Buyer Frequently Asked Questions
What does it cost to buy a home?
It is standard to for the seller to pay the agent fees. The major expense to a buyer would be the loan fees that include the points and the various other fees charged by the lender. It is important to ask for an accounting of those fees when speaking with the lender. Other costs would include half of the escrow fee and the cost for the contractor’s physical inspection. You must arrange for and pay the first year’s fire insurance at close of escrow. Depending upon the time of year, property taxes may be added to the escrow account. There will always be costs associated with moving into a new home as you make it your own. I can recommend good, reasonable workmen.
Is it possible to find an affordable house in Santa Barbara?
What is affordable for some won’t be for others. A creative lender may find a way to get you into a property. Other strategies would be to ask family members or others to join in ownership as “equity partners.” Complex but do-able. Sometimes you can bring “sweat equity” into a house and by adding your personal upgrades, you can turn a “fixer” into a lovely home.
Will the market continue to appreciate?
What is guaranteed is that the housing market will fluctuate. It is likely that at some point there will be a softening on prices; however, I also feel strongly and have heard the same from the National Association of Realtors and California Association of Realtors economists that we will likely have continued appreciation over time. Santa Barbara will always be a desirable place to live and as such housing prices usually remain stronger than other areas. With the ability to leverage your investment as well as enjoy its usage, home ownership in my opinion is a very good investment.
Isn’t it better to work with more than one agent?
I would give you a definitive no to that. I would urge you to align yourself with one agent who will continually be looking out for the appropriate properties for you. That agent will be assured that when you buy, he or she will get paid. If you are working with several agents you will be no one’s priority client.
Most agents will ask you to sign an exclusive buyer agreement in which you are obligated to work with that agent only. I do not ask that of my clients as I find that they stay with me because of my dedication to their needs and I don’t want to force someone to use my services.