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CHOOSING A BROKER
Choosing a good real estate agent can be a sticky issue, particularly since most people have a broker or an agent somewhere in their family or circle of friends. Allowing a family member or a friend to represent your interests where large sums of money are involved is not usually a good idea. For your best results in any broker-buyer situation, the relationship should be one of employer (you) and employee (broker). It is very difficult to accommodate this type of relationship with family and friends under any circumstances, much less one of the magnitude of purchasing your home! So, take the time to interview a few agents or brokers and determine if you feel you can work with them and if they really seem to have your interests in mind. Do not be afraid to ask questions. In fact, you should ask questions. Besides providing you with information, it sets the tone of the relationship you are expecting to have with this person. Some questions you may wish to ask are:
Do you personally have any listings in my price range?
How many homes can you show me in my price range and in the area I am interested in living?
How many homes have you sold in this area recently?
If you show me 10 homes and I am not interested in any of them, but I find a house myself, will you reduce your commission?
This last question is an important one. If an
agent or broker agrees he or she will reduce their commission, you probably
should find another to help you find your home. Think about that for a
moment! If you were in business and very good at what you do, and you spent your
time, energy, thought, and expertise showing someone 10 different properties,
you would expect to be paid for it. So if you are looking for a bargain, go with
the broker who says he will discount his commission. But, if you are
looking for a broker with integrity who will help you find a house, choose the
one who will not reduce his salary. Remember: "You get what you
FIGURING THE REAL COST
Much more is involved in calculating the cost of
a home purchase than just the contract price of the house and the broker's fee.
It is important to know up front what these charges are, and how much they will
amount to in your case. Some costs are represented as percentages and others are
flat rates. Most states real estate laws require lenders to disclose all
costs that will be charged to you. Closing costs amount to about 11% of your
sales price. Here is a simple list of the items for which there is a charge:
Title Insurance Premium
Loan Transfer Charges
FINANCING YOUR HOME
There are many different types of financing to be considered by home buyers. The options are limited only by how creative you or your lender can be. During periods of low interest rates, people can take advantage of the conventional home mortgages and find their monthly payment to be affordable. It is during more economically stressed times that one may seek alternative and creative forms for financing. It is good to learn as much as you can about mortgage financing before purchasing your new home.
CLOSING THE DEAL
Closing the deal involves your signing of the contract and the seller accepting the terms of that contract. It is vital that you specify everything in the contract that you wish to have carried out. Make no assumptions about anything related to your purchase of the real estate. Be informed of your obligations and those of the seller as well. Regardless of what you expect from others, it is ultimately up to you as the buyer to be fully aware of every detail of your purchase, hence the saying "Caveat Emptor," meaning "BUYER BEWARE!" Sign the contract only when you feel comfortable that you have the answers to all your questions regarding the transaction and that your interests are fully covered in the contract.
HOW TO DETERMINE GOOD CONSTRUCTION
Unless you are a building inspector or in the construction business, it is likely you do not have the expertise to accurately analyze the quality of the construction of the house you are viewing. Quicker and cheaper than studying a course in home inspection is paying a qualified professional home inspection service to check out the house you wish to buy. It may cost a hundred or two, but it is definitely worth it to be aware of the strengths and weaknesses of your new home.
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