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Coming home from work to find that the impeccably-made bed you left in the morning is now covered in a ball of linens is obviously annoying. Constant requests to extend deadlines, lists of demands and nitpicking the condition of the home are not only time consuming and insulting, but they do nothing to endear the buyer to the seller.
These are just a few examples of homebuyers behaving badly. Depending on the market, however, buyers are not necessarily in the driver’s seat. During periods of multiple offers and heavy investor involvement, it’s important for buyers to be on their best behavior. So, dear homebuyer, read on to learn how to not turn off the seller of your potential dream home.
The Time Bandits
Savvy home sellers spend a great deal of time ensuring that the home is presentable during the marketing period. They clean, de-clutter, and then inconvenience themselves by skedaddling before any potential buyers show up. Buyers that cancel appointments at the last minute, or just don’t bother to show up, are behaving quite badly.
Unless an emergency came up, and there was no time to call your agent or the seller, try to provide the seller with at least several hours’ notice that you won’t be arriving to tour the home. It’s the polite thing to do, and it just might save the seller from needlessly preparing for your arrival.
“Time is of the essence” is a phrase that you’ll see in most real estate purchase contracts. What it means is that all specified deadlines in the agreement are mandatory – well, sort of. Yes, you can request the extension of a date and it will most likely be granted, if the reason for the request is compelling enough.
Frivolous requests, however, or those made repeatedly, are big time wasters. Sellers are frequently on a tight schedule to get the transaction to the closing table. Just as you are excited to get into your new home, the seller has plans as well. Keeping contract deadline extension requests to a minimum is one way you can contribute to a smooth transaction.
Then there is the homebuyer that, once the ink dries on the contract, treats the home as if it’s unoccupied and equipped with a revolving door. One week it’s an interior decorator that needs access to take measurements, then, perhaps, the next week it will be the architect. Many buyers want to show family members their new home – before it is actually their new home.
The seller, in the meantime, is packing for the move, having repairs completed, accommodating the appraiser and inspectors – all while attempting to live a normal life. Additional home tours are more than an inconvenience, they are time stealers.
If you must gain access to the home, ask your agent to find out when the inspector or appraiser will be there and arrange to visit at the same time.
Nitpicking is neither a successful price-reduction nor negotiating strategy, as buyers who have tried it can likely attest. Bankrate.com’s Dana Dratch calls these buyers “gladiator wannabes,” who, after they’ve agreed to purchase a home, come in with a long list of things that are wrong with it, or a list of concessions.
The art of negotiating depends on give and take – not a barrage of one-sided demands. Let your real estate agent do the negotiating. If you truly feel that something that is wrong with the house commands a price reduction, your agent should be able to justify it with a list of comparables and reasons why the home doesn’t stack up.
There are several reasons why a real estate agent will suggest that a buyer get fully approved for a loan before submitting an offer. Buyers that don’t take this important step will run the risk of derailing the entire transaction.
Even a pre-approval commitment from a lender isn’t firm. Once the loan application is in the hands of the underwriter, anything can happen. Many times, a buyer will receive a letter from the bank – in the middle of a transaction – listing all the conditions that must be met before the loan is approved. Satisfying these conditions not only takes time, but, depending on the conditions, may result in a cancelled sale.
Take the time to work with your lender to ensure that you will get the loan before committing to purchase a home. Don’t make any major purchases until the home closes escrow. Entering into the process knowing that you’ll get the loan is not only a courtesy to the seller, but the peace of mind it will give you is priceless.
Both parties in a real estate transaction have schedules that need to be accommodated during the purchase process and, of course, sellers can behave badly as well. (We’ll take a look at that in a future article). Respecting each other’s needs helps make the transaction run smoother and more comfortably for all concerned.
For more tips about home buying, connect with me on Social Media!
Your Local San Diego Real Estate Expert,
Nissou Realty Group | Keller Williams Realty
680 Fletcher Pkwy. El Cajon, CA 92020
Direct 619-250-4541 | Office 619-873-2772
CalBRE # 01443193
Write Out Loud’s Voices of Ireland
March 16, 2015
Price: $22 – $30
Renting to own (also known as a lease-option) provides those not in the position to make an immediate purchase on a home, to settle on something that is right for them- at the right time. Many lease options are the same.
Typically, renters agree to lease the house for a pre-determined amount of time (usually one to three years) with an up-front fee with or without an elevated monthly rent. The potion over market goes into a “fund” that is utilized later as a down payment. They provide the opportunity to lock the price in when the deal is made, with the option to purchase at that price when or before the lease is up.
Timing is everything. Market conditions play a critical factor into finding a lease-option. When the market is steady, it makes it difficult to find these options unless the owner really needs to sell. However, as homes sit on the market longer, sellers begin losing money which causes the window for lease-options to open to potential and future home buyers.
Lease-options typically favor the buyer, but can be complicated to those that are unfamiliar with them. Have a real estate broker and attorney inspect the contract to ensure there is financial protection as well as security. Lease options can be a smart solution to throwing away money when you rent. First time home buyers who play their cards correctly can eliminate conventional loans and get that chance at their dream of homeownership.
Your Local San Diego Real Estate Expert,
Nissou Realty Group
Keller Williams Realty – El Cajon
619-250-4541 | Stephen@StephenNissou.com
The answer to that question depends on several factors.
Just the thought of having two mortgage payments—even for a short period of time—can cause massive anxiety for some people. Even if your lender has assured you of a simultaneous close on the two homes, uncertainty may linger.
Then, there is the pressure to accept an unattractive offer just to ensure that the home sells in time. If you wait to buy, you’ll have the luxury of being able to negotiate offers as they come in.
If you crave certainty, you should probably wait until the current home sells to take on the purchase process.
There are, however, those who deal with uncertainty better than others. If that describes you, then starting the purchase process before you sell your current home probably won’t faze you.
Regardless of your personality, if you just don’t have the money to support two mortgage payments at the same time, then you have no choice but to sell your home before you purchase another.
Further, if you need the proceeds from the sale of your current home to use to buy a new home, you’ll need to wait until after you sell, or attempt a simultaneous close. (We explain that process below.)
A seller’s market is the ideal situation when you’re selling your current home, but it can be difficult if you hope to purchase at the same time. In a seller’s market—where there are few homes available and lots of buyers competing for them—sellers are in the driver’s seat. With multiple offers coming in, homeowners are not likely to accept an offer that is contingent upon another home selling.
On the flip side, in a hot seller’s market, homes that are in good condition and are located in decent areas will sell quickly. If your house is among them, you take on little risk if you wish to purchase a new home before selling your current one.
Ascertain if the current market caters to sellers or buyers before making the decision of whether to buy before your house sells. Your real estate agent is your best source for this information.
Achieving the Simultaneous Close
Selling one home while purchasing another can be a bit of a balancing act. If you try to time the closings to occur during the same period, you run the risk of ending up with two house payments at once.
If you allow too much time between closings, on the other hand, you may find yourself renting a temporary home and, thus, moving twice.
The ideal situation is to plan for a simultaneous closing, where both transactions occur on the same day. However, this process comes with risks, too. If anything should go wrong on the first transaction you could end up not being able to close on the second.
For the simultaneous closing process to go smoothly, it’s important to choose the right buyers for your current home. How much do you know about their finances? How firm is their offer? What do you know about their motivation to purchase? How badly do they want the home?
Since the process is a bit like a string of dominoes, and the buyer of your home is the lead domino, it’s crucial to choose a buyer you know will consummate the deal.
The key to success is hiring an experienced, professional real estate agent. Your agent can guide you through the process and steer the transaction to keep it on course.
For information about home prices in your area, or to find out how much your home is worth, please contact me at 619-250-4541 or Stephen@StephenNissou.com!
Your Local San Diego Real Estate Expert,
Nissou Realty Group | KW Realty El Cajon
619.250.4541 Direct | 619.873-2772 Office
Furnishing, decorating or redecorating a home can be expensive, tedious and sometimes a bit frustrating. We must try to keep up with the latest, ever-changing fashion trends while also attempting to carefully balance expenses with the social responsibility of not creating additional landfill waste. We live in a crowded world where the unnecessary dumping of bulky furniture items or interior finishes that are still in good shape shouldn’t be tolerated.
Try to keep sustainability in mind as you decorate your home. Seek out items containing recycled content or made from eco-friendly materials. Donate or sell items that could be salvaged whenever possible, as they should be given the opportunity for a second life in another home.
Here are a few simple design ideas with a sustainable approach, to help give a fresh look to your home while remaining eco-friendly.
Focus on the Finishes
If you’re starting bare bones with your home décor, you can select interior finishes that contain recycled content or that are made from rapidly renewable resources. There are many flooring options available today that provide style and are also quite cost effective—bamboo, cork or linoleum, to name a few. For carpeting, look at selections bearing recycled materials, or that contain wool or even corn fibers, for a sustainable choice.
For bathroom or kitchen countertops, consider ceramic tiles or beautiful glass made entirely from recycled content. More exclusively for kitchens, look for counters made from concrete, stainless steel, recycled paper or even reclaimed wood. Consider cabinetry materials that are sourced from sustainably harvested forests, such as from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), and steer clear of products containing added urea-formaldehyde to offer a healthier interior environment.
If you’re redecorating your existing home, try and salvage what you’ve already got! Refinish those beautiful hardwood floors that can last another lifetime, instead of replacing them. Refurbish existing cabinetry or interior doors by adding a fresh stain, a coat of paint, or updated hardware.
“New” Furniture Doesn’t Have to Be New
Shop at thrift stores, antique shops, flea markets or second-hand online retailers for one-of-a-kind treasures and give them a fresh look. Consider stand-out pieces such as oversized wooden or metal headboards, table and chair ensembles, distinctive dressers, buffets or armoires—then refurbish them to compliment your existing décor. Vintage pieces establish an effortlessly unique appeal and help divert unnecessary waste from already overflowing landfills.
Another eco-friendly and cost-effective option is to refinish the furniture you’ve already got at home. Some sanding, new hardware, and a fresh stain or paint color added to a single piece of furniture—or a complete ensemble—will give a room an entirely new look. Consider a distressed look or even add stenciling or texture. Encourage a family project and the whole gang will take pride in the finished product!
Use some imagination and creativity to give new meaning to existing pieces or eclectic, previously-owned treasures. Antique dressers make gorgeous bathroom vanities; and with a reclaimed wood top, you can make exceptional kitchen island creations. Search out vintage lockers for storing mudroom essentials and display houseplants on rustic hutches or armoires left lazily ajar.
If you absolutely must have something new, seek out furniture derived from eco-friendly products and those made from recycled plastics or metals. Consider ethically sourced wood or accent pieces made from rapidly renewable materials such as bamboo.
Addressing the Finer Details
Don’t forget to also think sustainably when fine-tuning your home décor. Seek out throw rugs or blankets derived from natural or recycled fibers. Do the same for your fabrics and textiles, and consider green options such as organic cotton or linen, hemp or jute.
Most importantly, instead of buying new, search again for unique, second-hand treasures. Make a bold statement by adding one-of-a-kind light fixtures to any room. Refurbish vintage mirrors or antique picture frames. Utilize abandoned window panes for your photo collections. Consider rustic galvanized tubs, wicker baskets or ornamental canning jars for your storage needs and add a touch of classic elegance with a single glass vase or antique table lamp.
As consumers, it is our social and moral responsibility to think about how our individual actions affect the world we live in. We can help not only to divert unnecessary waste from already overcrowded landfills; we can have a lot of fun doing it.
Eco-friendly home design resources:
Your Local Real Estate Agent,
When most consumers hear the word “condo,” they picture a unit in a larger structure. For the most part, this is accurate. The problem, though, is that “condominium” is actually a form of ownership, not a type of structure. There are three major types of homeownership:
Condominium owners own the interiors of their units and share ownership of the common areas. “Town house,” on the other hand, describes a type of structure – one that is typically two or more stories and attached to one or more other town houses, each with its own front door.
In some parts of the country, town houses may be owned as condominiums or the homeowner may own it fee simple – in which she owns the building and/or land in its entirety.
As you can see, the questions to ask if you are thinking of purchasing a town house will be quite different than those you’ll consider when purchasing a condominium unit. Let’s take a look at three of the most significant factors you should consider.
While not all town houses are governed by homeowners associations, many are. This fact opens up a can of worms when considering whether to purchase. HOA fees can be quite expensive, so you’ll need to take them into account when determining how much you can afford to spend on housing every month.
During the purchase process, you’ll be given a pile of HOA-related paperwork, and you’ll need to read every word of every page – or have your attorney do so. You’ll want to know if the HOA is solvent, how often it levies assessments and if there is pending litigation, among other issues.
Finally, you’ll need to consider if you want to live in an area managed by an association. Some people prefer the structure that an HOA affords while others find that structure too confining.
Purchasing a fee simple town house is identical to purchasing a detached, single-family dwelling as far as lenders are concerned. If the town house is owned as a condominium, lending becomes a bit trickier.
Owner-occupied homes tend to be maintained better than those used strictly as rentals. Lenders understand this and make it a part of the lending decision. Find out the ratio of owner-occupied to tenant-occupied units before making an offer. If it exceeds 30 percent, you may not be able to get a mortgage for it.
Determine the percentage of homeowners that are delinquent in paying their HOA dues. This is critical information because banks typically won’t lend to anyone wishing to purchase a town house where the HOA delinquency rate is more than 15 percent.
If you’re using the purchase of a town house as a springboard to the future purchase of a detached home, you’ll want to plan an exit strategy. Yes, it seems silly to consider moving before the ink is dry on the purchase agreement, but it’s necessary to achieve your future goals.
Building equity in a home takes time and, depending on market conditions and the type of home you own, it may take longer with a town house. All things being equal (location, proximity to good schools, etc.) a single-family home will appreciate in value quicker than a town house. In reality, the opportunity to build equity in the first few years of ownership of any type of home is minimal unless you pay an enormous down payment.
Ask your real estate agent to give you statistics on town house sales in your area over the past year. Check the average days on the market. The longer a home remains on the market, the less money it eventually brings. Should you decide to purchase, ask your agent to keep you updated on the town house market in the future. Most agents are happy to do this.
Keep in mind that even when your equity begins building, your property taxes may rise. Property reassessments can take a bite out of how much equity you’re able to build.
Living in a town house is ideal for those who want the benefit of homeownership at a cheaper price and without some of the headaches that come with a detached home. Choose your town house wisely and with an eye toward future market value.
Your Local San Diego Real Estate Expert,
NIssou Realty Group | Keller Williams Realty – El Cajon
Direct: 619-250-4541 | Office: 619-873-2772
According to the dictionary, a mistake is an error resulting from deficient knowledge or carelessness. While we can’t do anything about carelessness, when it comes to counseling first-time homebuyers, the real estate agent is a tremendous resource to help overcome knowledge deficiency.
That homebuyers lack knowledge about the process only makes sense when you understand that shopping for a home may be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for some. Certainly, it’s not something most Americans do frequently. The process is foreign and the pitfalls are hidden. This is why it’s so important to find the right real estate agent to assist you along the way.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common first-time homebuyer mistakes.
Going into a home purchase with your eyes closed to your finances is probably one of the biggest mistakes you can make during the process. Nobody likes unpleasant surprises, yet that’s what you open yourself up to when you are ignorant about where you stand financially.
If you are unsure about your credit-worthiness, order your credit reports from the three major credit bureaus. By law, Americans are entitled to one free report from each bureau every 12 months. You can order your free reports at AnnualCreditReport.com, the only authorized website, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
Look for errors on the reports and dispute any erroneous information. Pay off what you can to help lower your debt-to-income ratio.
Then, see a lender to determine exactly how much you can borrow for a home.
Finally, when you have that figure, don’t be tempted to shop for homes priced at the limit. Give your post-purchase budget some monthly wiggle room by purchasing at the middle of the price range, or a bit more.
While you may not get everything on a wish list, it’s a good idea to compile one – especially if more than one person will be living in the home.
Understand that your wish list isn’t set in stone and you can plan on it changing once you start viewing homes. During the home-shopping process, you will get a better idea of which items are feasible with your budget and which will have to be struck from the list. Knowing what you want and need in a home is vital to your long-term satisfaction, so it’s worth the time it takes to sit down and make a list.
Don’t neglect the neighborhood wish list either. Do you need to be close to public transportation? If you’d like a family neighborhood with lots of kids for yours to play with, put that on the list.
The bonus to getting clear on your wants and needs is that when you share the list with your real estate agent, your time won’t be wasted by viewing homes that don’t fit your criteria.
If the home you decide to make an offer on is managed by a homeowners association, you’ll be presented with a stack of paperwork to read over and approve. These are the HOA documents and, although terribly boring, they hold a wealth of valuable information that you must be privy to before making the final decision to purchase the property.
These documents govern how you can use your home, and they give you an idea of how much and how often your fees might rise. You’ll learn about common and ongoing problems the association deals with and how financially solvent the association is.
Don’t be like the couple that purchased a condo without reading the HOA documents and found out, three days after closing, that they – along with all the other homeowners – were being assessed $7,500 to remedy construction defects.
If you don’t feel that you can read and understand the information in these documents, it’s important to hire an attorney to help you wade through them.
The best part of the home-purchase process is that point during the transaction when inspections are complete, all the contingencies have been removed, and it feels like smooth sailing to the close.
Unfortunately, this is a danger zone for rookie homebuyers. This is typically when they start picturing themselves actually living in the home and the urge may be overwhelming to shop for furniture, appliances and other big-ticket items.
Just before closing, many lenders perform what is known as a “soft pull” of your credit reports. It’s called “soft” because it doesn’t impact your score in any way. It’s the lender’s way of making sure all the circumstances under which it approved the loan haven’t changed.
Any big changes you make, such as large purchases or getting a new job, may derail or delay the purchase. If the new debt you’ve taken on is substantial enough, it may change your debt-to-income ratio and you may be forced to reapply for the mortgage.
Keep your pocketbook closed and remain on your current job until you walk away from the closing table.
Although foregoing a home inspection was unthinkable a few years ago, in a seller’s market where multiple offers are common, it’s tempting to agree to waive the home inspection as an incentive for the seller to pick your offer. It’s also not very wise.
A professional inspection, even of a newly constructed home, may be the only way you’ll know whether you’re buying a lemon or a plum – a money pit or a smart investment.
When you forego a professional home inspection, you’re essentially buying the home “as is.” Without the inspection contingency, the buyer waives his right to ask for repairs or money to make the repairs.
Waiving the home inspection is never worth the risk.
Knowing how much home you can afford is paramount to a successful home purchase. Making the decision to remain within a certain budget, doing all you can to clean up your credit to get the lowest interest rate possible, and becoming clear on your desires and expectations all help to make the home-buying process as error-free as possible.
Your Local Real estate Expert,
Nissou Realty Group | Keller Williams Realty
680 Fletcher Pkwy # 100
El Cajon, CA 92020
Why is 2014 the perfect time to sell your home with me?