There’s something about buying your first home makes you feel so empowered yet so small at the same time. It can get complicated fast, making you feel like you’re in over your head. Luckily, you’re not alone if you’re working with someone who has heard all the first-time home buying questions (and knows the answers).
Real estate professionals say they get asked the same questions all the time. To get you ahead of the curve, we asked a few realtors to share the basics.
The first-time home buying questions real estate agents get asked all the time
1. How much do you charge for your services?
“Nothing,” says Samir Rai, a Southern California-based broker. “My fees are paid by the seller or builder.” This is the case for most buyers, as the fee is typically paid by the seller with the proceeds from the sale.
2. What mortgage Lender should I use, and why?
A lender is financial institution, or bank, that can assess your creditworthiness and offer you a loan. Alexander Lurie, an agent in San Fransisco explains that things move quickly in busy markets. “It’s normal for homes to be closing in 21 to 25 days,” he says. “For this reason, it’s very important that buyers are working with lenders who can perform on this timeline.”
3. How do I take care of a house? I’ve lived in an apartment for years
If a light switch stops working in your apartment, or the heat goes out, you call your landlord. When you’re living in a house, you’re responsible for any and all issues. Francie Malina, an agent right outside of New York City, says to find a good inspector to walk you through your house and explain all the ins-and-outs of homeownership. “For example, my inspector is top-notch, and gives a handbook to all clients on maintaining a home. He is their inspector for life and will respond to them any time.”
4. Will this house appreciate?
“I don’t have a crystal ball so it is impossible to know,” says Malina. A lot of factors play into whether the value of your house will go up overtime. Everything from the structure of the home to the location of the land it sits on plays into a home’s value. “I tell them they need to look at their house as a home—a place to live, entertain, raise a family. We can’t look at them as a future nest egg.”
5. How do I make sure I am not overpaying?
A 2019 study shows that first-time home buyers tend to overpay. Lurie says your agent’s top goal should be to make sure you’re paying the lowest possible price. “In advance of making an offer, I walk my clients through all of the recent and relevant home sales in the neighborhood,” says Lurie. “This helps my clients understand for themselves, not just trusting what I say, what the value range of their home is.” Your inspector can also help ensure that there aren’t any hidden structural or foundational issues that will cost you more down the line.
6. I am worried something better will come on the market after I go into contract on this house. Do you know of anything?
While you fantasize about your next home, look to Kelsey Patel’s LA pad for inspo:
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