Tag Archives: tips

Home Repairs You Cannot Afford to Ignore

Home repairs are an issue that many of us tend to dodge. We understand the necessity of the repairs; however when it comes down to it many of us do not have the time or money to fix everything.

rodent house infestationThe following list of minor home repairs could end up costing you big money if you continue to procrastinate:

  • Rodent incursions – Rats, mice and other vermin love to chew through insulation and wiring and are suspects in many house fires.
  • Soaring fuel bills – This is more than a pocketbook issue, since poorly functioning systems can cause deadly carbon monoxide buildup in your home.
  • Peeling paint – Paint is like a home’s skin. It’s the first line of defense against incursions by water and pests. Water that seeps into wood can lead to rot.
  • Flickering lights – It might be that the wiring in your house is dysfunctional or you have too many appliances hooked up to a single circuit. Either one can cause a fire.
  • A water leak – Left unchecked, leaks can lead to rot, dry rot, mold and termite infestations. Water can cause roofs to collapse, foundations to buckle and all manner of expensive repairs. Water-related problems can also get your home blackballed by insurance companies worried about mold-related claims.

Location, Location, Location…

When it come to real estate anyone can tell you that three of the most important factors in where you buy a home are location, location, location. This is one of those terms that we hear all the time and which becomes especially salient as we are searching for our dream home.

All too often buyers will be caught up in the excitement of the home buying process and make an offer on a home that seems too good to be true. unfortunately, many times it does turn out that the “perfect home for the reasonable price” is too good to be true.

The reason is simple – location. Buying a home in the wrong location is going to have a dramatic impact on how happy you are in your new home and also on the value of your home when you decide to sell.

For this reason it is important that you do your homework beforehand and pick out possible neighborhoods that suit your lifestyle. At the same time, keep an eye on that future date when you might put your new home back on the market and pick a neighborhood that is know for good schools and well maintained public facilities.

Once you have narrowed down the neighborhoods, visit the neighborhood and pick the best house available.

You’ll be happier in the end if you plan well in the beginning.

TOP TEN Legal Mistakes Buyers Make

In the complicated maze of trying to buy a home are the pratfalls and obstacles that can be so costly that you can regret ever buying a new home!
Call a Realtor(R) who is full time and has the track record to get the results you deserve.  The Department of Real Estate website will be able to tell you if there are any reprimands or suspension for any licensed agent or broker.

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Home seller pitfalls to avoid

Six years after the market peaked in 2006 and prices started to decline, many sellers are still in denial about the current market value of their homes. It’s difficult for most sellers to accept the reality of today’s home-sale market, whether they bought at or near the peak and will lose money selling today, or bought decades ago but are still stuck at 2006 prices.

One homeowner recently remarked that she was aware that home prices had dropped quite a bit over the last five years. But she felt that her home hadn’t lost any value.

It’s hard for homeowners to divorce themselves emotionally from a home they’ve enjoyed. But this is what sellers need to do so that they can make rational decisions about a list price that will actually result in a sale.

This decision should be based on listings that have sold in your area that could be considered somewhat comparable to your home. Some sellers go to open houses to evaluate the competition. If you’re still emotionally wrapped up in your home, the exercise can be futile. You return home feeling that the other homes aren’t as good as yours.

home sellersPut yourself in the buyers’ shoes. This is easier for sellers who are also buying in this market. They know what it’s like to want to make sure they’re getting a good deal. Your house needs to be listed at a price that is enticing to buyers because it represents a good value. In most areas, buyers are buying in a market knowing that prices may continue to decline before the market fully recovers.

HOUSE HUNTING TIP: Be wary of real estate agents who tell you that your home will sell for a higher-than-supportable price just to get the listing. Then they work on you over time until you reduce the price to market value. Agents refer to this as buying a listing.

It’s hard to resist the temptation of trying for a higher price than the comparable sales indicate. However, you won’t be happy if your home is on the market for months with no activity, and each time you drop the price it feels like too little too late. You can end up selling for less later if home prices in your area are still declining.

Refinance appraisals are notoriously inaccurate in terms of market value — either too high or too low. An appraiser is attempting to gauge what price a buyer would pay when there isn’t a ratified contract that states what a buyer will pay. A high refinance appraisal can leave the seller with a false expectation.

Listing your home based on what you want or need to net from the sale won’t motivate buyers to pay more. Buyers pay market value. They’re won’t overpay in today’s market.

Find out what buyers are looking for in your area and see how your home matches up to their expectations. Generally, today’s buyers are looking for a home that is well-located, in good condition and is priced right for the market.

If your home needs a lot of work compared with the competition, you’ll either need to have work done before selling, or discount your price accordingly.

Walkable neighborhoods are highly desirable in some areas. If your home doesn’t offer this amenity, you may have to make a price accommodation.

THE CLOSING: For best results, be realistic about the current market value of your home and what preparation it needs in order to sell successfully in today’s market.

Dian Hymer is a real estate broker with more than 30 years’ experience and a nationally syndicated real estate columnist.

Is it a “Happy New Year” for the Housing Market?

Goodbye 2011 & Hello 2012! Is this a Happy New Year?

Is it goodbye to a bad year or hello to the same?  While the economy is still struggling, unemployment slightly better, and real estate showing signs of improvement only to retract its position, I believe the glass is still half full, with an asterisk.

What's in store for 2012's housing market?The holiday season began strong on Thanksgiving weekend, reports are that retailers numbers receded which led to heavy markdowns the week of Christmas. Final numbers are still to come, while job growth is modest, mostly in low-paying sectors like retail and hospitality. This past year also saw an increase in credit card spending for gifts as a result of higher gasoline, food prices, and general inflation.

With mortgage rates still at historic low rates, the housing industry is still struggling with values dropping, even though sales have shown signs of recovery. With more than one in every five borrower still owing more than their home is worth, many homeowners are too pressed to spend on much more than the essentials which leave us to the big question: WHAT SHOULD I DO?

With all predictions expecting more of the same this year as last, there is still and always will be optimism, but each homeowner out there who is still upside-down, either waiting for or in a modification, is so far upside down that they most likely will never recoup the past negative equity in the future.  They are at the same time struggling to make ends meet with just the essentials. Mortgage companies and investors are still holding the belt tight and are not reducing principle for most people waiting for  modifications or who have them–leaving homeowners to finally make that decision that enough is enough.

There are opportunities to purchase and leave your upside-down home, but you would need to act fast. Other opportunities are also available and action now will help you live a life more care-free and stress-free in a fast-paced, ever-uncertain economic time.

Call me now and let’s talk. My direct line of contact is 619-890-3648.

God Bless

Creating Extra Storage Space

Here’s some tips on finding that extra storage space in your home–which we all need, especially with those holiday decorations coming down and needing to be stowed away!

Creating Extra Storage Space

One common complaint that is often expressed by homeowners is that their home does not have enough storage space. As a lack of space has more to do with how space is utilized, this problem is extremely easy to fix.

    • Extend upper cabinets all the way to the ceiling. Many kitchens waste valuable space when they stop 6 inches below the ceiling.
    • Make your closets more accessible. Low closet doors complicate access to the top shelf of a closet. Oversize doors – even ceiling high models – make it easier to store bulky items on high shelves.
    • Go to the garage. Even in garages where parking is a tight fit there is room in the space above a car’s hood for wall mounted cabinets to store little used items – closed cabinets are recommended.
    • Annex the back of a closet to create built in storage for an adjacent room. A shallow cabinet wedged between the wall studs can serve as an extra kitchen cupboard or a family room bookcase.

Read more from my newsletter here: John A. Silva’s Newsletter.  And sign up while you’re at it!

Six must-haves for mortgage approval

Interest rates are hovering around historical lows, and low interest rates increase affordability, making it easier for buyers to qualify. Yet stories of buyers waiting months to gain loan approval and home purchase transactions not closing on time due to lender’s strict underwriting are all too common.

Some buyers are turned down for illogical reasons. For instance, if you have investments — even if they’re performing well — an underwriter might deny the mortgage because your portfolio doesn’t fall into the underwriter’s risk assessment model.
checklist
One couple was turned down because the husband had worked at his current job for less than a year — even though he was making more money at the new job than he was before.

These buyers were well-qualified. The wife had worked several years for one employer and was able to qualify for the loan on her own. So, the transaction closed, although two months late.

Generally, it’s more difficult to qualify now than it was a year ago. Most conventional lenders require a 20-25 percent down payment. For the lowest interest rates, your credit scores need to be in the 700 range. You need to have verifiable income and cash reserves in addition to your down payment and closing costs.

You could run into underwriting problems if you’re self-employed, as W-2 income is much easier to verify. Other hurdles are lapses in employment and owning a lot of property. Some lenders won’t lend to buyers who have more than three or four residential properties.

If you’re buying a new home before selling your current home, you’ll need to have 30 percent equity in your current home. This needs to be verified by the lender’s appraiser. Also, the lender will want to see a copy of the cashed check from the tenant for the first month’s rent to verify rental income if needed to qualify.

HOUSE HUNTING TIP: As soon as you’re serious about buying a home, find the best mortgage broker or loan agent you can to assist you. Don’t make your selection based on interest rates alone. A good track record counts for a lot.

Closing the deal should be your primary goal. If you have to pay 0.25 percent more to assure your transaction closes on time and that you’re not turned down at the last minute, it’s worth it.

Be candid with your loan professional about anything in your financial picture that might impact loan qualification. A good loan agent or broker will be able to assess your financial situation and anticipate what you’ll need to do to satisfy the underwriter.

Be aware that appraisal issues can impact your loan approval. For example, if a previous owner added square footage without a building permit, the additional square footage probably won’t be included as livable square feet.

If the appraisal comes in for less than the purchase price, the lender might not lend you enough to close the deal. Include an appraisal contingency in your contract.

There are more jumbo financing options available now. Adjustable-rate mortgages that are fixed for 10 years and then revert to an adjustable have a starting rate about 0.25 percent less than a 30-year fixed jumbo. A five-year fixed starts about 0.5 percent to 0.75 percent lower, but is riskier.

THE CLOSING: Because of the risk factor, the lender may want you to have a large cash reserve. Your retirement account counts toward this.

Dian Hymer is a real estate broker with more than 30 years’ experience and is a nationally syndicated real estate columnist and author.

Video: Staging your home for homesellers

What a great, snappy how-to video for homeowners putting their house on the market! MSN’s video on staging for homesellers gives you the quick tips for attracting buyers: Video: 2-Minute Home Seller: Staging

This video can be viewed on the MSN website: realestate.msn.com.