The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) answer popular questions we constantly get regarding real estate issues.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
Homeowners Associations FAQ’s
What is a homeowners association?
Condo and townhouse communities almost always have a home owners association (HOA). Rarely do single family homes have an HOA, The HOA is a non profit organization. It’s purpose is to manage the common areas of a condominium or “Planned Unit Development”, also called a “PUD”. Typically the common areas are the grounds, exterior maintenance of the buildings, clubhouse, pool, tennis etc. Each unit owner pays a fee to the association to cover the costs.
Can I put an addition on my home?
Most homeowners associations will say no additions are allowed.
What do I get for the monthly fee?
Typically, the HOA cuts the grass and removes the snow, once it reaches 2.5” or 3”. In addition, you’ll get use of the clubhouse and the facilities, and garbage removal. If the homes are attached and it has condo ownership, most of the time exterior maintenance is also included. But each association is different, we urge you to check before you purchase.
What do I do first?
Speak with a mortgage lender and get Pre-Approved for a mortgage. By doing this, you’ll know whether or not you can
get a mortgage, and if yes, you’ll know how much you can spend.
You’ll also learn how much cash you’ll need for the down payment and closing costs. Besides, the Pre-Approval must be submitted to the seller along with the contract offer, so get it done before you start looking for a home.
How Many Homes Should I Look At?
There’s no proper answer for this questions, because it all depends on you. We’ve had people look at only one home, and they bought it. And we’ve had people look at over 100 homes, then buy one of the first homes they saw. We’ve had people look at lots of homes, but they never went through with it.
Here’s a hint. Make a list of what you want in a home. Then share that list of “must haves” and “wants”, along with a list of “don’t wants” with your Realtor. Let your Realtor search for suitable homes. who can then recommend some homes that fit your criteria. We have local knowledge and search tools that you can’t access.By doing this, you’ll reduce the number of homes you need to see before deciding on one. Our experience tells us that when you see the home where you’re supposed to live in, you’ll know it.”
How much are the closing costs?
In New Jersey, typical closing costs run between 2% to 3% of the sale price. However, if you are paying cash, the closing costs will be less. If there’s a one time buy in fee to the association, increase the costs by that amount.
More Buyer FAQ’s
How quickly can I close the sale?
The answer depends mainly on whether or not you’ll be taking out a mortgage. Most lenders want at least 45 days to get the process done. If the mortgage lender, the seller, the buyer and the attorneys are all on the same page and work towards a quick close, it can possibly be completed in about 30 days.
However, if you are paying cash for the property, it can happen a lot quicker. Our personal record to close a sale, starting from the first time the buyer saw the property, was 10 days.
The home is only a few years old, should I get an inspection?
We strongly recommend that you get a home that you’re purchasing inspected. Hire a professional home inspector, don’t use a neighbor or a relative who “knows everything about houses”. The contract of sale “If any physical defects or environmental conditions are reported by qualified inspectors to the Seller…..”. Furthermore, the contract states that the “Qualified Inspector” requires that the inspector must be licensed by the State of New Jersey. If someone inspects the property who is not licensed, the Seller has the legal right to ignore any claims. Pay for the inspection, it’s a great investment.
More Buyer FAQ’s
Should I attend the inspection?
Absolutely, you should attend the inspection. In addition to being able to ask the inspector questions, you’ll learn a lot about how to properly maintain the home.
Is this a safe neighborhood?
If your Realtor knows the answer to this question, they cannot disclose the answer due to the Fair Housing Act. Do your own due diligence and research crime data online. Hint – try Wikipedia.
When I buy a home, how much does my Realtor charge me?
In New Jersey, it’s customarily the seller who pays the entire commission to both the seller’s Realtor and the buyer’s Realtor. When you hire a Realtor to help you buy a home, the Realtor works for you. Since someone else pays your Realtor, is this a great country or what?
What is a walk through?
You should visit the home one last time before the actual closing. This can be done the morning of, or the day before the closing takes place. Your Realtor will arrange the access, and should accompany you. The reason for this is to check the home one last time. Verify that everything which is supposed to be there, is. Also, if it’s supposed to be gone, is should be gone. Look to see if someone accidentally put a hole in a wall while moving furniture. And make sure that the included appliances are there. If it was me, I would verify that the appliance still work.
If you and the seller agreed that repairs were to be done due to inspection issues, bring documentation detailing what should’ve been repaired. Then check to see if it was. After all, you want to check that what you’re actually receiving what you’re buying.
What's a Buyer's Market>
To be truthful, the laws of supply and demand affect real estate, as well as almost everything else. If there are more homes available for sale, it’s a buyer’s market. And due to a lack of competition from other buyers, prices tend to go down in a buyer’s market.
What is a Seller's Market?
The laws of Supply and Demand cover virtually everything, including real estate. If there aren’t enough homes available for sale to satisfy buyer’s demands, it’s a seller’s market.
When I sell a home, how much does my Realtor charge me?
Commission amount is negotiable and there is no set fee. There is no set fee that a Realtor charges to list, market and sell a home. There are Real Estate Brokerages who charge very little for their services. However, they usually deliver very little in service for that small fee. On the other end, a full service Real Estate Brokerage provides much more in terms of marketing and service, therefore the commission they must charge is higher.
As the seller, should I attend the inspection?
Please don’t do that. The buyer has the right to have the home inspected and be able to speak openly with the inspector. Having the seller present will probably make the seller nervous, and could possibly put the sale in jeopardy.
If you have real estate questions that we haven’t answered above give us a call. Call Bunny and Art Reiman – Realtors in Monmouth and Ocean Counties. Or, call us if you’re simply just ready to either buy or sell a home.