Cover image for 100 questions every first-time home buyer should ask : with answers from top brokers from around the country
Title:
100 questions every first-time home buyer should ask : with answers from top brokers from around the country
Author:
Glink, Ilyce R., 1964-
Personal Author:
Edition:
Second edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Times Business, [2000]

©2000
Physical Description:
xviii, 510 pages : forms ; 24 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780812932355
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should, Ask is a wealth of information for first-timers, including: -- How do I know if my broker is doing a good job?* (See question #15.)-- How do I decide what to offer for the home? (See question #26.)-- How does the negotiation process work? (See question #34.)-- How do I choose the right lender for me? (See question #54.)-- How much down payment will I need to buy my home? (See question #59.)-- What are the different types of mortgages available? (See question #73.)-- What if I'm rejected for my loan? (See question #84.)-- What exactly is the closing? (See question #87.)-- Will I need homeowner's insurance? What should it cover? (See question #91.)


Excerpts

Excerpts

Chapter 1: How Do I Know What I Want? You can't always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, well you just might find you get what you need. -- Rolling Stones The difference between being a wannabe and a successful home buyer may boil down to nothing more than knowing the difference between what you want in a home and what you can't live without. It sounds simple, but that difference requires an ability to recognize what's really important to you and compromise on the rest. Unfortunately, our ability to compromise is often lost between two spouses or partners who forget that they can't afford to satisfy their every whim. SHOULD I MAKE A WISH LIST? WHAT ABOUT A REALITY CHECK? First, let's talk about what exactly constitutes a wish list. A wish list is nothing more than a list of everything you've ever dreamed of having in your house: granite or slate kitchen countertops (or perhaps inlaid, stained concrete), a wood-burning fireplace, three-car garage, four-person whirlpool, the best school district in your state, a five-minute walk to work, four bedrooms, a master suite with his and her closets, and vaulted ceilings. You get the picture. The best real estate agents and brokers will ask their first-time buyers to create a wish list detailing everything they'd love to have in a home, including: 1.Location. Think about where you like to shop, where your children will attend school, where you work, where you worship, and where your friends and family live. 2.Size. Think about the number of bedrooms you want, the size garden, the extra room you may need for expansion or family flexibility, where you'll do the laundry, what kind of storage space you need, and if you need a home office. 3.Amenities. Think about the garage, kitchen and bathroom appliances, swimming pool, fireplace, air-conditioning, electrical wiring, furnace, and hardwood floors. 4.Condition. Do you want a home in move-in condition? Or are you willing to put in some "sweat equity," to borrow a This Old House phrase, to build in value? At first glance, many of these items may seem to be in conflict with each other: You want to be close to a transportation network so it's easy to get around, and yet you want a quiet and peaceful neighborhood. You might want to walk to work, but when you come home, you want your home to be silent and secure. You want a wide variety of shopping, and yet you also need to be close enough to your health club to use it on a regular basis. You want to take advantage of the city, and yet live in the suburbs. But that's what a wish list is all about. If you're honest about what you want, the inconsistencies and conflicts will come out. Most first-time buyers are confused by all their choices. First-time buyers take on that "kid in a candy store" mentality: Many have difficulty choosing between different styles of homes. One broker says she always has a few first-time buyers each year who need to see at least one of everything in the area: a California ranch, an old Victorian, an in-town condo, and several new subdivisions. It takes a tremendous amount of time, which is wasted if the buyer decides ultimately to go with a loft. Some agents and brokers also use a tool to help their clients define their needs as well as their wants. They call this a reality check. Joanne, a real estate sales associate in New Jersey, says she asks her first-time buyers very specific questions about what they need to survive in their first home. "I just know their pocketbook will not allow them to have everything they want. I tell them they'll begin to get what they want with their second home. Not the first." Here are some of the questions Joanne might ask: •How many bedrooms do you need? •How many children do you have or are you planning to have while you live in this home? •Is a garage absolutely necessary? •Why do you need a home with a basement or an attic? •Do you use public transportation on a daily basis? •How close to work do you need to be? •Does driving on a major expressway or in traffic make you crazy? •Do you want to care for a garden or would you prefer a maintenance-free home? By asking specific questions about your daily lifestyle, Joanne and other brokers can center in on the best location, home size, and amenities for your budget. They can read between the lines on your wish list. Wish lists and reality checks have another use. By prioritizing the items on these lists, a good real estate agent can tell which items you might be willing to trade off. For example, if the first wish on your list is to have a four-bedroom, two-bath house, and the 38th item is a wood-burning fireplace, then the broker knows you'd probably prefer a four-bedroom, two-bath house without a fireplace to a three-bedroom, two-bath home with a fireplace. The bottom line is this: Unless you win the lottery or are independently wealthy, you're probably going to have to make some trade-offs when buying your first home. And sometimes you're going to make a mistake. Excerpted from 100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask: With Answers from Top Brokers from Around the Country by Ilyce R. Glink All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. xvii
Introductionp. 3
Chapter 1 How Do I Know What I Want?p. 13
1. Should I Make a Wish List? What About a Reality Check?p. 14
2. What Does "Location, Location, Location" Really Mean?p. 21
3. How Do I Figure Out Where I Want to Live?p. 24
4. How Long Do I Plan to Live in My Future Home?p. 25
5. What Are the Different Types of Homes?p. 29
6. Should I Buy a New Home or an Existing Home?p. 36
7. Should I Buy a Home That Needs Renovation? And, What Do Brokers Mean by "Overimproved"?p. 39
Chapter 2 How Do I Look for a Home?p. 43
8. How Do I Find the Home of My Dreams?p. 43
9. How Can I Find a Home on the Internet?p. 48
10. What Is the Difference Between a Real Estate Agent and a Real Estate Broker? What Is a Realtor?p. 54
11. How Do I Choose the Right Broker?p. 55
12. What Is a Seller (or Conventional) Broker? What Are His or Her Responsibilities to Me, the Buyer?p. 60
13. What Is a Buyer Broker? What Is an Exclusive Buyer Agent? Should I Use One?p. 64
14. What Is a Dual Agent? What Is a Transactional Broker? What Is a Non-agent?p. 69
15. What Is the Typical Real Estate Commission?p. 70
16. What Is a Discount Broker? When Should I Use One?p. 71
17. How Much Should My Broker Know About the Amount I Can Afford to Spend on a Home?p. 74
18. How Do I Know Whether My Broker Is Doing a Good Job?p. 77
19. How Can I Help in the Search for a Home if I Use a Broker?p. 79
20. How Should I Interpret the Home Description in the Local Newspaper or in Broker Listing Sheets?p. 81
Chapter 3 How Do I Identify What I Need Versus What I Like in a Home?p. 87
21. How Do I Become Selective When Choosing a Home? How Do My Wish List and Reality Check Help Me?p. 87
22. When I Go to a Showing, What Should I Look For?p. 90
23. How Can I Remember Each Home When I've Seen So Many?p. 92
24. How Do I Know When It's Time for a Second Showing?p. 95
25. When Do I Know I've Found the Right House?p. 100
Chapter 4 How Do I Know What I Can Afford to Spend?p. 102
26. How Much Can I Afford?p. 102
27. How Much Will It Cost to Own and Maintain a Home?p. 114
28. What Are Assessments? Do All Town Houses, Condos, and Co-ops Have Them?p. 118
Chapter 5 Putting Together the Dealp. 121
29. How Do I Decide What to Offer for the Home?p. 121
30. How Do I Make an Offer?p. 125
31. What Goes into the Actual Offer to Purchase or Contract to Purchase?p. 128
32. What Is the Earnest Money? Who Holds It? When Do I Get It Back?p. 133
33. When I Make an Offer, What Contingencies Should I Include?p. 135
34. What Is a Mortgage or Financing Contingency?p. 137
35. What Is the Inspection Contingency?p. 138
36. What Is the Attorney Approval or Attorney Rider?p. 141
Chapter 6 Negotiating the Dealp. 143
37. How Does the Negotiation Process Work?p. 143
38. How Do I Make a Counteroffer?p. 151
39. What Is a Home Warranty? What Kind Can I Get for New Construction? What About a Previously-Owned Home?p. 152
40. What Does the Contract Really Say and What Are My Obligations Under It?p. 157
41. Should I Hire a Real Estate Attorney? Should I Sign Anything Before My Attorney Reviews It?p. 159
42. How Do I Find a Real Estate Attorney? How Much Should He or She Charge Me?p. 161
43. Should I Close at the Beginning, the Middle, or the End of the Month? Why Does It Matter?p. 165
44. What Is Seller Disclosure? How Does It Affect Me?p. 167
45. Do I Need a Home Inspection? How Do I Find a Reputable Home Inspector?p. 170
46. Should I Test for Toxic Substances and Contaminated Water?p. 178
47. What if the Inspector Finds Something Wrong with the Home I Want to Buy?p. 180
48. What Do I Do if the Seller or Broker Has Misrepresented the Condition of the Home?p. 182
Chapter 7 Possession and Other Parts of the Offer to Purchasep. 184
49. What Is Possession?p. 184
50. What if the Seller Wants to Stay in the House after the Closing?p. 185
51. When Is the Right Time to Terminate a Buyer's Contract?p. 187
52. What Is "Buyer's Remorse" and How Do I Cope with It?p. 188
Chapter 8 Financing Your Homep. 190
53. How Much Can I Afford to Spend on a Home?p. 190
54. What Is a Mortgage?p. 196
55. How Do I Get Information on Mortgages?p. 198
56. What Is the Difference Between a Mortgage Banker and a Mortgage Broker? How Do I Find a Good Lender?p. 200
57. Who Are the People Involved with Making the Loan?p. 204
58. How Do I Apply for a Loan? Should I Apply On-Line for a Mortgage?p. 206
59. What Kind of Documentation Will I Need for My Application?p. 211
60. What Types of Circumstances Might Foul Up My Loan Application? How Can I Fix Them?p. 213
61. How Much of a Down Payment Will I Need to Buy My Home?p. 217
62. Should I Put Down the Largest or the Smallest Down Payment Possible?p. 219
63. What Fees Are Associated with a Mortgage Application?p. 222
64. What Lender's Fees Will I Be Charged for My Mortgage?p. 223
65. What Are Junk Fees? How Do I Avoid Them?p. 226
66. What Is Truth in Lending?p. 227
67. What Is the Annual Percentage Rate (APR)?p. 228
68. What Is a Good Faith Estimate?p. 228
69. What Is a Real Estate Tax Escrow?p. 229
70. What Is an Insurance Escrow?p. 232
71. How Can I Avoid Setting Up a Real Estate Tax or Insurance Escrow?p. 233
72. What Should I Do to Make Sure the Mortgage Application Process Goes Smoothly?p. 234
73. How Do I Get the Best Loan at the Best Rate on the Best Terms?p. 239
Chapter 9 Playing the Mortgage Gamep. 242
74. What Is an Assumable Mortgage? How Is It Different from a Subject-to Mortgage?p. 242
75. What Different Types of Mortgages Are Available? How Do I Choose the Right Type for Me?p. 243
76. How Small a Down Payment Can I Make? Where Can I Find a Zero Down Loan?p. 247
77. What Is a Fixed-Rate Mortgage? What Is an Adjustable-Rate Mortgage (ARM)?p. 250
78. What Is a Two-Step Mortgage? What Is a Balloon Mortgage?p. 256
79. What Is an FHA Mortgage? What Is a VA Loan?p. 259
80. What Other Sorts of Mortgages Are Out There? What Are Articles of Agreement?p. 264
81. What Is Seller Financing?p. 268
82. What Is a B-C Loan? Where Do I Get One?p. 270
83. Why Are Some Lenders Willing to Give Me a Mortgage for 125 Percent or 130 Percent of the Home's Selling Price?p. 273
84. What Is Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)? How Do I Get Rid of It?p. 275
85. How Does Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) Differ from Mortgage Insurance (FHA) and Mortgage/Credit Insurance?p. 279
86. What If I'm Rejected for a Loan?p. 280
Chapter 10 Before You Closep. 288
87. When Should I Schedule My Preclosing Inspection? What Do I Do if I Discover Something Is Damaged or Missing?p. 288
88. When Should the Seller Move Out?p. 293
89. What Exactly Is the Closing? Where Is It Held?p. 296
90. What Are My Closing Costs Likely to Be?p. 301
91. What Is a Title Search? What Is Title Insurance? Why Do I Need Them?p. 306
92. What Is RESPA? What Does the RESPA Statement Look Like?p. 308
93. Do I Need HomeOwner's Insurance? What Should It Cover?p. 310
94. How Should I Hold Title to My New Home?p. 321
Chapter 11 The Closingp. 328
95. Who Should Attend the Closing? What Should I Do if I Can't Be There?p. 328
96. What Are Prorations?p. 330
97. What Do I Need to Bring with Me to the Closing? What if Something Goes Wrong at the Closing?p. 332
98. What Should I Get from the Sellers at the Closing?p. 336
99. How Does My Deed Get Recorded?p. 337
100. How Should I Prepare for the Move to My New Home?p. 339
Chapter 12 Happily Ever Afterp. 345
Discovering Problems After You Closep. 345
How to Lighten Your Property Tax Loadp. 346
The Next House: Knowing When It's Time to Move Onp. 352
Appendix I The Top 10 Mistakes First-Time Buyers Makep. 353
Appendix II 5 Simple Things You Can Do to Make the Home-Buying Process Easierp. 357
Appendix III Contractsp. 359
Appendix IV General Resourcesp. 380
Appendix V State-by-State Resource Guidep. 384
Appendix VI Amortization Tablesp. 396
Glossary of Real Estate Terms Every Home Buyer Should Knowp. 477
Alphabetical Listing of Websitesp. 494
Acknowledgmentsp. 499
Indexp. 501