When searching for a home, a real estate professional can help you throughout the process by showing you properties in your preferred community, answering any questions you have, helping you with paperwork, and of course helping you to negotiate an offer when you choose a home. When going through this very important process, it’s important to work with a real estate expert you can trust.
Whether you choose to work with a real estate professional or a Realtor, it’s important to note that only a licensed professional can sell you a home. Make sure you take the time to ask questions about their background and qualifications before choosing someone to work with.
Questions to ask your Realtor or licensed real estate professional:
Buying a home is likely one of the biggest investments you will make in your lifetime so it’s not unreasonable to be a little selective when choosing a real estate professional. Remember, you have the right, and the freedom to choose a real estate professional whose capabilities, experience, and drive you are most comfortable with. Coming up with a list of questions to ask prospective agents is a great way to get a better idea of their personality. Here are a few questions you may want to add to your list:
- What professional experience do you have?
- How familiar are you with my chosen community?
- What can I expect from you during the buying process? What will the buying process look like?
- Can I have a list of your references?
- How will you stay in contact during this process? How can I expect to hear from you?
- What’s your philosophy about working with inexperienced home buyers?
Getting pre-approval is an important part of the buying process. This is important because this step determines your buying power. This is when we will ask you questions about factors that may play into your buying power such as your income and debt. This information will help us to determine the best mortgage lending options for you.
Understanding your credit rating:
In today’s market it is important to understand your credit rating so you can qualify for as much home as possible. Talk to your real estate advisor for a referral to a mortgage broker to get prequalified and know the exact amount of loan you will qualify for.
Know Your rights as a borrower:
- You have the RIGHT to shop for the best loan for you and compare the charges of different mortgage brokers and lenders.
- You have the RIGHT to be informed about the total cost of your loan including the interest rate, points and other fees.
- You have the RIGHT to ask for a Good Faith Estimate of all loan and settlement charges before you agree to the loan and pay any fees.
- You have the RIGHT to know what fees are not refundable if you decide to cancel the loan agreement.
- You have the RIGHT to ask your mortgage broker to explain exactly what the mortgage broker will do for you.
- You have the RIGHT to know how much the mortgage broker is getting paid by you and the lender for your loan.
- You have the RIGHT to ask questions about charges and loan terms that you do not understand.
- You have the RIGHT to a credit decision that is not based on your race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age, or whether any income is from public assistance.
- You have the RIGHT to know the reason if your loan was turned down.
- You have a RIGHT to ask for the HUD settlement cost booklet “Shopping for Your Home Loan”.
Know what you really NEED, vs. what you WANT. Consider what’s most important to you as a home buyer. Factors to consider when searching for a home may be:
- Price and affordability
- Size (Number of bedrooms and bathrooms and room needed for growth)
- Garage and parking
- Resale Value
- How long you expect to stay
- Yard size
- Location (Schools, work, activities, etc.)
- Neighborhood (condition, demographics, etc.)
- Walkability (http://www.walkscore.com/)
Give as much information about your wishes and requirements as you can to your Realtor, such as local amenities, transportation, schools, shopping, etc. This way your Realtor can find your perfect home that matches all of your criteria.
While shopping for a home, it’s helpful to utilize the many tools available to assist you during your search.
There are several ways you can shop for a home:
- By driving around the neighborhood,
- Contacting us for help in your search
- Create an account today and start searching
- Using site property search features (map, iphone app)
- Use IDX (Internet data exchange) to market your home.
We can help make the right offer:
During this step in the process we will work closely with you to help you negotiate and/or make an offer that you are most comfortable with. We will be there to assist you in:
- Considering your purchase price
- Settlement and finance costs
- Negotiations and an offer price
- Inspection terms
- Finalization and closing
When purchasing a new home, it’s important to hire an inspector who will provide you with a written report of the current condition of the home. When making such a huge investment, it’s important that you don’t overlook this step. A home inspection will help to give you peace of mind in knowing that you are making a quality investment and that you know exactly what you’re getting as you move forward in your home buying process. If you’re satisfied with the results of the inspection, then your offer can proceed. If you aren’t, you may want to negotiate, asking the seller to pay for repairs or asking for a lower price.
Some of the things you should have inspected are:
- The structure of the home (walls, roof, foundation, etc.)
- The exterior of the home
- Electrical and plumbing
- Systems (heaters and air conditioners, furnaces, fireplace, etc.)
- Doors and windows
- Basement and attic
If any problems are found, we can work with you and the seller to negotiate a solution.
1. What does your inspection cover?
The inspector should ensure that their inspection and inspection report will meet all applicable requirements in your state if applicable and will comply with a well-recognized standard of practice and code of ethics. You should be able to request and see a copy of these items ahead of time and ask any questions you may have. If there are any areas you want to make sure are inspected, be sure to identify them upfront.
2. How long have you been practicing in the home inspection profession and how many inspections have you completed?
The inspector should be able to provide his or her history in the profession and perhaps even a few names as referrals. Newer inspectors can be very qualified, and many work with a partner or have access to more experienced inspectors to assist them in the inspection.
3. Are you specifically experienced in residential inspection?
Related experience in construction or engineering is helpful, but is no substitute for training and experience in the unique discipline of home inspection. If the inspection is for a commercial property, then this should be asked about as well.
4. Do you offer to do repairs or improvements based on the inspection?
Some inspector associations and state regulations allow the inspector to perform repair work on problems uncovered in the inspection. Other associations and regulations strictly forbid this as a conflict of interest.
5. How long will the inspection take?
The average on-site inspection time for a single inspector is two to three hours for a typical single-family house; anything significantly less may not be enough time to perform a thorough inspection. Additional inspectors may be brought in for very large properties and buildings.
6. How much will it cost?
Costs vary dramatically, depending on the region, size and age of the house, scope of services and other factors. A typical range might be $300-$500, but consider the value of the home inspection in terms of the investment being made. Cost does not necessarily reflect quality. HUD does not regulate home inspection fees.
7. What type of inspection report do you provide and how long will it take to receive the report?
Ask to see samples and determine whether or not you can understand the inspector’s reporting style and if the time parameters fulfill your needs. Most inspectors provide their full report within 24 hours of the inspection.
8. Will I be able to attend the inspection?
This is a valuable educational opportunity, and an inspector’s refusal to allow this should raise a red flag. Never pass up this opportunity to see your prospective home through the eyes of an expert.
9. Do you maintain membership in a professional home inspector association?
There are many state and national associations for home inspectors. Request to see their membership ID, and perform whatever due diligence you deem appropriate.
10. Do you participate in continuing education programs to keep your expertise up to date?
One can never know it all, and the inspector’s commitment to continuing education is a good measure of his or her professionalism and service to the consumer. This is especially important in cases where the home is much older or includes unique elements requiring additional or updated training.