When you’re ready to buy a home, it’s natural to have questions. After all, buying property isn’t something most of us do every day, and the process can be confusing and complicated. The good news is you’re not alone. And the number of pressing questions you’re trying to figure out shows that you understand the importance of the home buying process and that you are curious about how to make it work for you.
Because everyone has questions, we’ve pulled together the most commonly-asked questions from home buyers, and we’ve answered them. It’s our hope that this will help you on your way to becoming fully informed and, more importantly, successful in your bid to become a new homeowner.
THE MOST COMMON QUESTIONS ASKED BY HOME BUYERS
Should I work with a lender before house hunting?
Definitely. By getting pre-approved for a loan before looking at homes, you’ll have a solid idea of how much home you can afford. You can also get the big picture of the costs associated with buying a property, so you can understand all of the expenses you’ll be facing and your financing options. This information enables you to quickly focus in on the properties that are right for you. In addition, you may be eligible for special programs if you are a first-time home buyer.
How long does it usually take to buy a home?
It typically takes 30 to 45 days from the time you find a home you want and put in an offer to the time you actually close on it. But market conditions can be a huge factor in how quickly homes move. In fact, in a busy market, home sales may take longer than usual because the workload for industry professionals, like appraisers and inspectors, increases. In addition, turnaround time for loan underwriting can also slow.
I currently own a home. Should I sell it before or after buying a new one?
This is a tough question with both pros and cons for both choices. Knowing your existing home is sold before you buy a new home may alleviate some financial pressure. However, you may feel increased pressure to find a new place within a tight timeline. If you cannot purchase a new home without selling your current home, your purchase offer can be contingent upon the sale of your current home. Your Realtor can advise you and assist you with this process.
Do I need a Realtor, really?
For so many reasons, yes. A Realtor is a trained industry expert who can help you through all of the questions that come up during the home buying (and as is the case with the previous question, home selling) process. A good Realtor will know the neighborhoods you’re interested in and can provide insider information. In a hot market, an excellent Realtor will be looking out for your best interests, which oftentimes can get you in the door of a house to check it out even before it’s listed. And when things get sticky, as they sometimes do, and it’s time to negotiate with a seller, a Realtor knows how to play the game.
Remember, the Realtor who has the listing represents the seller, not you (the buyer). Their job is to look out for the sellers best interests, which begs the question, who’s looking out for you? The answer? Your Realtor.
Who pays for my Realtor?
When hiring a Realtor, like any other professional, you are responsible for their compensation. The good news, however, is that in most cases the home seller will cover most, if not all, of this cost. The home seller pays a fee to their Realtor, a portion of which is paid to your Realtor for bringing you to the sale. Even if the home you want to buy is not listed with a Realtor (i.e. For Sale By Owner), the seller will often offer to compensate your Realtor, or you can negotiate with the seller to have your Realtor’s fee included.
What kind of a credit score do I need in order to buy a house?
For most loans, a buyer needs a FICO score of 620 or more. If your credit score is higher, you represent a lower risk for your mortgage lender, and that may result in a lower interest rate or a decreased down payment requirement. A buyer with a lower credit score should be prepared to make a larger down payment and/or repay their loan at a higher interest rate.
Do I need a home inspection?
Buying a home is an investment. Getting a home inspection protects that investment for you and your family. A home inspection can reveal issues that may not be visible or noticeable to the average person, such as problems with the roof, plumbing, basement or structure.
If you are financing your home loan with an FHA or VA loan, you will be required to get an inspection. But the truth is it’s just smart to get the home inspected so you have peace of mind in knowing exactly what you’re purchasing.
Do you have questions about home buying?
If you have questions about home buying, partnering with a trusted Realtor can make all the difference in your home buying experience. A Realtor can help you work through those questions and take the right steps to ensure you get the home of your dreams. Don’t know where to start? Check out our tips on