buying_homeBuying a home is one of the most significant financial decisions you’ll make in your lifetime. From figuring out what properties are available within your price range to finding the best financing rate, the professionals at Brookside Real Estate Company are here to help make the home buying process as easy as possible – including supplying you with answers to some of the most frequently asked home buying questions.

Brookside Real Estate Company has been the go-to real estate service provider for the Brookside and Greater Kansas City Metropolitan Area for more than 30 years. We pride ourselves in having the most current properties available, most times even before they hit the market, as well as being the most knowledgeable agency when it comes to the Brookside and surrounding neighborhoods.

When you’re looking for a full-service real estate agency that will work endlessly to answer all your questions, concerns and find your perfect dream home, call Brookside Real Estate Company.

Working with a Real Estate Agent

What can I expect from a good real estate agent?

Competence, efficiency, and ethics are all characteristics that our Brookside Real Estate Company agents strive to offer each of our clients.

Brookside Real Estate agents take the time to qualify buyers and show properties in their price range. They plan showing routes carefully and have previewed most properties. Brookside Real Estate agents have a thorough knowledge of financing options, are up on the latest housing trends in the Brookside area, and share with prospective buyers data on the local housing market and home sales.

Brookside Real Estate agents also adhere to a strict code of ethics. They avoid high-pressure sales tactics, refrain from showing properties that do not fit your needs or goals, and alert you to problems about the condition of the property.

Having strong connections within the Brookside community, Brookside Real Estate has developed a trusted network of lenders, appraisers and service providers to recommend during the buying process. Additionally, your Brookside Real Estate agent is available to analyze data, answer questions, share their professional expertise, and handle all the paperwork and legwork that is involved in the real estate transaction.

Having strong connections within the Brookside community, Brookside Real Estate has developed a trusted network of lenders, appraisers and service providers to recommend during the buying process. Additionally, your Brookside Real Estate agent is available to analyze data, answer questions, share their professional expertise, and handle all the paperwork and legwork that is involved in the real estate transaction.

What does a buyer’s agent do?

A buyer’s agent represents the buyer exclusively. This means your Brookside Real Estate agent works to protect your interests in the transaction and helps to negotiate the best purchase price and terms. You can trust that your Brookside Real Estate agent will always put your best interest first!

Why do I need an agent if I can find a home by myself on the Internet?

While more buyers now use the Internet to obtain information regarding listings or available properties for sale, Brookside Real Estate Company has access to all currently available properties in the entire Kansas City Metro area. In some cases, our agents know when a house is becoming available even before it hits the market.

Are buyers protected against housing discrimination?

By law, real estate agents may not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, or national origin. They also cannot follow spoken or implied directives from the home seller to discriminate.

Getting Started

What are the advantages of owning a home?

There are many advantages to owning a home. The most appealing advantage is that you own the house, which gives you, instead of a landlord, control of your living space. Additional benefits include potential tax savings on local property taxes and interest paid on a mortgage, building equity as your property appreciates in value, and, if you get a fixed-rate home mortgage loan, the stability of knowing your payments won’t increase substantially, unlike rent.

Plus, when you use Brookside Real Estate Company to purchase your home, you have the added benefit of having a trustworthy resource to rely on for any future questions, concerns, or issues that arise for homeowners. The agents at Brookside Real Estate are committed to providing the best customer service experience long after the final closing papers have been signed. Your Brookside Real Estate agent strives to develop long lasting relationships and will be there when it’s time for you to upgrade to another house in the future.

What is the first step to buying a home?

Buying a home is a big decision worthy of serious consideration and forethought. Prior to working with a Brookside Real Estate agent, we recommend you contact a lender. Make sure you are fully ready and prepared for this type of financial commitment by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Do I have steady income?
  • Is my debt lower than my total income?
  • Do I have enough money to pay for the down payment and closing costs?
  • Am I working hard enough to improve bad credit?
  • Does my budget allow for unexpected repairs and routine maintenance?

If you are unsure of the answers to these questions, your first step should include contacting a mortgage lender who will help you determine what you can afford. The experienced and knowledgeable agents at Brookside Real Estate will work closely with you to evaluate your housing needs, find a house that doesn’t extend beyond your means, and help you secure the best loan and rate available.

The trustworthy agents at Brookside Real Estate believe in transparency and that honesty is the best policy. If your Brookside Real Estate agent doesn’t believe you are receiving the absolute best closing price, loan rate, or think the house isn’t the best option for your specific needs and budget, they will tell you their honest opinion – regardless of the outcome. Brookside Real Estate Company doesn’t sacrifice honesty to make a sale, instead your agent will work harder to find you the best possible outcome.

Is it best to save for the ultimate dream home or begin with a less expensive starter home?

It can take a long time to save for that perfect dream home. The experts at Brookside Real Estate Company have built a strong network within the Brookside community and have the most current, up-to-date listings of properties that could become the perfect dream home for you and your family that accommodates your budget.

A starter home doesn’t have to mean you’re settling for less. The trustworthy agents at Brookside Real Estate can help find you the ideal home with the features and characteristics of your dream home at an affordable price.

Appraisals & Market Value

Are there standard ways to determine how much a home is worth?

Yes. A comparative market analysis (CMA) and an appraisal are the two most common and reliable ways to determine a home’s value. The trusted professionals at Brookside Real Estate Company are here to guide you through every step, by providing a fair and honest estimate of your home or prospective home’s worth.

  • Comparative Market Analysis (CMA)
    An informal report, compiled by your Brookside Real Estate agent, that provides the recent selling prices of neighborhood properties similar in size, amenities, and location.

The information listed on the CMA could include properties either currently on the market, recently sold, or were listed but expired due to being priced too high and no one bought within a reasonable time frame. With strong ties within the Brookside community, your Brookside Real Estate agent will have a comprehensive knowledge of all the available Brookside properties and help fully explain and offer advice on the comparable homes that have sold within the past year along with the listing, or asking, price on current homes for sale to help prevent you from overpaying.

How do you decide whether to add-on to an existing home or purchase a new one?

There are many factors to consider when deciding whether to add-on to your current house or buy a new home.

The professionals at Brookside Real Estate Company have over 30 years of combined experience and are extremely knowledgeable of the housing market in Brookside and surrounding neighborhoods. When you need an honest and informed explanation of your options, the agents at Brookside Real Estate Company are ready to help guide you towards the best option for you and your family.

Below are a few topics you can discuss with your Brookside Real Estate agent:

  • Is it feasible to expand the current space for an addition?
  • As your Brookside Real Estate agent, we can help guide you to the right sources to determine what is permissible under local zoning and building laws. Despite your deep yearning for a new sunroom or garage, you will need to know if your neighborhood will allow such improvements.
  • Can you finance the home improvement with your own cash or will you need a loan? Brookside Real Estate has a long history of working with credible lenders who can provide you with the best loan options.
  • Are there affordable properties for sale that would satisfy your changing housing needs? Brookside Real Estate Company is the first know when a new property becomes available in Brookside. The knowledgeable and informed agents at Brookside Real Estate will be able to provide you with the most current listings of homes with the desired characteristics that are within your specific budget.
  • Explore your options with Brookside Real Estate Company. Make sure your decision is one you can live with – either under the same roof or under a different one.

How do you determine how much a home is worth?

There are many determining factors that comprise the value of a home, but ultimately it comes down to one thing: a house is worth what is paid for it. Another factor that can affect a home’s valuation is timing.

In a seller’s market, when demand for housing is higher than the inventory of available homes for sale, a home can sell above and beyond the asking price. However, in a buyers’ market, when the market is saturated with homes for sale, buyers have more leverage to negotiate a lower price; therefore, lowering the original estimated value of a house.

Regardless of the current market, Brookside Real Estate Company agents are committed to helping you get the most out of selling your home and negotiating a fair, reasonable price that accommodates your budget when buying your dream house.

What is the difference between appraised value and market value?

Appraised values are driven by experts. The appraised value of a property is determined by a professional who assesses an exact number for the value of the property.

Market value has more flexibility than the appraised value. Unlike the exact number of the appraised value based on gathered data, buyers have influence over the market value of a property because a property is only worth what a buyer is willing to pay.

Brookside Real Estate agents will help you through this process from start to finish to ensure you receive the best possible outcome for your specific needs.

What is the difference between list price and sales price?

The list price is the price listed for a house for when it’s put on the market. This price can change during the listing should the owner opt to lower or raise the price before it sells. The sales price is the final price the buyer pays for a house.

Your experienced and knowledgeable Brookside Real Estate agent will help eliminate the guess work when determining an acceptable and fair price of a home in the Brookside area.

Closing Costs

What are closing costs?

Closing costs are fees charged by those involved with the home sale, such as your lender for processing the loan, the title company for handling the paperwork, a land surveyor, and local government offices for recording the deed, just to name a few.

The closing process can be a confusing and stressful time, but the agents at Brookside Real Estate Company will help you navigate the process and explain what is being charged and ensuring you receive the best deal on costs associated with title insurance, loan points, escrow or closing day charges, property taxes, and document fees.

Is it possible to save on closing costs?

Closing costs are expensive, averaging between 2 to 3 percent of the total home purchase price. However, the professionals at Brookside Real Estate Company can offer a few ways to save:

  • Your Brookside Real Estate agent is committed to getting you the best deal possible and will negotiate with the seller, resulting in the seller paying all or part of the closing costs.
  • As a dedicated agent with strong ties within the community, your Brookside Real Estate agent can suggest trusted lenders to help you secure the best loan for your specific needs. Your agent can also explain the different types of loans and help advise you on your options.
  • The agents at Brookside Real Estate Company will help you compare closing costs between a variety of lenders and assist in finding the lender who offers the lowest closing costs.

What are the important factors to consider on closing day?

Prior to the closing date, your lender will notify you of the amount you will need to bring in a certified check. The following checklist can help save you a few headaches and keep the closing on track:

  • Keep extra money in your account. While your Brookside Real Estate agent will keep you informed and updated on all impending costs, something unexpected can pop up during the closing that will require more money out of your pocket. Be prepared for the unexpected by taking your checkbook.
  • Discuss doing a before-closing inspection with your Brookside Real Estate agent. It is always a good idea, when possible, to walk through the property to make a list of any problems before finalizing a closing. Brookside Real Estate Company wants you to have the best home buying experience and wants you to be confident with your decision before signing on the dotted line.
  • Prior to closing day, arrange in advance to have all utility services switched to your name to prevent interrupted services. Brookside Real Estate can provide you with a list of all the information you will need to contact the service providers in your area.

Home Inspections

Do I need to be at the inspection?

It is not required that you attend the inspection, but it is a recommended to be there. Following the inspection, the home inspector can answer any questions you might have and discuss current or potential problem areas with you. However, you won’t have to face the inspection process alone. Your Brookside Real Estate agent will be with you from start to finish and provide an objective opinion about the home based on the inspector’s findings.

How do I select a home inspector?

Brookside Real Estate Company has over 30 years of combined experience in the real estate industry and can help recommend several qualified and experienced inspectors who belong to a credible industry trade group, such as the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI).

This organization has developed formal inspection guidelines and a professional code of ethics for its members. Also, membership in ASHI is not automatic; members must have demonstrated field experience and technical knowledge about structures and their various systems. When the time comes for a home inspection, you can count on Brookside Real Estate Company to provide only the best referrals for your inspection.

Should I hire a home inspector?

While it’s not mandatory to hire a home inspector, buying a home without getting expert advice is risky. Brookside Real Estate Company can help walk you through the inspection process and recommend creditable inspectors from our trusted network of industry professionals.

An inspection can reveal problems that your Brookside Real Estate agent may be able to negotiate for the current owners to fix before you move in, saving you both time and money. First-time homebuyers can benefit from an inspection by getting a crash course in home maintenance requirements and receive a helpful checklist of items that need attention to make your home as safe and sound as possible.

It is also wise to include an inspection clause in your written offer. This clause gives you an easy “out” from buying a property should serious problems be detected. It also gives your Brookside Real Estate agent another chance to negotiate the purchase price if repairs are needed. The clause can even specify that the sellers fix any problems that are uncovered before you settle, or close, on the home.

What does a home inspector do?

A home inspector is a paid professional, often a contractor or an engineer, who checks the safety of a home. Home inspectors search for defects or other problems that could become costly issues down the road for a homeowner. They primarily focus on the home’s structure, construction, and mechanical systems and should note:

  • Whether each problem is a safety issue, major defect, or minor defect
  • Which items need replacement and which should be repaired or serviced
  • Items that are suitable for now but that should be monitored closely

If you are unsure what questions or potential problems to ask the inspector, rest assured that your Brookside Real Estate agent will be with you throughout the entire process. Your knowledgeable agent knows all the important issues to address and can then provide you with an informed, honest opinion of the inspection results.

Insurance

Do I need Title Insurance?

The simple answer is yes. Title insurance is a means of protecting yourself from financial loss in the event that problems develop regarding the rights to ownership of your property. There may be hidden title defects that even the most careful title search will not reveal. In addition to protection from financial loss, title insurance pays the cost of defending against any covered claim. If you are financing the purchase price, your lender will require a title policy.

How much does Title Insurance cost?

The one-time premium is directly related to the value of your home and is typically paid by the seller.

What does homeowners’ insurance cover?

Most homeowner’s insurance policies will cover damage caused by fire, windstorms, hail, lightning, theft or vandalism. There are other homeowner’s policies that cover additional issues as well, and your Brookside Real Estate agent will be able to provide you with all the alternatives or direct you to a trusted source.

Not all natural disasters are covered by homeowner’s insurance, including floods and earthquakes. It’s important to talk to your insurance representative to learn what your policy may and may not cover. And for those perils that are not covered, there may be supplemental insurance you can purchase.

Lease Options

How does a lease option work?

In a lease-option, a property owner and tenant agree that, at the end of a specified rental period for a given property, the renter has the option of purchasing the property. Your Brookside Real Estate agent will be able to discuss with the owner whether this is a viable option. Additionally, your agent can help negotiate a fair deal.

Negotiating & Closing the Best Deal

Are low-ball offers a good idea?

Any offer can be presented, but a low-ball one that is extremely less than the asking price can dampen a prospective sale and prevent the seller from negotiating at all. Unless the home is overpriced to begin with the offer will probably be rejected.

Brookside Real Estate Company can help you compare prices of recently sold homes and new listings in the neighborhood. As the real estate experts in the Brookside area, your Brookside Real Estate agent will be able to help negotiate a fair price based on the current selling market.

Can you negotiate interest rates?

Some lenders will negotiate the mortgage rate and number of points on a loan. However, this is more the exception than the rule with established lenders. Your Brookside Real Estate agent can help you shop around and explain the current market. Additionally, your Brookside Real Estate agent will be able to refer you to trusted lenders, known for providing the best rates to their customers.

Do I need an attorney to buy a home?

Some states require an attorney to sell a home, however, Missouri is not one of those states. Most homebuyers can generally handle routine real estate purchase contracts as long as they read the fine print and understand all the terms. However, when you use a Brookside Real Estate Agent, they will help you read the fine print and fully explain the details of the contract.

What are some negotiating tips?

Knowing the seller’s motivation to sell will enhance the negotiating process. Sellers who are required to move or relocate quickly due to a job transfer, divorce, or contract on another home, are more inclined to accept a lower price to speed the process along.

It’s also important to remember that the listing, or asking, price is what the seller would like to receive for the home. It is not necessarily what the seller will settle for. Before making an offer, your Brookside Real Estate agent will check recent sales and listing prices of comparable neighborhood homes and compare them to the seller’s asking price. Your agent will also handle all of the negation processes to ensure you receive a fair and affordable price.

What contingencies should appear in the offer?

When looking to purchase a home, there is always the potential for unforeseen problems. Knowing how to protect yourself against them if something should go wrong, is why you hire Brookside Real Estate Company.

Your Brookside Real estate agent will help negotiate contingencies in your offer, including the seller’s responsibilities, such as passing clear title, maintaining the property in its present condition until closing, and making any agreed-upon repairs. There is also the option to make an inspection contingency, which allows you to have a professional inspect the property. Should any of these contingencies be breeched, you can cancel the contract without penalty.

Property Taxes

What is an impound account?

It is a special bank account held by the lender to collect monthly payments from the borrower to pay property taxes, mortgage insurance, and hazard insurance. These accounts also are called escrow or reserve accounts.

Lenders like to set up impound accounts to ensure the property taxes and insurance will be paid on time. They typically also collect a two-month cushion for taxes and insurance at the closing. A few states require the lender to pay interest on funds held in these accounts.

Are impound accounts required for all mortgage loans?

They can typically be waived on a conventional loan if the loan amount is 80 percent or less of the purchase price. However, the lender might charge you additional points for this option to waive the escrow.

One way to avoid an impound account on an owner-occupied mortgage is to raise your down payment amount slightly. The exact amount necessary to avoid the escrow will vary with the lender.