5 Top Blunders of Internet Home Buying: How to avoid the common pitfalls of online real estate searching
It May Be Time to Think About Buying a House
THE PROCESS...What to expect
What to Expect
The actual process of buying a home usually takes from 4 -6 weeks from contract to closing. This is a step by step check list. You can print it out, keep it handy and check off each item when it is done. This is a generalized list of items. Your Realtor, mortgage representative and title agent will provide you with specific items that need to be done that are particular to your purchase. If at any time you have any questions, contact us right away.
____ 1.Choose a mortgage representative and discuss how much home you can buy, what kind of payments to expect and how much cash you will need for down payment and closing costs.
____ 2. Sit down with the family and complete the wish list. This will make sure you get all the wants and needs for you new home
____ 3. Choose an agent and discuss you wish list.
(Call me...Pam 508-326-3190)
____ 4. Find your dream home. It is important to communicate with your agent on what you like or dislike about each house you see.
____ 5. Make an offer. When you find a home that's right don't wait to make an offer or someone else may and up owning the home you liked best. When you are ready you will complete the necessary paperwork, make a good faith deposit of usually 1-2 % of the offer and negotiations begin. Review any condo or HOA docs to be sure there will be no conflicts with the bylaws of the community. All decisions will be up to you but your Realtor will work hard to get you the best deal.
____ 6. Upon acceptance of both parties, the offer becomes a contract and time is now of the essence. There will be several contingencies in the contract that will have to met on certain dates. Failure to do so can not only stop the purchase of the home but also cause you to loose you deposit.
____ 7. Call your mortgage representative and make an appointment to make you loan application. Application for loan MUST be made within 5 business days of contract. Get a list of items the lender will need to approve your loan from your mortgage representative. Start working on gathering the information on the list. Make sure he has a copy of the contract.
____ 8. Choose you title company. Your Realtor will have recommendations. They will prepare the documents for closing, search the title to make sure you will receive clear ownership and provide you with a title insurance policy.
____ 7. Start packing.
____ 8. Make your second deposit. This MUST be done within 5 business days of contract.
____ 9. Choose your inspector and schedule the comprehensive and roof and termite inspection. Inspection MUST be completed and results delivered to the seller with in 14 calendar days of contract. Your Realtor can recommend inspectors. Your realtor will be present at the inspection even if you can't make it. The seller may agree to repairs and if so will begin as per contract. or seller may give you a financial consideration, or selller may not agree to do anything. At that time you may decide if you want to continuye with transaction.
____ 11. Review all condominiun documents if buying a condo. Have attorney help if needed.
____ 10. Make sure the lender has all the information and requirements requested of you completed. Failure to respond may delay the approval and can put you in default of contract.
____ 13. Schedule your HOA or condo board interview. Although this is mainly to review the community restrictions
____ 11. Choose a homeowners insurance provider. Again your Realtor will have recommendations for you. You will need to pay for your first year to get your binder. Best to have this done a week before closing.
____ 12. Make any necessary re-inspections after the repairs have been completed. If this is necessary to receive your clear roof and termite this needs to be done 5 days before closing.
____ 13. Week before closing, schedule your power and phone to be turned on the day of closing. Schedule the appointment for the cable for after closing. Water will have to be done at city hall with a copy of the deed and bill of sale. Put through a change of address at the post office.
____ 17. Schedule your arrival of furniture and belongings any any cleaning help for the day after closing. Closing day may run late or be too hectic to take delivery. Also schedule the day of closing off from work.
____ 18. With your agent review the final costs of closing. Purchase a cashiers check for the exact amount given to you by the title company.
____ 20. Walk through will be the morning of closing or the evening before. This is to check and make sure the sellers are leaving the home in good and broom swept condition.
____ 21. Closing!!!! Although it is always expected that the closing will be smooth and problem free, be prepared for some delays. Your Realtor will be there to assist you or answer any questions you may have.
____ 22. Celebrate! Congratulations, You just bought a new home!
____ 23. File for your homestead exemption as soon as you receive your deed in the mail.
Best Time to Sell
IS THERE A BEST TIME TO SELL? Timing is everything
In a quandary about when to put your home on the market? You've heard so many conflicting views as to the best time. Is there really one time of the calendar year that is better than others? There are many factors that will affect market activity at a given time, some of which are not predictable. Area differences and economic conditions can also impact the flow of real estate transfers as well. However, there are some consistent factors that occur on a regular basis that you can expect.
For instance, the fourth quarter of the year is impacted by several of the major holidays that will put a crimp in normal buyer flow. With two of these important holidays situated only weeks apart, a normal interruption of buyer interest can occur. In addition, since schools are in semester break, most people consider family priorities like vacations and celebrations more important and put housing sales at less of a priority. Those concerned with year-end financial responsibilities and deadlines will also make for waning interest. In addition, the corporate transfer market generally seems to become less active until after the holiday season subsides. Winter snow covers even the most elaborate landscaping, which may mean a potential buyer will have to appreciate that beauty from display photographs instead of the real thing.
The first quarter of the year enjoys the return of full market as all attention resumes to a more normal pace. The corporate transfer market can intensify as new goals are implemented for the new year. Locational factors can affect activity due to inclement weather conditions impairing the air and car travel.
April brings tax deadlines which in some cases has affected the middle weeks of that month. As the Spring season develops, homes seem to have nicer curb appeal and encourages more "drive-by" traffic. Many leases come due as the rental market turns over, often encouraging first-time home buyers to re-evaluate their housing situations. Real life occurrences still can affect regular flow as three-day weekends take precedence and schools let out for the summer. Graduation time also can lend a blow to the normal activity enjoyed in the late May-June period. Homes generally show their best when the exterior landscaping is in full bloom and top condition, grabbing the attention of that "drive-by" buyer.
Third quarter real estate runs fairly uninterrupted but also has summer vacations, the Fourth of July and Labor Day to obstruct full market activity. School start ups show to make the last weeks in August and September slower than the earlier part of the month.
It seems between holidays, school, weather, taxes, and family, just when is the best time? No one can predict when the one qualified buyer you need to appreciate your home will be looking in your neighborhood. Of course, some times seem better than others. Economic factors, interest rates, and of course, supply and demand will all play a critically important part as to the strength of the market. Springtime generally shows an increase of properties offered for sale, which gives increased selection to the buyer market. Fall may have less competition, but complications can occur with making moves during the holiday season and the kids final semester in school. The one important factor to remember is: A buyer buys when the right home is offered for the price they are willing to pay at a time they need to buy. Consider your own personal needs and motivations when thinking of selling. Consult your local real estate professional for factors affecting your specific area for the best strategy for your move.
BUYERS HAVE RIGHTS TOO!
1. The right to representation by a
experienced and skilled agent you can TRUST.
2. The right to know how much home you
can afford BEFORE you look for homes.
3. The right to the best financing and
mortgage lending services in town.
4. The right to end your weekend open
house rounds and do something fun instead!
5. The right to stop calling for information
on dozens of vaguely-worded home ads.
6. The right to see only those homes that
meet your needs and budget.
7. The right to advice and guidance in
determining what price to pay for a home.
8. The right to confidentiality of your
information from the seller and his agent.
9. The right to a Buyers Broker Contract to
protect you. (Endorsed by Ralph Nadar
and consumer groups nationwide)
10. The right to a purchase contract
structured to protect YOUR
INTERESTSónot the Sellerís.
11. The right to select your own Attorney.
12. The right to an agent who is reachable
WHEN you need him.
13. The right to whatever it takes to make
your move smooth and easy.
14. The right to periodic updates on your
loan in progress.
15. The right to a friendly, caring agent who
puts the clientís need above all else.
16. The right to an agent who will
remember you long AFTER the sale,
someone who will be...YOUR
PERSONAL REAL ESTATE
CONSULTANT FOR LIFE!
* * NOTE * *
A SELLERíS AGENT LEGALLY CAN
NOT PUT YOUR INTERESTS BEFORE
THE SELLERíS. WE ARE CURRENTLY
IN A SELLERS MARKET! Donít pay too
much for a home!!! Let me represent your
interests. New Homes, Foreclosures,
Fixers, $ 0 & 3% Down, Motivated Sellers.
Call TODAY FOR A FREE, NO
OBLIGATION APPOINTMENT TO
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT YOUR
RIGHTS AS A BUYER!!!
Oh, by the way, if you know of, or talk to,
a friend or relative who is considering
buying or selling Real Estate, please let me
know so I can offer them the same valuable
service I give to you.
Welcome to the adventure of buying a
home. If you want an experienced, EXPERT,
professional on your side, call:
*Article by Dennis Smith, http://sandiegohomes4u.com/home.htm
12 Ways to Lower Your Homeowners Insurance Costs
Insurance is an extremely competitive business and the price you pay for your homeowners insurance can vary by hundreds of dollars, depending on the insurance company from whom you buy your policy.
Avoiding Home Equity Scams
You could lose your home and your money if you borrow from unscrupulous lenders who offer you a high-cost loan based on the equity you have in your home. The Federal Trade Commission cautions all homeowners to be on the lookout for:
Thinking About a Home Improvement? Donīt Get Nailed
If you are thinking about making improvements to your home, selecting a contractor is the first and most important step in the process. The following tips will help save you money and frustration.
7† Common Mistakes Sellers Make
Making just one mistake can cost you thousands of dollars when you sell your home. Learn how to avoid these common mistakes and make thousands of extra dollars when selling your home.
9 Ways To Save Money When You Buy Your HouseSellers #1 Tip for getting Top Dollar
Knowledge is money. You can save thousand of dollars when you buy a house. You could also lose thousands of dollars if you do not know the right way to purchase.
Make sure you get full MLS coverage. Don't look at any offers until you are sure your home is on mls. An army of Realtors at your disposal can't be beat. Dump any Realtor that tries to tell you to put your house on exclusive (only his/her company) or wants you to negotiate offers before it gets on mls.
MLs is a strong selling tool,...use it. It will make a difference on your bottom line.
There is a saying in real estate. The first offer is usually the best one. This is only true, if everyone knows it's for sale. Real estate surveys in my area showed the owner lost an average of $2000. when their house was sold by the same office/realtor. The reason...the offer was written before any one else knew it was for sale. Ask any realtor you are contemplating dealing with, what the order of their marketing plan is. If submit to mls is not the 1st thing they are going to do, look for another realtor. If you took away every selling tool I had, and said I could only have one of them back, I would choose the mls service. This is not a commercial for MLS. It is just the best tool Realtors and the public have for getting maximum exposure on property..
Author Don Sutton
HOW TO HANDLE SELLER'S REMORSE
For years you have been toying with the idea of moving out of the house, and enjoying a newer home or perhaps a different kind of lifestyle. Finally you make the move to interview agents, stage your home for better presentation, and get it on the market.
The reality sets in as you pull in the driveway and are shocked to see a "for sale" sign in your own yard. Could this finally be happening? Confused, depressed and out of sorts, you sit yourself down to think this out a spell. "I can't believe I want to leave my home, after all the years and memories that we have had here." Yet you have discussed the move and made the decision, so why are you feeling so insecure?
Congratulations on being totally normal. Although the anticipation of relocating to a new place in a new neighborhood is exciting, leaving behind your present comfort zone can make for emotional lows. Feeling a sense of loss and discomfort are normal reactions when families relocate to new surroundings.
Displacement is caused by upsetting the habitual places we have our things. Frustration and confusion mount when you are unable to perform daily tasks like finding the right frying pan when everything is differently arranged and in unfamiliar surroundings. Concerns about how you will find new places and streets may make you worry a little. Questions arise that you are making such an important investment and wondering if you have done the right thing. You understand on a conscious level that the home represents a product of inventory to the consumer, but it is sometimes difficult not to project your own emotional attachments and prejudices. Comments from the buying public are those made for a myriad of reasons, and should not cause insecurity and disappointment.
One of the most common problems we have with sellers is their inability to disconnect from their own home to be objective. When other homes that are similar in style and age sell before theirs, they have difficulty understanding why the buyer chose the other property. The things that make your home attractive to you may not be appreciated or needed by the new buyer. Although "extras" do support a stronger price, these items will only be important to the buyer some of the time. Upgraded faucets or decking are nice to have, but generally won't be the singular reason for a purchase. The buyers tend to buy when "feeling" right about a property and back the decision up later after making the emotional commitment first. The extra touches tend to reinforce the decision to purchase, rather than create the impulse to buy. Arguing that fencing and decking and other improvements should have made the difference in similar housing doesn't make the buyer's decision wrong, but right for them.
A good sales agent will help you "stage" your home for maximum appeal. This might require your packing up and taking down photos, and mementos that you are quite used to seeing on a daily basis. Your home may appear stark and severe to you without these accents. Just remember that you must live in your home one way, but that you offer it as a product in quite another way.
You can help make the moving transition more comfortable by keeping your focus on your new home. Get familiar with the new area by meeting some of the neighbors before moving in. Familiarize yourself with the new streets and shopping areas so that you won't feel lost and uncertain. If the area is quite a distance from your present home, have the agent take some photos of the new schools for the kids and some good photos of your new home to keep you focused. Give yourself a few days to settle in after the move, relax and enjoy your new home.
Copyright REEPco, Inc. 1998
Permission granted to Realtalk subscribers for use in their personal Internet marketing plan.
How to Save $$$$ when you buy
Saving money is always important. When you are buying a home it becomes monumental. If you don't know what to expect, it will seem like everyone has their hand out. These tips can save you hundreds, maybe even thousand of dollars in purchasing your home.
Hire a Realtor: I know this sounds like an ad for myself, but statistics show, buyers who use an agent to represent them, average much lower costs. A good agent will know where to cut corners and where not to. They know the best rates for service providers such as lenders, inspectors, insurance and movers.
Transaction Fees: Most agencies charge between $150 - $800 in transaction fees. Ask up front what the fee will be.
Negotiate: Price is only part of the picture when making an offer. A seller may accept a lower price if your terms and mortgage information may be more desirable. Try changing closing date or initial deposit instead of price.
Get Pre-Approved: If you are pre-approved (not just pre-qualified) then you are almost as good as a cash buyer. This gives you a much stronger negotiating position. brokers. Their requirements may be more stringent but their costs are usually lower. Always ask for a good faith estimate. This allows you to compare apples to apples. Try a bank first.
Mortgage Fees: Although every loan has a variety of fees involved, you need to compare good faith estimates. Rate is only part of the picture. Make sure you are not paying excessive junk fees.
Closing Date: Closing at the end of the month saves you interest at the closing table. This can be a considerable amount.
As-Is : Think twice before you accept an as-is counter-offer. There may be repair items that need to be resolved before you move in. If the deal is as-is, this will come out of your pocket. I recommend a 2% repair clause. If you do go as-is, make sure you get a thorough inspection.
Shop Inspectors: Comprehensive inspections vary in price from $175 - over $600. You want a good inspector that will thoroughly inspect the property and honestly report his findings, but no need to over pay.
Shop Insurance: Here, too, you can seriously over pay, but make sure you are comparing apples to apples. Policies vary in coverage, deductibles and actual value covered.
Title Company: Unless there are complications involved in the transaction, it is not necessary to have an attorney close your purchase. If you choose to have an attorney ask their fees up front and compare to title companies. The policy price is pretty standard, its the charges for processing and paper work.
Movers: Ask for a quote in writing and make sure they guarantee no additional charges. Stay with the big names unless they come highly recommended by a good friend.
Your agent can help you with all of these tips. They should be willing to provide the names of several service providers in each field. They will know who does a good job and who is just out to get your money. Have your agent review your good faith estimates. They are very familiar with what fees are normal and common.
So, You Want To Sell Your Home Yourself?
Singin' the FSBO Blues
Robert N. Bass, Attorney at Law, Phoenix, Arizona
When Larry and Beth decided that the time had come to sell their home, they asked themselves: "Why do we need a real estate agent? After all, an agent will charge thousands of dollars to sell even an average home, and that commission comes right off the top! Heck, we can do practically everything that an agent would do, so why should we pay out all that money?" Many home sellers have similar thoughts, and because so much money is at stake, these questions deserve some serious thought.
Any real estate agent can give you an impressive list of reasons why it makes sense to hire a professional to help you sell your home, and from a marketing perspective, there are indeed many benefits in doing so. An experienced agent can utilize any number of marketing opportunities and strategies that the typical "For Sale by Owner" (FSBO) does not even know about. For example, only a professional agent can take advantage of the Multiple Listing Service, organized tours, etc. However, there is another reason to seek professional help in selling your home; an important reason that you may not have thought about.
In today's world, the sale of real property is not just a marketing exercise; there are many legal issues involved, which can create liability in the sellers. Of all the things you want and expect from selling your home, a lawsuit is probably not one of them!
Unfortunately, residential transactions have seen an alarming increase in the number of claims and lawsuits. Of these claims, the majority are filed against sellers, by their buyers. Home sellers who think they can "go it alone" might want to seriously ponder the observations of a lawyer who has defended many sellers and real estate agents against claims made by "the Buyer from Hell."
The process by which title to real property is transferred can be quite complicated, and the typical home seller is not familiar with the many legal issues that can and do arise, even in a fairly simple transaction. Important decisions must be made concerning contract terms, escrow matters, transfer of title, apportionment of costs and any number of other matters. Also, bear in mind that a simple missing word, or a mistake in grammar can create a dispute which, in turn, can give rise to a lawsuit. Aside from the problem of drafting the contract language itself, sellers can face other dangers as well. For example, did you know:
! that there are substantial risks involved when a seller agrees to "carry back" a note from the buyer; risks that can cost you thousands of dollars?
! that your good credit rating can be ruined by your buyer's default, many months, or even years, after that buyer "assumes" your loan?
! that a clever buyer can stay in possession of your property for many months after he defaults on the contract, and in effect "live for free" at your expense?
! that most buyer complaints involve alleged damages of less than $10,000, yet it can cost you thousands in attorney's fees to defend such a claim?
In short, a lawsuit can ruin your whole day! Even if you know that the buyer's claims are completely bogus, it can take many months and many thousands of dollars to prove that you are "innocent." What's worse, you have no "malpractice" insurance to pay these bills; you will have to write all the checks yourself. And, of course, you could lose ... and losing a case like this can be disastrous. You and the buyer have a contractual relationship, and sellers who lose such suits can find themselves having to pay not only the amount of damages awarded to the buyer, as well as their own attorney, but they may also be ordered to pay the fees of the attorney who sued them!
Experienced, professional real estate agents understand these kinds of risks, and they can help you to minimize them in a variety of ways. They devote many hours to training and educational programs which emphasize risk reduction, and protecting their clients' interests.
Now, there are any number of reasons why your buyers may decide to take action against you (sometimes, they just don't feel like making the payments any more!). However, most of these complaints allege problems with the condition of the property, and/or representations made to them about the property or the transaction. An experienced agent knows how to reduce the risk of these types of complaints, by including effective "AS IS" and other clauses in the contract language, and by providing for such things as a professional home inspection and a home warranty.
When a problem arises in the transaction, an experienced agent can move swiftly to "nip it in the bud." Their thorough understanding of the myriad facets of modern transactions can help them to identify the real problem, and to either solve it themselves, or by calling upon resources that the typical seller simply does not have access to.
There is no escaping it: the best way to deal with a complaint is to prevent it in the first place. The organized real estate community has spent a lot of time thinking about how to reduce the likelihood of claims, and has responded to this threat in a number of ways. For example, the standard contract forms that most agents use are chock full of language which can help protect you, and reduce your exposure to claims and litigation.
Of course, I don't mean to scare you with all this! But hey, it is a jungle out there. Indeed, I've only touched on a few of the pitfalls of selling your home on your own. Take it from someone who knows: selling your home without professional help is very risky business indeed. Yes, it costs money to employ a real estate agent, but if you find the right one, you will likely be able to sell your property faster, while at the same time reducing the chances that your buyer will come back to haunt you.
Phoenix, AZ Attorney Robert N. Bass is a former Administrative Law Judge for the Arizona Department of Real Estate, and is a nationally known educator on risk reduction for real estate. He concentrates his law practice in defending claims involving real estate transactions. He can be reached at mailto:Robert@BassLawFirm.com
SEARCH PROPERTY Current Property Search-All Listings-All The Time-With AddressesView "ALL THE HOMES ON THE MARKET"...thousands of homes in Grafton, Marlborough, Northborough, Shrewsbury, Southborough and Westborough and surrounding communities. When You Register...You choose the towns...You choose the Price range....You choose single family, multi-family, land or condo. You take control of the information you get.
Nothing replaces having a great buyer or seller representation, but my new service to you should assure that you have the information you need, when you need it.
And when you see something interesting....Call me and I promise to get you in the door as quick as possible.
Registered members can view complete detailed information on homes with their price range, in all towns they are considering moving to.AND Control what they view and what information they receive. You can get an email every morning, 7 days a week, describing all the homes that were listed within past 24 hours, what went on deposit, and what sold, "INCLUDING PROPERTY ADDRESS". Or you can just use site to search and get NO emails. Click here to become a member. You choose the towns and price range. You may self search or just receive Emails daily. Membership is FREE. Password will be emailed to you.
Call me if you have any questions.
Information For Home Buyers
CONGRATULATIONS! You have decided to buy a new home. These pages will help you take this big financial step by describing the home buying process.
Information For Home Sellers
Learn how to get top dollar for your home. Some basic steps can help set the right price for your home. How to qualify a buyer to make sure you are not wasting your time. What are the major tax implications when you sell your home?
Shopping for a Loan
Your choice of lender and type of loan will influence not only your settlement costs, but also the monthly cost of your mortgage loan. There are many types of lenders and types of loans you can choose. The right mortgage can give you the payment you desire.
Pre-Approval can give you the negotiating power you need.
Today most people do not live in the same house as long as they used to. That 30 year fixed is becoming less popular.
It is important to find a lender that you trust to give you all the information to get the very best loan for you
Commonwealth Communities10 Questions to Ask before You Hire and Agent
Commonwealth Communities is your resource for finding all the information on the 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts. You can find public school and community profiles, summaries of municipal finances, state legislators, regional offices for a variety of state agencies, and more. Also included are links to official city/town and public school websites, and other community sites that provide substantial civic information
Who you choose to help you purchase a home is a big decision. You will be spending quite a bit of time together and sharing personal information. It is important that you choose a Realtor who is professional and dedicated to your cause. Some one you are comfortable and at ease with. Here are 10 questions to ask before you choose.
1. Are you a member of the Board of Realtors?
Members of the Board of Realtors (Realtors) are held to a standard of ethics beyond what is required by the state. The Board also provides extensive training programs and networking activities. Also, only Realtors have access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) the most important and extensive data base of market information.
2. Are you a full time Realtor?
Many agents only do real estate part time. Not only can this limit your access to your agent when you need them, but it also can effect their dedication to you and your home search. Also, in general, part time agents do not participate in as much continuing education and full timers.
3. How quickly and what time can I reach you?
It is important to be able to reach your Realtor when you have a question or concern. You need to be confident that they will return your call right away, day or night.
4. Do you have support staff?
Having secretaries and processors may be helpful to the agent, but may be difficult and frustrating for you. You may want an agent who personally handles your account, that the person you hired will actually be the one working to help you find a home and assist you through closing.You want to be sure who ever you deal with knows you and your needs and concerns. If you are comfortable with this team approach, check the credentials and experience of the members of the team. Meet them also and be sure that they too will be up to date on your file.
5. May I have a list of references?
You would not think twice about asking this of a contractor looking to remodel your kitchen. Why not your realtor. Expect 3-6 references from deals in the past year. Call and ask how was their experience and would they recommend John Doe Realtor to their friends and family.
6. How long have you been selling real estate in this market and is this your FULL time job?
The number of years is not as important as the time spent in your market. Do they know the different communities? The atmosphere and amenities of these communities. Can they spot potential problems? Do they know who to recommend for mortgages, title work, repairs, etc.
7. How long will it take for me to find the right home?
The right answer should be what is your ( the buyer) time frame. You do not want a agent who is going to push you into choosing one of 3 houses they have shown you. Your time frame should set the pace. You may need to make a quick decision or you may have lots of time. You should never feel pressured by your agent.
8. Why are you in real estate?
You want a Realtor that enjoys helping families find their dream home. Someone who is dedicated to their profession. Not someone looking to make a fast commission check.
9. Can I bring you listing I find in magazines, newspapers or on the web?
Finding your dream home is a team effort between you and your agent. They should be happy to research any ads that look good to you. Even if they don't pan out, they will provide more information on what you are looking for.
10. Will you represent me as a single agent?
This will protect your information and guarantee that the agent is working for your best interest. See disclosures to learn more about representation.
Don't hesitate to interview several agents before deciding who you want to work with. Talk to your friends and co-workers, ask for recommendations. The right agent can make buying a home not only stress free but fun too! Contact me anytime for an interview. I will work hard to find you your dream home. I guarantee it!
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