FAQs - Buying
How do I know if a home is right for me?
Buying a home is a big deal! So many home buyers do a thorough search before making an offer on a home. Our licensed Coldwell Banker Hedges Realtors know the market inside and out, so they can be a great resource. One way to help them track down your dream home is by filling out our Home Needs Worksheet and giving it to your Realtor. You can also fill out the Home Evaluation Sheet every time you see a home, to see if it's a good fit with your personal preferences!
There are literally hundreds of points that you can negotiate in a real estate transaction, and it is important to feel confident about negotiating with potential sellers, or there may be a danger that a seller will talk you into agreeing to terms in a contract that are not in your best interest. You Real Estate agent can advise you of the shortcomings and advantages of all terms presented. There are many points that can protect and enhance your purchase, including financing and home inspection contingencies. Most purchase contracts are standard documents, containing standard language that may not fit your situation and may in fact be unfavorable to you. Your Coldwell Banker Hedges Real Estate Agent will explain the language, so that you can make an educated decision in order to make the best possible purchase decision.
There are two types of contingencies found in most transactions: 1) Financing Contingency, which makes the purchase conditional on the buyers' ability to obtain a loan from a lender; 2) Inspection Contingency, which allows the buyers to have professionals inspect the property to determine potential property issues prior to entering a binding contract to purchase. In order to protect your position, your Coldwell Banker Hedges Realtor sees that the purchase contract contains provisions which protect your purchase interests, including a clear and marketable title, having the seller agree to maintain the property in its present condition until closing and making any agreed-upon repairs to the property.
If there are items that are not disclosed as part of the property in the Property Disclosure document, you may want to include them in your contract for sale. Deciding what stays with the property is a negotiable item. Appliances that are not built in such as washer, dryer, refrigerator, portable microwave, and freestanding stove are not automatically included in the real property, just as anything is else not permanently attached to the property. Ask you Realtor about how to properly negotiate such items.
Earnest Money Deposit
The Earnest Money is a deposit paid by the prospective buyer of real property as evidence of the good faith intention to complete the transaction. The amount can vary, depending on the value of the property, and it serves as a source of payment of damages to the seller if the buyer defaults. You could forfeit your Earnest Money deposit under certain circumstances, such as terminating a purchase without legal reasons provided for in the contract. Once the offer is mutually accepted, the earnest money is held in trust by the listing agent’s firm and is credited toward the buyer's purchase price at closing. If closing fails to occur, the defaulting party may lose any claim they have to the earnest money deposit.
The Contract of Sale otherwise known as the Purchase Agreement is a legal document which binds the buyer to a set purchase price and binds the seller to convey the clear and marketable title. The contract also services as the initial directions to the escrow company to begin processing the transaction. When your Coldwell Banker Hedges Real Estate Agent prepares your Purchase Agreement, make sure you are perfectly clear about the following details.
Who is paying the various expenses of the sale, including closing costs?
Sellers customarily pay for the real estate commission, updating the abstract, the State transfer tax, seller closing fee, document preparation, and their portion of the year's taxes and assessments. Buyers customarily pay buyer’s closing fee, their portion of the year's taxes and assessments, and their loan fees. Occasionally sellers and buyers decide to share the expenses of buying and selling. This must be negotiated during the purchase offer time and often depends on local real estate market conditions, other terms of the purchase contract, and timing considerations.
What is the actual closing date and date of occupancy?
The closing date is the stated in the contract and is mutually agreed upon between the buyer and seller. It is considerate to set a closing date that leaves enough time to prepare to move in, and doesn't add additional expenses. The date of closing can affect your closing costs. Be sure to ask your lender for a good faith estimate. Many times the seller will request to remain in the property after closing, in part to assure that closing actually occurs without the seller having moved from the property. If that is the case, the seller actually becomes the tenant of the buyer after closing, so proper documentation is needed to assure the buyer’s rights to the property.
A Home Warranty is becoming more of a standard in home buying and selling transactions. The home seller may have already purchased a home warranty and if not, you should consider buying a policy yourself at closing. Coldwell Banker Hedges Realty has two different types of home warranties to offer buyers and sellers each with different advantages. The warranties will cover the cost for repairs or replacement to most mechanical systems for one year from the date of closing with a small deductible. The warranty can be extended beyond the first year by paying the premium each year. Advantages of a home warranty include Savings (You have one low deductible per-service call instead of paying the full cost of repairs), Security (You don't have the worry of you're going to pay for costly repairs if a breakdown occurs), and Convenience (You have a network of local, professional technicians at your service with a toll-free, 24 hour Customer Service Hotline).