Author Archives: Susan Tillman, REALTOR®

About Susan Tillman, REALTOR®

I am a real estate professional helping buyer find the homes of their dreams and helping sellers get the best price in the least amount of time. I can help walk you through the process, and provide a wealth of information on a variety of topics dealing with "The Move" and home ownership.

Fixer-upper or Move-in Ready?

Shows like HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” have popularized the idea of buying and renovating the worst house on the best block. Homes that need major remodeling, however, aren’t for everyone. Sometimes a move-in ready house is a better option. Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned investor, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of each. Read more……..

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Moving Art Pieces

I like art. I have a lot of it – more art than I have walls at the moment. I still have art pieces sitting around waiting for me to hang them. I noticed that my tastes have changed over the years and so I have a lot of art that I may never hang up again. The last time I moved, I used professional movers and they carefully wrapped each art piece and transported it to my new home where I carefully unwrapped each piece and leaned it against the wall in my “library” which is just an extra room full of books and art leaning against the wall.

I have hung a few pieces around the house, but I’ve only hung one or two pieces of art per room instead of a montage of pictures on each wall. I always imagined a wild collection of art up and down the staircases, running along hallways and hanging high above one’s head in a grand entryway. I have none of that. Instead, I have a lot of art pieces leaning against the walls in my extra bedroom. Hmmm.

One of these days I plan to move again. When I do, I plan to take all of my art with me and perhaps the new home will host the wild collections of art I have accumulated. I certainly hope so. I don’t expect to have an extra bedroom just for art and book storage. My next extra bedroom will be for guests. I like them too.

Art comes in many forms. I mostly have paintings – oils on canvass, prints, paintings on glass, and a myriad of others. I also have statuettes and statues, a whole bunch of ceramic Indians my Mom made, and a collection of Chickens. Oh! And don’t forget the Bosson Heads, Painted Plates, and Butterfly collections.

Most of the above can be packed just like you would your fine china. Lots of paper and the right sized boxes – meaning they are not so big items on the bottom will get crushed by items on the top. The paintings though, especially those which were painted on the glass instead of a canvass, must be packaged up much more carefully.

If they are framed with glass, you want to make sure that glass does not break and if they are simple canvas pieces, you want to make sure the painting is not torn or pierced.

Start by collecting boxes that will fit them comfortably and securely and use bubble wrap, newspapers and other packing materials to ensure they are protected during the move. I have found mirror boxes work well for art pieces. If your painting/picture is covered with glass, put a X on the glass with masking tape. For some reason this gives the glass strength and should it crack in transit, it will hold it in place and hopefully protect the painting from cuts. Then cover the glass with a piece of thick cardboard. This could be part of a box that you are not using. The cardboard should be large enough to cover the glass, but not bigger than the entire painting. You can use carpet padding and even towels if you do not have any cardboard. The purpose is to reduce the amount of static cling that can develop between the bubble wrap and the painting.

If they have exposed canvass, don’t place wadded paper directly on the painting as it may put “dents” in it. Put cardboard cut to fit inside the frame against the painting before wrapping the whole thing in bubble wrap.

You should consider protecting corners by cutting cardboard and fitting it over each corner and then securing it with tape. If you use enough bubble wrap, this step may not be needed, but definitely consider it for art pieces in which the paint has been applied directly to the glass. A crack in this glass and the painting is ruined. Obviously, it cannot just be fixed with a new piece of glass.

Use LOTS of BUBBLE WRAP. It is a wonderful invention. And keep the kids from busting the bubbles until after the move – bubble wrap works better to protect your art when it is full of air! Place your art pieces in boxes designed for that purpose. Most packaging stores sell boxes of all types and sizes. Use extra peanuts and/or paper to keep your art pieces from “rocking” inside the box. They should fit securely. Seal up the box an mark it as FRAGILE so anyone moving it knows it can’t be tossed around.

Picture or mirror boxes containing artwork should be placed in the upright position and never be laid flat during shipping.

At the other end, carefully remove all packaging. Box cutters are not a good idea, but if you have to cuts the packaging loose, make sure you keep in mind what it protects. It would be shame to carefully pack, move and unpack Uncle Art’s portrait only to cut a gash across his canvass!

One more tip! Consider hiring experts if you have high value pieces or a lot of paintings in your art collection. Professional movers who specialize in art have wooden crates and other special materials to protect your paintings. And make sure it is a company that will let you insure your artwork for its full value.

Well, there you go. The art has been securely packed, moved and unpacked. Now, hopefully, you will take the time to find a place and hang it where others can enjoy it as well. That’s my plan…….eventually.

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School is almost out – time to move?

My Pinterest ScrrenshotWow! Time flies when you are having fun, doesn’t it? Can you believe school is almost out? And it seems you just started talking about moving when school let out. No, wait. That was last December. Where did this year go already! Now you have less than three months to find a new home near the new school you want your kids to go to, put your home up for sale or notify your landlord you don’t intend to renew the lease for another year, get a loan approved, buy a home and get moved. Overwhelming? It certainly can be.

I am a list person. I make lists so I remember things and they help me get organized. Well, I suggest you sit down right now and make a list of things you need to do right away!

First, find an Realtor who works in the area you want to move. Need help? Give me a call and I can help you find one. Unless you are moving to MY area of course, in which giving me a call will find you talking to your Realtor. Next, start the loan process. Your Realtor can help with this. We all work with various lenders depending on what type of loan you want or need. We try to match you up with loan officers we know and have established a good track record of taking care of our clients. You may not know this, but Realtors, when they are representing you as their clients, really try to get you the most house for the least amount of money in the shortest period of time. At least I do…

Next on your list? Start cleaning house. You can find all kinds of helpful articles on the Internet. To make it easier for you, just follow me on Pinterest. I have tagged a lot of good articles covering everything from tips to moving, to moving with pets and kids (does an “and” really go in that sentence? My pet is my kid!) But I digress.  What you don’t want to do is pack and move stuff you don’t want to keep. I used to do that. Back when the Army was paying for my moves. I was always under my weight limit, so I had the luxury of being lazy – foolishly. I always wished I had held a yard sale or given half the stuff away when I found myself unpacking things at the other end. “Why did I keep this?” I would ask myself as I was putting that large ricemaker away. A year or so later when I was unpacking after the next move – there it was again. I don’t favor steamed rice and had never used it in 2-3 years! Guess what? When I had to move it at my own expense, it finally found a new home. So what am I trying to tell you? Don’t be as foolish as I was – get organized and get rid of stuff you don’t need in your new home.

This blog is short. Just really wanted to touch based and give you the link to my Pinterest boards where I have already done some research for you and found great tips for getting ready for the move and moving. Why not take a look at them?

And since you are going to need a Realtor, give me a call at 404-903-7653. If you are coming to my area in Henry or Clayton County, GA I’ll help you myself. If not, call me anyway and I will find you a good agent wherever you are moving……

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So You Are Moving into Something Smaller – Good Grief! Where will you put everything?

There is nothing that can done about it. Demographics in America are such that the bulk of the Baby Boomer Generation is nearing retirement. The kids have grown and have families of their own. That big house with all those stairs is no longer your dream home. You find you live in only a quarter of the house. Your bedroom/bathroom, living room, kitchen and breakfast area. Oh! And you use the laundry room and garage….But the rest? Not necessary anymore and pain to keep clean. What’s more, the house seems to have grown more stairs that are steeper than they seemed a few years ago when you were running up and down keeping up with the little ones. So it is finally time to downsize. I found a great 12-Step Guide that I want to share with you. No reason for me to draft something new when someone else has covered the topic so well.

But what they don’t cover is the emotional dynamics of downsizing. I just want you to be prepared.

Mom, Dad, as you know, starting about the time they become teenagers, your children start finding their friends more interesting to spend time with than you. You start to see them less and less. Then they grow up, get married and have children of their own. You have kept all their old memoirs in safekeeping for the day they have their own home and can come get everything. But they don’t. Their first home is either too small, or their jobs have forced them to move away or move often. The day comes that you want to sell and move into something smaller.

One of two things will happen with regards to those memoirs. They will either come get them or they will tell you that they really don’t want all that junk from their childhood. They have moved past that….. It saddens you and as you go through things you must make tough decisions of what to keep and what to get rid of. My advice? Sell it all and set the funds aside for your grandchildren – or spend it on your next vacation.

The next emotional dynamic? Half the kids want you to sell and move into a ranch style home in a nice 55+ Community where you will be able to enjoy friends your own age. The other half doesn’t want you to sell the home they grew up in and hoped to raise their own children in someday. (Well, not really, but for some reason they feel impelled to say so.) Don’t let them make you feel guilty. Take lots of pictures and give them to them. Don’t forget to include pictures of all their old memoirs they didn’t bother to come get and you subsequently sold at the yard sale.

Don’t let the past hold you up. Even though you may now be considered a Senior Citizen, you are vibrant, have a whole lot of living to do and not quite as much time ahead of you as behind you to do everything, so you better get crackin’!  Sell the old place, move into the newer, smaller, less cluttered and easier to keep clean homestead and invite the kids over for dinner. And order pizza so you don’t have to cook!

Oh! And those of you who are downsizing and don’t have children to deal with? Here’s that link again for the 12-Steps to downsizing.

That’s it for this blog. Hope you found entertaining as well as helpful.

 

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Moving? Here are some things to think about

moving-truckMoving day is looming in your near future. The stress is mounting. Well, if you plan well, your stress level will go down and the better you plan the smoother things will run. What are some things you should concern yourself with?

Should you pack yourself or use a professional?

While this may seem simple at first, there are pros and cons to take into consideration.

For many families hoping to save money on moving expenses, do-it-yourself home packing is the logical option.

Successful DIY house packing requires extensive preparation to take inventory of all your belongings and carefully pack and load the moving truck yourself. You will also be responsible for purchasing your own packaging materials for the move.

Self packing and moving will allow you to save a significant amount on your total moving budget. One disadvantage to this method of moving is that you will probably need to ask friends and family members to help move your boxes and load your furniture into the moving vehicle. You also need to find and rent an appropriate sized vehicle. Although you can pack at a leisurely pace, normally there is a last minute rush to get everything on the truck and get moving. And don’t forget to have help lined up to off-load the truck at the other end.

Using professional packers costs more than doing yourself.  But if you’re looking to relieve stress on your moving day, hiring professional movers is the way to go.

You will be able to turn over all of your boxes, furniture, and belongings to a moving service, who will pack, transport, and unload it for you.

And here is something to think about. You can save money by booking movers on weekdays instead of weekends and by moving in the middle of the month instead of at the end when most leases are up.

There is a middle of the road options out there that you can consider. You can rent a PODS Container and take your time packing and loading your belongings into it. The POD is delivered to your home, you pack it up, they come get it. And they will either store it for you or move it to your new home.

How soon should you start your move?

At a minimum, you should organize your belongings 6-8 weeks in advance. This gives you time to sort through your storage spaces and throw out or donate any items that you no longer need. The rest of your belongings should be packed into boxes and clearly labelled.

Start purchasing and gathering packing supplies at least 6 weeks in advance. There’s nothing worse than running out of boxes on the day of a move. You can purchase all of your packing materials from a moving supply company, or you can save money by gathering boxes from supermarkets, liquor stores, and retail shops.

If you’re moving across country, you may need to book temporary accommodation, flight and possibly even car rental as early as possible. Again, try to book your travel arrangements 6 weeks in advance. But even if you are moving from one neighbourhood to another, take the time to book your moving service far in advance to secure a lower rate. If at all possible, keep your travel arrangements flexible to account for any delays or cancellations.

In the month leading up to your big move, it is the perfect time to inform your change of address to organizations such as credit card companies, utility companies, insurance companies, banks and especially to friends and family. You should also notify the US Postal Service of your pending  move and provide them with the date you want them to start redirecting your mail.

Other Considerations

That will get your started. I’ll be giving your some tips on How best to pack boxes for moving, how to downsize if you are moving from a large to a smaller home or an apartment, how to reduce your moving costs, and provide a couple handy checklists. So watch for my nest posts.

And if you have any questions, please ask them in the comments section and I will do my very best to answer them!

Have a great week!

 

 

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So You Are Moving… Make sure you keep these important documents with you!

moving-truckOne of the worse things that can happen to you is to watch the moving truck pull away from your house and realize they packed all your important documents you meant to pull together before they arrived, and forgot!

Here is a short list of items you should set aside before the movers arrive. And don’t let them pack them!!

Passports and Visas (even if you aren’t moving out of the country)

Driver’s Licenses

Professional licenses, skill qualifications,  and work permits

Birth certificates (originals or copies)

Marriage or Divorce Certificates

Vaccination Records

If moving with a pet, take their vaccination records as well. (It wouldn’t hurt to get a copy of the pet’s veterinary records to provide to their new doctor)

Veteran Records (DD214, Health, Retirement, etc.)

Social Security Numbers/Cards

Car Title(s) (If you are moving your vehicle to another state, you will need it for registration or ownership transfer)

Insurance Policies (health, auto and home)

An up-to-date Address Book (it is important to notify all relevant service providers, persons and institutions that you are changing address – post office, cable and internet provider, insurance company, bank, school, local authorities, magazines, newspapers, club memberships, electric/water/gas/phone company and other utility companies.)

School Records (if you are enrolling children in a new school – or college transcripts if you or a child are transferring to a new one)

Financial records, to include bank statements, receipts, account information, credit cards, saving statements, tax documents, and loan documents

Manuals, contracts and warranties for any household appliances you may be moving with you. If some of the items are dismantled, manuals may be needed when you try to reassemble them. Also, without a warranty you cannot obtain any kind of service in case any of household items get broken.

A list of all your current service providers, persons and institutions that you will need to send a change of address to. Also, having those account numbers handy may save you money when setting up service at your new address.

Take your moving-related documents with you, such as the moving estimate and quote (binding or non-binding estimate), bill of lading – a contract between the moving company, your customer receipts (that might be used for tax deductions when the move is completed), moving insurance, and inventory list.

Remember as moving day draws near, there are going to be dozens of things you will need to do and a lot of unplanned for activities (friends and colleagues wanting to take you out for coffees, lunches, dinners and such), so plan as far ahead as possible and get your special box together with all the documents listed above. Shred any documents with personal information on them that you are not keeping. Clear out your home office as much as possible.

 

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How Loan Estimates Work

Okay. You have been doing some online house hunting and found a few homes in an area you like. This gives you the confidence you need take the next steps.

  1. You see an ad on TV and call for a mortgage loan.

They take some basic information from you – your social security number to run a credit report, how much you make, how much you owe, and generally how much home you want to purchase. You begin getting all the back up documents together to provide to the loan officer.

  1. You select a Real Estate Agent to represent you as you move forward locating the right home, making an offer, and completing all the things that have to be completed before you close on the deal.

But did you know?

Loan officers normally provide best-case scenario loan estimates. Depending on your credit score, there may be credit-score adjustments down the road that cause you to take a hit on the interest rate. The lower the credit score, the higher the interest rate adjustment. So ask what the likelihood of an adjustment is when you get the good faith estimate (fee sheet). Ask if this estimate is firm.

Shop Around!

I’ve had clients tell me that they don’t want to have multiple loan companies pulling their credit scores since everyone knows that multiple hits can negatively affect your credit score and if they are borderline, they don’t want the hits themselves to leave them out in the cold without a loan.

Well, guess what? If the credit score hits are mortgage-based, and done within a same 90 day period, only the first hit shows up as a hard hit. The others are considered to be within the same category of hits. Don’t go crazy though. To be safe, only shop around with two or three mortgage companies. More than that and you could (not will, but could) find yourself with more hard hits than are recommended. The credit companies take into consideration that smart loan shoppers are likely to check rates with two or three mortgage companies rather than going with the first one they talk to. Your Agent may be able to provide you with a list of other companies to shop your loan request to.

You have a good mortgage rate and company…

Now be disciplined! Do not increase your debt by taking out any other loans, buying or leasing cars, buying new furniture for the house, or running up your credit cards. Continue to pay your bills faithfully. Once you enter into a contract on a house, it will be another 30-60 days before you actually close on the deal and are able to move in. You should probably move your needed down payment and moving money in a separate savings account and out of your checking account so you don’t accidentally spend it. And it can earn interest for you in the meantime.

 

 

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Buyers and Agents -What you should consider

Just a short blog today. This isn’t about how to select an agent, but if you are interested in that, please check my earlier blog. This is about what happens when you view a listing on a search site such as Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, and others – and next to the home you like you see three suggested Agents. You click on one and send the email that says, “I am interested in learning more about the property at 123 Main Street.”

Listing Agents Represent Sellers, not Buyers!

That agent may or may not be the one who actually listed the home for sale. The thing is, as a buyer, you don’t really want to talk to the the agent who listed the home. Why? Because they are representing the seller. As such, their relationship with you is the same as the clerk in Sears who shows you their athletic line of clothing. You are a customer to them.

Advertised Agents are usually Buyers’ Agents – Just what you need.

It is more likely that the agent you select is one who wants to work with you as a Buyer/Client. They want to represent you as you move forward to buy a new home. If you don’t already have an agent, this is an excellent way to find one.

Be Sure of Your Buyer/Client Relationship

So, if you are already working with an Agent, and you have signed a contract with them basically hiring them to represent you, should you be clicking on another Agent’s name simply because it showed up next to a house you are interested in seeing? No. Make note of the address and get to your Agent. When you signed that contract, you basically hired them to help you find a home. Put them to work.

Why not work with more than one Agent?

Think about this. Working with Real Estate Agents isn’t like working with that Sears sales clerk. They aren’t paid a regular wage from a company. They make money working exclusively with clients. When you click on an agent next to a property, they get notified (sometimes with an email, text and phone call) that you are looking for information about a particular home. Most Agents will ask you if you are already working with an agent during their initial conversation with you. If you are, say so, but as I stated earlier, if you are working with an agent, don’t click on any of those advertised agents. Just call your agent and ask them about the home. Why do they ask? Because reputable Agents don’t try to steal clients away from other agents. Agents only get paid when the deal is done – the closing ceremony has happened and the keys have been exchanged. Sellers typically pay the commissions for both the listing agent and the agent who brings the buyer to the table. Buyers shouldn’t assume that Agents just run around showing people homes. Agents have very real fiduciary (legal) responsibilities to their Buyer/Clients. They have a costs associated with working with Buyers that Buyers aren’t expected to pay. So they spend money on you whether or not you actually buy a home. The goal of course is to help you find the best home for the best price in the shortest amount of time. And then get paid – by someone else than you. If you have more than one agent running around thinking you are their client, you are taking unfair advantage of them.

Bottom Line

Do your online search. When you find a home you are particularly interested in, select and agent to the right. When they get back to you, interview them even as they will be interviewing you. If you feel like they might be a good person to work with, meet with them and if that goes well, sign a contract with them to represent you. Then you will go through the process of finding you new home – but the buying process is the topic of another blog.

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Is Buying a Foreclosure a Good Idea for You?

Foreclosure-imageForeclosures occur when a home owner has fallen into arrears on their mortgage payments and the bank is taking over. Banks don’t really like taking over. They prefer to remain in the money lending business, not the home ownership business. If you are falling into arrears, or anticipate the possibility of not being able to meet future payments due to some change in your financial status, reach out the your lender immediately. Don’t  wait until you are months in arrears. I don’t know of any that won’t work with you to come up with a solution that will keep your credit in good shape and keep your payments coming until you can get back on your feet. But that isn’t the topic of today’s blog. Today we will discuss the stages of foreclosure and whether or not buying a foreclosure is a good idea for you. The pros and cons of buying a home involved in foreclosure vary with the phase of foreclosure the property is in when purchased.

More for Less

Buyers interested in purchasing foreclosed homes can often buy more house for their money. That’s because foreclosures are usually priced below market value. The banks and other financial institutions that take over foreclosures want to sell the properties as quickly as possible. They often price them low so that a greater number of buyers will make offers.

Lower Down Payments

Foreclosures may also present opportunities for first-time home buyers. Traditionally, down payments can prove a serious hurdle to new home buyers. Most conventional mortgage lenders require buyers to come up with down payments of 10 percent to 20 percent of a home’s purchase price. Because foreclosures tend to have lower price tags, buyers have to come up with smaller down payments when purchasing them.

Nicer Neighborhoods

Buyers may be able to move into higher-priced neighborhoods that they otherwise might not be able to afford. A house in a neighborhood of $250,000 homes might go on the market for $190,900 when it is sold as a foreclosure.

Investment Opportunity

The foreclosed home can be an ideal investment for the amateur or professional handyman. You can often make a number of improvements to the property yourself before selling the house for a handsome profit. If you have experience fixing up homes, the foreclosure auction is a place where you can get your foot in the door of real estate investment. Your sweat equity can pay off in real dollars when you sell the house.

Phases of Foreclosure

1.  The Owner has started missing payments.

In this case, a seller wants to sell before the lender gets involved. They will be motivated to achieve a fast sale and may create an opportunity for a below market purchase price. In this case the seller may be more likely to do repairs and might even be able to assist the buyer with some major closing cost credits or other concessions. As a buyer, you can use use regular mortgage financing and you can obtain desired inspections within standard due diligence/contingency period. The seller must legally provide a complete history of property’s condition, problems, repairs, etc.

Having said that, the seller probably won’t be able to negotiate a price below the outstanding balance of their mortgage. And since they are likely living in the home, they still have to find somewhere to move in which case you will not be able to move in on closing day and will have to rent the house to the previous owner until they move out.

2.  Pre-Foreclosure/Short Sales

In this case, the missed payments have gone on long enough that the Lender has filed a Notice of Default (NOD) or Lis Pendens and the Seller is now attempting to complete what is known as a Short Sale.  This seller will be motivated for a fast sale, increasing the buyer’s bargaining power. As before, the Buyer can do all the standard inspections during the due diligence/contingency period. Unless the purchase price will pay the mortgage and closing costs in full, the lender’s approval of price and terms of sale will be required (i.e. short sale). The Lender may not approve the price, seller concessions or closing cost credits and short sales generally take longer to close. They may take 45-90 days longer than a normal purchase. And in this case, the sellers still have to move out.

3.  The Foreclosure Auction

The short sale process hasn’t worked or the owner has walked away from the property and isn’t trying to work with the lender, so the property is now being offered up in a Foreclosure Auction. As a buyer the advantages are that the property will be sold for the outstanding mortgage balance owed to foreclosing mortgage holder and because auctions require cash payments, there is generally less competition for the purchase.
The obvious disadvantage is that the auction purchase price must be paid in cash on the same day as the auction and no mortgage is usually allowed. In addition to this, auctioned homes are “as-is” which means no inspections are allowed and the property condition might be suspect due to damage done by upset homeowners. And the buyer needs to do some research on the state of the title before bidding since the house may come complete with other liens, back taxes and mortgages. No commissions or attorney’s fees are paid and the buyer must pay for their own representation.


If the bank believes the auction will not recover a good price it may buy the property at auction.

4. Post-Foreclosure. The Bank now owns the property.

This is known as an REO property (Real Estate Owned by Lender). Remember I said banks don’t like to be in the property owning business so they are generally motivated to get it sold and will negotiate prices, down payments, closing costs, escrow length and a myriad of other concessions. The title will be clear, so the buyer won’t have to worry about any other liens or back taxes. Inspections and mortgage financing are allowed within normal due diligence/contingency periods. The house will be vacant and can be moved into immediately after the closing ceremony. REO sales close within a normal escrow period of time.

The properties are usually listed on MLS and the bank will pay real estate agents’ commissions.

What is the down side? Well although you can do normal inspections, they are just for your information because the Bank will not agree to do any repairs treating this as an as-is sale. Banks will usually require additional paperwork. And because they have never lived there, they cannot provide disclosures as to property history/condition issues.

Alternatives to the Foreclosure

Okay, that is the story behind foreclosures. But is it a good deal for you? Think about this.
1.  New Homes

Whennew-home-construction-1407153431lho you purchase a new home you are protected by a warranty. Builders provide a one-year limited warranty on workmanship and materials, as well as a ten-year structural warranty.

When buying a new home, many builders have special incentive programs to assist buyers. These incentives may include below market financing or help with closing costs and they can save you thousands of dollars and make it easier for you to qualify for your home purchase.

If you need a quick response to your offer, a new home is a smart way to go. In most cases, you’re dealing directly with the builder, which ensures a prompt reply and as long a the new home is ready for you to move in, you can expect to close in a timely manner and move in.

Of course, the main benefit of buying new is that everything is pristine, sparkling, and brand new. In many cases you can work with the builder customize the home, selecting items like cabinetry, countertops, and flooring.

2. Resales

2015-06-26 15.13.28By law, conventional sales on new or resale homes require full disclosure of any known details or drawbacks on the property. The seller can be held liable if a problem arises as a result of an issue that wasn’t fully disclosed at the time of the sale. With foreclosures, it’s always “let the buyer beware.”

Resales homes are generally in pretty good shape. The sellers are moving because they want to. Perhaps they are moving up in size or downsizing, or maybe they are moving because of better paying job opportunities or to be closer to an aging family. Whatever the reason for selling their home, they normally work with an agent to sell it at fair market price and take a little profit out to use as a down payment on their next home. Real Estate Agents working with buyers help determine what is a good price to offer, walk them through the inspection, and work with them through every step of the home buying process. The inspection will point out everything from major to minor issues a home buyer should be aware of and offers an opportunity to re-negotiate the terms of the sale or for the seller to make repairs before the closing ceremony. And you can always get a home warranty to cover unexpected equipment malfunctions within the first year of purchase. I recommend to my buyers that they make the purchase of a home warranty a condition of the sale. It actually benefits both the buyer and the seller since it covers the house on behalf of the seller up to the day of closing and then one-year after that for the buyer.

Hopefully, this has given you something to think about. Just remember – whatever your decision, I am here to help you with you Real Estate needs.

 

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Why You Shouldn’t Try to Sell Your Home Yourself

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FOR SALE BY OWNER?

Everyone knows the market is slowly recovering. The Fed has even hiked interest rates (well, hiked may be a bit of an exaggeration) as an indicator that the US housing market, among other economic factors, is on the mend. As a result,  some homeowners might consider trying to sell their home on their own, a phenomena known in the industry as a For Sale by Owner (FSBO). There are a lot of on-line marketing schemes which have been set up to help FSBO participants. All you need is to put a sign out front and an ad on a FSBO website and you are good to go, right? How hard can it be?

Well, Tom Ferry, a well known Real Estate guru recently tweeted, “Studies have shown that the typical house sold by the homeowner sells for less than when it’s sold by an agent

It’s a great article I would encourage anyone thinking of selling by themselves to read it.  I want to emphasize a couple key items. This is not like selling your car. You cannot pull out the registration, flip it over and sign it over to the new owner. It doesn’t work that way. Especially when there is a mortgage in place which must be paid off and the buyer is getting a new mortgage.

The paperwork involved in selling and buying a home is quite extensive. I counted the number of times one of my buyers had to sign his name during a closing ceremony and he signed it 68 times. Now granted, some of those forms were copies, but the majority of them were unique documents. I closed on a cash purchase home and although there were not 68 signatures required, there were still more than 31.

The Real Estate contracts and forms are designed to protect both the seller and the buyer, so you want to use good ones. Most Real Estate Agents have access to good contracts. I recommend you find one that is member of the Georgia Association of REALTORS®, as the GAR has some of the best copyrighted contracts available. A non-member can also pay a fee to have access to the forms.

And really! Why do most people want to sell their homes themselves? They don’t want to pay a commission to an agent. Think of your agent as a temp hire – you are the boss. You are hiring them to represent you and assist in completing a complex task. If they do a good job, you are likely to make more money from the sale of your home than you would if you didn’t use them, so where is the risk?

 

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