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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Avoid These Comon Mistakes When Planning to Submit an Offer to Purchase

In competitive housing markets across the country, making an offer that sticks has become increasingly difficult. Do not make the process even tougher by succumbing to one of these common mistakes:

Dragging your feet means you could wind up paying more in a bidding war situation or missing out on the property altogether. Buyers need to be ready with their paperwork, such as bank statements, a preapproval letter, and documents supporting proof of funds, from the day they begin house-hunting mode. That way you can pursue with an offer when you do find a home you like. Many sellers will not consider an offer without these essential documents indicating a ready, willing and able buyer.

Making an offer for their preapproved amount
Smart buyers are getting preapproved to show a seller they’re financially able to purchase a home.
Many buyers come in with a preapproval for the exact offer price, but when you’re competing against other offers, including cash offers, you want to show financial strength. An exact preapproval could make a listing agent nervous because not only does the buyer not have any wiggle room to negotiate, but they might no longer qualify if interest rates rise.

Submitting a lowball offer
Lowballing a seller often backfires, particularly in a seller’s market. A lowball offer that isn't backed up with math or comparable sales data is disrespectful and could turn off the seller and possibly mean you will miss out on the property completely. Additionally, if the seller counters your offer, other interested parties may be submitting an offer for the same property. Sellers do not always provide all interested parties an opportunity to submit their "highest and best" offer when presented with multiple offers.

Waiving inspection contingencies
Regardless whether it’s new construction or even your mom’s house you’re buying from her – get it inspected. Further, if you waive the inspection contingency in your offer, you may lose the earnest money if you later back out of the transaction.

Not presenting yourself well enough
In a seller’s market, buyers need to take steps to make sure they look good in the eyes of the seller. In today’s highly competitive environment, the listing agent is trying to determine which buyer will be the easiest to deal with. Buyers may want to avoid pointing out every defect, making nitpicky queries, or questioning the seller’s tastes.
Basically, buyers who act less than enthusiastic will see themselves at a competitive disadvantage when sellers are comparing multiple offers.

Source: Edited by Scott Snyder - Welles Bowen Realtors

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Before You Start Looking

Before you start looking for your new home, you need to take a few key steps with your finances to make the process as smooth and painless as possible. Once you take care of your finances THEN you can start looking at homes and contacting a real estate agent. If you put the cart before the horse, you will be disappointed at every turn and waste a lot of valuable time – for everyone.
  1. Get your financial situation in order.
    • Know your credit history and fix any issues that might keep you from getting a loan.
    • Calculate your debt and expenses to help determine your desired monthly mortgage payment.
  2. Once you have your finances in order and you have an idea of what you can afford, gather all the necessary financial documents and seek a reputable lender.
    • Find a reputable lender who listens to your needs. A good loan officer can make or break your experience.
  3. Now that you have your finances in good order and have found a lender, the next important step is to get a pre-approval letter from your lender to prove your buying potential.
Now you’re ready to actually start looking at properties. In addition to knowing just how much you can afford and the type of home you want, make sure you take into consideration  different neighborhoods, schools, and other important variables like commute times, parks and recreation opportunities, and shopping.

Source: First American Home Warranty Newsletter
By: Amy Thyre

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Title Insurance

If you’ve ever purchased a home, you’ve likely purchased title insurance. But do you know what title insurance is, or why you would need it?
When you buy a home, you are given “title”– the owner’s right to possess and use the property. Title Insurance protects you, the buyer, as well as the lender, against the possibility that the sellers (or previous sellers) do not have free and clear ownership of the property, and therefore the right to transfer the home.
Title problems can surface after you close on your home and can affect your homeownership rights. Here are just a few examples of the hidden title problems that can surface:
  • Errors or omissions in deeds
  • Undisclosed mortgages, liens, or lawsuits
  • Undisclosed easement and boundary issues
  • Forgery
  • Fraud
  • Undisclosed heirs

How Title Insurance Works

When you buy title insurance for your property, the title company conducts an in-depth review of public records to make sure there are no problems with the title. Title searches can uncover title issues like liens, judgments, information on prior loans, assessment taxes, and other issues. The title company will then work to fix any defects that are found before the transaction closes.
The title company will then issue an insurance policy that will help protect you from a variety of issues that might be uncovered later. Unlike homeowners insurance that is limited to future incidents, title insurance is limited to problems that already exist when the policy is issued. If you should happen to have problems related to the title of your home, your title insurance policy includes coverage for legal expenses that may be necessary to investigate, litigate, or settle a claim.

Two Types: Owner’s Policy and Loan Policy

There are two types of title insurance policies: a loan policy and an owner’s policy. If you take out a mortgage loan when you buy your property, your lender will require a loan policy of title insurance. This policy is typically based on the amount of your loan, and the policy amount decreases as you pay off the loan. It protects the lender’s interest in the property should there be a problem with the title. It does not protect the buyer.
An owner’s policy protects the buyer if there is a title issue. This policy is issued for the amount of the real estate purchase. Even though you will pay for this policy only once (at closing), your coverage will last as long as you own your home.
For many of us, a real estate purchase may be the largest financial investment we will ever make. Like many types of insurance, you may never need to use your owner’s policy, but the value of what you stand to lose is quite high. So, when you buy a title insurance owner’s policy, think of it as buying peace of mind.

Source: First American By on February 1, 2017                                      

Monday, January 9, 2017

Which Is Cheaper: To Buy or Build New?

On the surface, buying an existing home seems like the most affordable route to go. After all, the median cost of an existing single-family home is $223,000. On the other hand, the average cost for building new construction averages $289,415.Obviously, there is quite a bit of variations in sorting out those costs. Plus, the price you pay upfront is only part of the equation when deciding to buy an existing home or build a new one.

A recent article at® laid out some of the pros and cons financially of buying a new versus an existing home. Make some of these considerations when weighing the best financial decision:

Square footage: New-homes tend to be more spacious than existing ones at a median size of 2,467 square feet. As such, when you take the average cost of a new build, it breaks down nationally to about $103 per square foot, which is actually lower than the cost of existing homes.

Finishes: With an existing home you inherit all the features and finishes, even if you don’t want them. That may mean you need to budget in some renovations if you’d like to redo anything. With a new home, you’ll be able to choose all the features and finishes yourself and have it set in the price from the get-go.

Maintenance: Older homes tend to require more maintenance. The cost of upkeep can be pricey too, depending on what needs to be done. For example, the average furnace tends to last about 20 years. When it needs replacement, expect to pay about $4,000. Not to mention, that shingled roof will likely need replacement after about 25 years at a cost of at least $5,000. On the other hand, newer homes tend to need less maintenance because all of the major appliances are brand new and under warranty.

Energy efficiency: Older homes tend to have dated windows and appliances, which can result in less energy efficiency and pricier energy bills. New construction tends to nearly always trump older homes in energy efficiency. Homes built post-2000 consume 21 percent less energy for heating than older homes.

Landscaping: Older homes tend to have mature landscaping already in place. And that landscaping can up a person’s property value by thousands. Further, those trees can save an estimated 56 percent on your annual air conditioning bill, according to the U.S. Forest Service. With newer homes, you’ll have to likely pay thousands to install landscaping and may have to wait years to get it to the point you desire.

Appreciation: With an older home, you can see the trajectory of prices based on previous sales prices and of comps nearby. New homes can be a gamble since they do not come with a proven track record of plentiful comps that have been tested over time.
Source:® (Jan. 5, 2017)

Scott Snyder with Welles Bowen Realtors cautions; when you decide to sell your newly constructed home, hope that other vacant lots are not available as your house may serve as a model for buyers that may ultimately decide to buy a vacant lot and build a house to suit their needs.


Friday, December 16, 2016

Closing Delays Rise

Closing times are lengthening. The time-to-close averaged 40.5 days from November 2015 to November 2016 compared to 36.7 days the year before, according to data from the National Association of REALTORS®. NAR called the longer times in closing “unexpected” in a recent blog post.

NAR began tracking closing delays following the implementation in 2015 of new mortgage disclosure rules, known as TRID or Know Before You Owe. The new mortgage rules changed the settlement process by adding new closing documents and timelines. Closing times have remained elevated since the implementation of the new rules.

NAR points out that many of the loans that settled in November were under contract during the busy months of September and October. The extra demand in fall contracts may have sparked some of the delays.

“These delays should ease in the coming months as refinance volume eases and as lenders continue to adapt to the new settlement process, but a longer average time-to-close may be part of the new normal,” notes Ken Fears, NAR’s director of regional economics and housing finance policy.

About 32 percent of real estate professionals reported a delay to settlement, according to November’s REALTORS® Confidence Index. Real estate pros said the top issues sparking a delay involved obtaining financing, the appraisal, and home inspection. Delays to closing due to financing accounted for nearly half of all delayed contract settlements. However, delays due to appraisals have been on the rise in recent months, partially due to a shortage of appraisers, the report notes
Source: National Association of REALTORS® Economists'

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Visit a Listing at These Times


The best times for clients to check out a property before buying:

8 a.m.: Drive the area in rush hour. How will it affect your commute, whether that’s a drive in to work or using public transportation? Start from the home and run the routes.

10 a.m.: What do you hear now? Construction, traffic noise, or barking dogs? Drive the street on a weekday and see how many people have cars in their driveways, are there other neighbors around, or does it look like a ghost town?”

3 p.m. School is out, so what does the neighborhood look like now, especially if the home is near a school. Are children cutting through your yard and into your future flowerbed? How is the traffic and would you feel OK letting your own children walk home from school?

5:30 p.m. How’s the commute home? If you are envisioning sitting outside relaxing with a glass of lemonade watching your kids ride bikes, you don’t want to find out too late that Waze is redirecting traffic through your quiet neighborhood.

9 p.m.: Wild parties in the evening hours? How safe does the neighborhood feel at night? Is it well-lit or dark? Park the car in front of the house and roll down the windows to check the noise and their comfort level.

 3 a.m. Check for planes, trains, and traffic noise. You don’t want to discover you can’t sleep because of the noise after you move in.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Paint Colors That Make a Room Look Bigger


Sneak Peek: The 'It' Paint Color for 2017
White: White reflects light, thereby making a space look brighter and feel more open. “White will make any room appear bigger and complement the natural lighting,” Than Merrill, a real estate investor and host of A&E’s “Flip This House” told®.
Yellow: A creamy and soft yellow can also reflect light, and can create a softer alternative to white (as long as it’s not too bold of a yellow). Add white accents, such as on the trim, to add further dimension to the room.
Gray: A calming, light shade can help expand a room and, unlike white, doesn’t cast off a glare.
Monochromatic color schemes: Use a monochromatic color scheme for the entire space to open it up (in other words, stick with the white, gray or soft yellow and don’t introduce then a bolder color). “Choose rugs, furniture, and accents in similar shades – like a patterned rug in white and light gray,”®’s article suggests. “This creates a minimalist, clean look that makes the entire space feel larger.”

Source:® (Sept. 9, 2016)