Finding a Home
Looking for a home is an exciting project, one which will take time to thoroughly research. Do you know what you want in a home? How will you match what you are looking for in a home with the features that the homes on the market have? The following is a list of some of the items you may consider:
- Size of home, number of bedrooms, baths
- Region of the country; which city?
- Location of home; is it close to schools and shopping?
- Type of home
- Age of home
Choosing The Right Home For You
There are many factors to consider when looking for a home. Listed below are some of the factors.
Types of homes - There are many different types of homes: single-family, condominium, townhouse, and duplex. Additionally, the type of home you select may impact your buying power.
New or existing home - Consider whether you want to move into a new home or an existing home. In general, new homes are more costly than existing homes. However, the condition of an existing home can significantly increase your maintenance requirements.
Quality of home - Examine the condition of the home. Carefully inspect the structure, interior and exterior of the house for defects. The additional renovation costs may add up over time and exceed your maintenance estimates. Will the house need a lot of repairs? How old are the appliances? The purchase of the home is one step, but the renovations and repairs are added costs that need to be considered. Would you prefer to purchase a newer, costlier home or would you prefer to invest additional time and money into renovations and repairs for an older, less expensive home?
Features - Consider the features of the home. Does it have gas or electric heating? How many bathrooms does it have? How many bedrooms do you need? All of these characteristics will influence the price of the home and your monthly housing expenses.
Location - Would you rather live in the city, the country, or the suburbs? Do you want to be near parks or the library? What about a shopping center? Is it important for you to be near major highways or public transportation? Get a feel for the surrounding area by exploring the neighborhood and talking to residents.
Crime rate - Look into the safety of the neighborhood. Does the neighborhood have a high crime rate? Has there been an increase in crimes committed in the area? If so, how will this influence the future property value of your home?
School system - The quality of the school system in a particular area is not only important to families with children but can influence the property value of your home.
Economic stability of area - The economic growth and stability of the area surrounding a home can influence its future property value.
Property tax - Examine the annual amount of real estate taxes and other assessments levied on homes in the neighborhood you are considering.
Choosing A Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent can help save you time and effort in your search for the right home. Real estate professionals have access to home buying tools and experience that the average home buyer doesn't have. The real estate agent's role is to guide you through the home buying process and help you find the home that best suits your needs and price range. Real estate agents aren't necessary in every real estate transaction, but they can help you:
- Understand the paperwork and legal requirements
- Find the neighborhood for your lifestyle
- Find the home that meets your needs
- Search property values in your area
- Negotiate the final offer
- Coordinate the closing process
The Negotiation Process
When you have found the home that best meets your needs, you are ready to make an offer on the house. In most cases your real estate agent will present your offer to the seller. Do not be discouraged if your first offer is rejected by the seller. It is not uncommon for the seller to make a counter-offer.
Once the selling price has been agreed upon by both the buyer and seller, a purchase contract is started. In most cases, your real estate agent will help you negotiate the terms of the purchase contract. The purchase contract is a legal contract that details the final terms for the purchase of the home including price, closing date, and estimates on the closing costs. By signing the purchase contract, it means you have agreed to purchase the property under the negotiated terms and price. Although some closing cost fees are required by law, you can negotiate others as part of the purchase offer.
What's included in closing costs? Click Here
Who pays for what? There are no definitive rules on who pays which closing costs. The buyer and the seller usually negotiate who pays certain closing costs. For instance, the seller may be willing to negotiate full or partial payment of appraisal fees, loan points, credit report request, and inspection fees. Usually the seller is responsible for the brokerage fees, as this is compensation to the real estate agents for their roles in the sale of the home.
Earnest Money - Typically required as part of the purchase contract, earnest money provides a "good faith" deposit and secures the sale agreement. This deposit is usually a portion of the purchase price. This deposit shows that the buyer is serious about purchasing the house. Earnest money is held in an escrow account for the buyer and can be applied toward the down payment or closing costs. In some cases, the buyer must pay the deposit in cash.