Home Buyer Questions

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Welcome to top 10 home buyer questions!

Helping folks find and buy their dream homes isn’t easy. Home buyers have a lot of questions and need answers.

home-buyer-questions

Beyond just managing information regarding the market and listed properties, we’re also, as agents, required to manage people and personalities. After all, we’re not selling to robots. People looking to purchase their home, whether it’s their first or fifth, have a myriad of questions answered before they can make an offer.

The best agents anticipate the most common questions during the home buying process and have answers ready. Not only does this help address the buyer’s concerns, but it also illustrates your value as a professional in your field.

Here is our list of top 10 home buyer questions, as well as how you can field them when your client asks.

1. How much of a down payment should I make?

Paying as much upfront as possible, even 100%, is the best option. This saves your client from having to carry a mortgage around for 15 to 30 years as well as the interest, which winds up being substantial over that period of time.

Realistically speaking, most people simply can’t afford to buy a home outright, and that’s why mortgages are the most common practice today.

Lenders will allow home buyers to put down as little as 3% to make a purchase, but often this comes with the added requirement of paying PMI, private mortgage insurance, until the future homeowner achieves 20% equity in the property.

For this reason, it’s best that the hopeful home buyer forks over 20% down payment to avoid paying PMI on top of the new mortgage principal, interest, property taxes, and homeowner’s insurance fees.

Putting less down upfront is great short term, but the long term implications make it foolish financially.

2. Home Buyer Questions – how much are closing costs?

Home buyers are often fixated on the asking price of the home and the accepted offer, so much so that they overlook additional components that will become part of the overall expense.

One of these often overlooked figures are the closing costs, which tend to be approximately 2% to 5% of the purchase price. For a $300,000 house, that means the buyer should expect to pay an additional $6,000 to $15,000 to close.

Financially savvy buyers will ask this question outright, but it’s prudent to inform the more naive clients that this curveball is coming so they don’t get blindsided by this necessary payment. As with the down payment, it’s prudent to pay it out of pocket to save on interest over time, but lenders are often eager to tack it onto the overall loan amount so they earn even more off of the sale.

3. Home Buyer Questions- how should I furnish and decorate?

Experienced homeowners on their second, third, fourth house already know a thing or two about what they like, what’s worked well, and how to make the most of a space. Some home buyers, however, are clueless, and they’ll want you to weigh in on what to do with the layout.

Be ready to share your vision for the home if it’s a blank slate. Painting a picture helps the buyers use their imaginations and envision what life would be like if they actually went through with the sale. This can help them determine if the house is truly a good fit for them and their needs.

If you struggle with the concepts of interior design, consult a professional staging company or an interior designer for clues. Their expertise will help you be more professional when this question is asked.

You could even form a working business relationship where you refer your clients to the interior designer for a solutions-oriented approach to the inquiry.

4. Home Buyer Questions – what’s the neighborhood like?

A home buyer is purchasing more than just the house. They’re also becoming part of the surrounding neighborhood. They want to know that they won’t only be in a beautiful house, but that they’ll feel at home in the community and be proud to show off their locale to friends and family.

What makes a “good neighborhood” good? Here are some things to consider when crafting your response regarding the neighborhood:

* Is the area safe?

* How close is town?

* What is there to do in town?

Some perks will be more pertinent than others depending on the person. For example, foodies might be delighted to discover an eclectic and expansive cuisine scene, while others might not mind only one or two gourmet options in town as long as there are numerous parks and miles of walking trails around.

What’s important to one client may not be as important to another.

5. How are the schools?

A naive agent might assume that a single client or older couple might not mind if the school district is average or below, but you know what happens when one assumes.

Home buyers usually like to know what the schools in the area are like. For families or future families, it’s important to know that their children will receive an excellent education. Single folks and empty nesters, on the other hand, may still want to know, as it might provide them insight to the adjacent community.

Know what school district the home is zoned for and some relative stats regarding its status.

6. Home Buyer Questions – how old is the roof?

The general lifespan of an asphalt roof is approximately 20 years. Home buyers who have done their homework should come right out and ask this crucial question since a complete roof replacement is a substantial investment.

On a 2,000 square foot home, a brand new roof could cost $10,000 or more.

Be prepared to share this knowledge, and be ready to use it as a negotiating point when bringing the price down for your clients. If they’re expected to replace the roof within five years of purchasing, the asking price better reflect that needed expense.

7. What are similar homes selling for?

This is where you really shine as a professional in the real estate field.

Knowing the going rate of similar properties allows you to advise your clients if the house they’re considering is on par with others, overpriced, or an absolute steal. It also allows you to give them an idea of what your first offer should be, which will be based on the asking price, the health of the market, and whether or not other bids are in play.

Don’t send them home to peruse pages upon pages of data to arrive at the answers themselves. Prove them right in hiring you by knowing the market, the going rate of similar properties, and guiding them accordingly.

8. What’s the reason the owners are selling?

It’s prudent to know the reason the former owners are selling the house.

Most of the time, the answer is benign. Many downsize when their children grow up and move away, or upsize as their families expand. Some want to be closer to work or their families and friends. The list goes on.

However, sometimes the former owners had an issue with the home or with the neighborhood, and finding that out will save you and your clients loads of hassle.

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

Homes that spend an inordinate amount of time on the market might indicate that the sellers are unrealistic, unmotivated, or otherwise out of touch. It could also mean that you will find wiggle room on the price if the owners are ready to cut their losses and finally sell.

Make sure you know how long a property has been listed, as well as the average amount of time a house sits before it’s purchased. A buyer might believe that 60 days sounds like a long time, but it very well may be in line with the average for the area that quarter.

10. Home Buyer Questions – why do I need a real estate agent?

The modern age of the Internet makes house hunting possible from the comfort of the couch, as various listing sites provide key data to hopeful home buyers without the need for a real estate agent.

Because of this, some folks get the impression that they could act as their own real estate agent and save on the commission. With this in mind, they will ask why they should hire you.

And you better have an answer! Here are some talking points to help you illustrate your value to the client:

* We are there for you at every step of the process.

* We know what homes are going for on the market.

* We have access to more listings than what is publicly available.

* We provide support during negotiations to ensure the deal closes.

* We’re very familiar with the paperwork and contractor associated with buying and closing.

The Internet has made it very easy to look for and purchase houses in our modern age, but real estate agents are still integral when it comes to identifying and closing the best deals on the market. It’s your job to do your best for your client, even in terms of selling yourself and your services to the client in the first place.

Final Thoughts

Some folks walk into the home buying experience with a seasoned team of experts to coach them on every tidbit of the transaction. Others have only a cursory understanding, and they’ll look to you to be the one-stop shop for all real estate info, financial advice, and other logistics associated with the sale.

Don’t leave them hanging!

Having knowledge ready to share helps build rapport and convey that, beyond just a real estate professional, you are someone sincerely looking out for your clients’ best interests. This bolsters your reputation, guarantees an excellent customer experience, maximizes the chances of a referral from the client, and cinches a commission following closing.

For these reasons, fielding home buyers’ questions with professionalism is well worth your while.

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