Real Estate 101 for Home Buyers
Updated: Dec 17, 2021
It’s no secret that real estate is a complicated business for home buyers. From hiring a realtor and trying to understand the ins-and-outs of home buying to the stress of finding that perfect home and tapping into your hard-earned savings to buy it, it’s downright overwhelming!
Fortunately, as a soon-to-be home buyer, you’re not alone in your confusion. For today’s blog post, we look at some of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to buying a house.
Five Questions to Ask Before You Buy a Home
Below, we consider five of the most commonly asked questions by home buyers.
Why should I hire a realtor if I can find a house on Zillow? Sure, you may be able to find a house on Zillow, but when you check it out in person, you might feel misled. With Zillow, you’re only getting a brief marketing description, recent photos (if you’re lucky!), and some relevant statistics, like the tax records and the local school ratings. A realtor, though, can offer you deeper insights, like whether it’s over- or under-priced, what the neighborhood is really like, and more. It’s also important to note that Zillow is second-hand information. The website pulls from what realtors post on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), so it’s not always accurate or timely.
Why do I have to talk with a lender before I find the house? Let’s look at it this way: House hunting without a lender lined up is like shopping without cash or a credit card. You can’t buy anything! Having a pre-approval letter from a lender helps to set your budget and gives your realtor a sense of what type of loan you may qualify for in the future (note that every type of loan has different requirements, so this information is helpful to your realtor). Most importantly, when you ask your agent to submit an offer on a property, a pre-approval letter must be sent along with the offer. Otherwise, the offer won’t be valid, and the seller can move onto another buyer. Remember too: Realtors often have great connections with local lenders. Ask them for help!
What should I know about the location of a house before putting in an offer? When it comes to home buying, the first step is to pick a location. It’s truly the most important factor to consider. And it goes beyond a city or even a neighborhood! It also matters where the house is located within a neighborhood. Is it on a busy street? Is it near a park, walking trail, or open space (especially important for dog owners!)? What are the nearby houses (comparable home sales or comps) like? You should also check into school ratings (even if you don’t have school-age children) and crime rates. Remember: You can change the condition or even the size of a home. The one thing you can’t change is the location.
Next Steps in the Home-Buying Process
You found the perfect house, and your offer has been accepted — now what? First, congratulations! That’s a big step. But your journey isn’t quite finished yet. Below, we cover two questions that are often asked at this point in the home-buying process.
Why is an inspection important? Chances are, you’ve only been to the house once or maybe twice before you make an offer. While the house might look great to you, it’s impossible to know the real condition of the property until a professional looks more closely at things like the roof, the HVAC system(s), the plumbing, and the electrical. A problem with one or more of these areas can be very expensive to fix or improve. Depending on the results of the inspection, you can ask the home sellers to make certain improvements prior to the closing day or for a credit towards fixing these issues after you move in.
Why is an appraisal important? To start, an appraisal is more than just important; if you’re borrowing money to purchase the house, it’s a requirement. The lender needs to ensure that the contract price is valid in order to fund your loan. Plus, as a home buyer, it gives you peace of mind that you’re paying a fair price for your new property.
Have a question about the home buying or home selling processes? Comment below! Stay tuned next month for frequently-asked questions from home sellers.
Let The Urban Dog Group help you with your real estate needs in Central Florida! Contact Christine Elias at firstname.lastname@example.org.