Finding the Perfect Neighborhood

There’s an episode of the TV series “How I Met Your Mother” where the characters decide to buy a home only to learn later that it sits downwind from a sewer plant. The message is obvious: A buyer must do his or her due diligence on prospective neighborhoods to avoid those kinds of mistakes.

Here are a few tips:homebuyer tips

Investigate the surrounding area: Good schools boost your property value. Research the closest parks and community centers and consider how busy streets impact the neighborhood. Check out stores and restaurants in the area. You may be used to a 5-minute drive to the grocery store, only to find out that your new home is 25 minutes away from the nearest place to buy milk.

Get to know prospective neighbors: Walk through the area and say hello to people. Ask them for their impressions of the neighborhood. While you’re at it, look around. Are there lots of kids on the block? Do people walk or jog through the neighborhood at night? A neighborhood can speak volumes by itself.

Research the Homeowner’s Association: What are the regular fees? Are there lawn or construction restrictions? Knowing these things can really make an impact.

Our Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices agents can furnish you with a wealth of local information and take you on a tour of the closest commerce centers, restaurants and shops. A little groundwork will help ensure that your dream house is surrounded by a dream neighborhood.

For more home tips, follow us on Facebook. Looking for a new home in the Kansas City area? Visit us at BHHSKCRealty.com!

Earnest Money Deposit

Buyers today understand they need a sizeable down payment and a strong credit score to secure a conforming home loan. They must hold liquid funds for another financial obligation—an earnest money deposit—to be paid when they make an offer on a home.homesmoney

Earnest money is handed over to the seller’s agent or the title company when a purchase contract is signed. This demonstrates that the buyer is serious about the transaction and is backing it up with cash.

Without this, buyers could simply make offers on many homes, essentially taking them off the market until they choose a favorite. Sellers rarely accept offers without it.

There is no set amount for an earnest money deposit, so it’s negotiable. If there are multiple bidders, the seller may ask for up to 3% of the asking price as earnest money. Assuming the transaction results in an accepted offer, earnest money goes toward the buyer’s down payment and closing costs. If the transaction falls through, the buyer may have to forfeit a nominal cancellation fee or more.

Be sure the purchase agreement outlines the refund process. Remember, a buyer can lose earnest money through default, which happens when he or she does not perform according to the terms stipulated in a purchase and sale agreement.

Work carefully with your agent to ensure a clear understanding of all terms and obligations.

For more home tips, follow us on Facebook. Looking for a new home in the Kansas City area? Visit us at BHHSKCRealty.com!