Frequently Asked Questions (Buyer's Perspective)
- Why do I need an agent when buying a home?
A REALTOR is trained to help you get the best possible price when buying a home. He/she understands the current market situation and can guide you in all aspects of the purchase – inspections, funding, repair requests, possession, etc. A REALTOR has fiduciary duties to his/her client. These include negotiating for the client’s best interest, informing the client of all known material facts, and to maintain confidential information.
- How does an agent get paid?
A REALTOR is paid a commission by the Seller of a property. The buyer is not responsible for the commission. The rate of the commission is negotiated between the seller and the REALTOR.
- What is the normal process for buying a home?
To buy a home, you may use a REALTOR or do it on your own. In the majority of cases, it is best to get pre-approved for a home loan prior to looking for a new home. This pre-approval lets you know the amount of money you may be able to borrow to purchase that new home. After you find the home that needs your criteria, you present an offer to the seller to purchase that home. This may be accepted or the seller may present a counter offer for you to consider. You do not have a contract to purchase this home until you and the seller agree to all terms and conditions of the sale.
- How much money do I need before I buy a home?
The old school of thought was that you needed to save 20% of the purchase price before you could buy a new home. With the advent of new financing methods, that may no longer be true. You can get into a new home with as little as $0 out of your pocket. The only way to find out how much you really need is to contact a mortgage broker. After you give them basic information about your financial status, they will advise you not only of how much you should need, but also of the different programs and interest rates available to you.
- How do I find out how much home I can afford?
There is a lot of criterion used to determine how much money you can borrow to use in buying a home. Your income level, credit scores and debt-to-income ratios are the primary items used to determine the amount you can borrow as well as the interest rate used. A mortgage broker is the best person to contact and give you an answer. With this answer, you can then search for a home that best meets your needs and desires within a budget that you can live with.
- Is the asking price the final price of a home negotiable?
The asking price of a home is set at a point that is comfortable to the seller. Depending on the strategy used by the seller, the price can be negotiated. On average, in the Louisville market, homes sell for 97% of their asking price.
- How do I start the home buying process?
There are many ways you can find a new home. You can search the internet, the classified ads, magazines, driving around, etc. You must remember though, not all homes are advertised for sale on a continuous basis, nor do all homes have a “For Sale” sign in the front yard. To really get the best knowledge on the homes available that meet your needs, contact a REALTOR that has a “Buyer Profile” system available for your use. This system can alert you to what is available for sale in your price range with all the amenities you need. You then decide which home you want to further investigate for possible purchase. This saves you time and money, getting you information you can use instead of overloading you with ALL the extras out there that serve as distracters.
- After I make an offer on a home, how long will it be before I can move?
The “possession date” of your new home is specified in your sales and purchase agreement with the property seller. In some cases, you can obtain possession “date of deed” – the day you close on the contract. In other cases, you may obtain possession a set amount of days after the closing. This allows the seller time to remove all their personal belongings and is used primarily when they are in the process of buying and closing on another home. It is important to note that you own the property on the date you “close” and therefore assume all liabilities of the property.