Buying your first home is scary and exciting all at the same time. How do you know you are making the right choice? While no one can tell you for sure if the home is right for you, your realtor can definitely serve as a valuable resource during the process.
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Below we’ve compiled the top questions you should ask your real estate professional before you buy your first home.
How long has the home been listed for sale?
The longer a home is listed for sale, the higher the chance that there is something wrong with it. Of course, it could be that the market is just slow at the time, but you should know the true reason. Ask the realtor why they think it’s been on the market for so long. Realtors usually have a good idea of what is going on in any given area.
What is the fair market value of the home?
The fair market value of the home helps you avoid paying too much for the home. But it also helps you get the financing you need. Lenders will base your loan amount on the appraised value. If a real estate professional thinks the home is overpriced, he/she will tell you. Otherwise, you risk your financing falling through and the home not selling.
How many people owned the property?
It’s always a good idea to know how many people owned the property. It will give you a good idea of its character and condition. If the same owners lived there for many years, chances are that it’s a decent home that was kept in good condition. If, on the other hand, there were many different owners, you may want to dig a little deeper to find out why no one ever really stayed in the home for long.
What are the taxes and how much have they increased/decreased?
The current taxes play a role in the home’s affordability. But you also want to know the pattern of the real estate taxes. Have they increased significantly lately? If so, you may want to find out why. Is there an issue in the area that you should be aware of? If they decreased, did property values drop recently? These answers can all help you make the right decision.
Why is the seller moving?
Oftentimes, the sellers are moving due to a job relocation or they are downsizing. It doesn’t hurt to ask, though. There may be an issue in the area or even with the home that is motivating the seller to move. Knowing their reason for moving also helps you understand how quickly they will want to close on the purchase. If you have a home to sell yourself, you may want a little more time to close on the purchase, so you’ll need to know the seller’s motivation.
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What items are staying in the home?
When the seller writes up the listing for the home, they must note which items are staying and which are going with them. Ask specifically about any appliances and window treatments that you like and want to stay with the home. If the seller didn’t note that they would stay, you can include it in your negotiations when you bid on the home.
How many homes have sold in the area recently?
If there have been a large number of sales recently, you may want to see if something negative is going on in the area. If there isn’t any negative going on, at the very least you’ll want to know how much those homes sold for as they will likely serve as the comparable sales for your potential home’s value.
What are the schools like?
A licensed real estate agent that works in the area should know what the schools in the area are like. You can pull up the school’s report card online, but hearing from someone in person what they think of the school district is often worth more than what you can read online.
Is there a homeowner’s association?
Even some single-family home developments have a homeowner’s association. If there is one, you’ll need to know the bylaws that the association requires so you know what you can and cannot do to the home and the property. You’ll also want to know the cost of the association fees to make sure they are affordable.
These are just a sampling of the questions you should ask a realtor when buying your first home. Use these questions as a starting point to some great conversation about the home and the area. Finding the right real estate professional can be the trick to making a solid purchase.