Owning you own home. The American Dream. Tired of renting and starting to ask what it takes to purchase your own home. So you being surfing the internet looking at homes. On the weekends you drive around the communities you might want to live in dreaming that one of them might be your future home. Your head is swimming with questions.
Recently, Realtor.com® did an article with the 8 most common buyer questions that they have discovered through the years. Let’s take each one and see how it relates to your purchasing your first Maricopa home. So in no particular order, let’s dive in!
There are two parts to this answer. The first is know exactly what you can qualify for but the most important answer is based around those last 3 words – I Can Afford.
Most people think that since they are paying rent of say $1,000 then they can afford any home that keeps them at payment. They grab one of those home calculator online and come up with a number. Cool, I can by a home at X.
According to a housing mortgage expert at Finance Hub, there is a lot more that goes into the amount a lender is willing to give you. They will want to take a look at your credit scores, your current bills, your debt to income, how long you’ve been at your job, etc. They want to know your ability to pay back the loan.
But here is a key ingredient into how much home can you afford. Let’s say the lender will loan up to $180,000 on a FHA loan. You get excited and want to start looking. Before you do, please know that depending on your loan, that $180,000 loan is going to run you $1,125 a month. Not including your HOA fee, so your real payment might be closer to $1,200. Is that what you really feel comfortable with? Or is $1,000 after your HOA more comfortable? If so, you really want to look around $155,000 for your new home.
So how much home can you afford? You want to know both components. What a lender will loan you and what payment works with your budget. Remember, the bank doesn’t look at your food budget, your kid’s baseball camp or your movies every Friday night, so make sure you like that payment.
People lose their home when they buy “too much” home for their budget.
Can I buy a home and sell my current one at the same time?
Depends. (Don’t most questions really start with depends?) LOL
Each person’s situation is different. However, for the majority of folks the answer is no. The vast majority of the lenders will require you to be able to afford both homes until the one is sold. Things happen, market’s change and they will want assurance that you know longer have the financial responsibility of that home.
Now, you can put your home up for sale, get an offer and then make an offer on another home. Your agent can help put a deal together that allows them to close right after each other.
Occasionally depending on your market, you might be able to get a home under contract while you are selling your home. However most will want you to at least have a pending sale in place.
I’ve had clients that saw one and I’ve had clients that needed to see fifty. However, with today’s technology and access to information, most folks can weed out many homes. So usually you might see between 8 – 12 homes.
If a home just “feels” right, then trust your instincts. Don’t lose out on a home you love and “feels” like home just because you think you need to look at more. Trust me, the more you look at the more confusing it will become. You start to like something about each one then try finding that perfect home and it doesn’t exist. There usually isn’t a home that has everything you fell in love with as you looked. However, you can create the perfect home. So focus on the things you can’t change.
Drive neighborhoods. Look at them early, late, school in, school out. Are the neighbors crazy on the weekends? You will be amazed that by just driving around, you might weed out homes before stepping in one. Street to small? Area feels unsafe? You love the park next door? Walking distance to the community pool?
Touring the neighborhoods might narrow down your actual homes viewed by doing that homework early on. I’ve had folks walk away from great homes due to it just not feeling right. Not loving the street or area.
What do you think the seller will accept as a fair price?
Every seller’s situation is different. Most folks have a bottom line number that they have in mind. Sometimes that number is what it is listed at. Sometimes it is just enough to pay off their loan and closing costs. Some want to make $30,000 to purchase the next home. Most want at least the fair market value.
Your agent can show you the “comps” (comparable homes) and what they are selling for. This way you know the fair market value.
What you don’t want to do is get hung up on homes that the owner paid half of what they are asking. That doesn’t matter. They have the right to make money on their home. Our #1 wealth building avenue is our home. Who are we to judge? Everyone is entitled to getting the best deal they can on their home. You will want to do the same thing. Feeling entitled to their equity will not end well for your purchase. Remember, always focus on what is the fair market value not their return on their investment.
With that said, is it good to know? Yes. Means you can push a little harder than say someone that owes what they are selling for. So if you use it for getting a few more thousands off…good. Using because they don’t deserve that profit…bad.
How do I know if the property is a good deal?
This is where your agent can help tremendously. You will want to dive into those comps (comparable). You will want to look at the upgrades. You will want to look at the future possible valuation. What would your resale down the road look like? How much money is needed going forward?
Bad stuff. You pay market and still have to dump more money into the home to fix things. You bought the most expensive home in the neighborhood. You would rather be the best deal in the neighborhood. Easier for you to reach them then for them to wait for you.
Cash buyers can typically close within 2 weeks however they can ask for longer. Usually if there is an HOA that takes the longest to get payoffs and fees. Otherwise you could do even quicker.
If you are using a loan, you can pretty much count on 30 – 45 days. The loan process is closely monitored and there are certain key items required that take a set time. Your lender will let you know what you are looking at but they will build in hiccup time since there will be one or two along the way.
Should I get a home inspection?
Yes! Especially in Arizona. You want to have those Air Conditioners checked out as well as your core mechanical (plumbing / electrical) checked out. Most home inspections will run between $350 – $500 and worth it.
Also, if you have a FHA or VA loan, you will be required to do a termite inspection. FHA you are responsible for this, VA the seller is.
Also, you want to try and get a Home Warranty on the home. Usually the seller will pay for this. Why? That AC might work today but with our 115-degree weather what if it goes out at the worse time? A home warranty will cost you $60 to fix most issues vs $600+.
Please make sure to ask your agent to explain both of these in more detail. Remember, as a home owner, there is no landlord to take care of issues that come up. You are 100% responsible so you want to know what potential problems are waiting for you and how you will cover those costs.
Plus, most electrical and plumbing issues can be fixed prior to closing by the sellers. You want this!
When can I back out if I change my mind?
Please know that you are entering into a contract. You can’t just walk away. However, with that said, there are built-in contingencies for you to walk away with good cause.
The main one is the 10-day inspection period. This is your time to investigate all factors that might cause you to change your mind. This isn’t just about your physical inspections. You will want to use the Buyer’s Advisory to look at the neighborhood, the drive times, the crime, basically anything that matters to you. Drive by at night, on the weekend, etc.
There are two other contingencies along the way. The first being the appraisal when a loan is involved. The home needs to appraise for the amount that the buyer is qualified for. If it doesn’t you can renegotiate but if you can’t come to terms it does allow the buyer to back out.
The second one is the qualifying for the loan. If for any reason the loan falls though along the way that is also a reason to cancel. For example, if the buyer was to lose their job and now no longer qualifies.
So there you have it, the top 8 questions buyers ask when purchasing a home.
If you have a question that isn’t on this list, feel free to reach out and either myself or someone on my team would be glad to answer your question. We want to make sure that you get the answers you need when making your purchase!
Tammy Adams with The Maricopa Home Team
If you are looking to purchase a home in Maricopa I’d love to help you out! I live, love and work in Maricopa and enjoy helping folks find their next home!
For my complete bio, just click here —> Tammy Adams Bio