Whether you’re buying your first home or your fifth, as a homebuyer, you’ll certainly have your work cut out for you. From finding a new neighborhood and getting a mortgage to packing up and moving in, every step of buying a house can feel like a long process in itself. Of course, some of the most important (and, perhaps, overwhelming) steps of buying a new home include finding a helpful real estate agent and, with their assistance, locating a home that fits your lifestyle. Every buyer hopes to work with a real estate agent who can help create a smooth, stress-free home buying experience, though doing so may be difficult, especially when moving to an unfamiliar area. Here are 5 important questions to ask when buying a home in order to make sure the real estate agent you’re working with is able to deliver the best experience:
5 questions buyers should ask their real estate agents:
1. Are you familiar with the neighborhood I’m interested in?
When moving to a new neighborhood, smart buyers know that the more information they can gather about the area, the better. One of the best ways to research a neighborhood is to directly speak with someone who lives and works in the area, like a local real estate agent. Not only can a neighborhood realtor provide you with a first-hand perspective on living in the area, but he or she will also be able to give you the guidance you need to find other important resources within the community, too, like a trustworthy home inspector who can thoroughly assess the property you’re considering purchasing.
Buyers should always make a point of asking real estate agents how familiar they are with the different neighborhoods being discussed.
2. What can you tell me about the schools in this area?
Even homebuyers with no children should know the importance of learning about the local public and private schools. While living near exceptional schools offers peace of mind for parents and couples considering parenthood, good local schools also directly impact property values, as homes near quality schools are always in demand. Consequently, homes near highly rated schools may be listed at higher prices than homes near lower-quality schools, and investing in a home near a superior school is rarely, if ever, a poor decision.
3. Is there a homeowners association, and if so, what are their guidelines?
Not every neighborhood has homeowners associations (HOAs), and it can be easy to overlook this question if you’ve never lived in an area with one. Nevertheless, finding out whether or not your new home will require you to participate in an HOA is an important step in the home buying process, as HOAs come with a variety of benefits and property maintenance guidelines, generally for a flat annual fee.
Many homeowners associations also have specific guidelines and practices that homeowners must adhere to. For example, some homeowners associations require homeowners to obtain permission from the HOA prior to beginning certain types of construction or other projects that may affect the appearance of their home’s exterior. This type of information is important for buyers to grow familiar with before moving in to a neighborhood, so there are no surprises later on.
4. What are the property taxes like in the area?
Researching local property taxes for the past several years can help buyers understand what they can expect to pay during their first few years in a new home. Buyers should also ask if there have been any recent changes in local government that could affect their property taxes. With this information, you can more clearly determine the long-term costs of owning a particular home, and whether or not your budget will allow for it.
5. What can you tell me about the market in this area?
Ask your realtor for a competitive market analysis, or CMA, to gain more insight on what other buyers have recently paid for similar houses in the neighborhoods you’re interested in. Learning more about the recent selling prices for similar homes will help you to negotiate more effectively when you’re ready to make an offer.
See if your realtor can also provide any historical information about selling prices in your new neighborhood, to see how the local market has changed in relation to real estate trends over recent years. This could provide more insight into what you can expect in the future, if and when you sell the house.
Buying a house is absolutely a major, long-term investment, and that’s why I offer as much assistance and information as possible to each buyer I work with. Please contact me today if you’d like to learn more about buying a home in the Tanglewood area!