Posts Tagged ‘Buyers’

Preparing to Buy: Getting Finances in Order

You’ve been pre-approved, and you’ve been shopping with your Realtor. She’s encouraging you to write an offer on that cute little house you saw today. “When do I need to have my funds available?” you wonder. Some funds need to be available right away. An earnest money deposit, or “consideration,” is part of writing a real estate purchase contract, and you are expected to put a check with the offer you write. Your agent will collect a check from you, usually up to 3% of the purchase price. If your offer is not accepted, she will return your check to you. Once your offer is accepted, she generally has three days to deposit that check into an escrow account for you. This money becomes part of your down payment.

In addition to the remainder of your down payment, you will need cash for closing costs. These costs may include escrow charges, title insurance, lenders’ fees, the transfer taxes that are collected when a property changes owners, prorated property taxes and various small fees. Both buyers and sellers have closing costs. Who pays for what depends upon the terms of the contract and the county in which the property is located. The money for closing costs is brought in with your down payment, shortly before your escrow closes and you become the new owner of the home.    

“Okay, so I need money when I write my contract, and I need my down payment and closing costs just before my escrow closes. Do I need to have any other money available during the escrow process?” I’m glad you asked! Yes, probably so. While the deposit, down payment, and closing costs are most of the money you will need to bring in to purchase your new home, you may have to pay “up front” for the appraisal the lender requires. Of course if you’re paying cash for your home, an appraisal would be optional. Also, you may wish to have inspections made on the property you are buying. Most inspectors give us the choice of paying for an inspection at the time of inspection or having the cost of the inspection billed to escrow. In the latter case, the fee is higher. Questions? I’m here to help you.

Property Inspections: How Important Are They…And Who Pays for Them?

As home prices inch their way back, I’m seeing more “regular” listings in our inventory, not just foreclosed homes and short sales.  That’s encouraging news for both sellers and buyers.  Sellers who have been holding out are putting their homes on the market now, and these regular sales are quite appealing to many buyers.  “Why is that, Lexie?” you may ask.  Much of our inventory of homes for sale in the past year has been distressed properties.  When a home is owned by a lender, they are not willing to provide inspection reports—and they want As-Is sales.  That means they are not willing to make any repairs to the home.  What you see is what you get. 

 In contrast, traditionally sold homes generally are, overall, in better condition.  Because sellers don’t want surprises that could affect their bottom line, many are willing to pay up-front for inspection reports.  Having inspections done prior to putting a home on the market makes good sense.  Buyers can go over the provided reports with their agent before they write a contract.  Buyers don’t want surprises either.  They benefit by having a better idea of what they’re bidding on and, once they have the contract, they won’t need to have the provided inspections repeated.  Having inspection reports available benefits the seller also because it not only gives them an opportunity to correct some of the items mentioned on the reports, but it also decreases the chance of the buyer backing out after winning the contract. 

 Sometimes a seller is not willing to pay to have inspection reports done.  In this case once the buyer has won the contract, he has a certain number of days to have inspections done and to review the resulting reports.  In this case of course the buyer pays for them.  “What inspections should I have done on the house I’m buying?”  That depends on the house.  Does it have a fireplace?  Does it have a pool?  Did the seller provide any inspection reports?  Each house is different.  Your agent can assist you in determining which inspections should be done, in ordering those inspections, and being at the house when inspections take place.  Are termites brunching on beams or enjoying sub-floor for supper?  Does the home have clogged arteries with corroded pipes?  Regardless of who pays for the inspections, both parties will have a clearer idea of the condition of the home being sold, resulting in greater peace of mind for all parties involved in the transaction.

Are You Ready To Buy a House?

So, you want to buy a house? Of course! It’s the American dream. You can paint the walls the colors you like. You can plant what you like in your backyard. Maybe you’d like a pool in your backyard. You can remodel your house to show off your style, to make it your own, to make it a comfortable and comforting place for your lifestyle. You can make it a home.

Okay, what’s the first step? Well, let’s find out how much house you can buy. To do that you need to talk to a lender and get pre-qualified. You can do that over the phone. But is that good enough to start shopping? Not any more. These days, now that lenders have suffering in their history, they aren’t as lenient or as open minded as they used to be. One Realtor said recently, speaking of that bygone era, “all you needed was to be able to fog a mirror to get a loan.” Those days may be gone, but the good news is that lenders are still in business to make money and they do that by selling loans.

Ask a lender to get you pre-approved for a loan. This entails enabling the lender to request and look at your credit report, and learn your FICO scores. You will also fill out a loan application form. He or she will ask you to bring in a couple recent pay stubs, bank statements, and tax returns. That lender now has a pretty good idea about your income, your debt, and your payment habits. Ask the lender to give you a pre-approval letter. Now you’re ready to call a Realtor and start shopping for your new home!

Yes, It’s Time To Buy!

There has always been much demand for real estate in the Bay Area. Lots of people live here, and most of us want a place of our own. That demand for homes pushed prices up. Then, when the economy fell apart, prices came down. Several factors were involved, which resulted in short sales and foreclosures, and then the large amount of foreclosures itself became a factor. For a while buyers just sat and watched, but when they saw others buying homes at greatly discounted prices, they have come back into this area/market, looking for bargains. This is a great time to buy, especially for people who couldn’t afford to buy here before. Not only have prices come down, but interest rates are at historic lows. An unbeatable combination!