- Do the mechanical systems and appliances work?
- Is the yard big enough?
- Do you like the floor plan?
- Will your furniture fit in the space?
- Is there enough storage space?
- Does anything need to be repaired or replaced?
Imagine the home in good and bad weather and in each season. Will you be happy with it year round?
Take your time and think carefully about each house you see. Ask your real estate agent to point out the pros and cons of each home from a professional standpoint.
How can I keep track of all the homes I see?
If possible, take photographs of each house: the outside, the yard, the major rooms, and extra features that you like or ones you see as potential problems. And don’t hesitate to go back for a second look.
Is a private home inspection worth the money?
It absolutely is! For most people, a home is the largest investment they will ever make and protecting that investment by spending a few hundred dollars is well worth it. An inspector checks the safety of your potential home. Home inspectors focus especially on the structure, construction, and mechanical systems of the house and will provide you with a report of any repairs that need to be take care of, suggestions on how to maintain your home, and most importantly, will provide you with peace of mind. A home inspection may be able to stipulate if the seller will either make the proper repairs or compensate you for the repairs that need to be made.
Please be aware that the purpose of a home inspection is to point out repairs that can affect the safety and resale value of your home, not cosmetic blemishes.
Be sure to choose a home inspector wisely. Be sure to ask questions and find out how many years they have been in the business. Talk to your family, friends, and realtor to see if they can recommend one to you.
What are some tips on negotiation?
Remember, that the listing price is what the seller would like to receive but is not necessarily what they will settle for. The more you know about a seller’s motivation, the stronger a negotiating position you are in. For example, a seller who must move quickly due to a job transfer may be amenable to a lower price with a speedy escrow. Before making an offer, check the recent sales prices of comparable homes in the neighborhood to see how the seller’s asking price stacks up. Some experts discourage making deliberate low-ball offers. While such an offer can be presented, it can also sour the sale and discourage the seller from negotiating at all.
Do I need to be there for the inspection?
It’s not required, but it is a good idea. Following the inspection, the home inspector will be able to answer questions about the report and any problem areas. This is also a good opportunity to hear an objective opinion about the home you’d like to purchase and it is a good time to ask general maintenance questions.
What should I look out for during the final walk-through?
This will likely be the first opportunity to examine the house without furniture, giving you a clear view of everything. Check the walls and ceilings carefully. Also check any work the seller agreed to do in response to an inspection. If you find that the work has not been done, it should be brought up prior to closing.
How can I protect my family from lead in the home?
If the house you are considering was built before 1978 and you have children under the age of seven, you may want to have an inspection for lead-based paint.
What is radon?
Radon is a radioactive gas released from the normal decay of uranium in rocks and soil. It is an invisible, odorless, tasteless gas that seeps up through the ground and diffuses into the air. In a few areas, depending on local geology, radon dissolves into ground water and can be released into the air when the water is used. Radon gas usually exists at very low levels outdoors. A Radon inspection may be necessary and can usually easily be fixed if levels are high.