Buyer FAQs

The following are commonly asked questions by buyers and my answers to them:

What is a Buyer’s Agent and why do I need one?
Not long ago, all brokers represented the seller in a real estate transaction and “let the buyer beware.” Today most buyers want a good agent to represent them during a home purchase. A buyer’s agent works for the buyer and can show the buyer all properties listed by any broker, for sale by owners, or even properties not currently on the market.

A buyer’s agent can offer professional advice on selecting a property and negotiate to get the property for the buyer at the best price and terms. And, best of all, since sellers generally pay the brokers’ commissions, these services are free to the buyer.

A buyer’s agent can tell you things the Internet never will such as: Is the property involved in litigation? Are there noise or crime problems? How are the schools? How much have homes in this neighborhood been selling for?

Surfing the net to look for houses is fine but you need an agent to help you decide which properties are really a good match for your specific needs. And, since you can use the services of a buyer’s broker for free, why wouldn’t you? If you see a home on the Internet or while driving around, and want more information, please contact us.

Can you help me buy a new home from a builder?
You Bet! Anyone considering the purchase of a new construction home should work with a realtor that can represent you in negotiations with the home builder. Remember, the sales agents in the model homes work for the builder and represent his interests. We can protect your interests. There’s no cost to you for this service (the builder pays our commission fees). For more info on assistance with new homes and new home builders, including incentives that are available, please contact me.

Can you help me with homes for sale by owner?
Yes! Home owners selling their own homes are usually very happy when a real estate agent brings them a buyer. In addition, we can provide you with invaluable assistance in negotiating the price and terms of the sale and helping you through a process that can sometimes be confusing. It’s always best to have a buyer’s agent looking out for your interests. Just contact us with the address and phone number of the owner and we’ll take it from there!

I would like to preview a home for sale. How do I do that?
If you have not already signed a buyer agency agreement with another real estate agent, I can show you any home listed for sale in the Phoenix Metro area – including new build homes. Regardless of where you find a home (on the internet or driving by), you can contact me to find out all the details and schedule a preview. .

Does your website system search the entire state?
Yes, our system searches not only the Phoenix Metro MLS but also searches the entire state of Arizona.

What programs are available for first-time home buyers?
There are several low-interest grants and down payment assistance programs available to first-time homebuyers in the Phoenix Arizona area. The programs vary depending on your location, your mortgage source, and your income. The requirements and benefits of each program will also vary. Please contact me for more information on what’s available in the area you are interested in.

What are your qualifications as a Realtor?
I have been working full time in real estate in the Phoenix area since 1998 and have lived in the area for the past 25 years. I am certified by the Council of Residential Specialists (CRS) and the Internet Real Estate Professionals (ePRO), as well as a Graduate of the Real Estate Institute (GRI). These are all continuing education based programs. I am a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), Colorado Association of Realtors (CAR), andThe Douglas/Elbert County Association of Realtors (DERA), and subscribe to their code of ethics.

If I call or e-mail you, will I be pressured?
NO WAY. Like you, I despise high-pressure sales tactics and people. You have my assurance that neither I nor my team members will ever pressure you to do anything. We are here to provide real estate advice and hopefully earn your business. And we won’t promise something we can’t deliver.

What’s the weather like in Phoenix?
Phoenix has a subtropical desert climate, with extremely hot summers and warm winters.

The temperature reaches or exceeds 100°F (38°C) on an average of 110 days during the year, including most days from late May through early September, and highs top 110 °F (43 °C) an average of 18 days during the year. Overnight lows greater than 80 °F (27 °C) occur frequently each summer, with the average July low being 81 °F (27 °C) and the average August low being 80 °F (27 °C). On average,

Precipitation is sparse during a large part of the summer, but the influx of monsoonal moisture, which generally begins in early July and lasts until mid-September, raises humidity levels and can cause heavy localized precipitation and flooding occasionally. Winter months are warm, with daily high temperatures ranging from the mid-60′s to low 70′s (18–22°C), and low temperatures rarely dipping below 40 °F (4 °C).

Phoenix averages 85% of possible sunshine and receives scant rainfall, the average annual total at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport being 8.3 inches (210 mm). March is the wettest month of the year (1.07 inches or 27 mm) with June being the driest (0.09 inches or 2 mm). Although thunderstorms are possible at any time of the year, they are most common during the monsoon from July to mid-September as humid air surges in from the Gulf of California. These can bring strong winds, large hail, or rarely, tornadoes. Winter storms moving inland from the Pacific Ocean occasionally produce significant rains but occur infrequently. Fog is rare but can be observed from time to time during the winter months.

On average, Phoenix has only 5 days per year where the temperature drops to or below freezing. The long-term mean date of the first frost is December 15 and the last is February 1; however, these dates do not represent the city as a whole because the frequency of freezes increases the further one moves outward from the urban heat island. Frequently, outlying areas of Phoenix see frost, but the airport does not.

What are average home prices in the Phoenix market?
The average price of all homes sold (single family and condo combined) is currently at $. Single family is averaging $ and condos/townhouses are averaging $.

What is earnest money?
Earnest money shows good faith and that you are serious about buying the property. Typically, sellers ask for one percent of the sales price, and it is credited toward the purchase, unless there is 100% financing. The contract will spell out the conditions for when earnest money is refundable and when it is not.

If I buy a house through you, who pays you?
Since the seller generally pays the brokers’ commissions, our services are FREE to the buyer.

Should I get prequalified or preapproved for a loan?
When you submit a purchase offer, unless you will pay cash, you must provide evidence that you qualify for the loan. Otherwise the seller won’t take your offer seriously. There are two types of evidence you can provide:

Prequalification. This means you have spoken with a lender and, based solely on the information you told them, the lender is willing to provide a written statement that they believe you will qualify for a loan. It only takes a few minutes and can be done over the phone. This is not as strong as preapproval.

Preapproval. If you are serious about buying, this is the way to go. You get preapproved for a loan by submitting a formal loan application and having the lender verify your credit, employment, etc. Once you are preapproved, all that is needed is an appraisal on the property that you choose. Preapproval makes you look like a cash buyer in the eyes of a seller and gives you more negotiating clout.

To get preapproved or prequalified, call our mortgage consultant, XXX, at (602) XXX-XXXX, and tell them we referred you. They will treat you with the utmost in integrity and service.

How much do I need to put down?
The greater the down payment, the less the monthly mortgage payment will be and the more immediate equity you will have in your home. The lenders we work with offer programs that feature down payments as low as 0% to qualified individuals.

In most cases a down payment ranges between 0% and 20%. This amount will vary depending on the cash you have available and what payments are affordable for you.

For 97% loans and 100% loans, rates really jump up, so be ready. If there is anything you can do to get at least 5% down, you will save quite a bit of money down the road.

How much will my Closing Costs be?
In addition to the down payment, the amount of closing costs will depend on several factors, such as the selling price of the home and the type of mortgage. As a rule of thumb you will have closing costs of approximately 2 to 3 percent of the sales price. Contact Us and we can give you more specific information on the items typically paid by buyers.

How much are Property Taxes in the Phoenix area?
Taxes vary by location, but a good rule of thumb is 1% of the value of the house. Taxes are typically included in your mortgage payment along with insurance.

Should I get an inspection on the home I’m thinking about purchasing?
Definitely! You need to know exactly what you are buying. It could be very disappointing to find out after you have purchased your new home that you are going to have to spend lots of money for unexpected repairs. The cost of a professional home inspection could be the best money you ever spend on your house. Not only does the home inspector look for any defects from the roof to the foundation, but the inspector will often give you tips on maintaining and repairing your house. Home inspections are also recommended for newly constructed homes.

When should I begin searching for a home?
If you have a specific date that you must be in your next home, you should begin your search at least two months prior to that date. Two months will allow enough time to find the perfect home and enough time for inspections, loan approval and processing. If you have a home to sell, you should list your home for sale before starting your search.

How long does it usually take from the time I find a house until I can move in?
It depends on the situation! A home can close in less then 10 days if the buyers have met all of their lender’s requirements. Generally, you should allow between 3 to 6 weeks; maybe longer, depending on how soon the seller can vacate the house and how quickly you can close on the home.

What is an appraisal? Will I need one?
An appraisal is a detailed analysis by a licensed appraiser of the market value of the home you want to purchase. Lenders will require an appraisal as part of the loan approval process.

What is a contingency?
A contingency is a provision included in a sales contract stating that certain events must occur or certain conditions must be met before the contract is valid. A common example would be requiring that an existing home be sold first.

What is title insurance?
Title insurance is insurance that protects the lender and buyer against any losses incurred from disputes over clear title of a property.

What is a Short Sale?
A short sale is when the mortgage holder agrees to accept a payoff that is less then the amount owed. Mortgage holders are more and more leaning towards short sales, rather then foreclosing. Foreclosure is usually the last thing anyone involved wants to do. The mortgage holder may 1099 the borrower for the difference between the actual payoff and the short sale amount. If this happens there will be tax implications. This is still usually a better situation for the borrower then a possible judgment filed against them for any short fall in a Foreclosure Sale.

So I’ve made an offer a home, it’s been accepted, and I’m waiting to close the deal. What’s the best advice you can give me?

Get a checklist made. Moving is a huge undertaking, whether it’s down the street or across the country. Some major items to consider:

  • Money: make sure you have enough to cover travel, food, transportation and lodging.
  • Medicine: Keep medication and prescriptions where they will be available during the move.
  • Number boxes so they can be counted on arrival.
  • Have address books available in case you need help.

Click Here for a checklist to help assist you with your move.

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