How much home can I afford?
That depends, of course—on your income and other financial obligations. It’s important to talk with a lender to find out exactly what you can afford. And do it before you start shopping. “It’s never fun to fall in love with a home only to find out you can’t afford it”. Meet with a lender to get pre-approval for a home loan (added bonus: pre-approval makes you much more attractive to sellers).
Can I buy a home and sell my current one at the same time?
There really is no “correct” answer to this question. There are pro’s and con’s to buying a home before selling your current home and the same can be said about selling your current home before buying another.
Purchasing a new home prior to selling your current home
The greatest benefit to purchasing a home prior to selling your current home is knowing you have a home to go to when your current home does sell. This can be a great source of comfort as worrying about finding a home once your home sells can be very stressful. However, this situation can also become stressful if the sale of your current home fails or doesn’t sell in a timely manner and you are forced to pay two mortgages.
In the event you do not qualify for the mortgages on both your current home and a new home, you will have to make your purchase offer contingent upon the sale of your current home. If your current home does not sell in a timely manner, your offer could be “bumped” by a non-contingent buyer and you could lose the home you wish to purchase.
Selling your current home prior to purchasing a new home
There is no magic number when it comes to selling homes. Some homes sell in 1 day while others take months. It’s completely unpredictable. With that said, if you are in a position to do so, selling your current home prior to purchasing a new one will put you in a stronger position, especially in a seller’s market, because you will not have to make your purchase offer contingent on the sale of your current home.
However, in our fast-paced, low-inventory market, if you sell your current home without having a new home under contract or purchased, you may not have a place to live. One option is to try to negotiate a lease-back. A lease-back, if agreed upon, would allow you to retain possession of your current home for a negotiated number of days for a negotiated amount (usually the buyer’s mortgage) allowing you additional time to find a new home.
How many homes should I see before making an offer?
As many as you need to! Yes, it’s easy to see thousands of homes online. But it’s difficult to choose your home from a photo. And sometimes, it’s even tough to choose a home when you see it in person. But, after working with hundreds of buyers, we believe folks just know “it” when they find “it”. And, while it’s rare, some find their perfect home on the first time out, while others take years. There’s nothing wrong with taking your time, learn the areas, look at homes and really find out what you like, need and want in your home, neighborhood and community. If you’re not finding what you want, talk to your Realtor® and expand your search criteria.
What do you think the seller will accept as a fair price?
As a rule of thumb, knocking 5% off the list price shouldn’t offend anyone. However, if it’s been sitting on the market for a while, you can offer a bit lower than that. But, you really never know what the seller’s motivation is and if you feel comfortable with a reasonable offer, throw it out there. If the sellers are eager to move, you could luck out and score a deal.
How do I know if the property is a good deal?
While Realtors® can’t see into the future, we do have tools to research home prices and can give pretty accurate values. And one of those tools is the Comparative Market Analysis (CMA). By using data such as similar home style and square footage this analysis will show you what similar properties have sold for in the area. It will also show a pattern of prices going up or down in the recent past.
How quickly can I close?
Typical escrow is 30-45 days. This gives the buyer enough time to have inspections and complete the loan.
A lot of people believe their homes have to be perfect before hitting the market and they end up spending tons of money, time and stress trying to get it there when the reality is there’s really not that much to be done. Before you hire the painter, the new flooring and the landscaper, call a Realtor® to look at your home and give you a few tips. You might be surprised.