Getting to Know Danielle Lower, Listing Agent at The Sandy Hartmann GroupDanielle Lower is a Senior Listing Specialist at the Sandy Hartmann Group and has listed over 100 homes with the team since
10 Questions To Ask Before Buying A Home
10 Questions You Need to Ask Before Buying a House
Before beginning your home search, whether you're a first time home buyer or simply moving for a new job, downsizing, etc. it's important to ask yourself the 10 questions below. At the Sandy Hartmann Group, we want you to start your home search off the right way. Afterall, we'll be your Realtors for life once you experience our unmatched customer service and local market knowledge of the Tampa Bay, FL real estate market.
Check out the list below, then call us at (727) 400-3315 to get your home search started. As a reminder, we're here to make your home buying experience best in class!
What’s My Budget Like? Be sure to meet with a lender before shopping for a home to see what you can afford. Don’t be shy and talk to them about what kind of a payment you’ll be comfortable with, even if you qualify for more. A good lender speaks with MANY first time home buyers on a daily basis and the more details you can give them the better! Your initial meeting can take anywhere from 10 minutes to 30 minutes or more depending on how much initial information you want to give a lender about your financial history.
How Much Should I Save for the Mortgage Down Payment? This amount can vary depending on which loan programs you qualify for based on your credit history, budget, and military status. Amounts can range from 3% of the purchase price to 20%. If you can afford to put down 20% on your first home we ALWAYS recommend doing that to avoid PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance) since it’s expensive and doesn’t add ANY value to your investment or pay down your loan.
Do I Need to Budget for Moving Costs? Unless you have that friend or family member that will loan you their truck and plenty of free labor, the answer is YES. Moving trucks can be rented for $50+ per day depending on the distance of the move or you can hire professional movers, which can be a few hundred dollars or into the thousands depending on distance and the amount of goods to be moved.
What About Closing Costs? Everyone who purchases a home will likely need to set aside 2-3% of the purchase price for closing costs on the day of your closing. The best way to get an idea of closing costs is to talk to your Realtor and Lender. Experienced professionals have amazing digital tools these days that can calculate what your closings costs may be based on the area you’re moving to since taxes and fees can vary state to state.
How Long Do You Plan on Living in the House? If you’re a first time home buyer, will this be your starter house? Or are you a newlywed that might want a long term home that will work in the event you start a family? These are important factors to consider as homes in “up and coming areas” may appreciate in value faster (so better for short term ownership plans) while homes in excellent public school zones will often cost you more, but can save money on private school costs in the long run if you’re plan is to have kids in the near future.
What Neighborhoods Do You Love? Be sure to make a list for your Realtor of any areas you’d like to look into, even if it turns out they aren’t in your price range or in the school zones you wanted, it’s just another way to let your Realtor “fine tune” your home search.
What Home Features are Important To You? Is a swimming pool a must have item? If not, consider skipping a pricier home with a pool that will need costly maintenance over the years. Are you handy? If so, let your Realtor know that “fixer upper’s” are ok to target! Not handy? By all means, let your Realtor know that too!
What is Deferred Maintenance? Deferred maintenance is when a homeowner neglects to care for the home that way it should be. Great questions to ask about any home you’re interested in are a) How old is the roof? b) How old is the HVAC system and when was it last serviced? c) Are the windows double pane or storm rated? d)Has the electrical been updated and/or is it up to code? e) Has there ever been water intrusion, mold, or plumbing issues? f) When was the last pest treatment (if you’re in an area prone to termites, rodents, etc).
What are Similar Homes Selling For? Once you find a home you LOVE, ask your Realtor to run a CMA (comparative market analysis) on the home AFTER you’ve seen it (for accuracy purposes). Make sure you’re buying a home that will appraise so you’re not over-paying for it. If it’s overpriced, be prepared to negotiate or walk away from the home. If it’s underpriced, be prepared to compete against multiple offers (which often require proof of funds to close AND a mortgage pre-approval letter to submit for consideration with the offer).
When Do You Want to Close? When you write an offer on a house with your Realtor, have an idea of when you want to close AND when the lender can realistically close if you’re getting a mortgage loan. Some lenders can close in as little as 15 days if they’ve pre-underwritten your loan (making your offer more competitive) and others may need 30-45 days to close, depending on the loan program you’ll be using. Make sure you have this info ahead of time so you don’t sign up for a date that’s unrealistic.
Mustafa was born and raised in East Palatka, Florida and moved to Tampa, FL in 2009. He moved to Gainesville in 2015 with the intent to attend UF and start a career as a Real Estate Agent. He became....
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