1. When I
search for homes what should I be looking for the first
home, pay close attention to these important
there enough room for you now, and in the near future?
- Is the
home's floor plan right for your family?
there enough storage space?
you have to replace the appliances, carpet, or
- Is the
yard the size that you want?
there enough bathrooms?
your present furniture work in this home?
Is an older home as good a value as a new
It's a matter of personal preference. Both new and older
homes offer distinct advantages, depending upon your
unique taste and lifestyle. New homes generally have more
space in the rooms where today's families do their living,
like a family room or activity area. They're usually
easier to maintain, too. However, many homes built years
ago offer more total space for the money. Many people
are charmed by the elegance of an older home but shy away
because they're concerned about potential maintenance
costs. Consider a home warranty to get the peace of mind
you deserve. A good Home Warranty plan protects you
against unexpected repairs on many home systems and
appliances for a full year or more after you move in.
Do I need to bring anything along when I'm looking at
Bring your own notebook and pen for note taking and a
flashlight for seeing enclosed areas. Be prepared to
"snoop around" a little. After all, you want to
know as much as possible about the home you buy. Sellers
understand that because their home is on the market, it
will be looked over pretty thoroughly. When you find a
home you may be interested in buying, make sure we ask the
owner the following questions:
much money do you pay for monthly utilities?
features have you enjoyed most about living in this
there defects or problem areas that need to be fixed?
- How old
is the furnace and central air conditioning system?
- How old
is the roof? Have you experienced any leaking?
What should I ask my Agent about each home that I
As a rule of thumb, ask any questions you have about
specific rooms, features or functions. If your agent
doesn't know the answer, he/she will research and get back
to you with the answer in a short period.
What should I tell my Agent about the homes I
Tell me what you liked and didn't like about each home you
saw. It is important for me to really get a feel for
what you're looking for in a home in order to find your
dream home. Don't be shy about talking about a home's
How many homes should I look at before I buy?
There is no set number of homes you should look at before
you decide to make an offer on one. That's why providing me
with as many details as possible up front is so helpful.
The perfect home may be waiting for you on your first
visit. Even if it isn't, the house-hunting process will
help you get a feeling for the homes in the community and
narrow your choices to a few homes that are worth a second
look. You'll be one house closer to "your" home!
looking in more than one community, try to make the most
of each house-hunting trip. Stop by the local Chamber of
Commerce to pick up promotional literature about the
community or check out the community on it's local
website. Also, be sure to take along a camera and snap
some pictures of all the homes you like. That'll make it
easier to remember.
What should I think about when I'm deciding which
community I want to live in?
Good city services, nice parks and playground facilities,
convenient shopping and transportation, a track record of
sound development and good planning-these are just a few
considerations that are important to many people when they
choose a community in which to live.
can I get information about local schools?
Ask me! I will research the local schools and
can provide you with valuable information about school
districts, including test scores, extracurricular
activities, bus service and more.
9. How can
I find out what homes are selling for in a given
Home sales are a matter of public record and can be found
by researching tax records at the appropriate county
court house. However, a better and easier way for
you to get this information is to ask me! If you're
interested in a particular home, I will be able to provide
you with a list of comparables - sale prices of homes in
the area that are roughly the same size and age as the
home you're considering. Although there will certainly be
some differences between the homes - the house next door
may have an extra bedroom, or the one down the block may
be older than the one you're looking at - it's a good way
to evaluate the seller's asking price.
How do I determine the amount of my initial offer?
There is really no rule to use in calculating a realistic
offer. Naturally, the buyer wants the best price and value
and the seller wants the highest price, but negotiations
can be influenced by many factors, such as a seller who
may be changing jobs and wants to sell quickly, or a buyer
who really wants a specific home.
you've looked at the home's features, asked questions,
checked comparables, and talked about it with your
Realtor, you should have a good idea in your heart of what
the home's value is in the current market. Consider what
you can afford and make an offer.
buyers and sellers negotiate on price until both agree.
When the price is agreed upon, the paperwork will be
signed and initialed as needed by both parties. At that
point, you typically will begin the process of arranging
for home and wood destroying insect inspections.
I'd like to have a professional look at the home before I
buy it. What does a home inspector do?
For your own safety, and to make sure you're
getting your money's worth in the home you choose, using a
professional home inspector is highly recommended. A home
inspector will check a home's plumbing, heating and
cooling, electrical systems, and look for structural
problems, like a damp or leaky basement.
you call an inspector immediately after you have
"an accepted sales agreement" on a home.
However, before you sign any written purchase offer, make
sure that it includes an inspection clause or other
language which says that your purchase obligation is
contingent on the findings of a professional home
inspector. Exclusive Buyer Agent purchases offers
automatically contain this important verbiage.
cannot "pass" or "fail" an inspection,
and your inspector will not tell you whether he or she
thinks the home is worth the money you are offering. They
are not there to address "value." The
inspector's job is to make you aware of repairs that are
recommended or necessary.
may be willing to renegotiate a price reduction to
accommodate needed repairs, or you may decide that the
home will take too much work and money. A professional
inspection will help you make a clear-headed decision. In
addition to the overall inspection, you may wish to have
separate tests conducted to check for termites, or the
presence of radon gas or mold. Talk to us for information
about these tests and companies in the area that perform
choosing a home inspector, consider one that has been
certified as a qualified and experienced member by a trade
association such as the National Association of Home
Inspectors or the American Society of Home Inspectors. I
can refer you to at least three qualified inspectors for
any given area.
Should I be present during the inspection?
Yes. It's not required, but it is very much to your
advantage. You'll be able to clearly understand the
inspection report, and know exactly which areas need
attention. Plus, you can get answers to many questions,
tips for maintenance, and a lot of general information
that will help you when you move into your new home. Most
important, you'll see the home through the eyes of an
objective third party.
the purpose of a home inspection is to help you learn
things about the home that are not easily discoverable
during your home-buying tour. The home inspection is NOT
INTENDED to be a "Laundry List" of cosmetic
issues or very minor repairs for Sellers to repair or
replace. It is not intended to be a "weasel"
clause to get out!
Do I need to talk to my insurance agent?
Yes, and the sooner, the better. Most insurance
professionals have a lot of experience in working with
homeowners and can offer useful tips about home ownership,
particularly regarding home safety and keeping your
you've found a home, work together to develop a
homeowner's policy that meets your individual insurance
needs. You'll need to supply your pre-paid policy to your
mortgage lender prior to closing.
What's "earnest money," and how much do I need?
When you sign an offer to purchase, the seller will expect
the offer to include earnest money - that is, money that
shows you are serious about wanting to buy. You will
be asked to write a check for an amount, established by
you. 3% to 5% of the offered price typically shows a
seller you are sincere buyer. If your offer is
accepted, your earnest money will be held in your agent's
folder. Once all contractual contingences are released,
the money will be deposited in a special non-interest
bearing trust account. At closing it can be included as
part of your down payment or returned to you. If your
offer is not accepted, we'll simply hold the check if you
like, uncashed. But keep in mind that if you back out
after all contingencies have been removed; you will
forfeit the full amount.
Is there any way I can protect myself against emergency
repair bills in my new home?
Yes. Home warranties offer you protection against
many potentially costly problems not covered by your
homeowner's insurance. They've become increasingly popular
in recent years, and for good reason: the coverage can
save you thousands in the event of a major mechanical
breakdown, at a time when your cash reserves may have been
depleted by your down payment and moving expenses. Ask us
whether a Home Warranty is offered when looking at homes.
But remember, if it is not offered, feel free to ask for
it when writing the offer to purchase. The Home Warranty
will give you the peace of mind necessary to feel
comfortable in your new home. In most cases, the warranty
plan will cover appliances, hot water heater, air
conditioning units, electrical systems, garage door
openers, plumbing systems, heating systems, faucets,
ceiling fans and water softeners. Check with us regarding
the specifics of the Home Warranty plan!
If I'm moving a considerable distance, is there any way I
can gather information before I start traveling?
Cramer is proud to be associated with RE/MAX
Relocation, one of the
largest relocation companies in the nation. Whether you're
moving across town, across the nation, or around the
world, we can help. Our Buyer Relocation Network is skilled
in handling the special needs of families involved in the
relocation process. They understand your needs,
concerns, fears, anxieties and joys, but most of all, they
know how to get you and your family from here to there
with minimal stress and inconvenience.
HELP! I need a name...
home can be an overwhelming experience. A buyer often
needs advice on locating services to help them before,
during and after their move. Contact
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