Do I need to be pre-approved?
It depends. You may begin searching online for homes at your convenience, however, a REALTOR® may request you get pre-approved prior to physically previewing properties. Besides, getting pre-approved is to your advantage because it establishes a price range to shop within and demonstrates you are qualified to obtain financing.
Can you recommend any mortgage officers?
Yes. I work with several outstanding mortgage officers who are known to close on time. Send me an email and I will forward their information to you.
When is the best time to buy?
Generally, inventory is highest during spring and summer months, but the number of buyers looking are too. Don’t count out searching during the fall and winter months for there are fewer buyers. Plus, mortgage officers and the Title company may be eager to close before the end of the year.
What are my closing costs?
It depends on the type of loan you are applying for. Buyers expenses in the following: appraisal fees; loan application fees; origination charges; credit reports; preparation of loan documents; interest on the notes from date of disbursement to one month prior to dates of first monthly payment; recording fees; copies of easements and restrictions; loan title policy with endorsements required by lender; loan-related inspection fees; photos; amortization schedules; one-half of escrow fee; all prepaid items, including required premiums for flood and hazard insurance, reserve deposits for insurance, ad valorem taxes and special governmental assessments; final compliance inspection; courier fee; repair inspection; underwriting fee; wire transfer fee; expenses incident to any loan; Private Mortgage Insurance premium (PMI), VA Loan Funding fee, or FHA Mortgage Insurance Premium (MIP) as required by the lender; and other expenses payable by the contract.
What is earnest money?
Earnest money is an agreed amount in the contract that a buyer is required to pay within 3 days of an executed contract. It shows “good faith or skin in the game,” and implies the buyer intends to purchase the property. The earnest money is deposited with an escrow agent, such as a title company. If the deal closes, the earnest money is usually credited to your purchase. If the deal does not close, the terms of the contract determine who receives the earnest money.
How much earnest money is enough?
The amount can vary; however, most buyers typically offer 1% of the purchase price. A larger deposit could make your offer standout, especially in a multiple offer situation.
Should I get a home inspection?
I recommend all buyers perform a home inspection. To get the current condition for the roof, foundation, HVAC, and wood destroying insects (WDI) on top of other things a buyer should have an inspection done.
Are seller’s required to make repairs?
Under no circumstance is a seller required to make any repairs. Nevertheless, fair-minded sellers will make a reasonable effort to resolve deficiencies to move forward.
What is a home warranty?
A residential service provider, also known as a home warranty company will provide coverage for many items not typically covered by your property insurance, such as the dishwasher, waste compactor and HVAC systems. For a small deductible or service fee they will send a technician to inspect and repair malfunctioning equipment. Be sure to compare plans for differences in coverage’s and costs. Although, a negotiable item most sellers will pay for a home warranty.
When will I close?
Typically a property will close 45-60 days after all parties have signed the contract. However, there are situations that allow for a quick close, such as a cash purchase. If you are applying for a loan you must receive your closing disclosures at least 3 days prior to closing, otherwise it could be delayed.
What is a C.L.U.E report?
C.L.U.E is abbreviated for Comprehensive Loss Underwriting exchange. It is sort of like a FICO score for a home revealing actual and zero dollar claims when an insurance agent was contacted with a question about a problem to determine if a claim should be filed. The report usually shows 5 years of information that could be valuable to you in a few ways: 1) it will tell you if there have been too many water or weather related claims, 2) it could be a warning if the property has a long history of claims, 3) explain why your insurance premium is expensive, 4) your insurance company may require proof of repair on most acceptable losses.
What factors can affect insurance rates?
A few issues that can affect insurance premiums are: the age of the roof, credit score less than 700, age of the property, geography prone to inclement weather and custom homes built with expensive specialized materials.
Where can I find neighborhood crime data?
What is a survey?
A drawing made, on the ground by a licensed surveyor showing land measurements and how home structures and improvements are positioned in relation to property lines, setback lines, boundaries, easements and rights of way.
A survey will tell you if a neighbors fence is encroaching the property line or show a structure sitting on or within a easement, that a utility company may need to access at some point. As of 2014, a buyer can purchase additional residential coverage, in addition, to the standard Owner’s Policy of Title Insurance. The extra survey coverage will cost an additional 5% of the amount of the Owner’s Title policy. If you have further questions, I would be happy to refer you to one of the Title companies I work with.
What is an appraisal?
An appraisal is an unbiased estimate of a property’s market value performed by a licensed appraiser. Lenders use the appraisal to determine if the home’s value will be sufficient collateral for the loan A lender will not loan more than the value of the property. In this business arrangement the appraisers client is the lender, not the buyer or seller.
What is a buyer’s market?
A buyer’s market is one in which there is an abundance of available homes for sale and scarcity of buyers (supply > demand). In this situation, if a seller is unwilling to negotiate with a buyer, the buyer has plenty of other options. In a buyer’s market, a motivated seller will tend to beat the competition.
What is a seller’s market?
A seller’s market is one where the number of buyer’s in the market exceed the available of homes for sale (demand > supply). This is a situation where a seller can hold firm to a price knowing inventory is low and in due time a willing and able buyer will come forth. In a seller’s market multiple offers for a property is commonplace.
Should I apply for a homestead exemption?
To qualify for a homestead exemption, you must own and occupy the property as of January 1. Applying for a homestead exemption is the responsibility of the homeowner. When submitting your completed application to the Central Appraisal district, a copy of the applicants Texas driver’s license or Texas identification card is required and must have the same address listed on the exemption application, otherwise the Chief Appraiser will not approve the exemption. Your application must be returned on or before April 30 to receive tax benefits for the year.
Tax bills are generally mailed in October of each year. Taxes are considered due once the statements have been sent and you may pay anytime up until January 31, without penalty. On February 1, unpaid taxes are considered delinquent and subject to penalty fees and interest.
There are several other forms of tax relief that may reduce the taxable value of your home:
- over 65 exemption
- disabled individual exemption
- disabled veteran exemption
- agriculture land exemption
This information is not intended to provide legal advice. Please consult a real estate attorney if you have specific questions on the applicability of your real estate transaction.