Buying a home is thrilling, scary, sometimes weird, often epic, and never dull. You‘re ponying up a huge wad of cash for a place you’ll inhabit hopefully for years to come. As such, you’re bound to have a lot of questions throughout every step of the process.
Can I buy a home and sell my current one at the same time?
Yes you can, but the process can get dicey. On the one hand, if you buy a home before you sell the one you’re in, you’re overextended financially; if you sell before you buy, you might need to rent awhile before finding a new place. But there are ways to do both at once, and one option is to instate a “sale contingency” in your contract. This means you only agree to buy a home if you can sell the one you’re in. The only downside is if your seller doesn’t agree (which is possible if they want the timing set in stone).
How do I know if a home is priced fairly?
While there’s no crystal ball on whether a certain home is a bargain and will appreciate, rest assured that with research, you can keep surprises to a minimum. The best way is to check out comps—what similar properties are selling for in the area. I use a program that is strictly available to agents called Realtors Property Resource or RPR. This software provides mortgage records, past sales history, taxes, estimated market value, and much more.
How quickly can I close?
Typical escrow periods are 30 to 45 days. This gives you enough time to do inspections on the property and get a loan completed.
Should I get a home inspection?
While buyers often wonder if a home inspection is truly necessary, most Realtors unequivocally say yes, yes, and yes. A home inspector takes a weight off of your shoulders by looking into the condition of the roof, electricity, heating and air, plumbing. Ensuring these things work prevents you from paying to fix them in the future. If some things are not up to par, you can negotiate with the seller to get those fixed before you close. A typical general inspection is $350, termite inspection $75, and Radon is an additional $125.
When can I back out if I change my mind?
While buyers can always back out of a deal, doing so without good reason may forfeit their earnest money (the cash put down to secure the offer, typically around 1%-2% of the home’s price). But there are some ways to walk with your earnest money in hand.
Contingencies are great loopholes. For example, upon an unsatisfactory home inspection, the buyer can ask for their deposit back. Another loophole is ‘subject to appraisal.’ That means you can back out if the lender for your loan doesn’t think the property is worth what you offered.