The 13 Most Commonly Asked Questions about Boise Home Buying

13 Common Questions About Boise Home Buying

If you are contemplating buying your first home in Boise, you probably have a lot of questions.  This is quite normal. All of the facets of the home-buying process can appear to quite intimidating.  Your Realtor will be able to help you with most of these questions, but I have put together a quick guide to the 13 most commonly asked questions I’ve encountered as a realtor. 

So What are the Most Commonly Asked Questions about Boise Home Buying?

  • How do I know when it’s time to buy as opposed to continuing to rent?
  • Is it worth my time to get pre-qualified with a bank or lender?
  • Should I hire a Realtor?
  • Is there a certain number of homes I should visit before making an offer?
  • What is an appropriate offer to make?
  • How long does the seller have to make a decision regarding my offer?
  • What happens if my offer is not accepted?
  • What is earnest money?
  • Can I sell my current home and buy a new home simultaneously?
  • Should I have the home I’m buying inspected?
  • How are short sales different from foreclosures?
  • Which party is responsible for paying Realtor fees?
  • How is the closing date determined?

How do I Know When It’s Time to Buy as Opposed to Continuing to Rent?

The answer to this question is going to depend on your unique circumstances.  While purchasing a home can create stability and be a good investment for you and your family, it is not the wisest choice for everyone.  If you plan to move within the next few years, or if you need some time to work on your credit or continuing saving for a down payment, it might be best to continue renting.

However, if you are ready to assume the additional expenses related to homeownership and you plan to stay in the same place for some years to come, buying a home is probably your best choice.  As opposed to renting, you are getting an investment and something that can potentially grow in value when you purchase your own home.

Is it Worth My Time to get Pre-Qualified with a Bank or Lender?

Yes!  There are several good reasons to talk to a bank before you begin house hunting.  First of all, being pre-qualified for a loan will make you more attractive to prospective sellers.  Also, getting pre-qualified will give you a very good idea of just how much money you have to work with.  You will not waste time looking at homes outside your price range, because you will already know your price range.

Should I Hire a Realtor?

A Realtor is there to pursue the course of purchasing the home that suits your best interests.  The Realtor is there to be your go-between with the seller. In addition to helping you find the perfect home and making sure you know the best course of action regarding your own unique needs, the realtor can also answer any questions you might have throughout the home-buying process.

Is there a certain number of homes I should visit before making an offer?

The answer to this question is that it is totally up to your discretion.  If you fall in love with the first home you visit, there is nothing to keep you from going ahead and making an offer.  If you are the kind of person who wants to have a better view of the playing field, you may want to visit several homes before you are ready to make an offer.  The average person visits 10 homes before making a decision.

What is an Appropriate Offer to Make?

Of course, you want to get the best deal possible, but you want to do it without offending the seller so that they are not interested in selling their home to you.  If you take 5% off the asking price, you are still in the safe zone as far as making an appropriate offer. You may have more wiggle room if the home has been on the market for several months and the seller is motivated to sell.

How Long Does the Seller Have to Make a Decision Regarding my Offer?

This length of time can vary.  If there is stiff competition for the purchase of the home, the offer period may only last 24 hours.  If the home has been on the market several months, or if the seller lives out of town, they may have good reason to take 2-4 days to review the offer.

What Happens if my Offer is Not Accepted? 

A seller can choose to do one of four things when you submit an offer.  First of all, they can accept your offer. If they choose not to accept, they can either make a counter-offer, decline your offer, or leave you with no response.  If they are not pleased with your offer, most sellers are going to come back with a counter-offer.  

Usually, the only time sellers decline an offer altogether or choose to not respond to an offer is when the offer is so low that they consider it offensive.  If your offer is declined, you can always make another, higher offer later.

What is Earnest Money?

Earnest money is sometimes called a “good faith deposit”.  This is a deposit that the buyer provides the seller’s realtor at the time they make an offer.  This money is held in an escrow account and will be used against the total price of the home. The money is put up to let the seller know that a buyer is serious about purchasing a home.  This money is only refundable under certain circumstances.

Can I Sell my Current Home and Buy Another Home Simultaneously?

This is tricky but it can be done.  If you sell your home before you find another home, you could end up without a place to live temporarily.  Likewise, if you purchase a new home before your home sells, you could end up over-extended. There is no way to tell how long you will have between the time of your purchase and the sale of your old home.

There is something called a “sales contingency” that you can put in place if you are putting in an offer on a new home.  This means that you only agree to purchase the new home if your old home sells in a certain period of time. Prospective sellers do not have to accept the contingency of the sale, though.  They may prefer to sell to someone on a definite timeline.

Should I have the Home I’m Buying Inspected?

Absolutely.  Having your new home inspected before the closing date can give you peace of mind that everything is in good shape and working order.  It is an excellent idea to have a professional check out the roof, floors, plumbing, etc. in your new home. If everything is not up to par, you will probably be able to get your earnest money back.

How Are Short Sales Different From Foreclosures?

A short sale occurs when a seller accepts an offer for less than they still owe on the home.  This can be a risky purchase. Homes that require a short-sale are sometimes in less than desirable conditions.  Also, there is still the possibility of the property being foreclosed on.

A foreclosure is a safer buy.  Foreclosures are for sale by the lender on whom the home loan has defaulted.  Foreclosures are usually sold “as-is”. You might have some repairs ahead of you, but there is the potential to get a great deal when buying a foreclosure.

Which Party is Responsible for Paying Realtor Fees?

Some prospective home buyers dislike the idea of hiring a Realtor because they fear it will end up costing more in the end.  Because of this, these homebuyers will sometimes call the selling agents themselves. In truth, this should not keep prospective buyers from hiring a realtor.  The majority of the time, it is the seller’s responsibility to pay all realtor fees.

How is the Closing Date Determined?

You might think the closing date is determined by the Realtors involved, but it is determined by the lawyers who facilitate the closing.  The original date that the realtor gives you will typically be 30 or 45 days out. Don’t be disappointed if the closing does not happen on schedule.  This date will also depend on whether or not you have turned in all appropriate paperwork to the mortgage lender.