Frequently Asked Questions for Home Buyers
What is the first step in the home buying process?
The first step is always getting preapproved for your mortgage. The process of getting preapproved is quick and will show you exactly the dollar range of home you qualify for. Also when you are ready to make an offer on a home, by submitting a preapproval letter you will be showing the seller you are a serious buyer and enhance your negotiating position. Click here to get prequalified now.
So I am pre-approved, now what?
You should take some time and make a list of your “must haves” and “want to haves” for your new home. This should include location of home, age of home, number of bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage and any specific things that are important to you. Then you can input your criteria into our home search site and see what listings match your needs. You should contact us and we can discuss the homes and arrange private showings for the homes that are of interest.
When looking for homes should I call the agent that has the home listed for sale to help me?
The agent that has the home listed for sale is working for the seller and representing the best interests of the seller. You have the right to have a Buyers Agent that will represent you and work in your best interests.
What does it cost for me to have you represent me as a Buyers Agent?
There is no cost for you to have us represent you as a Buyers Agent. The seller is paying the commission. You can have full professional representation with no cost to you.
How many homes do buyers look at before making an offer?
On average homebuyers will view a minimum of 10-12 homes.
How many homes on average are for sale in the Birmingham AL area?
Typically we have around 8,000 single-family homes for sale in our area. Of those, normally 1,000 of them are new/never lived in homes.
Do you work with builders on the new/never lived in homes?
Yes. All the builders here list their homes in MLS and encourage Realtors to show and sell their homes. New home sales make up a significant part of my overall business. We have many local custom builders as well as volume builders such as Signature Homes, HPH Home and Adams Homes to name a few.
Does your site have all the homes for sale in the Birmingham Area or just your listings?
Our site has ALL the listings of ALL the Birmingham AL Realtors. This is the most complete list of homes you will find and they are in the best format for viewing pictures and descriptions of the homes.
How often is the Birmingham area homes for sale information updated on your site?
Our website is updated every 24 hours so you are assured of having the most up to date information available. Once a home goes under contract it is updated on our site so you will not waste your time pursing homes that are no longer available.
What appliances typically come with the home?
In the Birmingham real estate market, the built-in appliances are considered part of the home and will stay with the home. These would include, range/oven, dishwasher, microwave (if built-in) and garbage disposal. The refrigerator and washer and dryer are considered the seller’s property. These can be negotiated as part of the sales contract, but be careful not to overpay for the washer & dryer and refrigerator to be added to the contract.
What is the typical sales price vs. asking price in the Birmingham area?
On average homes here sell for 3% off list or 97% of asking price.
How long do homes stay on the market in Birmingham before they are sold?
As of Fall 2013, the current time from listing date to contract date here is approximately 105 days.
What is the typical time from contract acceptance to closing?
The normal time here is nearly 30 days, much of this due to time it takes for lenders and closing attorneys to prepare and finalize loan paperwork and closing. There are occasions that this time frame is much faster, especially in situations where the Buyer is paying cash for the property.
I have a home to sell before buying. What should I do first?
Most people can not afford to own 2 homes at the same time so you should concentrate on getting your current home ready to be put on the market before going out and finding your dream home. It would do you no good to find the perfect home if you must sell your current home first. Most sellers would not consider an offer contingent on the sale of your home if it were not already listed for sale with a Realtor. If you will contact us, we can discuss your situation in detail to determine the best plan of action and tell you about our Hassle-Free Listing Program.
What inspections are typical for homes purchased in Birmingham?
All homebuyers will want to have a home inspection done as well as a termite inspection. We always recommend that you also have radon testing done. If the home you are purchasing is on a Septic Tank then you will want to also have the Septic Tank pumped and inspected. You have the opportunity to have any additional inspections done that are important to you.
What are the typical closing costs for homebuyers?
Your mortgage company will provide you a Good Faith estimate of your closing costs. The typical costs will include, origination fee of your mortgage, appraisal of the home, one year of homeowners insurance, establishing escrow accounts for future tax and home insurance payments, attorney fees, recording fees, transfer taxes, home inspection and termite inspection fees etc.
Where will the closing take place?
In the Birmingham market closings take place at either an attorney’s office or a title company. We strongly suggest that you choose to close at a licensed attorney’s office.
When do I get possession of the home?
Possession will normally be at the time of closing, although sometimes Sellers request that they have a few days after closing to move. Please let us know what additional questions you may have about the home buying process. We look forward to working with you to find the home you are searching for.
If you have any more questions about buying homes in the Birmingham area, please contact the Mega Team.