Finding the right home involves asking the right questions, researching neighborhoods and communities and most importantly – working with the right real estate professional. Implementing all of the right steps will leave you confident and ensure a comfortable and successful closing from start to finish. Before making an offer on a house, you want to be absolutely sure it’s “the one”, but with so many options out there, how do you find your perfect match?
We have gathered some of the most common home buyer questions that we receive on a daily basis from eager and motivated buyers. Because we all know buying a home is a major milestone and you can benefit greatly from familiarizing yourself with the homebuying process.
1. How does a mortgage work?
A mortgage is essentially a secured loan that is used to buy a home. People looking to buy a home rarely have enough cash to pay for the whole thing upfront and that’s why mortgage loans are popular.
Your lender has the right to take the property should you default and fail to repay the loan. But once the loan is completely repaid, the property belongs to you, and your lender can no longer take it away. With this loan, you can buy the home, provided you make your monthly mortgage payment to the lender until the loan is paid off.
For any mortgage loan inquiries or questions, reach out to our preferred mortgage lender.
2. What is considered an acceptable credit score?
The most common FICO scores feature a scale of 300 to 850. On that scale, a credit score between 670 and 739 is generally considered “good.”
The credit score will vary depending on the lender, the state you are purchasing the home in, the type of loan and your debt-to-income ratio. In general, the higher your credit score, the better the rates and type of loan you will receive. For example, to qualify for an FHA loan, you need a minimum credit score of 500. With credit scores 600+, you will see the best rates.
3. What can I afford?
The easiest way to start on the right foot is to get pre approved. Pre approval gives you an idea of how much money you can borrow, guiding your search for a home. It can get you a showing faster, speeds up the transaction and helps your offer stand out from the crowd.
This question is more common than you would expect and the right answer is usually not what a buyer would have guessed they can afford. The last thing you want to waste your time on is looking at houses without understanding how much you can actually afford. We recommend asking a professional before experiencing the disappointment of coming across the perfect house and discovering it doesn’t fit into your budget.
4. How much are closing costs?
The average cost of closing a home can vary from $7,000 to $20,000 depending on multiple factors.
Buying a home is expensive and after saving up for a down payment, you might think you’re done with home-buying costs. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case and there is no way to sugar coat it. Preparing yourself for all of the associated costs with purchasing a home is the best thing you can do mentally and financially. They can include appraisal fees, government taxes, lender fees, title insurance, property taxes and homeowners insurance. Now, don’t let these costs push you off from following through with the next big step in your life – when working with a real estate professional, they will guide you through and prepare you for every fee to expect along the way.
5. Who should pay for the home inspection?
As a buyer, you most likely will be the one responsible for paying for the home inspection.
You’ll find out if the house has hidden damage, additional costs you didn’t foresee or any other inconsistencies in comparison to the listing. Essentially, the seller may have to renegotiate the offer on the house or lose their listing altogether if the buyer’s inspection reveals hidden damage or inconsistencies in the listing.
6. What if the sellers won’t pay for repairs?
The seller will have to pay for the repair or provide a credit to the buyers so they can arrange and pay for the repairs themselves.
If a home inspection reveals home repairs that are needed or wanted by the buyers, that automatically doesn’t mean the seller will agree to pay for the repairs – of course, all depending on the terms of the purchase agreement. The most common repairs you will come across are foundation and structural repairs, mold or water damage and building code violations.
7. How much do I have to pay a realtor?
When you are a buyer, in most cases you don’t have to pay your realtor anything to help you purchase your dream home.
The sellers are the ones who pay their realtor a fee and then the listing agent pays the buyer’s agent for bringing the buyer and facilitating the transaction. The fee is paid by the seller at the settlement table, where the fee is subtracted from the proceeds of the home sale.
8. What is an earnest money deposit? (EMD)
When a buyer purchases a home, they provide the seller’s real estate company a deposit to hold in their escrow account.
The primary purpose of this deposit is to show a seller you are serious about purchasing their home and that amount is subtracted from the final figure that a buyer pays at the closing table. The larger the EMD amount is, the stronger a purchase offer looks to a seller.
Keep in mind: If you back out of the deal for any reason that’s not covered in your contract (for example: cold feet), you could lose your earnest money deposit.
9. How fast will I be able to move into my dream home?
On average from start to finish, if there are no problems with the closing it will take approximately 30-50 days to close.
Buying a house can be a long process. From house hunting to getting a mortgage and having an offer accepted, it can take up to (at the most) several months until you get the keys to your new home. If possible, the easiest way to have a quicker and more certain closing time frame is to provide a cash offer. But after all that hard work, you will officially receive your keys on closing day!
10. What do I do after I move in?
The most important thing to prepare well before moving day is to create a moving checklist to work off of after you are somewhat settled into your new home.
This may be hard for most buyers because the first thing you will want to do is make your new home cozy and your own – but start and finish any renovations before fully unpacking. This can be hard, but it’s easier to live out of boxes now and deal with a little dust than it is to start in a few months when things are more settled in. This is a key thing to do after moving, and you will be so grateful that you did.
All in all, purchasing a home can be stressful but very rewarding at the same time. If you take the time to research and know exactly what to expect in your new adventure, you will be well on your way to purchasing your first house, or second or third with zero bumps in the road.
Of course, hiring an experienced real estate agent will give you the confidence you deserve when making the biggest financial decision in your life.
We are always here for all of your buying and selling needs, give us a call for a buyer consultation – free of charge!