Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) by Real Estate Buyers

Frequently Asked Questions FAQ from real estate buyers

Buying a new property comes with a learning curve. I’m here to guide you every step of the way, but here are the answers to some of the most common questions I receive.

“Why are they selling?”

A listing agent cannot answer this question because it reveals the seller’s motivation. I once had a seller who was undergoing chemotherapy to combat his cancer. His medical costs became so burdensome that he had no choice but to sell his home. If I were to disclose his situation to buyers, a buyer may decide to take advantage of his situation; therefore, it is not a question we are legally allowed to answer.

“What do you think they would take?”

When representing the buyer, we never know the seller’s motivation, so this is a tough question to answer. However, I will pull the comparable properties’ sales and create a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) for you to show what other similar homes have sold for recently. This is very useful as well because, should you decide to submit an offer, we can include our comparable properties to show the other agent, and their sellers, why we are offering the amount we are. We strengthen our bargaining position by including comps, so this is something I’m more than happy to do for my customers.

“How much will my closing costs be?”

Great question! Sure, I could create an estimate for you, but why not go directly to the source? I work with a number of attorneys and title companies and they are the parties that create the closing statements. Therefore, let’s ask them before you submit an offer. They’ll give us a far more accurate estimation of your closing costs than any Realtor® could ever create.

“How much are the property taxes?”

This is a dangerous question because the taxes the current owner pays could be wildly different than the taxes you will pay once you purchase. In fact, I personally wish the MLS wouldn’t display the current owner’s annual taxes at all. The issue that arises is that the property appraiser’s office will reassess the property as soon as the sale is made. If someone purchased a home ages ago, their taxes will be very low. When the property is reassessed, the property taxes will increase substantially in that scenario. Your best bet is to get an estimate from your agent before entering into a purchase agreement.

“How soon could we close?”

The closing date is often one of the items on a purchase contract that gets negotiated. Although you may think everyone wants to sell immediately, many do not. I just had a listing in Naples where my sellers put their home on the market but really wanted to delay closing a bit while their next home was being built. By delaying the sale 3 months, it prevented them from getting a short-term rental and moving twice. Never assume that sellers want to close quickly. With that said, I will routinely call the seller’s agent to find out when the sellers prefer to close, so we can write the strongest offer possible.

“How is the crime rate in this area?”

This is a really great question, so I like to refer my customers to a couple of different sites. NeighborhoodScout or SpotCrime are two fantastic sites for seeing crimes and trends. Also, have a look at the official Collier County Sheriff’s Office’s Calls for Service website. Finally, always check the National Sex Offender Registry before making any purchase.

“What do the HOA or Condo Fees include?”

Careful! Too many Realtors® will hear this question and read off some items from their MLS printout. The problem here is that the MLS data is input by agents. Agents routinely include things that actually aren’t included (like Cable TV or Internet) and you do not want to make a purchase decision based on that data. Instead, I will contact the HOA or Condo Association directly and get the official list so you can rest assured you have accurate information.

“How are the schools in this area?”

If you’re a parent, this question is incredibly important as well! Each year, Collier County publishes their school grades to help answer that question. Since the link changes annually, the link given will take you to a Google search to find them. Another good source is Niche.com that independently rates schools by area.

If you’re not a parent of school age children, this is still a great question! You may not be a parent, but your future buyer may be when it is time to sell. School zone affects your property value! I recommend all of my clients, parent or not, to pay close attention to school grades.

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