Recurring mandatory bills can prevent you from achieving financial freedom, especially if they are taking the bigger chunk of your income. That is why you ought to find a way to bring the recurrent bills down or eliminate them. Rent is a recurring bill that ought to be paid whether you have the money or not. However, owning a home can eliminate this expense and that’s why you need to be saving up to buy a home even as a renter. Nevertheless, it is not just buying a home. You need to make wise decisions when the time for you to become a homeowner arises. Working with a realtor will make things easier but there are some questions you need to ask. They include:
1) The sales history of the house
Before you make an offer on the house, get the home’s sales history from the realtor. You need to know whether it has been listed before and failed to attract a buyer or it had been leased. Also, find out whether it is a distressed home or foreclosed at some point. For a home that has been on the market for a while, it could mean the seller is open to negotiating a price reduction.
2) Does the realtor think it is a worthy purchase?
A realtor is not supposed to only worry about the commission he will be getting from the sale. That’s why you need to pick a genuine and honest realtor who will keep it real with you. Nobody wants to waste money on a substandard house and that’s why you should ask your realtor whether he or she be willing to buy such a house if she was in your position. If he or she has reservations then you should take a step back and find out why that’s the case. A realtor who likes the house will be enthusiastic about showing you around and helping you secure it.
3) Are there pending HOA or Condo association assessments?
Any condo or HOA association will have documents outlining the necessary reserve funds, financial expenditure, restrictions, conditions as well as covenants about the property. Given how lengthy these documents are, a lot of buyers do not read them to completion. However, realtors will stay on top of things, and they can let you know whether there are pending assessments. Make sure that you find out what the benefits your HOA will be offering you. You will have to pay for these assessments, and this is a cost you need to budget for besides your mortgage. Being caught unaware is the last thing you want because it will have a significant impact on your finances for a while if you didn’t have an emergency fund to run to.
4) Can the realtor recommend a good real estate attorney, home inspector, or handyman?
A realtor who has been selling properties in the region is likely to have worked with various home inspectors, real estate attorneys, and also handymen. He/she will know who is trustworthy and skilled. Getting recommendations on who to call when in need of these services can save you a lot of hassle. You can also ask him/her to give you suggestions on other professionals to call who are essential in the process of buying the home or even after. It makes the whole process much easier for you.
5) Does she work with both sellers and buyers?
Some realtors specialize in who they deal with. Specialization is great since it means tailored services. However, someone who works with buyers, as well as sellers, will have great insights no matter the side of the table you are on.
6) How many buyers does he/she currently have?
If the realtor is juggling too many clients it means he or she may not have enough time to meet your needs and expectations. If he/she barely has a client it might be a red flag. You expect a good realtor to be working on several projects at a go but not too many to stretch him or her thin.
7) Have any previous buyers found a home within your price range?
With market changes, the price of homes also changes. You need the assurance that you will find a good home at your current budget instead of wasting time looking for something you will never find. Also, you need to confirm that the realtor deals with buyers within your price range.
8) Is she part of a team?
You don’t want to enter into an agreement with the realtor only to be passed on to someone else without your consent. If the realtor is part of a team, he or she should introduce you to the other members in advance and be upfront on whether he will be handling the case personally or hand you over to someone else in the team.
9) Closing costs
Many buyers mostly budget for the down payment and realize how high the closing costs are when they can’t back out of the deal. Therefore, you need to ask your realtor about the closing costs in advance so that you can pick a house that is not out of your budget. Depending on the indicated buying price of the house, a realtor can estimate the closing costs even before you make an offer.
10) Does she have a comparative market analysis for the house?
A CMA is an analysis made after comparing around ten properties in the neighborhood that are similar to the one you have your eye on to determine its value. A CMA will tell you whether the price of the listing is reasonable or too ambitious.
11) Is he/she a part-time or full-time realtor?
Full-time realtors will devote more time to helping you find a home as opposed to part-time realtors. Therefore, pick a full-time realtor unless he or she is too overwhelmed to meet your needs.
12) How long has the realtor been in the field?
A realtor who has been in the business for a long time has probably seen it all and handled many problems that come up during the home buying process. Therefore you can trust that he or she has established great negotiation skills and the ability to promptly solve problems that may come up along the way.
Finding a great realtor will make your home-buying process much easier especially if you are a first-time buyer. Don’t rush the process though to minimize the chances of making mistakes. Hiring the first realtor you come across is highly discouraged. Take your time to interview different realtors and settle for the one who meets your needs. The buying process will be less frustrating if you have a good realtor to guide you through the process.
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