I love my job. Being a Realtor is the best job I have had. Like any job there are some parts that are repetitive. Mainly the most repetitive is the questions that I get asked. That is ok, they are all good questions, but generally there are certain questions that get asked over and over. For my buyers, there are six questions buyer ask the most. The good thing is that doing this for so long, I know what questions are coming so it is easier to prepare for them when they do get asked. Below are the top 6 questions buyers ask me about the sellers home.
Top 6 Questions Buyers Ask
- How old are the systems and roof? This is a really important question. If all the systems and roof are 20 years old, that is good information to have. It will help a you decide if you are willing to take on a big expense of replacing the systems or a roof over time.
- Where are the lot lines for this property? Most buyers want to know where there property ends. There are a few ways to figure that out.
- Ask the seller if they have a survey.
- Call the county zoning office to see if there was a survey recorded.
- Have a survey done. They run anywhere between $400-$600.
- Can I add on to the house? It all depends on a couple of things. One, what you want to add on and where. There are setback rules for home. A setback is the distance which a building or other structure is set back from a street or road, a river or other stream, a shore or flood plain, or any other place which is deemed to need protection. Check with the county zoning board to find out the setbacks. Second, if you planning on buying a home in a community with a homeowners association, you would need to check with the board and read the bylaws and covenants of the community. Most cases if there is a homeowners association, they would require you to submit drawings of the planned improvement. Once it has been submitted the board will review it and decide whether you move forward or not. Make sure that you read and understand the bylaws and covenants of the community.
- How much did the seller pay for the house? This is a question I get asked all the time. The best answer is that it does not matter. I know this answer does not sound great, but if the seller paid $1 for the property and the market says it is worth $150,000 then that is what it is worth. What the seller will profit, from selling the property, has no bearing on what the property is worth.
- What are the utility costs, taxes, and mortgage payment? That is really three questions in one. These are important questions. These all effect how much money you will be paying.
- Comparing utility costs to what you are paying now will help you evaluate what your expenses will be. There are a couple of ways to get utility costs. The best way is to send the seller a utility summary sheet that they can fill out. If you cannot get that information then I would call the utility companies to find out if they service your home.
- Taxes are a little different. When you are buying a home, you need to find out what the assessed value is. For example, if you are buying a home for $150,000 and the tax assessed value is $120,000, when you buy the home there is a good chance your property will be re-assessed and your property taxes will increase. Also, look to see if the home has two things. One, a homestead exemption. A homestead exemption is a tax credit to homeowners who are living in the home. It lasts for as long as you live in the home. Two, did the home owner receive a senior tax credit. Some counties has a senior tax credit for anyone who is 62 years and over. It takes away the school portion of the taxes. It reduces it a lot. So if you see a low tax bill that is why.
- What is your mortgage payment going to be? Generally a Realtor can give you an estimate of what you mortgage payment will be, but that question is really for the lender. The lender will be able to give you a Good Faith Estimate that includes estimate for taxes, insurance, mortgage payment, and interest rate. It will also any include mortgage insurance. If you do not have 20 percent loan to value, then you will have a mortgage insurance payment.
- How much are closing costs? That is a tough question to answer because there are many factors involved. Factors include:
- Down payment amount
- How many months of escrow you will need
- Property taxes
- Home owners insurance
- Mortgage insurance
Closing costs are really two sets of costs. The first are the fees the lender and closing attorney charge to get the loan closed. The second part is the escrow account set up. The month and day of the year you close no you home, will determine how many months of escrow reserves you will need to have enough money to pay taxes and insurance for the current tax year.
So all these factors determine your closing costs. Generally they range from 2-3.5 percent.
There are many other questions that I get asked all the time, but these are the most frequent. If you have any questions please send them my way, I will be glad to answer them.
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