Elise: Well does this home have most of what you are looking for? How do you feel about the house? It is often difficult to not give my personal opinion on a home when I know that my client is looking to me for my guidance and expertise. If the home you are considering meets most of their criteria, then I do think they should say “Yes to the Home”, but if there is some hesitation regarding price and/or condition then my suggestion would be to keep looking. If it is the right home, I believe you will know it pretty quickly.
2. Is this a good price?
Elise: I always refer to the comps for the area when helping clients to determine whether the asking price is in line with what is going on in the market place. Ultimately it is worth what a buyer is willing to pay for the home. How does this compare to the other homes we have seen? Numbers and comps can be helpful but sometimes it takes actually walking into a home, getting a feel for the neighborhood, the layout, upgrades etc in order to really determine if “this is a good price”
3. Can we offer less?
Elise: You can always offer less but will your offer be accepted? I always encourage buyers to make a strong offer right off the bat. Do you want to lose the house because you offered less just because you wanted to feel like you were getting a bargain? In a tight market with low inventory, your offer price and terms should be strong enough so the seller will consider it. You have to be in it to win it!
4. Are there multiple offers on the house?
Elise: Multiple offers on a home just reinforces to buyers the type of market we are in now. If you don’t like the comps or the fact that I may tell you there is a lot of competition in the market right now, hearing there are 3, 5 or 7 offers already on a home, will surely drive that message home. At this point if you really want the house, your offer needs to be extremely competitive. An offer price over list price is usually what is necessary as well as removing any contingencies within the contract. If you can’t or don’t want to play, that is okay. There will be other opportunities.
5. Will the Home Warranty cover some of these repairs?
Elise: I strongly encourage all buyers to purchase a home warranty. It is the best insurance policy you can buy. Read the policy terms and conditions of several reputable companies and determine if you would like to add additional coverage such as pool/spa equipment. It is especially important on purchases where the home has been vacant for some time due to a short sale or foreclosure. Inspections will be a snapshot of the house at a certain point in time but after that an empty home can be susceptible to other issues that may not have been discovered during the inspection.
6. Can we ask the seller to make any repairs?
Elise: Yes…you can always ask for repairs. I always encourage buyers to make good choices when asking the seller to make repairs. Don’t get caught up in the little things that an inspector may find. Many times these items are just maintenance issues as opposed to items that are not operational or even a safety issue.
7. How much are the closing costs?
Elise: As a buyer the majority of your closing costs will be determined by how you are financing the purchase. Lender’s have fees that are associated with the loan program you have chosen. Those fees should be disclosed to you up front. There are also Escrow and Title Fees plus HOA fees, Homeowners insurance premiums, Tax Pro-rations to just name a few which are paid by the buyer at closing.
8. Are there many rentals in this neighborhood?
Elise: Why is that a concern? In today’s market there are many homeowners who were forced to sell their home and are now renters. From my experience these tenants still take pride in the homes in which they live and if the area is governed by an HOA they are still bound to live by those rules.??
9. Which communities are holding their value?
Elise: I can provide you with the stats for any neighborhood you are interested in. As a whole the market has shown an increase in value, certain areas had higher price increases than others. WE can compare sold properties and trends over the past 6 mos in any area which will show you how the market has performed in any given neighborhood.
10: What do you know about the HOA?
Elise: What do you expect from an HOA? Do you want them to enforce the rules that help keep communities looking kept up and manicured? Do you need an RV gate and want the ability to park your boat or RV on the side of your home? Certain HOA’s do allow RV parking, others do not allow that and are very strict in enforcing those rules. You will have an opportunity to review the HOA rules and disclosures prior to closing on your new home but sometimes the best way to learn about the HOA is to ask the neighbors.