Hello Everyone, I hope you all had a great Holiday break and New Year. Now that we are back to the grind, I will continue with tips for home buyers. If you remember, my last two posts went over getting started and finding the right home. Today, I will talk about what to do once you find the right house. This includes the inspections and making an offer.
Having an inspection is a very important part of the home buying process. It is one of the ways you “the buyer” can protect yourself from any problems with the functionality or construction of the home. The primary purpose of the inspection is to check and estimate the cost to repair any issues with pests, water, foundation and all other aspects of construction. If there a major problem is discovered, the inspector may recommend a more specific inspection of that area.
You also need to consider if the home is in a flood plain. Your Realtor will answer this question for you and if it is, you will be required to purchase flood insurance. If you are near, but not in a flood plain, you still should consider buying flood insurance because floods are typically not covered in basic home owners insurance. Other factors you want to consider are probability of natural disasters, zoning laws, and building codes. These are all questions your real estate agent should be able assist you with. Some states, including California, require the seller give a natural hazards disclosure statement to buyers which covers earthquakes, floods, wildfires and dams.
It is important that you have the inspection done before you make an offer, because once your offer is accepted, it is legally binding. If you do not have an inspection done before the offer, you need to make sure your offer contains an “inspection contingency”. This allows you to pull out of the sale if the inspection finds any major problems. I’ll go offers and contingencies next.
Making an offer is not a difficult process, but it’s not as easy and telling the seller you will buy the house for the asking price. There is a specific format and all offers should include the following:
Complete legal description of the property
<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->Move-in date
<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->Closing date
<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->Amount of deposit
<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->Down payment amount and financing details
<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->Purchase price
<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->Time period for which the offer is valid
<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->Details of the offer
The legal description of the property is not just the address. It describes the specific parcel of land and how it was accounted for in county’s map and usually contains the property’s Assessor Parcel Number (APN). The move-in date is the day you wish to occupy the home and the closing date is the day ownership is legally transferred.
Your deposit is a sum of money, included with the offer, which you give to the seller to show you are “serious” about buying the home. It is usually 1 to 5 percent of the purchase price. If your offer is accepted, the deposit becomes part of your down payment. If it is rejected, then the deposit is returned to you. The down payment amount and full purchase price need to be included as well. Most banks want to see a 20% down payment, but there is no “mandatory standard” so it is always negotiable.
The details sections will include any contingencies regarding the offer/purchase. Contingencies are items which must be fulfilled by either party or the agreement can be terminated. There are a wide variety of contingences, but some of the major ones involve inspections, financing, and the purchase/sale of other homes. An example of the purchase contingency would be if the seller only wanted to sell if they found a new home to buy. Sale contingencies would be used if the buyer didn’t want to buy the home unless they can sell their other home.
Determining the purchase price and contingencies are the hardest parts of making an offer and this is when it is good to have a knowledgeable agent. They will know what similar homes are selling for in similar areas and how different types of financing affect the price. The amount of time the home has been on the market affects the price, as well. Usually, sellers will accept an offer which is lower than the list price, if the home has been for sale for a long time. Your agent will help you decided what contingencies are necessary, as each situation is different.
Remember, once an offer is accepted, it is legally binding. Meaning, if you submit an offer and it is accepted by the seller and all contingencies are fulfilled, you are legally bound to purchase the house. If you back out of the sale, your deposit may be forfeited to the seller and you may be liable for any losses incurred by the seller, seller’s agent, and/or your agent as a result of cancelling the agreement.
I hope this provided some good information for you and as always, if you have any questions or comments, leave them below. Take care and see you next week.