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What are top factors to review when researching a property online?
- The width of the property. Philadelphia has very narrow and generally small lot sizes. The width of property in Philadelphia ranges from 14 ft to 20 ft and every ft or two makes a significant difference.
- Buyers should use street view in conjunction with what they’re looking at online. It’s easy to get lost in the images of the interior of a specific unit and the facades shots, but it’s helpful to have more context in terms of the block and what the adjacent structures are.
- Take notice of what you can see outside the windows so that you have a sense of view and exposure to sunlight and daylight. Don’t just focus on the interior shots.
- Don’t just focus on price. Consider the taxes. Consider the tax increase that is likely to happen after you buy the property. Consider additional costs such as condo or HOA fees and consider utility cost. An uninsulated 19th century home will be much more expensive to heat and cold than an equivalent size or larger new construction home.
What are top factors to evaluate when calculating total cost of ownership?
- PITI (Principle, interest, taxes, insurance) = mortgage payment
- Consider any additional association fees that might due
- Parking – is it included on-site or street or spending $200-$300 for a parking space
- Trash – single family home is street pickup (no cost). larger building – its included in the condo fee.
- Water and Sewer if single family home. If condo it’s included in the fee.
- Homeowners insurance or personal property insurance if it’s a condo. insurance (KEY POINT- not renters insurance) condo owners insurance is less than single family home but more than renters insurance.
What should I be aware of top factors to evaluate when calculating total cost of ownership?
- Important – develop a relationship with the credible lender to show options
- Look for competitive rates
- Key- pulling credit each time for a home will lower credit score
- Key – get a copy of the report for other vendors as you are shopping
- Have one vendor pull numbers
- 3 types of lenders
- Individual Financial Institution (large banks)
- Mortgage Broker- a middle man between you and financial institution (personal shopper)
- Small Businesses (recommended) – known as mortgage lenders that have established existing relationships with diff types of lenders (large bank, small banks, Haverford bank, private investors). Depending on your circumstances and financial position, they can find the right loan for you.
- Key- when submitting offer both agents look at the “mortgage preapproval”. When it comes from a known reputable lender it makes the offer stronger. (online or out of state is a weaker offer)
- It’s very valuable to have a lender that will come to settlement. We are all told never to sign anything that we don’t read. We all know that the mortgage was one of the big factors in the collapse in the world economy just over 10 years ago. When you get the to settlement there will be a stack of mortgage docks that you will be presented with for the first time, and there’s no time to read them all even if you could understand them. So you want an experienced, caring, capable lender at the table with you, that’s gonna take you through each page and let you know in summary what you’re about to sign.
What questions should I ask my agent before selecting one to represent me?
- Are you a full-time agent?
- How long have you been in business?
- How much business do you do in neighborhoods that I’m looking in?
- Are you part of a team?
- Do you offer additional support in terms of transaction management?
- What’s your average price point of the property?
- Do you have time and capacity to give attention I deserve?
20% of the agents in the Philly area are doing 80% of the business. There’s over 1400 working in Center City area, most of them are inexperienced. So when I’m presenting an offer or negotiating, I’m giving the agent on the other side the language that he or she needs to take back and communicate to the seller. Unless they’re a veteran agent that’s an experience closer, it’s likely they lack the ideas and the language to express the offer that’s being presented.
What are your standard commission fees?
- Most first time buyers are not even aware of how a buyer agent gets paid.
- The seller agent has contracts with the sellers for a certain commission based on a percentage of the sale price to be paid at settlement, and buyer agents are compensated by the seller agent splitting that commission.
- Beware of discount promotions. Some brokerages offer kickbacks at the table to incentivize buyers to use those brokerages. The agents there are working for those brokers are doing so because they don’t have the experience or haven’t developed the practice with a steady client base to be getting buyers otherwise, than through these discount promotions
“you get what you pay for”. A discount broker is typically offering discounted services.
My offer on a home was accepted, now what?
Even though your offer was accepted there is no cause for celebration quite yet. We now must work through
– inspection(s), title search, and making sure your lender can produce the loan among others. We can help guide you through the process of what to expect and how to best prepare.