Home Buying Questions

Buying a home can be a daunting task, and it’s not unusual for the home buyers we work with to have a lot of questions about the process. To help buyers feel more educated and informed, we asked our real estate agents in Guilderland, Latham, Colonie & Albany NY to help us compile a list of the 5 most common home buying questions and answers. Here’s what they had to say!

How much house can I afford?

Most lenders recommend that your mortgage payment, including principal, interest, taxes and insurance be less than 28% of your gross monthly income, but mortgage affordability really depends on how much you’re comfortable paying and what your financial plans are. You can use realtor.com’s home affordability calculator for a ballpark figure, but it’s also a good idea to obtain a lender’s pre-approval before attending your first open house. This will help you determine what you can afford, and make you more appealing to sellers.

Can I sell my house and buy another at the same time?

This is one of the trickier home buying questions to answer, and while our Guilderland & Latham real estate agents said that it’s possible, they agreed that it can be stressful. Obviously, if you buy before you sell, you’re stuck paying two mortgages simultaneously, and if you sell before you buy, you may have to move items into storage and rent temporarily. The most common solution is to instate a “sale contingency” in your contract, which means you only agree to buy if you can sell your current home. However, it’s important to note that sellers are sometimes reluctant to agree to these terms.

Can I buy a house if I have bad credit?

That depends, how bad is bad? A minimum credit score of 620 is required by all mortgage loans delivered to Fannie Mae, but you might be surprised to learn that some loan programs, including those insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), allow borrowers with a credit score as low as 580 to purchase a home with only a 3.5% down payment. If your credit score falls below the minimums, there are ways to improve your score for a future purchase, or you may still be able to acquire a loan if you have a family member or friend who is willing to co-sign.

How many homes should I see before making an offer?

This is truly an individual decision. For instance, a real estate agent in Colonie might have a client that finds a home within hours, while an agent in Albany might help a family shop for months. Most homebuyers look at hundreds of homes online nowadays, but our real estate agents typically recommend looking at an average of 10 homes in-person before making an offer. To help streamline the process, narrow your search to a particular neighborhood or community and expand to surrounding areas only if needed.

Do I really need a home inspection?

That’s a unanimous, “Yes!” from our real estate agents. Home inspectors are experts at seeing potential problems with a home that buyers and real estate agents may miss. They are professionally trained to inspect the septic, electric and heating systems, roof and other areas of your potential new home for problems. It’s better to know the condition of your home before you sign the paperwork, and are saddled with unexpected repair costs in the future. A home inspection will ensure that you are making an informed decision, and, if problems are discovered, you can negotiate with the seller to get have the repairs made prior to signing.

Do you have more home buying questions?

We have answers! With more than 50 real estate agents in Guilderland, Colonie, Latham & Albany NY, no one has more experience with local real estate than CM Fox. We’re happy to answer your questions, offer advice and help you find the right house for the right price. Contact us online or call 518-861-7030 to speak with a real estate agent directly.