What questions should a first-time home buyer ask during the open houses or home showings?
Buying a home can be a daunting experience. Here is some advice from Answers.com contributors on what to ask/do during home showings:
- You can ask whatever you want, but they don't necessarily have to tell you the truth. Open Houses are a great way to see a house, not a great way to get info on it. Remember that in most states the real estate agent at an open house works for the seller. Usually you have the right to be represented by your own agent, and that's the person you should direct your questions to. It doesn't cost any more. Your agent has a reason to give you accurate information and help you find a good house.
- First of all, you need to talk to at least 3 mortgage companies BEFORE you start looking for houses to discuss rates and estimated payments. It's always better to have an idea of what you can afford. There are also online payment estimators. In my experience, banks will preapprove you for more than you can really afford once you add in insurance and taxes. While it's fun to go look at million dollar homes, it will do nothing but frustrate you if you can't get a loan for even a quarter million dollar home. Yes, an agent can contact a mortgage company for you. Banks and credit unions usually have lower fees and commissions, though.
- You should ask the sellers any and all questions that you may have regarding the foundation and any problems with the house. Ask about anything that concerns you but remember that unless you put it in writing as part of your offer the answer is not legally binding upon the seller. If the seller completes a seller's property condition report then you should have it written into the offer that the seller's property condition report survives the closing of the purchase & sale.
- Ask the seller: What do you like most about the property and what do you like least about the property? Sellers will almost always lie when responding to this question, and it will give you a feel that there are issues relating to the property that the seller is concealing. Sometimes the seller give you a totally honest answer and even tell you what he or she don't like with the property. TRY to listen carefully to the seller, because sellers like to talk a lot about their property and in the process disclose more information than their broker would like them to.
- Go into all closets and cabinets and look up at the sealing for fresh paint or brown spots, which is evidence of roof leaks. Flush toilets and turn on faucets which will reveal evidence of plumbing or septic issues etc.
- After going through two property buying experiences I discovered that it is pretty difficult to find Realtors and Mortgage Brokers that are truly looking out for your well being 100%. Problems, such as city liens and delinquent personal property tax (missed by a title search) that a Realtor should know and address or informed us about, we found out a month or close to a year after owning the property.
- An open house is more or less for the agent to gather leads. When you are shown a house and it is not YOUR agent be aware as with the above answer that they are not looking out for your best interest. It is always best to find a buyer agent. They will look out for your best interest. They will remember anything you say about how much you are preapproved for.
- DO NOT CALL every agent listed on each house you are interested in looking at. Real Estate agents work on commission only. It is a waste of your time and theirs to come out to show you a house and then you sign with another agent. Yes, the agents are paid after closing, and the check given to their broker for their cut. Many people in the general public don't realize this. Would you want to work for nothing?
- I highly recommend getting a buyer agent to show you any homes you are interested in. They may also help search for homes that fit your needs. The agent will ask you questions, talk with your mortgage company and get the seller's disclosure for you. If you are a first time home buyer, there are many advantages to having someone guide you through it. Once you have an agent and you want to go to an open house, take the opportunity to do it. Be sure you tell the agent holding the open house that you do have an agent and will be calling them if you like it.
- You should find yourself a buyers agent to solely represent your interests, get referrals to 2 or 3 lenders and arrange your loan. Then have your agent search for property that matches the properties in your price range. Alternatively, you can research homes on the Internet for your agent to arrange visits to. It's a good idea to always use your agent to communicate to the sellers agent or to the seller. Don't go to an open house and express your interests to the other agent, they will want you to use their services. And when one agent represents both the buyer and seller there is an obvious fiduciary conflict on who the agent should be more loyal to.
- Although one might be scared by the thought of a fiduciary conflict, the issues of conflict in representing both the seller and buyer on a price negotiation is worse. Also, if you do not have a buyer's agent giving you detailed advice on what has sold in the area in similar properties, you may overpay, not realizing the home is overpriced.
- In Massachusetts, and perhaps other states, the agent holding the open house is working for the seller. If you ask that person to help you with the process and write up the offer, that person is still working for the seller, and is only assisting you with it, but does not represent you. Only if you sign something saying that person is your buyer's agent does that person work for you. In Massachusetts, if they are working for both, they are a dual agent. If the person helping you is a seller's agent, he/she can tell the seller any information about you that you tell, including personal and financial info, and that can be to your disadvantage in negotiations, and that person's purpose is to get the most money out of you to give to the seller. If you already have a buyer's agent and you enter an open house, put your agent's name on the sign in sheet, and perhaps give the agent the card of your buyer's agent. If you wish to make an offer, the seller's agent can then cooperate with your buyer's agent. The commission percentage is decided when the seller lists the property. If the seller's agent also handles the offer, the seller's company gets the whole commission. It is not less because it is handled by one company. If there is a buyer agent, the commission, same amount, gets divided between the two companies.
- I would ask: when was the gas boiler last serviced and has it been regularly serviced tested, if there are trees overhanging the gardens, fences and gates, who is responsible for maintenance and pruning, look at the exterior gutters and fashia boards - when were these painted if at all, how old is the gas fired boiler, and consider if it may need replacing, if there have been replacement double glaze windows, are these still under guarantee.
- The first thing you should ask when you are going to buy your own house or property and also you are just a first time home buyer is about the safety of the place, then next ask if the house already undergone on home inspection, then you need to ask also about the possible calamities that the house already experienced and of course do not forget to ask about the contract and price whenever you are decided to get the place.
- If you are looking at a distressed home (repossessed or short sale) ask for an amount of repair money to be included to cover electrical, water heater, furnace, stove and roof deficiencies. Otherwise once the offer is accepted, you may be in a bind if your mortgage company will not give you a loan if the house has appraisal issues and the bank or FNMA will not repair them. Really, this is not for cosmetic issues, but rather house systems.
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First and foremost educate yourself. Use your state's local housingauthority for free seminars in the steps of a home purchase andlearning about financing is key. You need to …have a good sense ofyour income and the amount of money you can afford for the costs ofownership: mortgage, insurance, taxes and repairs. Once you havethe basic real estate knowledge, you can make better choices inchoosing your mortgage lender as well as your real estate agent. Choose a lender and get preapproved for an amount that they wouldlend you for a house. Many times you are approved for more of aloan than you can afford to pay monthly, so be cautious about yourprice range when you are looking. Being preapproved will make theoffer and sale process go smoother than if you are trying to buyand apply for a loan at once. You may need several thousand dollarsto pay for the application, prorated insurance and taxes, titleinsurance, termite inspection, home inspection as well as closingcosts. If you attend open houses, keep the preapproval and its amount toyourself. That realtor is not for you--they are the seller. If theyknow your top dollar, you may end up with less negotiating room. Call a real estate agent. Remember that fees for his/her serviceare paid by the seller. If you are a first time buyer with no home,you pay the agent nothing. He/she splits the fee of the agent whois working with the seller of the home you will buy. A good agentcan make appointments to see houses you have found as well as somethat may not have hit the market yet. They are also good atnavigating through all of the hoops if you choose a repo or shortsale home. I have also heard that some agents are called "buyer'sagents" meaning they have nothing to sell you; they only work withhomebuyers so there is no conflict of interest with them trying toput you into a home where they represent the seller also. When your title company calls and is ready for you to sign,make sure that you carefully read the form that shows all of thecharges that you and the seller will pay. Check that items you havepaid upfront and those that the seller should pay are correct. Thisdocument should come to you the day before signing. If it isincorrect, contact both the realtor and the title company.
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It i more likely that a first time home buyer is someone that has never bought a home before, either that means that you have never picked out the home or you have and someone… else has paid for it. Either way that person would be a first time home buyer. Depending on what state you live in there are factors that could place you in the category of first time home buyer even if you have previously owned a home. In New Jersey, if you haven't owned a house in the last 3 years, you are considered a first time home buyer and are eligible for the First Time Home Buyer Program funded by the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA). This loan offers a below market, fixed interest rate and can even help with down payment. I would check with a mortgage company in your state to see if there are similar programs available.
"Should" is subjective. It depends on the type of loan you are attempting to get. FHA loans accept lower credit scores than traditional lenders. Traditional lenders have rate …discounts at the higher levels, the best loans being found with scores over 800. Each lender is different. Some price everyone the same over 750, or 720. On average a score over 680 is desirable, although loans can be had with lower scores. Don't forget that lenders are now placing a greater weight on debt ratios and down payment levels.
In New Jersey, if you haven't owned a house in the last 3 years, you are considered a first time home buyer and are eligible for the First Time Home Buyer Program funded by th…e New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA) which offers a below-market, fixed interest rate and can help with your down payment.
There are many questions you could ask during an home inspection. But the first question you need to ask is "Can I see your home inspection license or ID card issued by ASHI o…r another organization" . Feel free to ask the home inspector any questions regarding the drainage around the exterior of the house. Ask the home inspector about any of your concerns.
No, since you are not a first time home buyer. I tried that when I got a divorce and because my husband and I had bought a home I didn't qualify. . Not necessarily true. In …New Jersey, if you haven't owned a house in the last 3 years, you are considered a first time home buyer and are eligible for the First Time Home Buyer Program funded by the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA). This loan offers a below-market, fixed interest rate and can even help with down payments. I would check with a mortgage company in your state to see if there is a similar program available.
If you're having it built for you by a contractor (custom), I would make sure to ask the following: - How long in business and can I have a list of 5 current references? …- Are you licensed to build new homes in this state? - May I see a copy of the contract and have my lawyer review it? - Do you provide the blueprints or do I have to hire an architect? - Will you provide a completion schedule for the job and adhere to a penalty clause for late completion? - May I have copies of your liability and workman's compensation insurance certificates? These are the major questions that all homeowners should ask contractors before signing a contract or giving the contractor any money. There are others that are certainly helpful, but these are primary.
Even if you are a first time buyer (or have not purchased in the last 3 years), you are not automatically qualified for the first time buyer credit. There are certain criteri…a that you must fall under. The most helpful information is found on the IRS website: http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=204671,00.html From there you will find links to Form 5405 which should be used to claim your tax credit. You will also be able to see the restrictions on the credit: . First-time homebuyers may be able to take advantage of a tax credit for homes purchased in 2008 or 2009. The credit: . Applies to purchases that close after April 8, 2008, and before Dec. 1, 2009. . Applies only to homes used as a taxpayer's principal residence. . Reduces a taxpayer's tax bill or increases his or her refund, dollar for dollar. . Is fully refundable, meaning the credit will be paid out to eligible taxpayers, even if they owe no tax or the credit is more than the tax owed. . The question and answer section found here: http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=206293,00.html and the scenario section found here: http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=206294,00.html are also very helpful. Hope this helps. For more Real Estate Info/News/Fun Facts, visit my blog at www.wordpress.com/thomsonteam.
This will tell you what type of credit you're eligible for: http://thedailey.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/2009-homebuyer-tax-credit-changes.pdf and this will tell you how to f…ile for the credit http://thedailey.wordpress.com/2009/10/20/filing-amended-tax-return-for-first-time-homebuyer-credit/.
As a home buyer you should consider the following: . What is the best quality of dwelling available that is still within my budget? . Do you want move in condition or are… you willing to make upgrades at your own expense? . What is the condition of the dwelling and how much will repairs or upgrades cost? . Will the home retain value and have good prospects for resale? . Is the area on its way up or down? . Do I want a bigger and better home in a cheaper area or a smaller home in a more affluent region? . Will the home be big enough for the family we intend to have or will we have to move to a larger place at some point? . How much time am I willing to spend traveling to and from work each day? . What is the quality of the school system and how will my children get to school? . How far away are the shopping facilities, banks, parks, libraries, restaurants, public transit, etc? . Do I want a special play area for my children or outside activities or gardening? How much yard do I need? . Must there be parking for one, two, or three cars? . What are the family's favorite leisure activities and how far away are they? . Would a densely populated neighborhood be desirable? . Where does my extended family live? My close friends? How far away from them am I willing to be?
It makes an excellent first home, - but if you are asking about taxation or benefits as a 'first home' you'd have to ask your provincial or state department that deals with th…at. - - You don't say where you are - it's always helpful to do so.
Talk to friends and co-workers about realtors in your area and then talk to a few. Check your local library for books and articles on finding a Realtor. After your initial r…esearch, you should find a mortgage company that has a solid reputation in your area. Try to find a company that is part of the LendRIGHT program (which represents the top 3% of community lenders in the United States) and a direct lender. Direct lending mortgage companies are able to offer programs and services that others can not. These programs include but are not limited to: . First-time home buyer loans . FHA loans and FHA refinance programs . FHA 203K renovation loans . USDA Rural Housing loans . VA home loans and VA refinance loans . Mortgage refinancing options Once you find a trusted mortgage company I would consult with a loan officer about your loan choices.
Get a licensed real estate broker in their area to get the latest prices on the homes they are interested in. Look at several before deciding and make sure you have financing …in place before you start looking.
The question is pretty vague, but I will try to provide you adetailed answer. The most important thing about buying a home for the first time ischoosing the right mortgage pr…ogram. Most of the times when a home buyer starts his house hunt, he goeslike "well, I have saved money for years and i can buy whicheverhouse I want." But that is not how things work here. You cannot afford to spend all your money on buying a home anddeplete your budget when it comes to paying bills, home repairs andother monthly costs. How to avoid this this situation? Go to a mortgage lender. He will determine youractual financial situation and help you choose the house that suitsyou best. One more thing, when you consult a lender, you will often hear" you either pay 20% down payment or we wont grant you anyloan. " This is not true! There are several first time home buyer loan programs ( FHA, VA, USDA, Conventional 97 ) that provide you loan forlow or no down payment at all. Then there are programs like VA, USDA which give you an option ofloan with zero down payment. However, both these loans are limitedto a particular class each. (VA for US military veterans and USDAfor those looking for a property in Rural/Suburban areas). On the other hand, FHA and Conventional 97 loan are accessible toanyone for a small down payment. FHA requires 3.5% whileConventional 97 Loan requires a down payment as low as 3%. So when you start you house hunt, determine you financial conditionand go for the loan that suits you best, rather than spending allyour savings on a "Dream Home" that will leave you with a depletedbudget.