Saturday, May 24, 2014
FIVE THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT HOME INSPECTIONS Written by Blanche Evans for Realty Times If you're hiring someone to inspect the home you want to buy, or you're a seller trying to find out if there are any hidden problems that need fixing before you put your home on the market, here are five things you need to know: 1. You can choose your home inspector. Your real estate professional can recommend an inspector, or you can find one on your own. Members of the National Association of Home Inspectors, Inc. (NAHI), must complete an approved home inspector training program, demonstrate experience and competence as a home inspector, complete a written exam, and adhere to the NAHI Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics. 2. Home inspections are intended to point out adverse conditions, not cosmetic flaws. You should attend the inspection and follow the inspector throughout the inspection so you can learn what's important and what's not. No house is perfect and an inspection on any home is bound to uncover faults. A home inspector will point out conditions that need repair and/or potential safety-related concerns relating to the home. They won't comment on cosmetic items if they don't impair the integrity of the home. They also do not do destructive testing. 3. Home inspection reports include only the basics. A home inspector considers hundreds of items during an average inspection. The home inspection should include the home's exterior, steps, porches, decks, chimneys, roof, windows, and doors. Inside, they will look at attics, electrical components, plumbing, central heating and air conditioning, basement/crawlspaces, and garages. They report on the working order of items such as faucets to see if they leak, or garage doors to see if they close properly. Inspectors may point out termite damage and suggest that you get a separate pest inspection. The final written report should be concise and easy to understand.
4. Home inspectors work for the party who is paying the fee. The NAHI Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics clearly state that members act as an unbiased third party to the real estate transaction and "will discharge the Inspector's duties with integrity and fidelity to the client." A reputable home inspector will not conduct a home inspection or prepare a home inspection report if his or her fee is contingent on untruthful conclusions. The inspector should maintain client confidentiality and keep all report findings private, unless required by court order. That means it is your choice whether or not to share the report with others. If you're a seller, you don't have to disclose the report to buyers, but you must disclose any failure in the systems or integrity of your home. 5. Inspectors are not responsible for the condition of the home. Inspectors don't go behind walls or under flooring, so it's possible that a serious problem can be overlooked. Keep in mind that inspectors are not party to the sales transaction, so if you buy a home where an expensive problem surfaces after the sale, you won't be able to make the inspector liable or get the inspector to pay for the damage. In fact, you may not be entitled to any compensation beyond the cost of the inspection. As a buyer, you need the home inspection to decide if the home is in condition that you can tolerate. You can use the report to show the seller the need for a certain repair or negotiate a better price. You can also take the report to a contractor and use it to make repairs or to remodel a section of the home. One thing you should not do when buying a home is skip having the home inspected because of cost or undue pressure by the seller. A home inspection is reasonable, it can save you money in the long run, and it's required by many lenders, particularly for FHA loans. There's a reason why buyers should beware, and a home inspection gives you the information you need to make a sound buying decision.
Saturday, May 24, 2014 609 PARKSIDE
OPEN SUN 2-4
(Robinson West to Brookdale, East.)
NICE BROOKHAVEN HOME! Four bedrooms, three bathrooms, three living areas, and three car garage. Right across the street from Truman Elementary. $269,900. Hosted by Tray Holley @ 822-6060. #271785 DON CIES REAL ESTATE, INC.
OPEN SUN 2-4
(I-35 and Robinson, west to Manor Hill, south to Windrush, then west to property.)
LOADED BROOKHAVEN BEAUTY ON LARGE CUL-DE-SAC LOT. Tons of high end wood floors, open floor plan, granite in kitchen with island, subzero refrigerator, double drawer quiet dishwasher, gas cooktop, double ovens (all stainless steel), plantation shutters, wonderful fixtures, fantastic master closet, 2 fireplaces, oversized backyard is perfect for pool. $639,000. Call Mark McCurdy @ 410-7711. #269384 DON CIES REAL ESTATE, INC.
SOUTHWEST 1519 MAGNOLIA
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Berry Rd. or Hwy 9 to Imhoff N. on Poplar W. on Magnolia
$339,900. 3434 FT. $98 PER FT. TOP OF THE LINE TOTAL REMODEL. 4/4/2.
NORTHWEST 3000 LOCHINVER
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309 TURNBERRY DRIVE.
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3 bedrooms/2 1/2 baths. Open concept! Study with built-in desk and bookshelves. 2 dining areas. Sprinkler system. Oversized 3 car garage. Corner lot! Side entry garage. Granite. Italian marble. Walk-in shower. Wood floors. Stainless steel ap-
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pliances. Large backyard for a pool!
off hwy-9 and Chautauqua. Turn right by Rudy’s. In the River Chase Subdivision.
OPEN SUN 1-4
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4512 FOUNTAIN VIEW
OPEN SAT & SUN 2-4
(Tecumseh and NW 48th, south to Fountain View Drive, east to property.)
EXTRAORDINARY NEW BUILD
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(I-35 and Robinson go east to NE 24th south on Alameda, east to 36th Ave SE, south to Summit
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Crossing Parkway, right then immediate right on to Starshine.)
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Large living and open kitchen backs up to one of Summit Lakes Enjoy the evening
Built Wood Cabinetry, SS Gas Range/Convection Oven, Electric Oven, Refrigerate,
on the covered back patio overlooking the wonderful lake. Granite in kitchen and all
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bathrooms and utility room. Mint condition! Stack stone fireplace, hand scraped
wood floors in the study. $219,900. Call Karen McIntosh @ 590-2763. #271287
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OPEN SUN 2-4
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Saturday, May 24, 2014
10 WAYS TO GET THE HOME YOU WANT Written by Jaymi Naciri for Realty Times Rates may soon be rising, banks are still operating under tight lending conditions, inventory is shrinking, and competition for well-priced homes, especially in the first-time buyer range, is fierce. Are you being shut out of the real estate market? Here are 10 ways to improve your chances of getting in the market and getting the home you want. 1. Know what to expect from the process No two real estate transactions are exactly the same, but buyers who have an idea of how things work will have a leg up. "Buying your first home is one of the most important decisions of your life," said MSN. "Yet most people lack in-depth knowledge of the process." Working with an agent you can trust is key. And while you might be
tempted to use the lady down the street who just got her license or your brotherin-law's cousin's stepbrother, your best bet is to ask for referrals from your core group and interview a few. After all, there are hundreds of thousands of dollars and the American dream at stake. 2. Know the market In real estate, things can change quickly. Make sure you keep up on what's happening with mortgage rates as well as home sales and prices in your target neighborhood. You'll also want to know if any homes are in default - this will shed some light on neighborhood stability, and may also uncover a great real estate deal for you. CONTINUED ON PAGE 6
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 5 3. Know your neighborhood That abandoned house on the corner might be a great deal, but as for neighborhood charmâ€Śwell, how do you feel about a real-life Breaking Bad situation going on across the street? You don't want to end up on the news as a witness to a drive by, so make sure you consider more than price when narrowing down neighborhoods. How are the schools? Great Schools can give you some insight, but you'll also to
simply ask those who live in the area. If you don't know anyone, reaching out to your contacts through social media is a good way to make use of your extended network. You'll also want info on area crime rates, which your agent should be able to provide. The local police department can also give you some information. Finally, you'll want to check registered sex offenders in the area, which you can do on a site like Family Watchdog. 4. Know your credit score
Minimum scores needed to qualify for a mortgage vary depending on the type of loan, the lender, the going rates, the amount of money you are putting downâ€Śit's a complicated equation your lender can help explain. For an FHA loan, which is what many firsttime buyers use because of the more relaxed requirements, buyers typically need a "minimum FICO score of 580 to qualify for the low down payment advantage, which is currently at around 3.5 percent," said FHA. Buyers should know that a score that low in combination with the minimum down
Saturday, May 24, 2014 payment may result in a more complicated loan approval process and a higher rate. And "borrowers need, in general for a conventional mortgage, a minimum FICO score of about 650," said Huffington Post. "Remember, the higher your credit score, the lower your mortgage interest rate will be." 5. Know how much it really costs to buy a house Down payments are one thing. Have you factored in any upfront fees you are expected to pay? Your earnest money required to show the seller good faith? How about your closing costs? These will vary depending on your lender and your loan, but closing costs are usually between three and five percent of your loan amount, which can be a hefty and sometimes unexpected output of cash on top of everything else you just paid. For a detailed breakdown of FHA closing costs, click here. 6. Know how much you can afford And stick to it, even if it's tough to find a house you like. Busting your budget won't pay off in the end if it's a constant struggle to keep up with your mortgage payments. "The rule of thumb is that you can buy housing that runs about two-and-one-half times your annual salary," said CNN Money. "But you'll do better to use one of many calculators available online to get a better handle on how your income, debts, and expenses affect what you can afford."
7. Know how monthly payments really work About those calculatorsâ€Śmany real estate sites and
end up with it," said MSN. Sometimes, all it takes is a little something extra to take you from frustrated homebuyer to
online calculators calculate principal and interest only, but
happy homeowner, and making a personal connection with
as a homeowner, you will also pay insurance and taxes.
a seller who may be overwhelmed with offers can only help.
If you put less than 20 percent down, you will also have to add in private mortgage insurance. And if you are in a planned community, you need to account for homeowners
9. Know how to play hardball Is somebody who's working for you underperforming
association (HOA) dues as well. Make sure you ask
instead of over-delivering? Go back to that whole "working
your agent about HOA fees, and ask your lender to do a
for you" thing. If you remember that your realtor, your
calculation including everything you will pay on a monthly
lender, and your title company are all there to help you - but
basis. You can also try this one.
they're being paid to do so - it'll be easier to have a tough conversation if and when necessary.
8. Know how to win friends and influence people Nothing tests the patience like losing out on the home you've fallen in love with (unless it's losing out on 2 or 3 or
10. Know when to cut and run - and how An inexperienced, overly busy/inattentive, unethical
10 - hey, it's tough out there for a first-time buyer.) A good
or abusive agent or lender can turn what should be a
agent should be able to reach out to his or her network
joyous experience into a disaster. If you reach the point
to potentially find you a home that is not currently on the
where it's time to move on, heed this advice from MSN:
market or help you stand apart. But you can also take it into
"Once you're ready to break up with your agent, make
your own hands! Try a little tenderness, and you just might
sure you have this dissolution in writing. That protects
get ahead. After all, not EVERYTHING is about the bottom
you from paying unnecessary commission and keeps the
line. "To stand out from the pack, an increasing number of
agent from continuing to work on your behalf after you've
buyers are taking the old-fashioned approach and penning
moved on. Make sure you have the agent revise a contract
a love letter to sellers telling them what they adore about
of representation if you signed one to make it clear that the
the house and why they are the best suitor to
relationship has been cancelled."