Toronto: Your questions about the home-buying process are likely to be numerous if you are a first-time buyer. Yes, you can find answers to some of your questions online, such as how many houses you can afford or what PMI is.
However, online searches can only get you so far. Some questions are best answered by someone who is familiar with the real estate market in the area where you want to buy a home.
Working with a reputable real estate agent can assist you in navigating the complexities of home ownership. Let’s take a look at some questions to ask a Realtor® before purchasing your first home.
Identifying a Real Estate Agent
When looking for the best real estate agent for your needs, look for someone you can rely on to guide you through the home-buying process.
To begin, you can seek recommendations from trusted friends and family members. People who know you best may be able to recommend a real estate agent with whom you will feel at ease. Buying a home can also be an emotional experience, so you should work with someone you like.
Once you’ve found a good fit for an agent, here are some questions to ask at each stage of the home-buying process.
While you’re looking for a home,
The process of looking for a home can be the most enjoyable part of the home-buying process. However, it is still critical to obtain accurate information from your real estate agent during this stage. A real estate agent can help you with everything from determining how much down payment you’ll need to whether a neighbourhood has a homeowner’s association to locating a lender who will work with you.
What should I look for when I go house hunting?
If you’ve given your real estate agent a good idea of your needs and wants, they’ll be able to advise you on the home features that will meet your needs. For instance, if you inform your Realtor that you wish to expand your family, he or she may recommend that you look for homes with bathtubs in each bedroom.
bathroom. Your agent can also advise you on what to look for in order to determine a home’s structural integrity and alert you to potential red flags that indicate a home may require major renovations.
How much are homes in this neighbourhood selling for?
Knowing how much homes have sold for gives you a good idea of how much you might have to pay if you wanted to live in a specific neighbourhood. You can use this information to determine whether you can afford to live in a specific area by comparing it to your housing budget (or how much you’ve been pre-approved for). If a particular area is out of your price range, your real estate agent can recommend similar neighbourhoods that might be a better fit.
What are the best neighbourhoods to look in?
Your Realtor will be able to point you in the direction of neighbourhoods that will suit your needs. For example, if you want to ensure that your children receive a high-quality education, your real estate agent may be able to recommend areas with excellent schools. Alternatively, if you’re a young professional interested in the nightlife scene, your real estate agent may be able to recommend areas with plenty of nearby amenities.
What are the resale values in this area?
A home’s resale value is a good indicator of whether you’ll be able to recoup your investment. In other words, will you be able to sell your home quickly and for a price close to what you paid for it? Real estate agents can look into this for you.
How long has this house been for sale?
In general, the longer a home has been on the market, the more difficult it is to sell. That’s because potential buyers may wonder what’s wrong with the house, even if there isn’t anything wrong with it. If you ask your realtor this question, you’ll get a better idea of how much to offer and whether or not there’s any pressure to buy now.
Why is this house on the market?
If you know why the current owner is selling, you’ll have a better idea of their motivations in the future. For example, if the sellers are relocating to another state for a job that begins soon, they may be motivated to sell quickly. If you want to make an offer on the home, your Realtor can use this information to help you determine whether you can negotiate.
What is the house’s history?
Understanding a home’s sales history and other aspects of its personal history can assist you in making an informed decision about whether or not to purchase it. For example, the home’s last selling price can help you determine whether the current asking price is reasonable. If the house has a history of insurance claims due to natural disasters, you may need to purchase expensive flood insurance.
Your monthly mortgage payment will include not only the principal and interest on your home, but also property taxes. Looking at the home’s tax history can help you figure out how much property tax you’ll have to pay if you buy it.
When you’re ready to make an offer
A good offer requires a delicate balancing act. Your real estate agent will advise you on how much to offer and any contingencies you should include in your offer. Your offer will then be delivered to the seller’s agent by your agent.
Do you notice any issues with this house?
As a first-time homebuyer, you may not be as skilled as your real estate agent at spotting potential issues, such as a water heater nearing the end of its useful life or an unfinished basement with a radon problem. Knowing about any issues will help you decide whether you want to proceed with an offer and how to address any potential issues in the offer.
How much should I bid?
Your real estate agent has most likely assisted many clients in placing offers on homes in the past, so they may have a good idea of what works and what doesn’t. They can use a variety of factors, such as sales history, what other homes have sold for, and the overall condition of the home, to assist you in putting together a competitive offer that has the best chance of being accepted.
What have other homes in this neighbourhood sold for?
Your Realtor or real estate agent can perform a comparative market analysis (also known as a comp) to assist you in determining what a reasonable offer is based on what other homes in the area have sold for. An offer that is competitive with the comps may increase the likelihood that the seller will accept your offer. You also don’t want to bid too high and end up paying more than necessary.
What concessions and contingencies should I include?
Seller concessions are closing costs paid by the seller on the buyer’s behalf. Allowing the seller to cover some of the closing costs can be especially beneficial for first-time buyers.
Contingencies, on the other hand, are the conditions you have attached to your offer that must be met before it can be closed. If the seller agrees to your contingencies and they are not met, you will receive your earnest money back. Earnest money is the amount you deliver with your offer to demonstrate your seriousness about purchasing the home.
Your real estate agent can advise you on whether to request concessions and, if so, what contingencies to include. An agent, for example, may advise you to make your offer contingent on the home passing inspection, especially if it’s an older home.
Would you buy it, and if so, why or why not?
Even if you and your Realtor have opposing tastes in homes, having them walk you through the reasons why a particular home is or isn’t a good buy can be very enlightening. They may point out advantages or disadvantages you haven’t considered, which may help inform your final decision.
Following the acceptance of your offer by a seller
As soon as your offer has been accepted, the real work begins. Your real estate agent will assist you in arranging for items such as a home inspection and a title attorney, if your state requires one for real estate transactions.
Can you suggest an inspector and an appraiser?
Your Realtor should be able to recommend a number of reputable home inspectors and appraisers. You can interview a few to find the best fit. Both an inspector and an appraiser will assist you with the closing process. A good inspector will point out potential flaws in the home and even make recommendations on what you might need to upgrade in the future.
Should I bargain for repairs if the inspection reveals a problem?
Your real estate agent can assist you in determining the severity of any issues discovered during the home inspection. They should be able to “read the room” to predict how the seller will respond to a repair request. Your agent can assist you in identifying issues that may be a deal breaker, as well as what to do if a seller refuses to make requested repairs.
What can I expect at the end?
Closing has a lot of moving parts, so staying on top of what you need to be responsible for is a good idea. It is beneficial to ask your Realtor for reminders so that you can schedule tasks to be completed on time.
What are some of the potential roadblocks to closing?
Even with the best of intentions, problems arise. It’s possible that you’ll need more documentation to finalise your mortgage, or that the negotiations following the home inspection will take longer than expected. Inquiring with your real estate agent about potential stumbling blocks may help you feel more prepared — and give you time to devise backup plans just in case.
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