Congratulations! You are thinking of buying Real Estate. Whether you are a first time buyer or have purchased real estate before, it is a process that is becoming more and more complex. To help you get started, here are some questions I frequently get asked by prospective buyers:
Q: “We want to look for a property but are not sure where we want to be in the county. Do you cover all of Sonoma County?”
A: Sebastopol, West County, Santa Rosa and Petaluma are home bases for me. However, from north coastal ranches in Jenner south to Penngrove and Petaluma, I cover most areas of the county where my experience and expertise allow me to do the best job possible for you. If there are areas that interest you where I feel I can’t provide that kind of service, I am happy to refer you to someone who can.
Q. “We’d like to look at the property on Burnside Road but don’t know if we can afford it.”
A: I’ll be happy to show you the property, and when we are finished, if you don’t already have a loan officer, why don’t I put you in touch with one who can help you determine what you can afford and the price range in which you prefer to look? (See my directory of recommended loan officers)
Q. “This is the first house we have bought. Can you tell us what, in addition to the price, the final cost will be and do we pay your commission?”
A: The final cost of a property above the selling price depends on:
1. Negotiations with the seller
As your Realtor, I help you negotiate the best purchase price possible. We may also negotiate some credits from the seller. However, in the process of purchasing a house there are generally costs to buyers which include inspection fees. As your Realtor, I will explain all of these costs to you and negotiate with the seller, when possible to pay for or share some of these expenses.
2. The cost of your Loan
The final cost of a loan is determined by your lender and your loan officer. Only your loan officer can tell you what those costs will be specifically. It is always important to get these costs in writing before you agree to a loan. Your loan officer should be happy to list these costs and negotiate with you where possible. And remember, it pays to shop around.
3. Title insurance and Escrow costs
Once you have an accepted offer, you will choose a Title Company to issue title insurance and handle all of the escrow funds necessary for closing. It is important that you speak with your title officer (called an escrow officer) to outline the cost of title insurance, your options and what escrow fees are added to the transaction. Title Insurance is a one time charge.
4. Home Owners insurance
In order to get a loan on a property, lenders require Home Owners Insurance. Even if you are paying cash and have no mortgage, few persons would elect not to insure a home. Shop early for home owners insurance so that you can learn what you need and how much it will cost. I will be happy to recommend a good insurance agent if you don’t have one.
5. Taxes and Home Owner Association Dues
Your loan may require you to pay your county taxes on a prorated monthly basis. If not, you will be responsible for paying once or twice a year, your choice. Property taxes in Sonoma County for a single family residence generally run a little more than 1% of the selling price per year. For example, if you pay $600,000 for a house, your property taxes for the year will run around $6600 or $550/month. If you have a Home Owners Association, then you will be charged dues as the association dictates. Remember Taxes and HOA are not costs of buying a home but costs of owning a home.
6. My Commission
As a buyer, you pay me, your agent, nothing. I’m the best deal there is, because you get first class service from me and all I ask is, that if you are pleased with my service and expertise, you tell friends and relatives About Will Kent. My commission is always paid by the seller.
Q. “I’ve not been happy with real estate agents in the past. They are difficult to reach and never return my calls. Why should I use you?”
A. Realtors, like every professional, get very busy, but that is no excuse. I pride myself on my communication skills. Please read some of the wonderful comments from past clients on this web site regarding this fact. I realize that you have many choices in choosing a Realtor. I am happy to give you a list of references with whom you can discuss my professionalism and marketing expertise before making a decision.