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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Home Buyer Tips: Frequently Asked Questions

First Time Home Buyer Frequently Asked Questions

To the inexperienced buyer the entire home buying process can seem daunting. 

As a real estate agent serving home buyers and sellers in the Melbourne, Florida area I find many buyers have the same questions such as these.
  1. Where do I start?   You can't seriously shop for a home without knowing if you can obtain a mortgage and what your budget will be.  So the most important step in the process is to identify your ability to obtain a mortgage.   A mortgage lender will work with you to identify identifying the best type(s) of mortgage, payments and terms you can afford for your situation (income, debt, credit score, long term goals).
  2. How much will taxes and insurance cost?   I always recommend contacting a local insurance broker to discuss insurance rates.   There is no standard for insurance cost as it varies based on construction, age, location, price of the home and other factors.  As a general rule, consider the closer to the ocean, the higher the cost.  Taxes will be based on the actual cost of your home - not necessarily what the current taxes are this year.  Tax status (exemptions, etc) are established in January every year so the tax for the purchase year have already been set.  Homestead exemption for future years can be filed after closing to be effective the following years. Taxes and insurance are complex issues with no cookie cutter answer.
  3. What about association fees?   Homeowner association fees as well as condo fees vary based on the community.  In areas such as Viera and Suntree there is also a master association so there are in reality two association fees.  In some areas of Viera there is a Community Development District (CDD) which is an additional charge.  Depending on where you purchase these can vary significantly.   Related linksViera East Community Development District    Heritage Isle Community Development District  Viera HOA Information 
  4. How long does the purchase process take?  Normally the time required from getting a property "under contract" to closing is 30-45 days. Of course this may be longer if you are looking at purchasing a short sale property.  A cash purchase can close in a week though so it all depends on the buyer and seller situation.
  5. Should I have a home inspection done?  Always!  The purchase of a home is a significant investment and due diligence is necessary. You must protect yourself and a good place to start is with an inspection by a reputable, reliable, conscientious home inspector.
  6. Should I have an appraisal done even though I am paying cash?   See answer above.
  7. How much do I offer as a downpayment?   I advise buyers put down enough to let the sellers know you are a serious prospect and no more.  There is no formally established chart for escrow money.   Don't worry about your money. It is held by a neutral third p
  8. How safe is this neighborhood?  I always recommend prospective buyers contact the local law enforcement authorities to have their question answered.  As another step I also suggest checking with the sexual offender/predator list on the Florida Department of Law Enforcement web site.   Of course this only tells you who lives in the area now and not who could move in later.
  9. Which school will my child attend?  The school that is the nearest to your home may not be the one assigned for the property.  School assignment boundaries sometimes change.   Again, I recommend buyers contact the local schools or school district office for this answer.
I am not an attorney, tax professional, insurance agent or home inspector.  I recommend consulting the appropriate professional for advice on these issues.

If you are considering purchasing a home in the Viera, Rockledge or Suntree areas of Brevard County I would appreciate an opportunity to work for you.  Please give me a call at 321-693-3850 or send me an email.

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