For most people, buying your first home is the biggest investment in your life and the process can be intimating. To make this process less stressful, here are a few helpful questions you should ask your real estate agent before buying a home:
1. How do I know if the neighborhood is right for me?
When deciding where to buy a home, it’s important to weigh lifestyle considerations, not just the home itself. For example, you should look for a home in close proximity to schools, determine how far it will take to commute to and from work, public transportation access as well as local amenities and grocery/retail shopping convenience.
Here’s a helpful hint: After viewing the property during the day, swing by at night to make sure you are comfortable with the surrounding area. Also, it never hurts to ask your agent to see the property twice. This will ensure you’ve gotten a thorough feel for the property at different times and may help you decide if it is the right house for you.
2. Are there any home buyer programs/assistance available?
There are a number of programs available for first time and repeat home buyers. Before committing to a property, be sure to talk to your agent about what programs may be best for you. For example, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offers a program that gives people in certain professions assistance in buying a property in certain neighborhoods. This program is called The Good Neighborhood Next Door Program, which allows police officers, fire fighters, teachers and emergency medical technicians a discount when buying a home in the areas they work.
3. How much can I afford?
This might be the most important question to ask your agent when looking for a home. Generally speaking, how much you should spend on a house depends on factors such as how much cash you have in the bank, your salary, and debt. Set a budget and see what you can afford in monthly mortgage payments before committing. This will help your agent to weed out properties that are out of your budget.
To get an idea of what you can afford, use an online Mortgage Affordability Calculator.
4.How much will my closing costs be?
Many people are often taken aback once the deal is final and the closing costs set in. There are many factors that go into closing costs, including broker and loan fees, title and closing cost charges, etc. To get a better idea of what to expect, discuss this with your Prudential Fox & Roach agent. Also, there are helpful tools out there that can help you prepare such as the closing costs calculator.
5. How do I know if I got a good deal?
The best way to ensure that you are not overpaying for your home is to compare your property to similar homes in your area that have sold in the past few months. Your Prudential Fox & Roach agent will be able to provide with this research.
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Asking your real estate agent these important questions will make buying a home less stressful. Happy house hunting!