Wednesday, March 16, 2022 / by Flr Team
Before making an offer on a home, you want to be absolutely sure that it’s the perfect fit for you. This may involve some research, so you need to ask the right questions. That way, you’ll know you’re making a competitive offer on a home that you can afford and one that meets your long-term needs. Here are some questions that are important to ask when buying a home:
What’s my budget?
Don’t waste time looking at houses without first knowing how much house you can afford. There are more costs besides the sales price including property taxes, insurance, ongoing maintenance, etc.
If you want to get your offer accepted, it’s important to show the seller you are financially able to buy their home. You need to get preapproved for a mortgage. Not only does the preapproval give you an idea of what you can afford, but it also assures your REALTOR that they are showing homes to a qualified buyer and not wasting the seller’s time.
Is the home in a flood zone or prone to other natural disasters?
Homes that are located in a federally designated high-risk zone require flood insurance. Make sure you purchase enough homeowners insurance to cover the cost of rebuilding your home if it’s destroyed. If a hurricane hits or some other major disaster and you’re underinsured, you could be left with a huge bill to repair your home.
What’s included in the sale?
Anything that’s considered a fixture is typically included when purchasing a home (cabinets, faucets, etc.). But there could be things that you think are included but actually aren’t. When writing your offer, make sure to ask what is and isn’t included with the home, for instance do the washer and dryer or the kitchen appliances come with the home?
Were there any major renovations?
Find out any major repairs or renovations the seller has done since owning the home, and if you can, request the original manufacturer warranties on any appliances or systems that have been replaced. Knowing this can help you get a better idea of the home’s condition and understand the seller’s asking price.
How old are the appliances and major systems?
Understanding the lifespan of the air conditioner, water heater, kitchen appliances, etc. can help give you an idea of any future repair or replacement expenses.
How old is the roof?
If you’re looking at a home with an older roof, you may wind up having to replace it shortly after you move in, and we all know roofs aren’t cheap. Or if the roof has existing damage, the lender may require it to be repaired in order to approve your loan. So make sure to find out the age of the roof so you can avoid one of these headaches.
How much have homes sold for in the neighborhood?
Understanding the current local market will help give you an idea of whether a seller’s asking price is reasonable. Your REALTOR can pull some comps for you of similar homes currently for sale and ones that have recently sold in the area to use as a comparison.
How long has the home been on the market?
Typically the longer a home sits on the market, the more motivated the seller likely is to make a deal. This is when you may have a better chance to negotiate the price, contingencies, terms and credits for noticeable issues.
How is the neighborhood?
You can always fix up a house, but you can’t change the neighborhood. It’s important to like the environment that you will be living in. Your REALTOR can find out key information for you including community amenities, crime statistics, school ratings, etc. Also, time your commute if this is important to you.
Are there any problems with the house?
Sellers are required to provide a disclosure form that lists any known defects. But sometimes things can get missed. That’s why it’s important to get a home inspection done. The inspection report goes over the home’s condition and can help you negotiate anything that may need repairs or seller-paid credits before closing on the home. If the home has too many problems and you included an appraisal contingency when you made an offer of the home, you can back out of the deal without any penalties and likely get your earnest money deposit back.
How much will I pay in closing costs?
The down payment isn’t the only expense on closing day. You also need to pay closing costs which typically include loan origination fees, title research, processing fees, appraisal, etc. So expect to pay around 2-5% of the home’s purchase price in closing costs. The closing disclosure that the lender is required to provide you before closing will include all of your loan fees and the total cost to close.
We know the process of buying a home can feel a bit overwhelming, but you are not alone. Contact our team at Florida Lifestyle Realty where we can help you learn more about the process, what to expect, and how to set you up for success.
Florida Lifestyle Realty