Real Estate Corner



Should I use the local realtor in my neighborhood?

You want to use the Realtor that you believe can sell your house!  Real estate is not just a local business anymore.  Real estate is regional.  You want the Realtor that will work hard and make you and your situation are a priority.  You want the Realtor that will treat the sale of your house, the way they would treat the sale of THEIR own house.  You want to make sure your home is properly marketed.  You absolutely want to make sure that they will do a fantastic job of negotiating on your behalf.  Follow your instincts and you should end up with a happy, successful closing in a few months.



What is a Short Sale?

A short sale occurs when a homeowner owes more on their mortgage than they can sell their house for.  For example, a homeowner has a loan for $200,000 and the homes in the neighborhood are selling for $125,000.  If the homeowner has a true hardship, they can go to their lender and see if they are a candidate for a short sale.  The reason for the term short sale is because the homeowner is asking the lender to sell the home for an amount that is short of the full loan payoff amount.  Some first time buyers think a short sale refers to the timeframe for the approval.  This is not the case.  I have seen short sales take anywhere from 60 days up to 200+ days, for an approval.  If the buyer is patient, they can get a great home that is maintained, by the homeowner, until closing at a great price.


Why should I get a home inspection?

An inspection is your time to fully evaluate the house and to make sure everything is in proper working order. You are paying a lot of money for your home, you should spend just a little more to check out the house. I know that everything looks fine, but you never really know what is going on with a furnace, roof, the electrical or anything else. For example, the furnace could be leaking carbon monoxide, an odorless, tasteless, poisonious gas. The time to learn about such a leak is BEFORE your purchase.
It is always best to leave the home evaluation to the experts. However, if we do find a safety hazard, we want it addressed. If you are the buyer, you want to know if there are any health or safety violations.
This is going to be your home, where you and your family are going to live for many years. You want it to be safe. If you are the seller, you want to live in and give the buyer a safe house.
Does a home inspection mean you should nitpick every small item? No way, there is no such thing as a perfect house. A house is always going to have projects. If you are the buyer, you are going to pick up the project list where the current seller left off. When you sell, the next buyer is going to pick up your
project list. There is not perfect home, there is always something. By the time you get everything right, it is time to start over!


When I want to refinance my loan, should I pay for an appraisal or ask my agent

I believe you should start with your Realtor. Just like when we pulled up the details about the properties that had recently sold, when you purchased your home, we can do the same thing again. Your lender is going to hire an appraiser and charge you several hundred dollars for a detailed appraisal. Your Realtor
with be able to give you a good price range, at no cost to you.

If you just want to refinance, to take advantage of a lower interest rate, you will need the comparable sales values to equal the amount you owe on your mortgage. For a quick example, if you owe $300,000 on your house and your neighborhood sale prices are $300,000 to $350,000. You should be ok to
refinance your loan and take advantage of a lower interest rate.
If you want to take some of your equity out of the house, you will need the comparable sales values to equal the amount of your mortgage, plus 20% of your mortgage, plus the amount that you want to take out. An example of this might be, if you owe $300,000 on your house and the neighborhood sales prices are $400,000 to $425,000. Again, you should be ok to refinance your loan and take some of the equity out of your house. In this example, the lender will probably want you to keep 20% equity or $60,000 but anything above the $360,000 you could cash out. Warning: I don’t believe taking equity out of your house is a good idea.

I meet with homeowners all the time, and almost every single one of them doesn’t even remember what they did with all of the money, and they are still paying on the loan! The equity you build in your current home is going to help you get to your next home.

Remember, every situation is unique. This is a general answer. Your lender will be able to give you more specific details for you.


Does a verbal offer ever count?

A verbal offer isn’t worth the paper it isn’t printed on. Sorry, no pun intended. In today’s world of modern technology, it is very easy to submit an offer, no matter where you are in the world. For an offer to be valid, you must be 18 or over, you must be competent, and your offer MUST be in writing.
There is no way to prove anything that isn’t in writing.

We can email purchase agreements, fax them, overnight them, and even mail them through the U. S. Post Office. We are very blessed to have so many alternatives.

If you really, really want a house, put your signature where your mouth is, on an offer to purchase. If you try a verbal offer, the house you love might be sold to the purchaser that was willing to put their offer in writing. Sellers and their Realtors don’t take verbal offers seriously. We need to see your entire
offer, your earnest money deposit, and your pre-approval letter. The entire package must be evaluated.