Common House Buying Questions

Mesas Suburban Sunset House Buying Questions

Table of Contents:

What is a Home Warranty & Do I Need One?

This is a common question when buying a home. Unless you are buying a brand new home with brand new appliances all under warranty, the answer is always YES! A home warranty covers your appliances in the first year of home ownership and many other items depending on the type of home warranty that you purchase. There are comprehensive home warranties that will cover just about anything. This can save you anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars in the long run and is definitely worth it in all of my experiences. Every home has some issues and a home warranty can really help you get the repairs you need with very little out of pocket cost.

What are Closing Costs & How Much Are They?

When you purchase a home, there are fees paid to the title company and lender known as closing costs.

The title company ensures that you own the home, and that there is no one else on title but yourself, your company, your trust, or whomever else you choose to hold title to your property. The title company also ensures that there are no hidden liens against the property like a mortgage or taxes.

In Arizona, the title agency also opens escrow and holds funds for distribution. Title and escrow fees are based on the purchase price of the property and can range anywhere from $1,500 – $3,000 on average.

The lender helps you get approved for the loan, and gets paid to do so. Their fees are typically 1.5% of the purchase price. However, this completely depends on the lender, the type of mortgage you receive (FHA, VA, Conventional), and the interest rate. For more accurate costs you will want to reach out to a mortgage loan officer.

What Repairs Are Covered?

Repairs that are covered is somewhat in your control. You can request to have anything repaired during your inspection period. The seller decides what they are willing to fix. It makes the most sense to ask for anything major to be repaired and leave out the small stuff. However, you can ask for anything. This is all part of the negotiations. I have many years of experience with negotiating repairs and I’ve seen anything from a new roof to thousands of dollars off the purchase price. It just depends.

What is an Earnest Deposit?

An earnest deposit is a certain amount of money that you are putting into escrow to show how serious you are about buying the property. It is collateral that can be forfeited if you decide to breach the contract by canceling for no good cause. I have NEVER, not even once, lost an earnest deposit for a client. There are safeguards built into our contracts that protect your earnest money deposit to ensure this never happens, unless you intentionally make it happen. i.e. You have cold feet and decide after your cancellation period that you do not want to buy the home.

Do I Need a Home Inspection?

Yes! You absolutely need a home inspection! It’s not necessarily about trying to find out what a seller may not have disclosed. It’s more about finding anything that a seller doesn’t know about.

The biggest reason for a home inspection is to determine if there is anything major that would greatly affect your overall investment, and negotiations.

Home inspections typically range from $300 – $500 depending on the services that you order. There are comprehensive home inspections that look at absolutely everything including scoping the sewer lines to the curb.

How Do I Determine the Purchase Offer Terms?

This is where I come in as well! The amount that we offer is based upon several factors.

I start with performing a comparative market analysis or CMA, to determine the value of the home. We need to ensure that the property will support the purchase price. Once we have a good understanding of the home’s value, then I move on to my probing questions and investigative work.

How popular the home is, whether or not they’ve received any other offers, the way they answer the questions, their tone etc. are all important factors. The conversation that I have with the other agent in the transaction tells me a lot about what we can or need to offer in order to buy the home.

How Much House Can I Afford?

Before you dive headfirst into the wild world of house hunting, there’s one crucial question you need to ask yourself: What’s my budget, really? Before you start envisioning yourself sipping coffee in that dream home, you need to know how much money you can actually spend without ending up living off instant noodles for the next decade.

The best way to get the lowdown on your budget is to chat with a mortgage lender for a pre-approval. Think of it as your golden ticket to the real estate game. This magical pre-approval letter will reveal the size of the mortgage loan you qualify for, based on thrilling factors like your credit report, your debt-to-income ratio, and your actual household income. All these exciting details combine to calculate the size of your loan, which then determines how much house you can realistically afford without resorting to a cardboard box. So, get that pre-approval and start your house hunting adventure with confidence!

What is Your Mortgage Interest Rate?

Alright, here’s the deal: your pre-approval letter doesn’t just tell you how much you can borrow; it also lets you in on the interest rate you’ll be dealing with. This is the sneaky little percentage that gets added to your loan payments. The better your credit score and debt-to-income ratio, the friendlier this rate will be.

Now, if your credit score is less than stellar, you might end up with an interest rate that’s higher than your grocery bill after a late-night snack run. This means you could be paying a lot more each month for the same house as someone with a sparkling credit report. So, keep your credit score in good shape and your debts in check, unless you want to pay extra for the same roof over your head.

What is Needed in Terms of a Down Payment?

Let’s talk down payments! Traditionally, new homebuyers have been told to put down 20% of the purchase price. That’s a hefty chunk of change, like buying a brand new car in cash and then setting it on fire just for fun. But don’t freak out if you can’t scrape together that much.

Enter the FHA loan, the superhero for folks who don’t have a small fortune stashed away. With an FHA loan, you might only need to put down 3.5% of the purchase price. Sounds great, right? But, like any superhero, the FHA loan comes with its own set of quirks. You’ll probably end up with a higher monthly mortgage payment, and you’ll have to buy private mortgage insurance, which is about as fun as it sounds. So, whether you’re rolling with 20% or cozying up with an FHA loan, just make sure you know what you’re getting into!

Will the Seller Pay Closing Costs?

When it comes to closing costs—the lovely assortment of administrative fees that come with buying a home—it’s common, but not a given, that the seller might pick up the tab.

Many buyers use this as a sneaky bargaining chip when haggling over the purchase price. In a buyer’s market, it is typically very easy to get the seller to cover your closing costs. However, this can depend on the property that you’re buying as well, regardless of the market. If it is a very popular property that is receiving a lot of interest and even possibly offers already, then you can forget about it!

Based on 83 reviews
Tim Armour
Tim Armour
March 18, 2024
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Our experience with our real estate agent, Andrew, was exceptional. He demonstrated unwavering professionalism, guiding us seamlessly through the entire home-buying process with his extensive knowledge and attention to detail. His commitment to ensuring our satisfaction made the journey smooth, and we're now happily settled in our dream home.
Amanda Frankowski
Amanda Frankowski
March 3, 2024
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Highly recommend! We just closed on our house and it truly felt like a good friend was representing us. He is very responsive, answered all of our questions - usually before we even had to ask. When our offer was accepted he handled so much that we wouldn't have expected, including getting quotes on work that needed to be done. Friendly, knowledgeable service that went above and beyond. Thanks again, Andrew!
Nathan Pace
Nathan Pace
March 2, 2024
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If you’re looking for a realtor who isn’t in it for the money and truly cares about your family’s needs, Andrew is the guy you’re looking for. Communication was quick and helpful. He is very friendly and wants to know your exact situation to find you the home you’re looking for. He is very passionate about his job and it really shows. I will recommend him to anyone looking for a home!!!
R Grain
R Grain
February 22, 2024
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Andrew Piane is an amazing Real Estate professional who goes above and beyond for his clients. I can’t recommend him enough.
Lorena Stone
Lorena Stone
February 3, 2024
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I was very impressed with Andrew's work ethics and the personal touch he brought with his other skillsets! He made selling our house a joy and effortless with his expert recommendations for the best listing! Trust Andrew if you want it done right!
Angelica Camberos
Angelica Camberos
January 13, 2024
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I recently had the pleasure of working with Andrew, and the experience surpassed my expectations in every way. From the initial consultation to the completion of the task, Andrew exhibited professionalism, efficiency, and a commitment to delivering exceptional service.
Sarah Shaw
Sarah Shaw
December 22, 2023
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I just closed on my first house and I couldn't have found a better realtor than Andrew to help me through it! Listening to other people go through the process, I expected it to be a confusing nightmare. Staying organized and understanding everything myself made everything seem that much more intimidating. But Andrew's knowledge, insight, professionalism and helpful attitude put me at ease and made me 10x more reassured and confident from our first conversation onward. I immediately got the sense he knows exactly what he's doing and was genuinely invested in helping me find what I wanted, and for the best price possible. He's very friendly and easy to talk to, and genuinely enjoys what he does. He was always ready to answer any and all questions I came up with, sometimes multiple times when I inevitably forgot the answers or needed something explained in a different way before I "got it." There was no such thing as a stupid question! Plus he is very prompt with his correspondence and replies, usually getting back to me within an hour, and often within 15-20 minutes, by whichever method I prefer (text and e-mail is my go-to). If you're feeling nervous or anxious about shopping for a home, Andrew's who you want to turn to! I get anxious and overthink everything under the sun, but Andrew kept me realistic and focused, and worked hard to make the process as simple and headache-free as possible. Thanks again Andrew!!
Emily Tuttle
Emily Tuttle
November 8, 2023
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We found Andrew when my husband yelped reators in the south Phoenix area and Andrews name came up with outstanding reviews. I had never been to Az before and our family was looking to relocate to the area because we wanted to send our children to a specific school. The first time i spoke with Andrew over the phone i felt very comfortable talking with Andrew. He listened when i decribed what i pictured in our future home. Andrew found our dream home immediately and was incredible with communication and negotiating with the sellers to get a fantastic price on our forever home. I cannot say enough great things about Andrew!
Sandra Sensbach
Sandra Sensbach
October 24, 2023
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Andrew is very professional realtor- he communicates- and keeps on top of everything- I highly recommend Andrew

How Much Will Homeowners Insurance Cost for This Home?

To find the best home insurance, start by comparing prices from several providers. Ask your mortgage broker or real estate agent for recommendations on reputable companies. Then, contact those providers to get quotes. Most quotes are free and come with no obligations. Look for the best combination of rates, low deductibles, and comprehensive coverage.

What Appliances Will the Previous Owner Be Leaving Behind?

It’s common for the previous owner to leave behind major appliances like the refrigerator, washing machine, and dryer. Be sure to do a full audit of these appliances and find out their ages. Also, check the age of the hot water heater, HVAC system, and any other major appliances or systems. Older appliances and systems will likely need replacement during your home ownership, which can mean added expenses. For example, replacing an aging furnace can cost between $8,000 and $10,000. Be prepared for these potential costs and, if possible, factor them into your offer for the home.

Are There Natural Hazards Such as Flooding That I Need to Be Aware Of?

This is crucial! However, I will determine if any home you’re considering is above or below the floodplain or in a flood zone. While being below the floodplain isn’t necessarily a dealbreaker, it’s important to be aware of it. Flooding can be costly and damaging. We will investigate the home’s history of flooding, as well as the flooding history in the neighborhood and region. Has there been a major flooding event that affected the home, caused damage, or resulted in an insurance claim? This information would be provided on a seller property disclosure statement and/or included with a report provided by the seller’s insurance company. Our Arizona contracts automatically require sellers to provide a 5 year proof of insurance and claims history report on every sale.

Does the Home Include Effective Insulation, Heating, and Cooling for Protection Against the Elements?

During the inspection period, the inspector will assess the current insulation levels and determine if additional insulation is required. Additionally, they will inspect the heating, air conditioning unit, or swamp cooler to assess its age and condition. The type of insulation and amount needed depends on several factors.

Is the Paint in the Home Lead Free?

If the property is older than 1978, a disclosure is required to be signed. In many cases the home has not been tested for lead based paint, but we can certainly hire an inspector if you desire.

Are There Trees Within 10-15 Feet of the Property That Requires Regular Maintenance?

Trees are not only beautiful and beneficial for health, but they can also enhance home energy efficiency by providing shade and reducing cooling costs in summer. However, trees pose risks to homes if not properly maintained. Trees within 10 to 15 feet of a home can pose threats during severe weather, such as a monsoon! Large branches may break windows, falling trees can damage roofs, and unstable trees can endanger residents. Additionally, unseen root systems can harm the home’s foundation and structural integrity. It’s important to assess these risks thoroughly and budget for proactive tree maintenance to mitigate potential damages. This is also a standard inspection item during the inspection period.

What is the Age and Condition of the Roof?

Standard shingle roofs typically have a limited lifespan. Depending on the roof type and the climate conditions in the area, roofs generally last between 15 to 30 years. Tile roofs can last over 50 years and they are on most Arizona homes. If you’re purchasing a home with an older roof, it’s important to anticipate and budget for a replacement in the future. Knowing the roof’s age upfront allows you to prepare financially for this upcoming expense. On the other hand, if the roof is relatively new, consider it a significant advantage when making your decision to buy a home. The roof receives a thorough inspection during the inspection period.

Does the House Have Adequate Storage?

Everyone’s storage requirements vary, so it’s important to ensure that the home you’re buying meets your needs. Evaluate non-living spaces such as the attic and garage to ensure they provide practical, clean, and secure storage options. Assess the closet spaces to ensure they adequately meets your family’s storage needs.

Have There Been Any Major Renovations or Changes to the Home?

Even if the original blueprints have vanished into thin air, it’s essential to uncover the home’s renovation history. The seller property disclosure statement that is provided on almost every home for sale in Arizona will provide information from the owner in regards to any major changes to the floor plan, additions, or any dramatic remodels that have transformed spaces over time. If any of the changes have been made before this seller moved in, then it will come down to relying on the home inspector to let us know if they see anything that appears this way. Knowing this can prevent you from being blindsided by unexpected repairs—like discovering a disco ball behind a freshly painted wall or a vintage avocado-colored oven hiding in the kitchen.

Beyond unraveling the renovation saga, we will want to inquire about warranties on any recent fixes. This intel is gold for predicting future repair costs. Because let’s face it, knowing whether that swanky new bathroom comes with a warranty is just as crucial as knowing if it’s tile or a sticker.

How Long Has the House Been on the Market?

The amount of time that the property has been on the market can reveal a lot and also one factor in determining a good offer. If it’s freshly listed and already buzzing with interest, consider jumping on the bandwagon early—it could be the next big thing.

On the flip side, if the house has been lingering on the market for months, there’s usually a reason. Whether it’s the house’s age, condition, neighborhood quirks, or price tag, these factors can give pause to potential buyers. If you’re eyeing a long-standing listing, dig deep into what’s held others back. If you’re still keen, factor these concerns into your offer. If it’s been on the market for awhile then get ready to receive seller paid closing costs, a lowered purchase price, and maybe even that big screen flat screen hanging from the wall!

What is the Crime Rate Like for This Neighborhood?

Crime happens everywhere, but some neighborhoods have a reputation for keeping things a bit more chill. Urban areas tend to see more action—think car capers, break-ins, and the occasional street shenanigans. On the flip side, quieter locales often boast lower crime rates that can make you feel like you’ve stumbled into a cozy crime-free zone.

In the Phoenix and surrounding area crime rates can vary block by block in certain cities. Before committing to a new crib, get the lowdown on the local crime scene by checking out this community crime map to see what kind of crime is committed and where. Armed with this info, you might even sweet-talk the seller into throwing in some bonus security goodies—like cameras, alarms, or fortification upgrades—to give you extra peace of mind.

What is the Average Age of Residents in the Community?

Consider checking out the demographics of your potential new neighborhood to see if it’s a good fit. If the area is mostly seniors, it might not be the best spot for a young family. Conversely, a recently retired couple might not love living in a neighborhood teeming with young, single professionals that are looking to party all night. Basically, ask yourself: who does this area attract? If the answer doesn’t align with your age group or lifestyle, it might not be the ideal match.

What are Similar Homes Selling for in the Neighborhood?

Before making an offer on a home, I will ensure you’re getting a good value for the purchase price by pulling recent comparable sales and performing a home valuation. The surrounding area is just as crucial to a home’s value as the house itself. Identical homes can have vastly different price tags based on factors like local schools, crime rates, and nearby amenities. To verify the seller’s price is fair, I can provide a detailed report of similar homes in the same neighborhood including local statistics, school information, and nearby amenities. Websites like Zillow and Redfin are extremely unreliable for estimating a property’s value. Their calculations are based on algorithms that make internal estimates rather than actual comparable sales data.

What is the Quality and Proximity of Schools?

Many external factors can affect a home’s value, and school quality is one of them. Good schools often signal other positive community traits like strong job prospects, solid public services, and low crime rates. This is a top priority for parents, but even if you don’t have kids, excellent schools usually mean you’re moving to a great neighborhood.

What Neighborhood Recreation, Shopping, and Community Engagement is Nearby?

Even a good community can be a bit dull. If you’re a homebody, that might not bother you. But if you enjoy going out, shopping, dining, and experiencing culture, you’ll want a place with plenty to do. Check if the home you’re considering is close to good retail spots, reputable restaurants, walkable main streets, parks, green spaces, hiking trails, and other amenities that make living in an area enjoyable.

Can Mortgage Interest be Deducted from Federal Taxes?

In short, yes—interest paid on your mortgage is tax deductible if you plan to claim the property as your personal residence.

According to nerdwallet, you can deduct the mortgage interest you paid during the tax year on the first $750,000 of your mortgage debt for your primary or second home. But if you’re married and filing separately, the limit drops to $375,000—because apparently, the IRS thinks couples need a little extra encouragement to stick together.

If you bought your house before December 16, 2017, you get a more generous deal: you can deduct interest on up to $1 million of the mortgage (or $500,000 if you’re in the “married but filing separately” club). So, being an early bird not only gets you the worm but also a better mortgage interest deduction!

If you’re buying a property as an investment, you’re not allowed to claim the interest you’re required to pay on your mortgage. Make sure to take advantage of all eligible tax benefits both in the year you purchase your home and in all subsequent years as a homeowner.

Are the Windows Structurally Sound or Will They Need to Be Replaced Altogether?

The same logic applies to windows. Like poorly insulated attics, aging or deteriorating windows can lead to major inefficiencies. Cracked windows or ones with air leaks will have you constantly battling the elements, and your monthly budget will suffer. Before buying a home with old or deteriorating windows, the inspector will let us know the condition of the windows. If there are issues that need attention like reglazing, weather stripping, or even window replacement, we can use these issues as ammunition to get a price reduction or possibly even have them repaired or replaced before the close of escrow.