TIPS FOR BUYERS
1.CHOOSING AN AGENT
Choosing a good real estate agent is your most important task. When you find an honest, hard-working agent, they will take care of things for you effectively so you don’t have to work so hard. When you choose an agent, you should be looking for the following qualifications:
Professional knowledge and experience, reliability, a sincere attitude, and familiarity with the area that you are interested in buying. A buyer’s agent is
better than a dual agent (a listing agent who acts as the agent for both the seller and buyer), because a buyer's agent represents you and only you.
2.UNDERSTANDING THE CURRENT MARKET
Try to understand the current market — use the MRMLS to check for newly listed houses to get a head start. Before you start looking at houses, log on MRMLS to search for the houses that fit your criteria. The MRMLS has each house’s pictures, address, price, number of rooms, number of bathrooms, a fairly good description, and the property tax of each property.
Take notes: After you look at a couple houses in a location, it’s easy to get them mixed up. Therefore, we encourage you to take notes of the houses that you are interested in, detailing the features you like such as the school district, the central air conditioning, the location, and the structure of the house, etc.
4.THE PURPOSE OF A DEPOSIT
The buyer is required to give a check as a deposit to the buyer’s agent upon submitting the offer as a proof of the buyer’s seriousness to buy this house. During the negotiation period, the buyer’s agent temporarily keeps the check. When the offer is accepted and the deal goes into Escrow, the Escrow Company will cash the check, making it into a real deposit. If the buyer breaks the contract, the deposit might be used to pay for the losses of the seller. If the offer is rejected and the deal is cancelled, the buyer’s agent will return the check to the buyer. The deposit is part the down payment. For example, if you buy a $100,000 house, and the down payment is 20%, then your down payment will be $20,000. If your deposit is $5,000, then you will just have to pay $15,000 more before the Escrow closes to make up the down payment of $20,000.
5.WHAT IS THE CLOSING COST?
In the process of completing the deal, there are many related costs that need to be paid by the buyer. These include the loan originating fee, appraisal fee, county tax, credit check fee, document preparation fee, escrow fee, loan processing fee, title insurance fee, loan application fee, etc. Generally, the closing cost is about 3% of the house’s value.
6.THE IMPORTANCE OF A HOME INSPECTION
It’s up to the buyer to decide if a home inspection is needed. But generally, due to our lack of knowledge of the material and structural component of the house, it’s wise to hire a professional to inspect the house and report to you and your agent about the flaws of the house. You can use the report and request the seller to correct these flaws or sometimes you might even decide not to buy the house when the problem is more serious than just a flaw.
7.A QUALIFIED INSPECTOR
A qualified inspector will have a membership id card from ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors). They use a standard system to inspect houses. The items that they check include: foundation, water and electricity system, door, ceiling, wall, floor, roof, dangerous materials, water heater, air conditioning, insulation, etc.
8.BE AT THE INSPECTION !
It is highly recommended that you be physically present during the inspection. This is a suggestion that I make to all my clients so that they will understand every issue on the report. If for whatever reason you cannot go there yourself, you should meticulously inspect the written report. If some items are unclear to you, you should talk to the inspector and figure out if the problems are minor maintenance or major repairing. Sometimes you might need to hire other professionals to do another inspection.
9.HOW TO REACT TO THE FLAWS IN THE INSPECTION REPORT ?
After understanding the seriousness of each item listed on the inspection report, you should decide which flaws are acceptable and which ones you would like the seller to correct. If the problem is in any way concern of safety, than you should consider giving up the house. If the items needing repair ends up costing a lot of money and the seller refuses to comply with your request, then maybe the price of the house should be reduced. However, please note that all these requests and decisions should be made within the contingency period according to the contract.
10.WHAT IS THE FINAL WALKTHROUGH ?
The final walkthrough is the buyer's last inspection of the house after closing but before the seller turns over the key. This step is to ensure the condition of the house was as good as it was before, and to inspect the improvements the seller made in comply with your repair requests.
11.WHY DOES THE BUYER PAY FOR THE APPRAISAL ?
If you apply for a loan, the lender will hire an approved appraiser to get the value of the house that you are planning to buy in order to approve your loan. The appraisal fee is about $250 to $300, a cost that the buyer is responsible for. Generally the appraiser will look at similar houses sold within the past 6 months and compare their conditions and features to ascertain a fair price for the house you are buying. The value appraised is somewhat subjective to the appraiser’s opinions, experiences, familiarity to the area, cleanliness, and condition at the time of appraisal. Some sellers will even write a report with a list of features of the house.
12.THE BENEFITS OF USING A PROFESSIONAL REALTOR
You’ll experience a wide variety of benefits when you hire a real estate professional. Successfully selling a property is a complicated exercise that requires a Realtor's experience, resources, and contacts to ensure that your sale ends quickly and smoothly.
PRICING - A Realtor will set the selling price of your property at a level that accurately reflects its value in current market conditions and will not cost you missed opportunities.
MARKETING - A Realtor will have many useful suggestions on ways to improve the marketability of your property, including cosmetic repairs and other items that will create a favorable impression among buyers. Your property will attract more buyers when you use a Realtor. In addition to using flyers and organizing open house days, a Realtor’s extensive contact list of former clients, newly qualified buyers, and other industry professionals can significantly reduce the time your property is on the market. A Realtor will also allow you to tap into a highly productive and extensive industry network, such as a Multiple Listing Service or other industry marketing system. Advertising your property efficiently is another area where a Realtor can play an important role, as a Realtor’s experience in deciding on the most appropriate type and frequency of advertising for your property can be invaluable. For example, placing too many ads can create the impression that there may be something wrong with the property or that the seller is desperate.
SECURITY - Security is a major consideration when showing your home. By using a Realtor, you can rest assured that all showings will be pre-screened and supervised.
NEGOTIATING - When negotiating a purchase, most buyers prefer to deal with a middleman who is objective and rational. Buyers will often feel more comfortable with a Realtor than with the owner when they want to raise issues that need resolving before making an offer.
MONITORING,RENEGOTIATING,CLOSING AND SETTLING - A Realtor will guide you through the minefield of potential problems associated with the appraisal, inspection, financing, and escrow instructions. In addition, your agent can meet and instruct any specialists or tradespeople who may be required for repairs or other issues that need to be completed before closing.