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When buying a home, it’s important to know what additional costs will be in addition to the monthly mortgage payment.  Utility bills are just one of the additional costs to consider when buying a home.  Utility bills can be obtained from the home owner and in some cases, from the local utility company, who can provide averages over the past 12 months.  Keep in mind, everyone prefers to have their home temperature different, so the average bill could be different if you were to purchase the home.

This is another question that Realtors should tread very lightly with.  There is no doubt that schools impact property values.  Just like tips for selecting a neighborhoods, a top Realtor should be able to provide you with names or websites where you can find information on the local schools so that you can determine whether or not the schools are acceptable to you or not.

The answer to the question is YES! There are tons of reasons why you should talk with a bank and get pre-approved before looking at homes. First and foremost, talking with a bank before looking at homes can help you understand exactly how much you can afford. There is no reason to look at homes that are listed for $250,000 if you can only afford up to $200,000.

If you’re a first time home buyer, talking with a bank before looking at homes is strongly suggested, as there are many first time home buyer programs available. These programs can vary from state to state and county to county, so knowing exactly what’s available to you, is critical.

Another important reason to talk with a bank before looking at homes is so you understand exactly what costs are associated with buying a home. There are many home buyers who don’t understand the difference between a down payment, pre-paid items, and escrows, which can be thoroughly explained by a mortgage professional. A mortgage professional can give you advice on the type of financing you should be looking to obtain and also whether or not you should request the seller to contribute towards your closing costs, also known as a seller’s concession.

When buying a home, it’s strongly recommended you have a Realtor.  There are many reasons why you should have a Realtor represent your best interests when buying a home.  Keep in mind, all Realtors are not the same!  When choosing a buyers agent, make sure you know how to properly interview prospective Realtors when buying a home.

Attempting to buy a home without a Realtor can really make the home buying process more difficult.  Having a Realtor is always recommended when buying a home.  One thing not to do when buying a home is calling the listing agent because you don’t want to “bother” your Realtor.  This is one thing that real estate agents hate.

Buying a home can be a very solid investment.  This being said, renting can also be a better option for some, depending on the circumstances.  The current interest rates are incredible.  A 30-year FHA mortgage can be locked in at a rate of around 3.5%.  Since the interest rates are so low, it actually can be cheaper to pay a mortgage right now than paying rent.

There are questions that you should ask yourself before deciding to buy a home.  One of the most important things to consider is the length you plan on staying in a home, if you were to purchase.  If the answer is only a few years, it’s likely the better decision is to continue renting.  Another question to ask yourself is whether you are ready to take on the additional “responsibilities” of owning a home.  When owning a home there will be general home maintenance that should be done, are you ready for that?

Buying a home is a great option in many cases, but not always.

One reasons why buyers ask the question about the need of having a Realtor when buying a home is because they don’t understand who pays the Realtor fees when buying a home.  There are no guarantees, however, in most cases the seller pays the Realtor fees.

Can you find a needle in a haystack?  Of course you can, but the probability isn’t very high.  The same can be said about a rent-to-own property.  A common question from home buyers is whether rent-to-owns exist or whether an owner would consider that option.  They are out there, but there are somethings that you need to know before agreeing to a rent-to-own.

 

When an owner is offering “rent-to-own” as a possible financing option, they are taking on a high risk since in most cases, a rent-to-own buyer has a credit score that is not impeccable.  Since an owner is taking a higher risk the terms for a rent-to-own must be considerably favorable for the owner.  This often leads to less than favorable terms for a buyer.  When looking at a rent-to-own as an option you can expect to provide a considerable amount of money down and a higher interest rate than what a lender is currently offering.

If you’re able to purchase a home by financing through a bank or lender, you will be better off because the terms will be more favorable.

I own a home, should I buy another before selling my current home?

There is truly no concrete “correct” answer to this question.  There are pro’s and con’s to buying a home before selling your current home and the same can be said about selling your current home before buying another.

Before getting involved with a short-sale, it’s important you understand exactly what it is and what to expect from a short sale.  The easiest way to understand a short sale is the sale of a home in which the proceeds from the sale are less than the balance of debts secured by liens against the property and the home owner cannot afford to pay the liens in full.

Before purchasing a short sale, you should consider things such as the time it can take for a short sale response, the fact that a foreclosure is still possible, and that many short sale properties are in disarray.  Short sales are not impossible to buy but you must be patient and be in no immediate rush to move.

The biggest benefit to buying a home before selling your current home is the fact that you have a suitable property lined up.  This can reduce the stress and pressure of having to find a home once your current home is sold.  This however also can create disappointment and heartbreak.  If you are unable to purchase a new home without having to sell your current home, you’re purchase offer is going to be contingent upon sale and transfer of title of your current home.  If your current home does not sell in a timely manner, this can lead to you getting “bumped” by a non-contingent buyer and you losing out on the home you’re looking to purchase, which can be devastating.

Believe it or not, foreclosures can actually be a smoother transaction than a short sale.  A foreclosure, sometimes referred to as a REO, is a property that is owned by a lender.  If you’re considering the purchase of a foreclosure, it’s important to understand that most are sold “as-is.”  Foreclosures, if not purchased by an owner occupant, are often purchased by investors, fixed up, “flipped,” and sold to a owner occupant.

The time it takes to sell your current home is unpredictable.  There is no crystal ball that exists that can tell you exactly how many days it will take.  Selling your current home before buying a new home will put you in an ideal position to negotiate on the new home you’re purchasing due to the fact you are purchasing without the sale contingency of your current home.

One risk of selling your current home without buying a new home first is the chance of not being able to have a place to live.  There are options if your current home sellers before buying another though.  A “rent-back” can sometimes be negotiated with the buyer of your current home.  A “rent-back” would allow you to retain possession of your current home for a certain number of days after closing at the expense of paying the buyers mortgage.  A “rent-back” allows for additional time to find a new home.

When buying a home, a common question home buyers have is regarding the neighborhood/area.  As a real estate professional, there are rules against steering and providing personal insight into specific areas and neighborhoods.  This doesn’t mean that your Realtor cannot provide you with tips to help you choose the right neighborhood when buying a home.  Many buyers wonder about the growth of the local economy, crime statistics, taxes, and local amenities.  If you have a top Realtor when buying a home, you should be able to receive all of the pertinent information to allow you to make an educated decision on areas and neighborhoods.