Buyer Frequently Asked Questions
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Why should I use a Realtor (real estate agent) when buying a home?
As a professional Realtor (Real Estate Agent ) I can guide you in your search for your dream home. I can assist you in determining how much home you can afford and refer you to the best lender for your circumstances. I have many different resources and contacts to help you find your home. I use my knowledge to give you information on the property and area such as schools, community information, zoning, and utilities just to name a few. As a professional in real estate I will help you in the difficult process of negotiating an offer once we find your home. I will guide you on the entire process from your lender, to finding your home, negotiating an offer, getting your home inspected, and closing on the home.
How do I know what I can afford in a house?
Your income and whatever debt you may have will be a determining factor of the amount that you can afford to spend on a house. Usually prospective home buyers will look at homes that do not exceed 2 ½ times their annual income. If an individual earns $50,000/year then their home purchase typically does not exceed $150,000. This can change based on the area and market in which you are seeking home ownership. If there are no homes available in your area within your range, you may need to spend more than expected without allowing your monthly mortgage payment to surpass 29% of your monthly gross income. Any other debt you may have (auto, credit cards, etc.) in addition to your monthly mortgage payment should not surpass 40% of your monthly gross income depending on the kind of mortgage loan you are applying for. Contacting Eddie Fernandez at Orlando Finacial Centerwould be highly advised for more information on your partictular situation or fill out an Online Loan Application.
How do I find properties listed for sale?
As your Realtor (Sales Agent) I will watch the market on your behalf and alert you of any houses that fit your needs and requirements for your new home. As your Realtor (agent) you have the ability to set up your own account on my website, search the MLS, save and add comments to different properties that you are interested in and I will review your account and schedule times for us to view the properties that you would like to see.
What is the difference between pre-qualified and pre-approved?
There is a big difference between pre-qualified and pre- approved. A pre-qualification is a lenders estimate of how much you could barrow based on the information that you supply. A pre-qualification does not mean you will get the home loan it simply means that based on what you have told the lender they have given you an estimate of what you can afford without further looking into your financials. A pre-approval is more involved the lender will gather more in-depth information. The lender will check your credit and verify all the information you have provided. The pre-approval process does not guarantee the loan it means that you are approved to get the loan as long as nothing changes or goes wrong.
What are the financial benefits of owning a home?
There are several benefits of owning a home. Being a homeowner you will build equity every month, you will build wealth over time, there are several tax benefits, your monthly payments will be fixed and will not increase, and long term buying is cheaper than renting.
Do you work with first time home buyers?
Yes, we work with anyone and everyone from first time home buyers to real estate investors looking to buy muti unit complexes or even commercial real eastate.
What is the difference between a condo and a town home?
Condos (Condominiums) and Townhouses (or townhomes) are broadly categorized as forms of housing structures. A condominium is a housing structure that is a part of a bigger unit or building and the owner of the condo owns the interiors independently and the other services in the building jointly with other condo owners. A townhouse is a style of housing where a row of identical houses share walls. Here the owner owns the whole unit as such. They both may come under a structure of housing tenure or other legal agreements. (These definitions apply in most cases but there are variations.)
Condominium is a legal term in the United States. The creation, sale and management of Condos is governed by specific statutes in the US while there are no statutes governing ownership of Townhouses. Different states have different statutes governing condominiums. Townhouses are simply governed by the same laws that apply to single family houses.
A condominium consists of multi-unit dwellings (I.e., an apartment or a development) where each unit is individually owned and the common areas, such as hallways and recreational facilities, are jointly owned (usually as "tenants in common") by all the unit owners in the building. In a townhouse, the owner owns the whole unit, the exterior surfaces such as deck or yard and the land on which it is built.
Every housing structure has common structures such as Recreational parks, walking areas, parking lots etc. Condo owners share ownership of the common areas with other owners, while common areas in townhouse developments are usually owned by the homeowners' association for the benefit and use of unit owners.
Home Owners Association Verses Condominium Association
In all condo and townhouse projects, the "common areas" of the property (open spaces, recreation areas, tennis courts, etc.) must be managed and maintained for the benefit of unit owners. To accomplish this, a homeowners' association is usually established when the project is created. The association has an elected executive board that manages the association and performs such tasks as enforcing the rules and regulations and collecting the homeowners' dues. The association is also responsible for day to day maintenance of facilities such as parks or lawns and may charge the condo and townhouse owners according to their contracts. They are generally called a Home owners association (HOA) for Townhouses and Condominium Associations for condos.
In a condo, the owner does not own the piece of land on which the housing structure is created since it isn't an independent structure and is just one part of the building in which the condo is housed. In a townhouse, the owner owns the piece of land, its interiors and its exteriors, on which the townhouse is built since it is independent of other townhouses in the housing community. Detached condos may have rules similar to townhomes.
In a townhouse, the typical structure consists of identical houses built one after the other. They may have straight walls in most of the cases and may also be multi storied. A condo, is just one part of a building and may not be similar to the next condo in that building. While a townhouse starts from the ground floor, a condo may or may not start from the ground floor. A condo may be situated on any floor of the building. While condos may not have any exterior spaces that they own individually, townhouses owners may have small decks or yards of their own depending on the structure they purchase.
Condominiums usually turn out to be cheaper than townhouses. In general, the same square footage will cost less in a condo setting than it will in a single family home or townhouse, mainly due to the cost of land. When you buy a townhome, you also pay for the land where only one structure is built, thus increasing the cost. In a condo, the owner doesn't own the land and in that same space, many more condos can be built making them cheaper.
While the exteriors of a condo or a townhouse are maintained by the home owners association, it is up to the owner to maintain the interiors. This may also depend on the agreement of the homeowners' association. Generally, a townhouse owner has more authority is changing the interiors of the land and other structural changes as the land is also owned by them while the power of a condo owner is limited.
Safety and Privacy
Both have their own pros and cons when it comes to safety and privacy. While in a townhouse, there may be houses on either side of one's house, in a condo, there may condos on all sides thereby reducing the privacy. As regards to safety, both offer security but a condo may be safer as there are many condos close to each other while in a townhouse there are fewer houses next to each other.
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