COMMON QUESTIONS WHEN BUYING A HOME
Marty Norton – The Marc Gup Group at Keller Williams
February 28, 2020
Over my twenty-plus years in real estate, I have been asked many questions by the buyer, boyfriends/girlfriends of the buyer, relatives of the buyer, and friends of the buyer. These questions range from the simple to the more difficult. I love explaining the process of home buying to people. However, if there is a question outside the realm of a real estate broker, such as tax accounting, or legal questions, I never guess what the answer might be and I let the buyer know, “I am not sure how to answer that question, I will ask an expert and get back to you”, or I guide them to an expert in that field. This builds credibility, honesty, and certainly helps to clarify Real Estate Brokerage Relationship. Very few buyers ask me what the process is in order to buy a home and I usually explain this to buyers on our first meeting. Immediately, upon more serious discussions regarding deciding which town, style of home, top five needs, and price, the buyer generally starts with some of the following questions.
Who would I recommend for a loan officer? I provide a short list of three or four names of those whom I normally work with and who I trust for professionalism, expediency, and effectiveness. I will also probe a bit about their preference and explain the difference between a MortgageCompany/National Bank/Portfolio Bank.
What is an Earnest Money Deposit (EMD) and why is it important? This question tells me how prepared, motivated, and able this buyer is to make a move on an available property. I explain that this deposit is something you pay when you make an offer, to show that you are earnest in wanting to purchase the property. This shows up on the closing statement, as a credit to you, and is deducted from the cost of the property. It also gives the seller a sign that the buyer is willing to risk money in order to show overall seriousness about moving forward in the transaction.
Why is a building inspection necessary and explain the importance? Answering this question takes us to another phase of the transaction. The buyer needs to understand the due diligence portion of the transaction. It provides them with an opportunity to explore the various systems in a house, including heating, plumbing, electrical, structural, and mechanical. This phase also provides the buyer with an opportunity to negotiate those findings. The buyer will also learn the motivation of the seller. Three names of quality inspectors are provided to each buyer.
What do you know about the quality of water in this town? Living in the “country” gives the buyer an opportunity to acquire their water from a drilled well and the need to test all well water must be explained thoroughly to the buyer by me and also by the inspector who draws the water and sends it to the lab. Most water concerns can be mitigated, yet the cost may vary. Lab results will typically be returned in 48 hours.
Why are there orange, green, and rust colored spots on some of the connections on the furnace? This is my favorite question, is easily answered and makes the most sense. If these bright colors are discovered on the furnace connections then it usually points toward the overall water quality and tells the observer that there may be water impurities and further suggests that the water should be tested. Any rust seen suggests that a furnace professional should immediately service the boiler, burner, and test all connections.
Why is the electrical Panel rusted along the bottom? This may mean that there is water in the panel that normally travels from the outside electric service entrance. Immediately proceed to the outside where the electric meter is located and where the large service line attaches to the meter. There may be missing or splitting caulking around the connection. Have an electrician check the panel.
Why is the glass window cloudy? This usually means that the inner part of the glass window has lost its seal. A temperature change, crack, poor manufacturer, etc. may have caused the problem. Call Portland Glass.
What is that awful Smell in the basement? Many of my buyers over the years have walked into a basement and smelled moisture, kitty litter, mold, standing water, or some other nasty smell. My suggestion is to further investigate the smell or eliminate this property altogether. An air quality expert is needed.
Why is the Seller not negotiating in good faith? The seller may not want to repair or replace anything in the property, or they may simply not have the money to do so. They may, however, be willing to drop the price a bit especially if the issues are safety related.
Why is the “Final Walk Through” Important? The buyer wants to be assured that the seller has not removed anything that is considered a fixture. Assurance that the property is in broom clean condition. Assurance that all appliances that were there during the previous viewings are still in place and that the home is generally in the same condition as it was when you first put it under contract. What could be worse than coming home after closing, to your new home, and finding that the water heater died and there is water all over the basement?
What is the Deed and Why is it Important? The buyer needs to know where his/her parcel is located on the face of the earth. The deed provides the names of the buyer and seller and explains and identifies the boundary lines, type of deed, and what exactly you are buying. All deeds are registered and recorded with the registry of deeds, witnesses, dates, etc. There are different types of deeds, so speak directly with the attorney at the title company for clarification.
What is an Appraisal and why is it necessary? The lender wants to make sure the property is being sold at fair market value and their investment make sense. An appraiser considers other recent sales of comparable properties in the area to determine fair market value. Confer with the loan officer on this one.
How do I know what is happening in this neighborhood? Buyer beware. I assist the buyer to find resources in order to search for those important aspects of every neighborhood. Industry, former dump sites, private business, truck travel, etc. Speak with the town office, research, and knock on a few doors.
How do I look inside the sewer line and search for cracks and roots growing? This is important to the buyer since it may be considered a major problem if issues arise, so we suggest using a sewer inspector who will show the buyer a live video of the inside of the sewer line, mark the problem at street level, and mark the problem on the property using a laser probe. Since homeowners are responsible for the outside sewer line, this inspection can give you peace of mind.
REMEMBER, THE LISTING AGENT IS WORKING FOR THE SELLER TO PROMOTE THEIR BEST INTERESTS. YOU NEED AN AGENT OF YOUR OWN…..A BUYER AGENT WHO WORKS FOR YOU, TO PROMOTE YOUR BEST INTEREST. IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS, PLEASE GIVE US A CALL.
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