FAQ for Buyers
That depends, of course, on your income and other financial obligations. It’s best to talk to a local lender and do it before you start shopping. There is nothing worse than falling in love with a house and finding out that you are not able to buy it. Your lender can look at your situation and help you figure out what price range you need to be looking at.
I know that it might seem like a good idea but that is the last thing you want to do! The listing agent has been hired by the sellers to market to potential buyers and help them sell for the highest price as possible. As a Buyer, you will be better served by an agent that represents your interests alone in a transaction.
A Realtor is more than just a sales person. A realtor may act on your behalf, providing you with guidance and advice when buying a home. Due to the constant changing of the market, you need the most up-to-date information and the only way to do that is with an agent.
Yes, you can but it’s the real estate equivalent of walking a tight rope. This is one of the trickiest questions to answer. On one hand, if you buy a home before you sell the one you’re still in, you could be overextended financially. If you sell before you buy, you might need to rent for a while before finding a new place. But there are ways to do both at once and one option is with a sale contingency in your contract. This means you only agree to buy home if you can sell your current one. It does not put you in the best negotiating position with a seller but they may be willing to consider it.
It all depends on the type of loan you are trying to get but, for the most part, if you get pre-qualified up front, you can be sitting at the closing table in 30-45 days.
That depends on you and what your needs are. While home shoppers these can look at hundreds of homes online, they only check out 10 homes on average before they put in an offer. Some people find their home within hours of hunting. For others, it takes months. If you want to streamline the process, it can help to really hone in on a particular neighborhood you’re keen on. That said, if you feel limited by your options, it may be time to expand your search area.
Sometimes the listing agent or even the seller may be present for a home showing. That is not ideal but it is ok. However, do know that anything that you say or do during that showing could be used to the seller’s advantage should you decide to write an offer. It’s best to be cordial and ask any questions you may have but don’t tell them that you have to have the house because that will put you at a disadvantage come negotiating time.
When the market is hot, like most of New Orleans is, it is best to act quickly. The most popular areas usually have a limited quantity of homes for sale and the good ones go especially fast. So, when you find the one there is no reason to wait and every reason to act fast.
Once we find the home that you want, I will run a Competitive Market Analysis (CMA) to determine what you should offer. We will look at the condition of the property and days on market (DOM) to figure out where to start.
The easy answer is yes but the specific instances usually include: 1) After doing inspections and due diligence, you decide that the house is not in the condition that you believed it to be and do not want to move forward. 2) After making a good faith effort, you are unable to obtain a loan. Or, 3) the house does not appraise for the sales price and the Seller will not reduce the price to the appraised price. If any of these situations arise and you do not move forward with the sale, the deposit will be returned to you.
Most people don’t know what they don’t know about their own house so you definitely want to have a qualified inspector check a prospective house out. I would say that at the bare minimum you at least need to get a general home inspection and the mortgage company will require a termite inspection.
Even if the seller says that they are not going to fix anything, you should at least have the option of knowing exactly what you are buying – warts and all. In addition to the general home inspection, common additional inspections are sewer, roof, electrical , A/C and pool.
There are two kinds of title insurance. If you are getting a mortgage, the mortgage company requires you to carry title insurance that protects the lender against losses incurred from disputes over the title of a property. Title insurance for you, the purchaser, is optional. New Orleans is an old city and anything is possible so I always recommend that buyers purchase title insurance.
Most of the activity happens on the Buyer’s side. The title attorney will go over your mortgage and cash sale documents and you will sign what seems like reams of paper. If you are getting a mortgage, the closing will take approximately 45 minutes to an hour. If it is a cash sale, you don’t need to sign nearly as much so you will be out of there in about 20-30 minutes.
You will get the keys to the property at the closing but be sure to change the locks once you have moved in to your new home!