Buyer Questions

I want to buy a house, where do I start?

  • Research before you look. Decide what features you most want to have in a home, what neighborhoods you prefer, and how much you’d be willing to spend each month for housing.
  • Be realistic. It’s OK to be picky, but don’t be unrealistic with your expectations. There’s no such thing as a perfect home. Use your list of priorities as a guide to evaluate each property.
  • Get your finances in order. Review your credit report and be sure you have enough money to cover your down payment and closing costs. Then, talk to a lender and get prequalified for a mortgage. This will save you the heartache later of falling in love with a house you can’t afford.
  • Don’t ask too many people for opinions. It will drive you crazy. Select one or two people to turn to if you feel you need a second opinion, but be ready to make the final decision on your own.
  • Decide your moving timeline. When is your lease up? Are you allowed to sublet? How tight is the rental market in your area? All of these factors will help you determine when you should move.
  • Think long term. Are you looking for a starter house with plans to move up in a few years, or do you hope to stay in this home for a longer period? This decision may dictate what type of home you’ll buy as well as the type of mortgage terms that will best suit you.
  • Insist on a home inspection. If possible, get a warranty from the seller to cover defects for one year.
  • Get help from Bachand Realty. Use a real estate professional who is knowledgeable about buyer representation. Buyer’s reps are usually paid out of the seller’s commission payment. Agents are required to treat all parties fairly and abide be the Realtor Code of Ethics.

When should I get pre-qualified?

It is best to get pre-qualified by a lender before looking for a home. A lender will tell you how much you can afford and what costs there will be in obtaining that loan.

Which lender should I use?

If you are currently a customer at a bank, you could talk with them first. If they do not offer a program that works for you, then check with other lenders.

Do I have to get a buyer’s agent?

Typically, you will want a buyer’s agent to represent you and sometimes when you are looking at property that is listed by a different company than who you are working with, they will be required to have a buyer’s agency in place to make an offer. Most of the time, the buyer’s agent is paid by the seller’s agent. But, you are not always required to have a buyer’s agent. A seller’s agent can still sell you a property with the proper disclosures. All agents are required to treat you honestly and fairly, according to their Code of Ethics.

What if I am looking at houses with an agent and I see one that is listed with another agent, can I still look at it with the agent I am working with?

Yes, as long as the agents are members of the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). The MLS agrees to allow other members show properties listed by each other. There are some exceptions to this rule if the property is an office exclusive, which is rare.

Once I find a house, how long before I can move in?

Once your offer is accepted and your bank starts the financing process, it can take anywhere from 45 to 75 days. At the time of closing, generally, you are given access to your new home.

What is earnest money and when is it paid?

Earnest money is similar to a deposit. It shows that you are serious about your offer. It is your money and it is credited to your costs at the time of closing.

What is a home inspection and what does it cost?

Once your offer is accepted, you will have a home inspection done by an independent licensed home inspector. He will go through the house with you from top to bottom and point out items that may need repair or are defects. The cost ranges from $250 and up, depending on the inspector and the services.

Can I ask the seller to pay my closing costs?

If permissible by your lender, a seller may contribute an amount towards your closing costs. This is negotiated in your offer to purchase to be a dollar amount or a percentage.

Seller Questions

What do I do if I want to sell my house?

Contact one of our agents for a free market analysis. They will let you know the value of your home based on comparable properties that have sold and that are currently listed.

How long is a listing contract?

Typically, we like to have our listings for six months at a minimum and sometimes prefer one year.

How do I know what improvements I should make before listing my house for sale?

One of our agents will make suggestions as to what will make it more marketable and what may be required for it to pass inspection or appraisal.

Do I have to pay the buyer’s closing costs?

Contributing to the buyer’s closing costs is a negotiable item. It is very common in the day and age to make that contribution. It will help the transaction go together if the buyer is short money to purchase the home.

Do I as a seller have closing costs?

Both parties have different closing costs. As a seller, you will have a title insurance fee, Gap insurance fee, a transfer tax fee, tax pro ration fee, payment of any existing mortgages and a recording fee. Other fees may be negotiated in the offer to purchase. These stated fees are the seller’s responsibility.

How long after closing do I need to vacate my home?

Occupancy is typically given to a buyer at the time of closing.

How clean does my house have to be when I move out?

All personal property not included in the offer to purchase needs to be removed unless it is agreed to by the buyer that things can stay. At a minimum, the property should be left broom clean.

How should I stage my home for showings?

Here is a link that may help with different areas of your home for staging purposes. Generally, keeping it clean and tidy will work best! http://realtormag.realtor.org/home-and-design/staging-tips