Q. Should I work with a real estate agent? A. There are professionals who can help you with the purchase of a home and offer direction on what you should consider: A real estate agent can advise you on the marketplace and what is available in your price range, as well as help you to consider aspects of a home which may be important to you (such as nearby schools, shopping, and commuting options)
Q. How can a mortgage broker help me? A mortgage broker or loan officer can help you determine what kind and amount of mortgage payment you can afford and alert you to the estimated property taxes which would be owed annually. A loan officer can also help you pre-qualify for a real estate loan. A homeowners insurance agent can provide information on the amount, type and cost of coverage you'll likely need
Q: What is the difference between a real estate broker and an agent? A: A real estate broker is generally a person or a company holding a license to represent parties in real estate transactions. A real estate agent is either a broker or someone who works under the umbrella of a broker's license. So a broker might be one of the nationally-recognized brokerage firms, but the agent would be the one who is actually working with you.
Q: When considering buying a home in foreclosure? A: Purchasing a home in foreclosure often appears to be a good value, but factors outside of the price need to be considered: The purchase of a foreclosure often is a "cash only" sale. Can you view the actual condition of the home inside and out before placing a bid? The home may be in need of extensive repairs driving up the actual cost of the home. Are there liens for taxes or mechanics liens that the winning bidder will be responsible for? Is there a redemption period for the previous owners? If so, how long do they have the ability to buy the house back before you can move in?
Q: What questions should I ask when looking at homes? A: Many of your questions should focus on potential problems and maintenance issues. Does anything need to be replaced? What things require ongoing maintenance e.g., paint, roof, HVAC, appliances, carpet? Also ask about the neighborhood, focusing on quality of life issues. Be sure the seller's or real estate agent's answers are clear and complete. Ask questions until you understand all of the information they've given. Making a list of questions ahead of time will help you organize your thoughts and arrange all of the information you receive.
Q: What is a purchase offer? A: A purchase offer or agreement contains all the details of the offer to purchase a piece of property. An agreement is binding only once the document has been agreed to and signed by the buyer and seller. Often in the purchase of real estate, there are a number of offers and counter offers until an agreement is reached. Items and conditions that are often included in the purchase offer include: Description of the property, Purchase price, Earnest money, Features and fixtures which are to remain in the home, Home inspection results, Anticipated financing, Closing date, Final inspection and move-in condition, Penalties for breaking the contract, Response time to accept the offer, Obtaining clear title to the propertyand a clean inspection report
Q: What good is title insurance? A: A title search and the issuance of title insurance means the ownership of the property can be cleanly conveyed to the new owners. During the search, the history of the property is researched verifying that all previous claims or liens have been satisfied, allowing a clear title to be issued. If any claim is overlooked, the title insurance protects the owner from the claim. Remember that if it's not in writing on a real estate deal, it's not enforceable.
Q: Why is a deed required? A: A deed transfers ownership of property from one owner to the next. Deeds are recorded in the county where the property is located. There are several types of deeds and forms of ownership. These should all be discussed with your attorney.