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Buyer Q&A
  Q: HOW CAN I BE A GOOD BUYER?
  A: 1:Give us as much information up front as you can on your wants, needs, kids, financial picture, likes, dislikes, must haves and won't haves.

2:Come and look during the week if possible ... we can get so much more done(on weekends, the sellers and their kids are home, relatives visit, TV's are on, buddies are over watching the game, teens are sleeping in on Saturday & Sunday mornings are non-working times).

3:Talk and talk as we look around. Really let us know what works & what doesn't, what concerns you have, what questions you have, express your joy & your fears. Buying is as much emotional as logic.

4:Schedule coming in to look as far in advance as possible-(unless you're renting, hen no more dm 30 days out is enough). If you have to sell first there before you buy here, let's talk! We hate for you to come in, find the perfect house, and then not be able to get it because of a contingency. Timing is hard with selling & buying, but we'll make it work!

5:Be flexible about a properties condition ... a house needing paint & carpet could be the buy of the year ... and the paint & carpet could be re-done before you move in. The home that is beautifully decorated may look worse than the "in need of'" house once all of the oriental rugs and paintings are gone with the seller!

6:Stay loose, light & comfortable. Try not to get caught up on small stuff, but focus on the big picture. Wear comfortable clothes & shoes, eat healthy and take a mental break at night.

7:In summary, buying is a process & it is different here FROM WHERE YOU ARE FROM. The first day you're here you'll be comparing oranges where you live with the apples we have here. Then the second trip out, our apples start to look better & you'll be into the comparing apples mode. The trip out, we find the best apple in the bunch and make it yours!
     
  Q: Before you look:
  A: 1:Know what you want in a home. Take into consideration your lifestyle and life choices, as well as the length of time you will own the home.

2:Get a copy of your credit report. Close unnecessary open credit accounts, notify credit bureaus of any errors and prepare explanations for accounts with less-than- perfect payment records.

3:Enlist a professional real estate agent. Finding a qualified real estate agent can be a complicated task. One of the ways to ensure you are working with a seasoned professional is to look for the Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) Designation; the CRS Designation is awarded to agents who complete a comprehensive education program and adhere to the highest ethical standards. (To find a CRS Designee in your community, visit the web site at www.rscouncil.com.) The agent can assist you in finding a lender, attorney, appraiser, or any other professional required.

4:Determine what you can actually afford. Your monthly mortgage payment should not exceed 25-36 percent of the combined household gross income.Online mortgage calculators are available (e.g. www.fanniemae.com).

5:Determine what type of loan to use. See if you qualify for a FHA, VA or other government loans and if you prefer a fixed mortgage or an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM). You can discuss this with your agent.

6:Secure preapproval letter. Do not confuse preapproval with prequalification. Prequalified buyers typically talk to a lender on the telephone but the information provided is not verified. In contrast, being preapproved demonstrates to the seller that you can afford to finance the home. Most lenders provide preapproval for little or no charge.

7:Avoid paying points. Each point equals one percent of the loan value and is paid at the time of the closing. Sometimes, another party (e.g. an employer of a relocating employee or the seller) offers to pay points as an incentive; the buyer secures a lower interest mortgage and can deduct the points, regardless of who absorbs the cost.

     
  Q: During your search:
  A: 1:Ask your agent to check the MLS several times a day. Real estate agents can list your search criteria and use the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) database to track houses you already have visited.

2:Understand the asking price. In a seller's market, the asking price is often the minimum bid, and sellers may receive multiple offers. In a buyer's market, homes usually sell for less than the asking price. The longer a home is on the market, the more likely the seller will negotiate price.

3:Research the home. Look up information at City Hall and talk to neighbors.

4:Keep a flexible schedule. Be prepared to view a home on a moment's notice and keep your checkbook on hand to make an offer.
     
  Q: Once you find your dream home:
  A: 1:Allow the agent to negotiate on your behalf. The agent has the experience, knowledge, and emotional detachment needed to close the deal.

2:Insist on a professional home inspection. The inspector can determine if the home has any problems and an appraiser can determine if it is valued correctly. Mortgage companies require an appraisal to protect their investment.

3:Ask for an estimate of closing costs and the approximate total monthly payment. Monthly costs include principle, interest, taxes and insurance (including title, homeowners and PMI if paying less than 20 percent down), and assessments for condominium ownership.

4:Avoid consolidating credit card debt and closing costs into the mortgage. There is no reason to pay thirty years of interest for charges normally paid off within months.
     
  Q: WHO PAYS WHAT?
  A: The BUYER can generally be expected to pay for:
  • Title insurance premium for Lender's policy
  • Escrow fee (one half)
  • Document preparation (if applicable)
  • Notary fees
  • Recording charges for all documents in Buyer's name
  • Termite inspection (according to contract)
  • Tax proration (from date of acquisition)
  • Homeowner 's transfer fee
  • All new loan charges (except those required by Fender for Seller to pay)
  • Interest on new loan from date of funding to 30 days prior to first payment date
  • Assumption/change of records fees for takeover of existing loan
  • Beneficiary statement fee for assumption of existing loan
  • Inspection fees (roofing, property inspection, geological, etc.)
  • Home Warranty (according to contract)
  • City transfer/conveyance tax (according to con­ tract)
  • Fire insurance premium for first year
Seller Q&A
  CLICK HERE FOR SELLERS TIPS!
  Q: HOW CAN I PREPARE MY HOUSE TO SELL?
  A: The market may be hot, but doing whatever you can to put your house's best face forward is very important if you want to get close to your asking price or sell as quickly as possible. Short of spending a lot of money, there are several steps people can take to make their home show better:

1:Sweep the sidewalk, mow the lawn, prune the bushes, weed the garden, and clean debris from the yard.

2:Clean the windows (both inside and out) and make sure the paint is not chipped or flaking. And speaking of paint, if your home was built before 1978, new federal law gives a buyer the right to request a lead base paint inspection. If you think you
might have some problems, do the inspection yourself beforehand and make
any fixes you can.

3:Be sure that the doorbell works. Clean and spruce up all rooms, furnishings, floors, walls and ceilings. It's especially important that the bathroom and kitchen are spotless.

4:Organize closets. Too much stuff? Rent a storage space and move
everything out.

5:Make sure the basic appliances and fixtures work. Get rid of leaky faucets and frayed cords.

6:Make sure the house smells good: from an apple pie, cookies baking or spaghetti sauce simmering on the stove. Clean out the cat box and hide it in an inconspicuous place, put the dog bed in the garage.

7:Put vases of fresh flowers throughout the house.

8:Have pleasant music playing in the background to help set your stage.

9:And last, leave the house when prospective buyers come through! This allows buyers to take a really good look and not feel embarrassed about making remarks when the homeowner is around.
     
  Q: 5 Home Improvements: Certified Residential Specialists Recommend Home Improvement Ideas to Turn Your "Scream Home into a "Dream" Home
  A: 1:Hire A Cleaning Crew: Enlisting a professional cleaning crew for a top-to-bottom cleaning can reveal certain items, like the family room carpet do not have to be replaced.

2:Replace Wall and Floor Coverings: Homes take on a whole new look if peeled paint, wallpaper and stained floor coverings are replaced. Choose neutral shades; color can be added with fabric, paintings, and other accessories. Remember - potential buyers may not share your love for lilac.

3:Resurface Kitchen Cabinets: If the kitchen and bathroom cabinets are in good condition, it is considerably less expensive to resurface than to replace them outright.

4:Organize Storage: Considering installing easy-to-assemble closet organizers in the master bedroom, laundry room and garage. Potential buyers look for and appreciate extra storage space.

5:Landscape and Exteriors: Make sure your yard complements the neighbors'. Repair cracked driveways and install new door handles and address numbers. These will make your house look more attractive from the outside.
     
  Q: How do you prepare a house to sell? (Adapted from Inman News Features.)
  A: The market may be hot, but doing whatever you can to put your house's best face forward is very important if you want to get close to your asking price or sell as quickly as possible. Short of spending a lot of money, there are several steps people can take to make their home show better which include:

  • Sweep the sidewalk, mow the lawn, prune the bushes, weed the garden, and clean debris from the yard.
  • Clean the windows (both inside and out) and make sure the paint is not chipped or flaking. And speaking of paint, if your home was built before 1978, new federal law gives a buyer the right to request a lead inspection If you think you might have some problems, do the inspection yourself beforehand and make any fixes you can.
  • Be sure the doorbell works.
  • Clean and spruce up all rooms, furnishings, floors, walls and ceilings. It's especially important that the bathroom and kitchen are spotless.
  • Organize closets. Too much stuff? Rent a storage space and move everything out.
  • Make sure the basic appliances and fixtures work. Get rid of leaky faucets and frayed cords.
  • Make sure the house smells good: from an apple pie, cookies barking or spaghetti sauce simmering on the stove. Clean out the cat box and hide it in an inconspicuous place, put the dog bed in the garage.
  • Put vases of fresh flowers throughout the house.
  • Have pleasant music playing in the background to help set your stage.
  • And last, leave the house when prospective buyers come through! This allows buyers to take a really good look and not feel embarrassed about making remarks when the homeowner is around.
     
  Q: WHO PAYS WHAT?
  A:

The SELLER can generally fee expected to pay for:

  • Real Estate commission
  • Documentation preparation fee for deed
  • Documentary transfer tax, if any
  • Any city transfer/conveyance lax (according to contract)
  • Payoff of all loans in Seller's name
  • Interest accrued to lender being paid off
  • Statement fees, reconveyance fees and any prepayment penalties
  • Termite inspection (according to contract)
  • Termite work (according to contract)
  • Home warranty (according to contract)
  • Any judgments, tax liens, etc,, against the Seller
  • Tax proration (for any taxes unpaid at time of transfer of title)
  • Any unpaid homeowner's dues
  • Recording charges to clear all documents of record against Seller
  • Any bonds or assessments (according to contract)
  • Any and all delinquent taxes
  • Notary fees
  • Escrow fee (one half)
  • Title insurance premium for Owner's policy

Prepare Your Home For Showing In Under 10 Minutes!

The phone rings, and the real estate has great news: A client is interested in seeing your home and they're on their way! There's just one small problem, you’ve Bathing the dog, who's set a trail of muddy paw prints across your kitchen floor, the kids are eating popsicles in front, of the blaring television set and the plumber just showed up to fix a leak in the laundry room. While it seems a good time to hit the panic button, take a deep breath instead, keeping in mind the next owner of your home could soon be at your door in just a few minutes. Time to rise and make your home shine!

Here are a few quick but effective things you can do to gel your home in show-ready shape in no time:

  • Turn off the television, the stereo and any other noise-making electronic device that doesn't need to be on, although classical or instrumental music at a low volume might be nice.
  • If possible, send the Kids to a neighbor's home or outside to play. (And push the family dog out the back door he'll probably be delighted his bath was interrupted!)
  • For daytime showings, open ail the drapes and blinds. Turn on lamps to lighten and brighten each room.
  • Gather magazines, newspapers and 'nail and stash them in a basket or box you can easily slip under the bed or hide in a dresser drawer
  • To get rid of odors, first remove the source of the odor. Place a saucer or small bowl of white vinegar, which naturally neutralizes odors, in the room where the unpleasant smell was found. Baking soda is another neutralizer, especially in the kitchen. You might also try leaving bowls of fresh herbs or lemon or orange peels where odors linger. Of course, since time is of the essence, a few squirts of air freshener might be your best bet.

Room By Room Fix-Ups

Make every room in your home show worthy with these time saving tips:

  • Kitchen: Clean and put away dishes (or put them in the dishwasher). Wipe counters and fixtures.
  • Bathrooms: Wipe counters, fixtures and mirrors. Make sure the toilet is clean and close the lid.
  • Bedrooms: Make the bed. Put clothes away in drawers, hand them in the closet or hide them in the washer or dryer.
  • Children’s bedrooms or playrooms: Make beds, gather toys, games and books, and put them back on bookshelves or in baskets and bins.
  • Living or family room: Remove clutter by recycling old newspapers and magazines: put away books, stash knick-knacks and family photos out of sight.


 
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