Q. WHAT IS A HOME INSPECTION?


A. A home inspection is an objective visual examination of the physical structure and systems of a home, from the roof to the foundation. Having a home inspection is like giving it a complete physical. If problems or symptoms are found, the home inspector may recommend further evaluation.




Q. WHAT DOES A HOME INSPECTION INCLUDE?


A. The standard home inspector's report will review the condition of the home's heating and cooling systems, interior plumbing and electrical systems; the roof, attic and visible insulation; walls, ceilings, floors, doors and windows; the foundation, basement, visible structure, grading and drainage, and attached structures such as decks, sheds and garages.




Q. WHY DO YOU NEED A HOME INSPECTION?


A. Financially and emotionally, your new home is one of the biggest investments you'll ever make. You will enjoy many years of happiness--if you have chosen wisely. At first glance, it may be in great shape. But there may be certain problems, some of which you can live with, but others that could be a financial burden. In making a decision of this magnitude, make it with confidence. Additionally, the home inspection will note positive aspects of the home, as well as maintenance required to keep your home in good shape. The inspection also helps you to get a much better understanding of the property than you could ever get on your own.




Q. DO I NEED TO BE THERE FOR THE INSPECTION?


A. You should attend the inspection to get its full benefits. The inspection gives you the chance to ask questions directly and to see your home through the inspector’s eye as he goes through the home. This will give you a better understanding of the inspection report as well as the property itself.




Q. HOW LONG WILL THE INSPECTION TAKE?


A. The time required generally depends on the size of the home. For example, an average 2,000 square foot home will take between 2-3 hours to inspect. Another factor that may affect inspection time is the condition of the home. If the home has a lot of problems, additional time may be required for the inspector to describe those problems and discuss what options the buyer may have to repair those problems.




Q. MY HOUSE IS BEING BUILT NEW. WHY SHOULD IT BE INSPECTED?


A. An inspection of a new property is important to help you spot any shortcuts the contractor or builder may have taken. A trained certified home inspector will be able to spot certain telltale signs that might otherwise go unnoticed to an untrained eye. Especially valuable is an inspection before the drywall is put up. This allows you the chance to identify and fix problems when they are much easier to spot and repair.




Q. HOW MUCH WILL A HOME INSPECTION COST?


A. The cost of a home inspection varies based upon a number of factors, including size, age, special services requested, etc. Typically, the cost starts at $250-$350 for a 2000 square foot home. Fees are slightly higher for larger homes. However, cost should not be a factor in deciding whether or not you get your home inspected or in determining which certified home inspector you choose. Rather, you should consider the home inspection as an investment that will pay for itself many times over.




Q. CAN'T I DO THE INSPECTION MYSELF?


A. Even the savviest do-it-yourselfer will not have the level of training, knowledge, equipment or expertise as a certified professional home inspector. They are familiar with the complex elements of home construction; understand how the home's systems are intended to function, as well as how and why they may fail. Most importantly, they are a disinterested third party that can be totally objective about the condition of the home.




Q. WHAT IF THE REPORT REVEALS SOME PROBLEMS?


A. No house is perfect. If there are problems, and typically there are some, it doesn't mean that you shouldn't buy the house. However, if there are major problems, you may want to go back to the seller to either get the problems corrected or to re-negotiate to reflect needed repairs especially if they are safety issues.




Q. CAN A HOUSE FAIL ITS INSPECTION?


A. No. A home inspection is not the same as a code inspection. While the inspector will be familiar with many of the local and national building codes, his objective is to describe the physical condition of the house and indicate what may need repair or replacement.





Buying a House FAQs

Q. Why Buy a Home


A. Buying your next property - whether for your primary residence, a vacation house or for investment - is a major project, assuming you want to fulfill certain priorities: budget, location, return on investment. Our short counseling session will help you understand the more practical decisions you must make in order to get exactly what you want... We help you understand what you really want and help you through the steps of finding the perfect property and team of experts so you experience less stress and more smiles! 1. Tax breaks. The U.S. Tax Code lets you deduct the interest you pay on your mortgage, property taxes you pay, as well as some of the costs involved in buying your home. This means eventually more of your hard earned dollars stay in your pocket. Gains. Historically national home prices have increased at an average of 5.4 percent annually. While appreciation is presently only happening in isolated areas, most economists see a trend upwards returning within a relatively short time. 2. Equity. Money paid for rent is money that you’ll never see again, but mortgage payments let you build equity ownership interest in your home. 3. Savings. Building equity in your home is a ready-made savings plan. And when you sell, you can generally take up to $250,000 ($500,00 for a married couple) as gain without owing any federal income tax. 4. Predictability. Unlike rent, your mortgage payments don’t go up over the years*, so your housing costs may actually decline as you own the home longer. However, keep in mind that property taxes and insurance costs will rise. 5. Freedom. The home is yours. You can decorate any way you want and be able to benefit from your investment for as long as you own the home. 6. Stability. Remaining in one neighborhood for several years gives you a chance to participate in community activities, lets you and your family establish lasting friendships, and offers your children the benefit of educational continuity. * Fixed rate mortgage only




Q. I'm a First-Time Home Buyer, What Do I Need to Know?


A. In selecting a real estate agent, the consumer has four choices: 1. Exclusive Buyer's Agent
Works for an office that does not take listings of any kind and represents buyers only. 2. Buyer's Agent
Works in an office that takes listings. The Buyer Agent will work for a buyer under contract. If a buyer wished to purchase a property listed by the same office, the agent will declare dual (or limited) agency and represent both the buyer and seller in a limited capacity. 3. Single Agency Buyer's Agent
Works in an office that takes listings. He or she can represent both buyers and sellers, but will only represent one client in any real estate transaction. The Single Agency Buyer Agent does not practice dual agency. 4. Traditional or Seller's Agent
Works in a real estate office that takes listings. Agents represents the seller and works with -- not for -- buyers as customers. All legal obligations are to the seller. WHICH WOULD YOU PREFER? THE CHOICE IS YOURS If you choose an Exclusive Buyer's Agent with Buyer's Brokers of the Seacoast, you can be assured that YOUR interests are represented 100% of the time with no conflict. We are Realtors® who represent buyers every step of the way. We can save you money and avoid the needless mistakes first-time home buyers often make. Our experienced agents are ready to serve - there are no stupid questions with such a large financial transaction, so we promise to be with you from the first showing to the final closing. Our buyers have saved nearly $3 million in the past three years. We work for you and only you.




Q. Can You Help With Relocation?


A. Whether you are moving TO or FROM the seacoast area, we can help you locate an Exclusive Buyer Agent to make your relocation as smooth as possible. RELOCATING TO THE SEACOAST Our 100% buyer representation services are the ideal solution for the stress that can come with a big move. Since we represent NO seller interests, your exclusive buyer agent can be full time helping you find and secure the right home for you. WE CAN HELP YOU GET OUT OF TOWN, TOO! We can connect you, your friends and family to a buyers agent wherever you are moving to. E-mail us and let us know where the destination location is, and we will find and interview a buyer’s agent for you!




Q. Why is a Buyers Agent Better for Buying a Home?


A. Since we have no seller clients, YOU (the buyer) can be assured we have no secondary motivation to move a particular property! Much of our work is counseling and advising and we highly respect our client's ability and right to make their own decisions. Let's say that again in a more positive light:
We remove any conflict of interest by representing one party - YOU. 1 - WE SAVE YOU MONEY 2 - WE HELP REDUCE STRESS 3 - WE SAVE YOU TIME 4 - AVOIDS CONFLICT With so many online tools for finding property, why would you want a buyer's agent? THERE ARE A NUMBER OF ADVANTAGES. In competitive real estate markets, you may need an agent to give you a heads up on property as soon as it comes on the market. If you are relocating to a new area or live in a large metro, a buyer's agent will help you understand what a house is really worth, give you the inside scoop on schools and point out other factors that could affect property values. In any market, a buyer's agent can act as a buffer during the negotiating process and make sure you've covered all of your bases before closing.




Q. Really, How Is a Buyers Agent Different?


A.We are an exclusive buyer agency company. All the agents in our company are licensed real estate agents and work for buyers all the time - full time buyer representatives, specialists. How is that different from most real estate companies? Most real estate companies focus on listing properties for sale for sellers providing seller agency services. Through open houses, multiple listing services and advertising, these listings attract buyers. If a buyer becomes interested in purchasing a listed property, that agent and/or that company may offer buyer agency services to the buyer. Since agency services are obligatory upon the entire company, it is quite easy for one company to be offering them to buyer and seller of the same property at the same time. When this occurs it is very easy for conflict of interest to become a factor. Potential for conflict of interest is the main reason we have opted to specialize in representing BUYERS ONLY. Click play to view The Balancing Act - "The Smartest way to Buy A Home"

Live on 3-18-10 with NAEBA Executive Director Kim Kahl and President Benjamin Clark.




Q. Are You a Buyer or a Seller?


A. Our view of the world of real estate is unique. We are an exclusive buyer agency and have been since 1990. That means that we choose to represent only BUYERS of real estate. We DO NOT list property for SELLERS. Why is that important? Our interest is YOURS, the buyer, and is therefore not compromised by the selling office's interest to promote the sale of one property over another. If you are relocating to this area make sure that the real estate agency you choose will have only YOUR interest (the buyer's) in mind! Only an exclusive buyer agency can make that pledge.




Q. Who Pays For All of This?


A. The Short Answer: The Seller's Agent The commission paid for selling a house is fixed, usually at 5 percent to 7 percent, and paid by the seller. If a sub-agent or buyer's agent brings you to the table, the seller's agent splits the commission. If you opt to not have a buyer's agent, the seller's agent has dibs on the full commission. Some buyers reason that if they don't have an agent, the seller should be able to negotiate for a lower commission and share some of the savings with the buyer. "The seller can try to negotiate with his or her agent for a lower commission if you don't have an agent," said Eric Cunliffe, senior vice president with LendingTree.com, which has an agent referral services for buyers and sellers. "But they aren't obligated." In most markets, said Real Living's Rouda, it's unlikely that a seller's agent will agree to take a lower commission. "If a buyer is not represented, the seller's agent will make the case that they will be doing the work of two," he said.





6 Steps to Successfully Buy Your House

 

DO YOU HAVE A C.L.U.E.® ? REPORT

You call your insurer to ask about your home’s coverage, and a few months later the policy is cancelled. Your automobile insurance premium is raised because your credit report shows you were late paying your credit card bill.

 

DOES THIS SOUND PLAUSIBLE?

Think again. Innocent inquiries to your insurance agent or information that seems to have no bearing on your driving ability can make premiums skyrocket. Worse, your insurance might even be cancelled. Inquiries, even those that do not result in a claim, can appear in a little-known database called CLUE, or its smaller competitor A-PLUS. And your insurance “score” which is largely based on your credit rating, can determine how much you pay for homeowner’s or automobile insurance.

If you’ve seen your CLUE report (Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange) and you know your insurance score, chances are you’ve already been turned down for automobile or homeowner’s insurance. But probably, you, like most others, are clueless about CLUE. The CLUE report and the insurance scoring system are tools insurers use to decide your risk profile, or how likely you are to file a claim against your policy. Insurers feed information about paid claims – even your inquiries about coverage that don’t result in a claim – into a national database for use by insurers. Information included in the database, along with your insurance score, makes up your risk profile. Insurers use the profile to decide whether you get new insurance – even to decide if you get to keep the insurance you already have. If information is inaccurate, you can be left without insurance while you work out the errors.

Q. WHAT IS A TITLE?


A. It is the owner’s right to possess, control, enjoy and use the property. We look for a "clean title" which should mean your property is free and clear of all liens and other owners' claims. Think of the title to your car - once it's paid off, it's yours free and clear.




Q. WHAT IS A TITLE SEARCH?


A. A title search is detailed search and review of the public records for recorded documents which affect the title to a particular piece of land (deeds, court records, property and name indexes, and many other public documents). The purpose of the search is to verify the seller’s right to transfer ownership and to discover any claims, defects and other rights or burdens on the property.




Q. WHAT KIND OF PROBLEMS CAN A TITLE SEARCH REVEAL?


A. A title search can show a number of title defects and liens, as well as other encumbrances and restrictions (unpaid taxes, unsatisfied mortgages, court proceedings against the seller, and restrictions limiting the use of the land, etc.).




Q. WHAT IS TITLE INSURANCE?


A. Title insurance protects against any loss if any of these problems, even a hidden hazard, result in a claim against your ownership.




Q. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LENDER’S TITLE INSURANCE AND OWNER’S TITLE INSURANCE?


A. 1. Lender’s title insurance protects your lender’s interests in your property – the mortgage amount. You are required as a condition of the mortgage loan to purchase a policy of lender’s title insurance and the cost will by included in the closing figures. Lender’s title insurance provides no protection for the owner’s interest. A. 2. Owner’s title insurance protects your equity in your home. The cost of the policy is paid one time only and protects you as long as the property remains in your name or that of your heirs. Your owner’s policy will not only pay for legal expenses to defend title, but it provides for reimbursement in the event of a loss. While the purchase of owner’s title insurance is optional, it is strongly recommended.




Q. THE OWNER OF THE PROPERTY I WANT TO PURCHASE HAD A TITLE SEARCH DONE SIX MONTHS AGO. WHY DO I NEED ANOTHER ONE?


A. Because the owner could, in a very short time, do many things to encumber the title. For example, he could grant easements or construct improvements that encroach on the adjacent property. He could get married or divorced, or have a lien filed against his property. It is necessary to conduct an up-to-date title search to uncover any such problems.




Q. HOW AFFORDABLE IS OWNER’S TITLE INSURANCE?


A. Owner’s title insurance may be purchased for a one time premium based on the purchase price of the real estate. In proportion to the coverage provided and the duration of the coverage, owner’s title insurance is a superb value. If purchased at the time of closing, you will receive the insurance at a significantly reduced rate. For a premium quote, please call Market Street Settlement Group, Inc.





 

Home Inspection FAQ

Q. WHAT IS A HOME INSPECTION?


A. A home inspection is an objective visual examination of the physical structure and systems of a home, from the roof to the foundation. Having a home inspection is like giving it a complete physical. If problems or symptoms are found, the home inspector may recommend further evaluation.




Q. WHAT DOES A HOME INSPECTION INCLUDE?


A. The standard home inspector's report will review the condition of the home's heating and cooling systems, interior plumbing and electrical systems; the roof, attic and visible insulation; walls, ceilings, floors, doors and windows; the foundation, basement, visible structure, grading and drainage, and attached structures such as decks, sheds and garages.




Q. WHY DO YOU NEED A HOME INSPECTION?


A. Financially and emotionally, your new home is one of the biggest investments you'll ever make. You will enjoy many years of happiness--if you have chosen wisely. At first glance, it may be in great shape. But there may be certain problems, some of which you can live with, but others that could be a financial burden. In making a decision of this magnitude, make it with confidence. Additionally, the home inspection will note positive aspects of the home, as well as maintenance required to keep your home in good shape. The inspection also helps you to get a much better understanding of the property than you could ever get on your own.




Q. DO I NEED TO BE THERE FOR THE INSPECTION?


A. You should attend the inspection to get its full benefits. The inspection gives you the chance to ask questions directly and to see your home through the inspector’s eye as he goes through the home. This will give you a better understanding of the inspection report as well as the property itself.




Q. HOW LONG WILL THE INSPECTION TAKE?


A. The time required generally depends on the size of the home. For example, an average 2,000 square foot home will take between 2-3 hours to inspect. Another factor that may affect inspection time is the condition of the home. If the home has a lot of problems, additional time may be required for the inspector to describe those problems and discuss what options the buyer may have to repair those problems.




Q. MY HOUSE IS BEING BUILT NEW. WHY SHOULD IT BE INSPECTED?


A. An inspection of a new property is important to help you spot any shortcuts the contractor or builder may have taken. A trained certified home inspector will be able to spot certain telltale signs that might otherwise go unnoticed to an untrained eye. Especially valuable is an inspection before the drywall is put up. This allows you the chance to identify and fix problems when they are much easier to spot and repair.




Q. HOW MUCH WILL A HOME INSPECTION COST?


A. The cost of a home inspection varies based upon a number of factors, including size, age, special services requested, etc. Typically, the cost starts at $250-$350 for a 2000 square foot home. Fees are slightly higher for larger homes. However, cost should not be a factor in deciding whether or not you get your home inspected or in determining which certified home inspector you choose. Rather, you should consider the home inspection as an investment that will pay for itself many times over.




Q. CAN'T I DO THE INSPECTION MYSELF?


A. Even the savviest do-it-yourselfer will not have the level of training, knowledge, equipment or expertise as a certified professional home inspector. They are familiar with the complex elements of home construction; understand how the home's systems are intended to function, as well as how and why they may fail. Most importantly, they are a disinterested third party that can be totally objective about the condition of the home.




Q. WHAT IF THE REPORT REVEALS SOME PROBLEMS?


A. No house is perfect. If there are problems, and typically there are some, it doesn't mean that you shouldn't buy the house. However, if there are major problems, you may want to go back to the seller to either get the problems corrected or to re-negotiate to reflect needed repairs especially if they are safety issues.




Q. CAN A HOUSE FAIL ITS INSPECTION?


A. No. A home inspection is not the same as a code inspection. While the inspector will be familiar with many of the local and national building codes, his objective is to describe the physical condition of the house and indicate what may need repair or replacement.





 
 

Title Insurance

Q. WHAT IS A TITLE?


A. It is the owner’s right to possess, control, enjoy and use the property. We look for a "clean title" which should mean your property is free and clear of all liens and other owners' claims. Think of the title to your car - once it's paid off, it's yours free and clear.




Q. WHAT IS A TITLE SEARCH?


A. A title search is detailed search and review of the public records for recorded documents which affect the title to a particular piece of land (deeds, court records, property and name indexes, and many other public documents). The purpose of the search is to verify the seller’s right to transfer ownership and to discover any claims, defects and other rights or burdens on the property.




Q. WHAT KIND OF PROBLEMS CAN A TITLE SEARCH REVEAL?


A. A title search can show a number of title defects and liens, as well as other encumbrances and restrictions (unpaid taxes, unsatisfied mortgages, court proceedings against the seller, and restrictions limiting the use of the land, etc.).




Q. WHAT IS TITLE INSURANCE?


A. Title insurance protects against any loss if any of these problems, even a hidden hazard, result in a claim against your ownership.




Q. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LENDER’S TITLE INSURANCE AND OWNER’S TITLE INSURANCE?


A. 1. Lender’s title insurance protects your lender’s interests in your property – the mortgage amount. You are required as a condition of the mortgage loan to purchase a policy of lender’s title insurance and the cost will by included in the closing figures. Lender’s title insurance provides no protection for the owner’s interest. A. 2. Owner’s title insurance protects your equity in your home. The cost of the policy is paid one time only and protects you as long as the property remains in your name or that of your heirs. Your owner’s policy will not only pay for legal expenses to defend title, but it provides for reimbursement in the event of a loss. While the purchase of owner’s title insurance is optional, it is strongly recommended.




Q. THE OWNER OF THE PROPERTY I WANT TO PURCHASE HAD A TITLE SEARCH DONE SIX MONTHS AGO. WHY DO I NEED ANOTHER ONE?


A. Because the owner could, in a very short time, do many things to encumber the title. For example, he could grant easements or construct improvements that encroach on the adjacent property. He could get married or divorced, or have a lien filed against his property. It is necessary to conduct an up-to-date title search to uncover any such problems.




Q. HOW AFFORDABLE IS OWNER’S TITLE INSURANCE?


A. Owner’s title insurance may be purchased for a one time premium based on the purchase price of the real estate. In proportion to the coverage provided and the duration of the coverage, owner’s title insurance is a superb value. If purchased at the time of closing, you will receive the insurance at a significantly reduced rate. For a premium quote, please call Market Street Settlement Group, Inc.





Buyer's Brokers of the Seacoast | Jim Albert Real Estate LLC | NH #047097 ME #DB916851

Downtown Office

36 Maplewood Avenue Portsmouth, NH 03801

Contact

(603) 436-6636

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