Are you a smart homebuyer?

When buying a home that is 'FOR SALE BY OWNER' you can't use a buyer's agent

FALSE. Most sellers are willing to work with a buyer's agent. They don't want to pay a commission, but they don't want agents to boycott their property either. A buyer's agent will negotiate an agreement that will satisfy all parties. As your buyer's agent, my services won't cost you a thing. If we locate a property that is for sale by owner I'll schedule the appointment, provide you with a list of recent comparable sales in the neighborhood, giving you additional leverage when making an offer, and walk you step by step throughout the entire purchasing process. 

How much can you expect to pay for closing costs?

3% to 6% of the purchase price. In addition to a down payment, you should budget an extra 3% to 6% for closing costs. Closing Costs are fees paid to the many people who work on your loan in all its varied aspects, from your Processor and Underwriter, to third parties such as the person who completes your home’s Appraisal, and Title Attorney.Closing Costs are typically paid by the Buyer. Oftentimes, however, costs are divided between the Buyer, Seller, and sometimes the Lender in the form of a Lender Credit.

If you draw any money from your Roth IRA to buy your first home, you have to pay it back before retirement.

FALSE. Nothing has to be repaid, ever. All your contributions can come out of a Roth at any time, tax and penalty free. And, after the account has been opened for five years, up to $10,000 of earnings can be withdrawn tax- and penalty-free for the purchase of your first home. Assume $5,000 goes into a Roth each year for five years, and the account earns an average of 8% a year. At the end of five years, the Roth would hold about $31,680 -- all of which could be withdrawn tax and penalty free for a down payment.

How much can you expect to pay for a home inspection?

$350 to $550. Fees will vary by age and size of the house. A home inspection is the most important step in purchasing a home. It's your opportunity to make sure the home is in satisfactory condition. If the property is in need of any repairs, you can have the seller remedy the items, re-negotate the price, or walk away from the sale. Properties in Louisiana are sold "as-is"; the sellers are not liable for anything after closing on the property. Select your home inspector wisely. 

Who needs private mortgage insurance?

Buyer's with less than 20% down. If your down payment on a home is less than 20% of the appraised value, you will have to pay for private mortgage insurance. This protects the lender if you default on your loan. PMI costs about 0.5% to 1.5% of the amount of the loan per year. So, for a $200,000 mortgage, you'd pay about $1,000 annually at the lower rate. 

If you find a home in a subdivision with two recent sales of $225,000 and $260, much should you offer?

You need more info. To make a good offer, you'll need a lot more information than the price of previous sales. When did they take place? How long were they on the market for? Do all the houses have the same ameneties? Is it a buyer's market or a seller's market? As your real estate agent, I’ll provide you with a detailed market report based on your specific home criteria including: sqft, price, areas/neighborhoods. These statistics will help you understand our market, and give you the confidence to make good home buying decisions. 

If homes in a subdivision sell in 5 to 6 months, is it considered a buyer's market or a seller's market? 

Neutral Market. Buyer’s and seller’s markets are determined by the number of months it would take to sell all available properties if no new properties were added to the market. 5 to 7 months is considered a neutral market. Anything lower would benefit sellers, and anything higher would benefit buyers.

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