OUR BUYERS FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Congratulations! You may be moving toward your dream home, or hoping to achieve the American dream. Owning your own home for the first time! In choosing a real estate agent, you deserve the assistance of a knowledgeable and candid professional. A friend in whom you can trust; a person who knows the market and who cares about you and your family. I have spent my career building relationships and working mainly on a referral basis from past clients and other Realtors.
I am honored and excited to have been chosen to represent you regarding this major event in your life. Below are some of the more frequently asked questions by buyers. I am here for you, please feel free to contact me at anytime with questions.
Let me know if you have questions or would like to look for properties. I can be reached at 847-858-4131 or email me.
DO I REPRESENT YOU OR THE SELLER?
In our state we have a Buyer Agency, which means that I represent you not the seller when purchasing a home. There can be times that I have to become what is known as a Dual Agent. This is when my buyer is looking at a home that is my listing. In this case I can not work directly for either party. I best describe it as becoming like Switzerland, “A Neutral Party”. I cannot tell you what the seller would take for the home, or tell my seller what the buyer would be willing to pay. However, I can still educate the buyer through comparable sales. Should this situation arise, I will go further into what I can and cannot do as a dual agent.
WHAT IF I AM LOOKING AT RESALE HOMES AND NEW CONSTRUCTION?
In our marketplace the builders welcome Realtors to accompany their clients. It is often better to have me accompany you on the first visit, or at least bring my card to give them. This lets them know that should you decide to purchase, you plan to have buyer’s representation through your Realtor. Most builders want you to sign a registration card, often preventing the Realtor from assisting you should you purchase. Tell the builder representative that you want to make sure you can still work with your Realtor by signing the registration, or sign in using my name.
WHY SHOULD I HAVE A REALTOR REPRESENT ME BUYING NEW CONSTRUCTION?
You have to remember that the sales representative for the builder works in the BUILDERS best interests, not yours. You would not have any representation. The on-site salesperson’s job is to sell not only the home, but also the upgrades that go in the home. I am there to help you pick and choose what is necessary to the resale of a home, or what can be added on at a lesser cost then what the builder would charge. We often know the reputations of builders, and are able to help you with the comparison of them. Too many major details can be left out that would affect you as a buyer. The compensation for the Realtors fees are already “built-in” the new home product. If no Realtor is involved in the transaction, the money is allocated for a marketing fee, received by the builder’s salesperson, or is extra profit for the builder. You also still have a resource for any questions and problems that arise during the building process.
CAN I GO THROUGH THE HOUSE ONCE I HAVE AN ACCEPTED CONTRACT?
Typically, after a contract acceptance, the purchaser would go back through the house for the home inspection and the final walk through just prior to closing. If you need measurements it is a good idea to do this at the time of the home inspection. The seller is not obligated to allow you access to the home other than the two times stated. Should you have a special need we will try to make arrangements with the seller to allow you access.
WHAT UP FRONT COST WILL I HAVE WHEN I GO UNDER CONTRACT?
Be prepared to pay for your appraisal and credit check at loan application. Any inspections that you have on the home will be paid to the inspector upon completion of the inspection. Fire/hazard insurance will also be required to be paid prior to settlement with a copy of the paid receipt supplied to the lender prior to settlement. It is the purchaser’s responsibility to purchase this insurance and provide it to the lender. This would apply to a purchase of a Single Family residence. If a town home was purchased, the insurance is typically included in the association fee. Your earnest money given at the time of contract will be applied towards your purchase at closing.
WHEN DO I APPLY FOR MY LOAN?
If you have not done so already, you will want to make a formal application as soon as possible and lock in your rate. Typically the contract allows you 30 days for an unconditional mortgage approval. The lender can take this long to process the loan so if you delay for a few weeks applying, you will not meet the date stated on your contract. If possible it is always best to go ahead and start your formal application process while you are looking; the lender is able to give you a full mortgage approval subject to the appraisal of the property you purchase. It is a benefit to you because you will be a much stronger buyer to the seller, and can often be the edge of getting a home if we were to have multiple buyers bidding on the home.
WHAT HAPPENS TO MY EARNEST MONEY DEPOSIT?
Your earnest money check is deposited into an escrow account on the following business day after the listing company receives it. So it is important that if you need to transfer funds to the account the check was written on you do so immediately. The earnest money is applied towards your down payment at the time of closing.
WHAT HAPPENS AT THE HOME INSPECTION?
This is your inspection. It is in your best interest to attend the inspection and I strongly recommend that you be there. In addition to doing a thorough inspection of the home, most home inspectors will explain the home’s major systems and components to you as you go through. I will be there with you. The home inspection will last for 3-4 hours depending on the size and complexity of the home. Most inspectors will provide you with a written report and go over any deficiencies found with you upon completion of the inspection. I am there to help guide you with any questions you may have regarding the results. After you have taken the time to look over the report you will let your attorney know which items you are requesting the seller to repair. Remember however, that the contract does state that routine maintenance items are not a requirement to be fixed. Only items that affect the habitability of living in the home; such as electric, furnace, air, and plumbing. You generally will have 5 business days after contract acceptance to have a home inspection done, unless you have agreed on additional time.
WHAT IS THE ATTORNEYS REVIEW PERIOD MEAN?
The attorneys review period runs concurrently with the inspection period, and is within 5 business days of the binding agreement date on the contract. Both the seller and the buyer’s attorney will review the contract and are able to send across any changes they feel necessary except for a change in the agreed upon price of the home. Typically if a deal is to fall apart it will happen within this time frame. The attorney will be the one to also go over all your loan documents with you as you sign them at closing. They will also be making sure the survey is correct and you are given credit for the correct amount regarding the real estate tax prorations.
WHEN DO I CHANGE THE UTILITIES INTO MY NAME?
Both the seller and the buyer should contact the utility companies prior to closing to arrange for transfer of services as of the day of closing. You can do this anytime from 1 week to 10 days prior to closing.
FINAL WALK THROUGH ON THE PROPERTY:
As the buyer, you are entitled to a final inspection of the property up to three days prior to closing. The best time frame is to do it as close to the closing day as possible even up to an hour or two before closing. The best way to see the home would be for it to be vacant, but unfortunately that is not always possible. The walk through is to check that the home is in the same condition as when you purchased it. We are also looking at this time to see that any items the seller had agreed to repair has been completed or a receipt must be given to you if it is not something easily seen by the eye.
The seller’s attorney designates the closing place, and will either be at your specific title company or the attorney’s office. If Burnet Title is chosen, the closing can take place in my office, which is more convenient for you. The time is decided between the two attorneys. It’s a good idea to let your attorney know as soon as possible if you have special accommodation needs. Whoever is signing on the loan must attend the closing, unless a power of attorney has been arranged prior to closing. Keep in mind that a closing can take anywhere from an hour to two hours. I attend all my closings if possible.
WHAT DO I NEED TO BRING TO CLOSING?
Typically a day before closing your attorney will call you with the amount you need to bring to closing. This is comprised of your down payment and closing costs. You will need to bring a Cashiers Check made payable to yourself. You will sign it over to the title company when you arrive. If your check is over the amount required, they would issue you a check at closing for the difference. I need to point out that it can be a bit frustrating getting the amount you need to bring to closing. There are many middlemen involved and your attorney gets the figure from the title company. They can often be behind, because of so many closings. Do not worry if you do not hear until a few hours before closing about the amount. If this scenario is the case, we will figure out an approximate amount on the higher side, in order for you to get your Cashier’s Check. You will also need to have a photo ID, a copy of your homeowner’s insurance policy, and a paid receipt for the insurance.