5 Questions First-Time Home Buyers Should Ask

As a potential first time home buyer, your first home purchase can be very confusing, a deluge of information and terminology that can be overwhelming.  Here are 5 simple, straight forward questions you should ask before you make what is likely to be the largest purchase you’ve ever made, with simple, straight forward answers to match.

ZipRealty has put together a list of questions that all first time home buyers should ask themselves before they make the commitment to purchase a home with Zip.

1. How much will it cost to work with ZipRealty?
As a buyer, you won’t pay anything to have ZipRealty work for you. In a residential real estate transaction, the seller pays the real estate commission. As a full service residential real estate brokerage, ZipRealty provides full MLS access to buyers as well as local real estate agents to help you select, negotiate, and purchase the home of your dreams.

2. What is the difference between a “Buyer’s Agent” and a “Seller’s Agent”? Why should I work with a “Buyer’s Agent”?
A “Buyer’s Agent” is a real estate agent that is hired by the buyer to find the right home for the buyer. The main goal for a “Buyer’s Agent” is to find the best home for a buyer, while negotiating the best price. A “Seller’s Agent” is a real estate agent hired by the seller to market and sell their home. The main goal of a “Seller’s Agent” is to sell the seller’s home at the highest price possible. As a buyer, it is in your best interest to work with a “Buyer’s Agent” because this will ensure that your agent is working for you and your best interests. Often times, when a “Seller’s Agent” is acting on behalf of both the seller and buyer (when a buyer does not have his/her own agent), there is a conflict of interest, since a seller wants the highest possible price for the home, while the buyer wants the most reasonable price for the home.

3. Should I rent or buy?
In general, the rent vs. buy question compares the cost of renting to the after-tax cost of owning a home. Some factors to consider are rent increases and home price appreciation in your area. If you have a nice, cheap, rent-controlled apartment, then it may not make sense to buy. If you are planning to stay in the same place for a longer period of time and the property values in your area are getting higher, it may be a good decision to buy.

To get an idea for your own situation, use ZipRealty’s Rent vs. Buy calculator.

4. How much house can I afford?
In general, the amount you can afford to spend on a home is a combination of your cash on hand, your salary, and your outstanding debt. For your specific situation, please visit ZipRealty’s affordability calculator to see how much you can afford to spend on a home. This calculator is a free, anonymous service, which asks you for basic salary, savings, and debt information.

5. What will my real estate professional do? Not do?

Your ZipRealty agent will do the following:

  • • work with you through the entire home buying process, from start to finish
  • • search the entire MLS (Multiple Listing Service)
  • • show you all of the homes you are interested in visiting
  • • recommend houses which meet your criteria
  • • negotiate on your behalf with the seller of the home
  • • prepare the offer for the house
  • • prepare all of the contracts associated with the home purchase
  • • work with the title company, the lender, and the seller (or seller’s agent) to arrange all necessary inspections
  • • serve as your “point” person during the closing process
  • • answer any questions you may have about any part of the real estate process

Your ZipRealty agent will NOT do the following:

  • • provide you with legal advice
  • • provide you with financial advisory advice
  • • pressure you to do anything that you don’t feel comfortable doing

These are just 5 questions first-time buyers need answers to.  In fact, ZipRealty has identified 10, but we want to send you to the library for answers. Well, sort of… We want to send you to our library, where you will find not only answers to the questions below, but also links to Zip’s many free resources for buyers, all available at our Learning Center.

6. When is the best time to get loan approval?

7. What are the tax implications?

8. Have I seen everything on the market?

9. How will I know I am not overpaying for the property?

10. When can I move in?

Zip has the answers to these questions and more., so feel free to post if there’s something you still want to know.

Begin your search for property or a buyer’s agent here.