1. Should I contact several agents to work for me, to make sure I find the right house?
The short answer: No. Here’s why: every agent that is a member of our local Triangle Multiple Listing Service, commonly referred to as the MLS,(and most in this area are) has the same access to all the listings that are on the MLS. Enlisting the help of more than one agent would not only complicate things in the long run, by the time you want to make an offer, you must hire only one agent. Further explained, for an agent to present an offer on your behalf, we must have an Exclusive Agency relationship with you, in writing.
Beyond that, and more importantly, you need an advocate for you. Hiring an experienced and reputable agent from the start will certainly be your best ammunition in this endeavor. As a Realtor®, Devon is here to listen to your needs and wants, considering your timelines, and financial considerations. We won’t push you past your budget and respect your criteria. Having the right agent means you have an advocate from start to finish. What many buyers do not understand is it’s not just about the house search and negotiations. Granted, it is definitely important to have an experienced negotiator on your side who understands the protocols for bringing the offer together. Yet, having the right agent means your advocate is there to manage the transaction to closing as well. All of these things are very important in getting you in the right house! Devon is a qualified and certified negotiation specialist, as well as great at the project management side and its intricate details necessary to close on time.
2. There are so many houses to choose from on the internet! How do we narrow down on what applies to our criteria?
No problem! As our client, you’ll receive daily updates(and in some cases immediate updates) on all the new listings that hit the market that fit your criteria! You’ll be one of the first to know about new listings so that if you see “THE” house you must see in person, we are right there to make that happen. Beyond that, once you have some houses picked out to see, Devon will coordinate showing appointments so that you can have private viewings of your selections.
3. What is pre-approval and is it necessary?
Being pre approved means that you have had an initial conversation with a mortgage lender or bank and they have reviewed your finances and credit scores. They have helped you determine, based on your qualifications and your comfortable monthly payment, what your shopping price range is to purchase a house. It also means that as far as the lender can reasonably see at this point, you are ready to search for and make an offer on a house. However, it does NOT guarantee loan approval. Loan approval happens once you are well under contract and the lender has processed the loan to their satisfaction and guidelines.
Yes, being pre approved is necessary to start the process “on the right foot.” You wouldn’t go shopping for a car without knowing how much you could spend, right? Being pre approved avoids potential heartaches and keeps you on track to find the right house.
4. How much is a down payment?
This depends on the type of loan you obtain. They are a percentage based on the purchase price (i.e.: $100,000 purchase price with a 5% down payment = $5,000 down payment). Generally speaking, down payments are as follows:
- Conventional Loans: 3%, 5%, 10%, 20%
- FHA Loans: 3.5%
- VA Loans: 100%
- USDA Loans: 100%
Together with the right mortgage professional, you will be able to narrow down on the best loan product for you and better determine what your down payment obligations will be. This does mean you will need this amount of cash reserved aside for closing day.
5. How much are closing costs and what are they?
Closing costs can generally range from $3,000 – $6,000. To know more what yours will be, your mortgage professional will be able to help determine that figure. Again, you will need this amount reserved aside for closing day, in addition to your down payment.
Closing costs are the costs to close the house and include:
- Earnest Money
- Due Diligence Fee
- Credit Report
- Home Inspection
- Termite Inspection
- Radon Inspection
- Reinspection (If needed)
- Water Test (if needed)
- Septic Inspection (if needed)
- Loan Origination Fee
- Attorney Fee
- Termite Inspection
- Flood Certificate
- Title Insurance
- Property Taxes/HOA Dues
- Lender’s Escrows
- Loan Fees
- Recording Fees
- Express Mail for loan package
6. My friend had all his/her closing costs paid for by the seller and I want the same. How do we make that happen?
If that is important to you, we will certainly work together to structure an offer to make a win-win deal to speak favorably to the seller to respond to paying your closing costs. However, it is certainly important to understand that not all sellers are the same and there is no guarantee that a particular seller will be agreeable. It’s best to have this on reserve, set aside, just in case.
The HOME STRETCH
1. Why are home inspections important?
Hiring inspectors is extremely important to ensure you are making a smart investment. It’s like taking a car to the mechanic to look under the hood and make sure everything is working property, as you expected. In the same way, the inspectors look at components of the house from the attic to inside the crawl space, including the HVAC, water heater, and many, many other elements that comprise the home. This is not for cosmetic issues, but some cosmetic issues lend to bigger concerns. The home inspector will help you understand what is minor and what needs more attention. From the general home inspection, termites, radon, and sometimes well and septic inspections, these are vital parts of the home buying process that every buyer needs to have.
Devon has a team of professionals that have been working with her clients to provide detailed inspection reports about the homes they purchase. No need to worry about who you should hire for the job; Devon has a trusted team of professionals!
2. What is a survey and should I get one?
A survey plots out the property lines, the placement of the house on the property, and any other buildings, fences, building setbacks, easements, encroachments, and erected structures. Easements are a “right of way” granted to the entity or person in need of the easement. The best example is a utility easement, so that the City or Town may access your property to maintain the utility lines. There are various other forms of easements, but a survey will reveal if there are any on the property you are buying. An encroachment is when either you or your neighbor is encroaching on the other’s property. Encroachments are commonly from a fence, driveway, or building. These are all very important factors to know before buying a house. A survey might reveal factors unknown to all parties before closing that certainly need to be considered. Additionally, if you’re buying a single family home and plan on putting up a fence, it’s important to know where your property lines are so you can plane the fence in the right place.
3. Why do I need Title Insurance?
Let’s start with, “What is Title?” The title is the deed to your property, your proof of ownership. Title Insurance is generally required when you are obtaining a loan, but optional if you’re a cash buyer. Regardless of whether it’s an option for you or not, it’s certainly worth having. It’s a one time cost and in North Carolina is $2/$1000 of the purchase price.
So for example: Purchase Price: $100,000
Title Insurance: $200 ($100,000/$1000 = $100 x $2)
While your closing attorney will perform a title search on the property you are purchasing before closing, to ensure there are no defects that could encroach on your enjoyment of the property, the attorney’s title search doesn’t always go as far back as the beginning where title began on the property. The search reviews land records and can reveal things such as unpaid contractor’s liens, unrecorded closed mortgage loans from previous owners, taxes owed by the owner, errors or omissions in deeds, mistakes in examining records, forgery, undisclosed heirs, just to name a few. However, sometimes title problems occur that weren’t found in the public records or even overlooked in the title search process. As an owner, your title insurance policy means that your title company will protect you if a covered title problem should arise, post-closing.
For the cost, it’s easy to see why such a nominal fee is worth buying a title insurance policy.
4. Should I buy a home warranty?
Home warranties offer peace of mind to buyers from the day of closing, for one year thereafter. They are renewable annually and generally assist in repairs on common household appliances (refrigerator, dishwasher, stove, microwave, etc.), the HVAC, water heater, and other components of the house. Most warranty companies advertise that they will repair or replace the covered item that is defective. For a small trade service fee, generally $50-$75, the rest is covered by the warranty company. It is important to know what is and is not covered by your warranty company and there are many companies available to choose from. Researching these companies is important to find the warranty program that is right for you. Having a warranty is completely up to you as a buyer. Many people have found great value in having the warranty.