Top 50 Questions Home Buyers Ask | Baltimore Real Estate
Buying a new home is a huge task that starts with lots of questions. Many buyers start their research online or even talking to others who have purchased a home. I've compiled a list of the top 50 questions I get from home buyers. Getting this info straight from the source is key.
Top 50 Questions Home Buyers Ask Part 1 of 5 - Series
1. Do I have to be preapproved first to begin looking at homes?
Technically no. However, you are doing yourself a dis-service by not being preapproved before beginning your home search. Getting preapproved by a lender first will give you the amount of home you can afford. By being armed with the information your REALTOR® can better assist, this will expedite your home search and make you feel more comfortable about what you are spending. In addition, most sellers only want people who are in a proven position to purchase a home walking through their home. Think about it.
2. When I get a home inspection doesn't the seller have to fix everything on the list?
It's best to sit with your REALTOR® and home inspector to understand what your inspection is and how it works. Home inspections inform you of the homes current condition based on what can be seen and tested. In Maryland, unless the home is being sold as-is. The mechanics in a home must be in working order. So if anything is not working or not working properly, it must be fixed. Unless other terms are negotiated and agreed upon by both parties, for example a repair credit. Be cautious, because depending on financing that could be different as well. That being said, you will also get other valuable information from your home inspection to consider that may not necessarily be the responsibility of the seller. For example, appliances that are functioning fine now but are approaching the end of their life expectancy. These are not necessarily items for the seller to replace because they are working at time of inspection, but items you as the new owner will need to budget for sometime down the road.
3. Are sellers flexible on their list price?
Ah, the million dollar question. The answer? Well you have to put in an offer to find out. As REALTORS®, we never truly know this answer. Why? Because a seller may say one thing about what they will take. However I've seen more times than not a seller will consider an offer they receive in hand. It doesn't mean they won't counter your offer, but that is how you get negotiations started. Only the seller can truly respond to this.
4. What should I look for in a house?
This isn't a everyday question, but I do get it. Many buyers often know what they want and what they need in a home. Some don't. When meeting with a buyer during the buyer consultation we discuss home buying needs and wants. First thing we do is get they buyer preapproved. This tells us how much money we are working with. (See question 1). Once we have this critical information, we can then research what homes in the price range may work. First start with your home needs and then, if there is room in your price range, include your wants otherwise save the money.
5. Do I need a home inspection?
Yes, Yes and YES!!! Always get a home inspection. Whether it's a well taken care of home, rehabbed home or new construction. This isn't to say necessarily that anything is being hidden. This is just great information so that you know what you are buying and what you will need to budget for in the future to fix or replace. (See question 2). This is also a legal out of the contract if the inspection is to awful, provided all inspections and communications are completed within the time frames agreed.
6. What do need for the lender?
An amazing lender will let you know what information and documentation will be needed. To prepare you should start with:
If you are self employed or "other" you may need additional documentation. Talk to your lender about what is needed in more detail.
7. What are the closing costs?
Closing costs are the expenses associated with the purchase of a home. A example of closing costs are title fees, lender fees, points, credit access, and several more. An amazing lender will provide this information in specific details.
8. What credit score to do I need to buy a home?
This is also a great lender question. One of the first things the lender will ask for is your social security number. This will inform the lender of your credit scores. Credit is a huge part of the mortgage approval process, but it is only a part of it. If you scores are too low, the lender can give you a game plan of what you can do to increase scores. It takes time, but it can be done. Most banks will want to see 640 or higher. There may be "programs" that may qualify a lower score however, be warned. I have yet to see this program work.
9. How long with the home buying process take?
Generally speaking 45-60 days. I have seen homes close sooner. However, there are a million factors that can speed up the process or delay the process. Best practice is to do everything as quickly as possible. If your lender sends a request for documents Monday don't wait until Saturday to get around to working on them. Depending on the documents it could be something that can be retrieved quickly or could be a few days. Repairs, depending on how in depth, could delay the process to.
10. Should I buy a new home or a used home?
This question is based on 1 main thing. What can you afford? Resale homes are the most commonly purchased homes because they are far less expensive than new homes and can be moved into immediately. New construction, depending location is generally speaking more expensive because, it's new. Plus once you begin to customize the home with flooring, counter tops, appliances, your bill begins to increase fast!
There is not right or wrong. But as we know, your finances will answer most of these questions. Be realistic, understand your needs and enjoy the process!
Provided courtesy of Helene Kelbaugh of