Q: Should I talk to my bank about a mortgage before looking at houses?
A: Yes. Getting a pre-approved mortgage lets you know exactly how much you can spend on a home. You don’t want to look at million dollar homes if you only qualify for $500,000.
Q: Should I buy a new house before selling my current one?
A: There are pros and cons to doing this. Some things to consider are do you want to be responsible for two mortgages (and can you afford to)? Do you want to have “subject to sale of current home” in your offer to purchase the new home? If you do, you may end up losing the property if you can’t remove the subject and another offer is received after yours.
Q: Who pays my real estate agent when I buy a home?
A: Usually the Seller is responsible for the real estate commissions. If you have your own agent, confirm beforehand to make sure you both understand who will be paying.
Q: What are the average utility costs?
A: You can usually find this out from the seller, but remember, your comfort level may be different than theirs, so their average may be different than yours. You can also try contacting the local utility provider to find out average billing amounts. At a minimum, you’ll have a ballpark figure to work with in your budgeting.
Q: How old is…..?
A: Knowing the age of major components such as the roof, furnace, water heater etc., will give you an idea of whether or not they may need replacing. Your building inspection report will also verify this and give you an idea as to their current condition.
Q: Can I limit the times when my house can be shown to prospective buyers?
A: Yes. The home owner retains control over showing times, but keep in mind, it’s in your best interest to allow as much access as possible, within reason.
Q: Can I cancel my listing agreement if I change my mind?
A: Yes. No one can force you to sell your home if you don’t want to. If you’re unhappy with your agent, talk to them about your concerns and see if you can work it out. If that’s not possible, a cancellation agreement can be done.
Q: What should I disclose to potential buyers?
A: If you’re aware of any defects, such as a leaky roof, it’s always best to be honest about it. If you can, fix it before you put your home on the market.
Q: Should I price my home higher so I’ve got room to negotiate?
A: No. A well-priced home will sell but a home that is priced higher than the market will sit there. Buyers are knowledgeable these days and with internet access to the MLS system, they’ll know if you’re out of the ballpark.
Q: Why aren’t we getting any showings?
A: There are a number of reasons for this. You may be priced too high, or it could be due to poor curb appeal, poor location or lack of effort on the part of your agent. Talk to your agent to see if they’re getting calls. If they are, why isn’t that translating into showings? What reasons are the potential buyers giving?
Q: Should I attend the showings so I can answer questions?
A: This is usually not a good idea. Buyers are more comfortable if they can speak freely while looking at your home and if you’re there, you’ll inhibit that. Let your agent handle any questions.