Buyers Tips… part 2
After you find the right home….
Take a drive through the neighborhood in the evening when everyone is typically home from work or school, and the weather is nice for neighbors to want to come outside. Is the neighborhood as quiet as daytime? Is there ample parking for guests?
Do not assume all homes can be expanded upon. Each town and HOA has their own set of rules and regulations. If you are buying a home with plans to add an addition, speak to the town zoning department before buying. Also ask if there are any easements on the property.
If you are buying a home in a flood zone, do not always trust the seller’s word about the actual flooding history in the neighborhood. Ask the town zoning department and ask the neighbors as well. Or, send me an email and I will check the address for you for flood history.
To find out when the next proposed tax assessment will be, and to confirm the current annual taxes are accurate, call the town’s tax collector.
There are many ways to save money, but I recommend that you never buy a house without a title search. I have seen a woman lose her life savings by buying a house in cash and after the closing learning that the house still had two mortgages on it.
Sure, as a real estate agent I could earn faster commissions by not bringing all these things to the buyer’s attention, but I prefer to have satisfied buyers and hope they send me referrals because of my sincerity.
A step-by-step guide to the process after finding your new home
Your offer is accepted! How exciting!
However, when the excitement wears down, you might experience a bit of “buyers remorse.”
It is normal human behavior to experience a little doubt or a light case of fear after any large purchase. Don’t worry unless there is a good reason for concern; it should pass.
The next step is the "inspection period." This is when both you and both agents communicate and negotiate all concerns that may have come up in a home inspection. Your contract states how many review days you have to exit the contract if any negotiations do not go as you would like them to.
If you have any concerns, do not wait until this review period is over. The seller will most likely continue showing the property and accept back-up offers up until review is over and everyone is comfortable with the end result.
When the inspection period review ends, the property status changes from "accepted offer" to "under contract." the seller may still show the property at this time, as a “plan b” just in case your contract falls through, but cannot accept any offers while under contract with you.
If a buyer chooses zero inspection days, he or she is agreeing to buy the property while waiving their right to an inspection to make their offer look better than others. However, If latent defects are found before closing, or if the buyer want to exit the contract they will most likely lose their deposit in this case by withdrawing the contract and can risk other ramifications sometimes.
Some buyers do this in a bidding war to make their offer stand out as a better offer to the seller. Or if a contractor is buying a home to gut it out, he would most like waive the inspection period.
Make sure you use a good home inspector that is very thorough...preferably one that is recommended, because I have seen some inspectors be too brief and others dig deeper into the house.
Ask your mortgage agent if your lender will require a termite, radon, well water, or septic (if applicable) inspection report before closing. Most lenders do require these reports and also a survey.
Ask your real estate agent to ask the seller’s agent if they have a survey that you can have a copy of; if it is not too old, you may be able to save up to $500. instead of having a new survey done. (Some lenders want the survey to be 10 years old or less, and others might accept an older one.)
In some cases sellers will follow the inspector around with you. Since you are the one paying the inspector, kindly ask the seller to please step aside and not interfere. You want the inspector to feel comfortable enough to speak honestly and privately to you without worrying about offending the seller.
If there are any issues found that you do not want to foot the bill for because they were unexpected, you have the option to ask your agent (or attorney if you are in NY or NY where they are used for closings) to request a credit from the seller so you can do the repairs yourself, or request that the repairs be done by the current owner before closing.
Keep in mind that if you make demands the seller does not agree to, the seller can withdraw from the contract and accept another offer from a different buyer.
You may have put up a good faith deposit with your initial offer, and a 2nd deposit weeks later.
This money is held in the attorney escrow account and then typically applied to your closing costs at the closing table. If the seller agreed to pay your closing costs, then any excess deposit monies will be refunded back to you or applied to the mortgage.
If your sales contract is terminated because your mortgage does not get approved, or if the buyer and seller do not agree on who will pay for repairs, and the written request for repairs was dated within the inspection period, your deposit will most likely be returned to you however if you walk away from the purchase agreement after the inspection period ends, because you changed your mind for a non-valid reason, you will risk forfeiting your deposits.
Once the buyer and seller are both satisfied with the negotiations, the home appraisal needs to be done for the mortgage approval.
The day before the closing, contact your escrow agent and ask for a fax or email copy of the Settlement Statement, so you will be able to review it and understand where all of the money is going, and know what questions to ask before the actual closing.
Text questions to Jane at 561-714-0931
Here’s to the smarter home buyer!”
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