Top Tips from Ron
General Common Sense
Never put in a bid/offer to purchase, without “sleeping on it”. In 99 out of 100 cases 1 or 2 days will NOT make a difference. Buying a new home is very emotional; don’t let your emotions get the best of you.
Location, Location, Location…it is always true… the neighborhood is often a large factor in determining the price of a home. After your preliminary selection, drive around the neighborhood and make note of the condition of your impending new neighbors homes. Be mindful of your surroundings. Often the “worst house” in the “best neighborhood” is the best buy.
Obtain a home inspection as part of your “Agreement to Purchase”. First hire the appropriate person/company to do the inspection, making certain he/she is state accredited/licensed to perform the vital home inspection. You do not want to purchase a home that has serious infrastructure flaws that can lead to costly repairs. There is a clause in the North Carolina standard contract that provides for this.
Be mindful of the earth/typography surrounding the home, especially new construction. Erosion control is very important in the mountains of Western North Carolina mainly because of the slope.
Must-Ask Questions About the Home
Ask your agent for these pertinent facts about the home:
- When did the house last change hands and what was the selling price?
- Is there an existing mortgage on the house?
- What are the real estate taxes and when are real estate taxes expected to be reviewed?
- Will the purchase of the home trigger a reassessment?
- Can you get information on the annual utility costs?
- Is the home inside city limits? While services are often better, being inside city limits often means higher property taxes.
- Is a septic field employed? If so, ask for a copy of the permit, as it will tell you where the field is as well as how many bedrooms are allowed. A septic cleaning/inspection is highly recommended. Often a room is added without changing the septic requirements.
- Is the property in a subdivision and are there any restrictions? Ask for a copy of any “Restrictive Covenants”
- What if any assessments are due?
- restrictive covenants
Choosing Your Agent
Hiring the right agent should be the first thing you do….and in Western North Carolina that would be me. Interview several people, and remember they will be interviewing you as well. A good agent will ask a great deal of questions beyond the obvious house requirements… lifestyle preferences should be near the top. Ask the agent what the percentage of listings to buyers he represents…it is difficult to do both well and most listing agents are always “selling”.
Hiring a “Buyers Agent” means his/her loyalty is not divided between you and the seller. He/She represents ONLY YOU.
Here is a description of several agent types in North Carolina.
- Seller's Representative (also known as a listing agent or seller's agent). A seller's agent is hired by and represents the SELLER. All fiduciary duties are owed to the SELLER.
- Buyer's Representative (also known as a BUYERS AGENT ). A real estate licensee who is hired by the prospective BUYER to represent them in a real estate transaction. The BUYRS AGENT works in the BUYERS best interest throughout the transaction and owes fiduciary duties to the BUYER. The buyer can pay the licensee directly through a negotiated fee, or the buyer's rep may be paid by the seller or by a commission split with the listing broker, which is most often the case.
- Disclosed Dual Agent. Dual agency is a relationship in which the brokerage firm represents both the buyer and the seller in the same real estate transaction. Dual agency relationships do not carry with them all of the traditional fiduciary duties to the clients. Instead, dual agents owe limited fiduciary duties. Because of the potential for conflicts of interest in a dual-agency relationship, it's vital that all parties give their informed consent. In many states, this consent must be in writing. Disclosed dual agency, in which both the buyer and the seller are told that the agent is representing both of them, is legal in most states.
- Subagent. A subagent owes the same fiduciary duties to the agent's principal as the agent does. Sub-agency usually arises when a cooperating sales associate from another brokerage, who is not representing the buyer as a buyer’s representative or operating in a non-agency relationship, shows property to a buyer. In such a case, the subagent works with the buyer as a customer but owes fiduciary duties to the listing broker and the seller. Although a subagent cannot assist the buyer in any way that would be detrimental to the seller, a buyer-customer can expect to be treated honestly by the subagent. It is important that subagents fully explain their duties to buyers.
Making an Offer
It is vital for you to remember that in North Carolina, “a first to right state,” an offer is a BINDING contract that compels you to perform under the terms of the contract. Once signed by both the buyer and the seller it is enforceable.
Never put in a bid/offer to purchase without “sleeping on it”. In 99 out of 100 cases 1 or 2 days will NOT make a difference. Buying a new home is very emotional; don’t let your emotions get the best of you.
Make the offer compelling, and while price is generally considered to be most important element of an offer, the seller will be looking at several other financial terms including your ability perform including: your capacity to obtain a mortgage, down payment, earnest money, the amount of time you chose to do your due-diligence. (a home inspection is strongly recommended)