5 Questions to Ask Your Real Estate Agent

real estate agent

If you’re looking to buy a new home, it’s a good idea to work with a real estate agent. A knowledgeable agent can provide you with a wealth of information and advice about buying a home. They will also have a large network of resources to help you find the perfect property.

These are 5 questions you should ask your agent when buying a home:

1. Is the house properly valued?

An agent can find out how much similar homes have sold for in the same area to determine if the price is fair or not.

2. How long has the house been on the market?

If the house has been on the market for a long time, it lets you know that there’s not a lot of demand for it (or that the house is overpriced). This puts you in a better position to negotiate.

3. What are the associated costs of ownership?

You’ll want to know about HOA fees, utility costs, and property taxes before deciding to make an offer.

4. What is the neighborhood’s marketability?

Your agent can tell you if the area is in high demand. Future events (such as the construction of a nearby highway) could affect this demand, and real estate agents have access to that type of information.

5. Why is the owner selling?

An agent can learn the real reason the owner is selling. If the owner is in a hurry to sell, it can give you some negotiating power when it comes to making an offer.

These are a few questions you should ask an agent about buying a home. To speak with a professional real estate agent about your home-buying needs, be sure to contact us at Randy Lindsay today.

3 FAQS About First-Time Home Buyer Programs

first-time home buyer

Being a first-time homebuyer is exciting, but there’s a lot about buying a house you may not know. For example, odds are you’ll need to apply for a mortgage. Where should you go? What’s needed? The following are some of the questions you might have about first-time homebuyer programs:

What are first-time homebuyer programs?

There are many different home-buyer programs established to encourage people to become first-time homebuyers. Look into the FHA and USDA loan programs and the HomePath Ready Buyer™ Program. There are also loans available to homebuyers with specific qualifications, such as the VA loan program and the Good Neighbor Next Door buyer aid program.

Why consider a first-time homebuyer program?

First-time homebuyers may not have a lot of credit history. Many of these loan programs are easier to qualify for if you don’t have a high credit score.

Some first-time homebuyers haven’t had a chance to save a lot of money for a down payment, either. First-time homebuyer programs tend to require much smaller down payments and lower credit scores than conventional loans. Some even provide closing costs assistance.

What are the requirements for a first-time homebuyer program?

Many of the loan program requirements vary, so be sure to compare. For example, an FHA loan typically requires a credit score of 580 and a 3.5% down payment. Or, you might qualify with a score of 500 but will have to put 10% down.

For more in-depth advice on first-time homebuyer programs, be sure to contact us at Randy Lindsay today.

4 Tips for Long-Distance House Hunting

long-distance house hunting

As you can imagine, long-distance house hunting can be very challenging. It’s difficult to get a “feel” for certain neighborhoods or to casually drive-by homes for sale if you’re in a different city or state.

Many homebuyers have no choice. Perhaps you were transferred or took a new job in a different state and your relocation is time-sensitive. You must find a house as quickly as possible.

Here are four tips to effectively house-hunt from far away:

  1. Identify your needs – Figure out what your wants and needs are (Three bedrooms, 2 full baths, large backyard, etc.). Your agent can help find homes for sale that meet those wants and needs.
  2. Research the area – Do as much investigation on the community and neighborhoods in that area. This can give you a better idea of desirable locales.
  3. Use a local real estate agent – Find an agent in the area in which you plan to move. A local agent can answer any questions about the area and provide knowledge-based real estate guidance.
  4. Plan a visit – Plan a visit to explore the area and meet with your agent. Your real estate agent should be able to schedule showings to homes that meet your needs and are within your budget.

If you’re house hunting in the Charlotte area, contact us at Randy Lindsay today. We can share professional advice concerning the local real estate market. 

When Is the Best Time to Buy a Home?

buy a home

Buying a home is a decision you shouldn’t take lightly. If you’ve decided to buy a home, odds are you believe you’re financially capable of doing so (perhaps with the help of a home loan). A home purchase is one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make, so you’ll want the best deal possible on the house in which you plan to live. When you decide to buy a home – timing – can impact how much you end up spending. Here are a few tips for the best time to buy a home:

When it’s a buyer’s market 

A buyer’s market occurs when there are more houses for sale in an area than there are buyers in that area. This means sellers are competing against each other and are less likely to have multiple buyers bidding against one another.

If you’re a buyer in a buyer’s market, you’re going to have more room to negotiate. However, if you’re a buyer in a seller’s market, the seller will likely receive more interest from multiple buyers. This gives you less room to negotiate and potentially forces you to bid against another buyer.

End of summer and during fall

The spring and summer months are considered the peak selling seasons. Sellers list their homes for sale right when the weather improves and buyers begin going house-hunting. Sellers who haven’t sold by the end of summer may be getting desperate, which means you’ll have an edge when it comes to negotiations.

Knowing when to buy can make it easier to negotiate and can result in lower prices. Reach out to Randy Lindsay real estate professionals for more advice for buying a home today.

Worst First-Time Homebuyer Pitfalls to Avoid

First-Time Homebuyer Pitfalls

Buying your first home can be very exciting. It can also be complicated and stressful, especially if you’re not sure what you’re doing. It helps to know what some of the pitfalls of buying a home are. 

Here are a few common mistakes – and the worst – pitfalls you should avoid when buying your first home:

  • Not getting pre-qualified for a mortgage – Even if you’ve created a budget, there’s no guarantee you’ll be approved for the amount you need. By getting pre-qualified for a mortgage, you’ll know exactly how much you can afford when house hunting.
  • Not knowing your budget – If you don’t know what your budget is, how do you know what you can afford? A lot of people assume they’ll be able to afford a certain price without actually calculating current vs. future expenses. What can you afford on a month-to-month basis?
  • Not understanding the “real” costs – A monthly mortgage isn’t the only cost associated with buying a home. As you create a budget, remember to factor-in:
    • Basic maintenance and repair expenses
    • Closing costs
    • Interest rate
    • Mortgage insurance
    • Property taxes
    • Utilities
    • Not using a real estate agent – Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can find and buy a house yourself. A real estate agent can give you much more detailed advice about buying your first home.
      Your real estate professional can help you identify houses that fit your needs and budget, ensure properties are fairly priced, assist with negotiations, and guide you through bidding and closing processes. 

    Be sure to avoid the worst pitfalls when buying your first home. Even if you’re not a first-time homebuyer, contact us at Randy Lindsay for additional homebuying advice. 

How Soon Can I Buy a House After Bankruptcy?

Buy a House After Bankruptcy

When you file for bankruptcy, it means you’re in a financial situation you don’t think you can get out of without help. Such financial hardships occur for a wide variety of reasons–sometimes as a result of poor financial responsibility or medical debts.

When you file for bankruptcy, it’s going to make it difficult to obtain a loan any time soon. This means it may be a while before you can buy a house after bankruptcy.

When can you buy a house after bankruptcy?

Because you’re likely going to need a mortgage to buy a house, lenders will look at your credit history to determine how much of a lending risk you are. A certain amount of time has to pass after you file for bankruptcy for lenders to begin feeling comfortable approving a mortgage.

If you want a conventional loan from a bank, you’ll need to wait at least four years. Conventional loans have rigorous requirements that you need to meet; this includes a solid credit score. If you can prove extenuating circumstances (meaning the bankruptcy was out of your control), then you may only have to wait two years.

If you have more than one bankruptcy on your record, you may need to wait 5 years. If you’re applying for an FHA loan, then you only have to wait two years since FHA loans are federally backed and less of a risk for lenders. You may only have to wait between 1 and two years for a VA loan.

How soon you can buy a house after bankruptcy depends on what type of loan you’re applying for as well as the current state of your credit report. For more information on home mortgages, contact us at Randy Lindsay today.

MY BIO

Randy has enjoyed over 27 wonderful years in the Real Estate industry making dreams come true for homeowners.

Superior customer service is #1 to Randy and he provides this to all of his clients using knowledge, professionalism, integrity and persistence.

Randy is a successful and experienced real estate agent who expertly represents both buyers and sellers. Scores of Charlotte area residents have trusted Randy in the process of listing their homes to sell.

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