Whether you’re a seasoned investor, a first-time buyer, or have just decided to sell your home, you likely realize that the real estate market changes with tremendous frequency. And yet, if you’ve performed even a cursory search on real estate, you may feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information out there. What is legit? And what is just noise from the internet?
Woodside realtor Stephanie Nash
is here to separate the wheat from the chaff and provide you with factual answers to the 11 most Googled real estate questions in 2023.
1. Should I Buy or Rent?
This depends entirely on where you live. In California’s lush and gorgeous Redwood City, for example, the average cost of rent is $2,500
for a one-bedroom apartment, which may be perfectly acceptable for a single or a couple but rather tight for a family with children or a couple who is caring for their parents.
The median cost of a home in this coveted area is $1,436,250
. If you secured a 30-year mortgage loan at the current average interest rate of 6.83%
and put 20% down, you would be looking at a monthly mortgage payment of $7,513.60
The difference here is significant. That said, you would have something to show. It’s essentially the difference between leasing and owning a car. The biggest questions to ask yourself — not Google — are:
- Am I prepared for the financial commitment of owning a home?
- Do I have the income to afford utilities, maintenance, property taxes, and insurance?
- What are my long-term financial, personal, and professional goals?
- Do I see myself living in this area for an extended period, or do I want the freedom to relocate as I please?
Purchasing a home is positively thrilling, but it’s also a massive decision. Weigh these questions, discuss them with your partner and/or family (if applicable), and discuss them with a trusted real estate agent.
2. What Type of Home is Right for My Budget?
Determining how much you can afford for a home is one of the first and most crucial steps toward procuring a property. Though the first step toward choosing a home to buy is to decide on the city, town, or state that suits your lifestyle and preferences.
Regardless of your budget, you may want to keep these factors in mind:
- Proximity to your place of employment (unless you work remotely).
- The quality of the school district, even if you don’t have children: Data confirms that homes in solid school districts appreciate better.
It’s also important to assess if the home has sufficient space, now and in the future.
3. Should I Buy an Old or New Home?
This depends entirely on your circumstances. Are you fascinated with the idea of purchasing an older home and fixing it up over the course of several years? If so, the repairs and maintenance that need to be done must be investigated and determined by a licensed home inspector and, ideally, a contractor who can provide you with a general understanding of the amount you’ll need to invest in the property immediately and in the future. If this works with your budget, the thought appeals to you, and you have the time for it, there’s certainly no harm in purchasing an older home, particularly if it has historical value.
All of that said, if you need a home that is turn-key ready to ensure you can get back to work immediately after moving, a new home may be more fitting.
4. How Can I Find Out What Local Amenities and Institutions are in My Desired Location?
Your best bet is to partner with a local, seasoned real estate agent who can give you the ins and outs of your desired location and provide you with extensive recommendations on the best places to eat, shop, work out, and more in the area. Additionally, Great Schools
offers comprehensive information on private and public schools.
Lastly, it’s imperative to spend a substantial amount of time in the area of your choosing (if, of course, it’s feasible). After all, there’s an enormous difference between vacationing in an area and living in it on a daily basis.
5. How Much Should I Put on a Down Payment?
General consensus suggests that home buyers should put 20%
down on a property. This might help you avoid having to pay personal mortgage insurance (PMI). It may also render your monthly mortgage payments much more tenable. However, this isn’t always doable for buyers, especially if the cost of the home is high. In fact, the average down payment on a home is presently 7%
6. What’s the Best Time to Apply for a Mortgage?
Experts suggest prospective buyers should begin shopping around for a mortgage four months
prior to searching for a home.
7. Can I Save Money on My Mortgage?
Yes. Here’s a small handful of ways:
- Work on your credit score prior to purchasing a home.
- Shop around for a lender to ensure you get the best mortgage interest rate.
- Make a lump-sum payment (available for some buyers, find out more information here.)
Also, you may be able to refinance
down the line.
8. How Can I Find a Home to Buy?
It would be to your benefit to work with a veteran real estate agent in your desired location. Interview two to three before making a decision, and guarantee they understand your budget, needs, and desires.
9. Should I Buy in a Seller’s Market?
This depends on your financial circumstances, your geographical location, and the contingencies you’re willing to do without. It’s important to keep in mind that if you buy a seller’s market, you may encounter higher asking prices and more competition
. If you must buy in a seller’s market, view a wide number of homes. You may not have a choice on the timing and need to move to a new city for a job opportunity or to be closer to a family member. Working with an experienced agent will ensure you negotiate and find a home that meets your needs.
10. How to Find My Home’s Market Value?
This should be researched and established with the assistance of your realtor, who can run a comparative analysis. Additionally, an appraiser will help determine this figure.
11. Can I Back Out of Real Estate Contracts?
It depends on what type of contract you mean. If you’ve put in an official purchase offer but the seller is unwilling to budge on repairs, or is unwilling to provide you with a repair credit or a lower asking price post-inspection, and it was discovered the home needs a tremendous amount of work, you may be able to walk away from the deal. Whether you can keep your earnest money deposit will, again, depend on your situation. Overall, if you must get out of a real estate contract, contact your realtor immediately to discuss. They have the knowledge and expertise to navigate these situations.
Need more answers to your pressing real estate questions, or are you interested in purchasing or selling a home in the Redwood City, Woodside, or Half Moon Bay Area? If so, Stephanie Nash
is the expert to call. She specializes in Woodside homes for sale and Redwood City real estate, and she’s always happy to educate her clients. Schedule a constellation with her today to examine your options.