Whether you’re purchasing a home for the first time or it has been many years since your last home purchase, there are several essential questions to ask while going through the homebuying process.
Find a mortgage company
Finding the right mortgage company may seem overwhelming, so shop around for at least two or three mortgage company quotes before making a decision. Obtain answers to the following questions:
- How much can I qualify for?
- How does my credit score affect my quoted mortgage interest rate?
- Does the lender offer first-time-homebuyer loan programs?
- What is needed for preapproval to submit an offer to purchase?
- How much are the lending fees?
- What are the estimated monthly mortgage payments and closing costs after the initial deposit, taxes, escrow, and title and mortgage insurance?
- What are the current mortgage rates?
- When can I lock in my rate?
- How long does it take to get a final mortgage commitment?
Once you have acquired the pertinent information, you should be able to choose the best lender for your financial needs.
Gather essential facts before making an offer
Although popular real estate sites can provide you with basic information on what’s for sale, working with a real estate agent can help with the search and purchasing process, making the homebuying experience more enjoyable and easier to navigate. So be sure to ask your agent these questions:
- How long has the property been on the market? Are offers currently being considered? Has it resulted in a bidding war?
- What have comparable homes recently sold for in the neighborhood, and have they retained their value?
- Is there a homeowners association? If so, what are the fees, and what do they cover? Are there any current or anticipated special assessments?
- How much are the real estate taxes, and have they increased substantially over the past few years?
- Does the seller have a property disclosure detailing the condition and integrity of the home?
- Has the seller done any renovations? If so, were permits appropriately applied for and closed when the work was completed?
- Are there any easements that will affect the buyer’s ability to fully enjoy the property? This may include someone else’s right to use your property or land for a specified purpose.
- Is the home in a desirable location where there is easy access to shopping, dining, entertainment, major highways, and airports?
- What are the neighborhood’s walkability score, school ranking, and crime rank?
Asking these questions as you move through the homebuying process can help you to be a more informed buyer. Always carefully read the home listing information to see what is and is not included in the sale. Check with your real estate agent to be sure that all the right questions have been asked specifically for your home purchase. Also, determine if you feel more comfortable working with an attorney, who can review your contract and then legally represent you for the remainder of the transaction.