Top 5 questions everyone should ask when buying a home?
Being a SUPER realtor here in the Spring, Texas area I was helping a client look for homes when I intuitively picked up on an awkwardness. I kindly asked her what was wrong. I genuinely wanted to know what suddenly made her uncomfortable, even if it was me. She laughed and told me that she was just nervous and although she was in love with this beautiful 3000 square foot lakefront home I was showing her here in Spring, TX she felt like the questions she wanted to ask sounded “silly”.
What, wait a second and stop the presses!
I had worked with this client for 7 years and she felt silly asking me a question!
I thought about all the other people out there who didn’t want to sound silly or didn’t know what to ask. I explained to her that there was no such thing as a silly question when buying a home. The purchase of a home is one of the largest purchases a person will ever make in their life.
I always tell my clients in Houston throughout this process please feel free to ask me any questions that they may think of. It’s important to me that my clients have a clear understanding of what we are doing and why. I do my best to answer and satisfy any questions my clients may have. Buying your house is too big of a deal for you to have any reservations.
Here are my Top 5 questions I would suggest you ask when buying a home wherever you are?
What is the difference between the comps and the appraisal value and how does it affect me?
Here is an example, of a sale I negotiated for a client in of mines in Creekside
Village The Woodlands.
My very happy client just purchased their home with $10,000 equity.
See how the difference between the comps and appraisal can be a very good thing.
Who is responsible for the closing costs i.e. paying for your realtor?
There are closing costs for both the buyer and the seller to pay. To keep it simple most mortgage related cost would be paid for buy the buyer. The buyer pays for things like:
- lender fees
- required pre-paid property tax
- insurance, and buyers’ title insurance policy
Most home “selling” related cost will be paid for by the seller.
- the title search
- home warranty
- realtor fees
It’s normal here in my area of Spring, Texas that if the buyer agrees to use the sellers chosen title company, the seller will pay Owners title policy. Some fees can be negotiated, some fees the mortgage company will require the buyer to pay. But if you are paying cash, as we say in The Woodlands, you do what you want when its cash! Cash is king!
If I am pre-approved does that mean I am guaranteed to be able to close?
No, not at all. This is something that your realtor and your mortgage rep should go over with you. I am always reminding my clients while we are looking for a home and once we find the house, a pre-approval does not mean a guaranteed closing.
- Do not run your credit after you receive your pre-approval
- Do not quit your job
- Do not make large or unusual deposit into your bank account.
Last month I had a client in Sterling Ridge that almost sunk his home purchase because he forgot to let the mortgage rep know that he had a large end of the year bonus coming in. Now getting more traceable money is not the worst thing you can do, but his deposit caused underwriting to have to do a little more verifying and added a week before we could get a clear to close. So remember your credit will be reviewed again a few days before closing and quitting your job unless you have won the lottery will pretty much tank your home purchase.
What kind of warranty am I getting on this home?
On ALL home purchases I have EVER negotiated in Texas for my clients at a minimum they have had a one-year warranty paid for by the seller. Two things I cannot let go are a home warranty and an inspection (Click here to learn more about inspections).
Home warranties cost pale in comparison to the possible savings for a seller. I’d be doing a disservice not to negotiate a policy for my client. The warranty on your home can run anywhere from $350-$1000 depending on the depth of coverage i.e. pool, appliances, plumbing etc.. Considering the average cost of one refrigerator repair or replacement by itself can cost you $300-$1200 dollars. The risk vs. benefit is a no brainer. I also make it a point to go over what is covered in detail with my buyers in Houston when buying a new home. New homebuilders warranty can have built in clauses that require the homeowner to do perform certain actions in order for repairs to be covered.
I sold a Highland Home in Spring, TX that required homeowner at a certain time after purchase to draft up a list of all repairs that were needed and they would repair every single last item but if the owner waited just one day after the deadline he would only have a very limited warranty for five years after.
*I have it on my calendar to call him one month before that day to remind him to start drafting his list.
(Click here to find out why insurance differs from home warranties)
How do I know if I “REALLY” like this neighborhood?
Well this is pretty easy, VISIT the neighborhood, as often as you can.
I tell my clients feel free to come back without me. You should visit the neighborhood in the evening to see what happens after 5pm.
Are there a lot of cars parked on the street? Is there lots of noise?
Are there people walking dogs etc.?
Talk to potential neighbor about why they love the neighborhood.
I had a client of mines find out that a young man from the local high school band sits out at a park nearby a home he was under contract to buy and plays the violin. He and his wife were moving from the museum district in Houston to a smaller home in the suburbs in Kingwood. His wife loves the arts, he was so excited to be able to tell me how this made her feel like she would not be loosing access to the music and arts of their old home but finding it in other ways in their new home. The best way to find out the nuances of a subdivision is by doing some exploration on your own before and during the option period will save you from most if not all buyers’ remorse on your new home.
What’s an Option PERIOD you say? . . . Till next time Friends.