Home Buyers, Home Sellers, real estate tips

CONTINGENT CLOSINGS

If you already own a home but are looking to sell it and purchase another, it can be really tricky to know which to start first or where to begin. The noticeable difference in your options depends, of course, if you need to sell the first in order to pay for the next. We call this a type of contingent purchase, as the ability for you to buy a home is contingent on you selling your current home.

You can put in an offer on a new home either before you sell your current, if you’ve already put the current on the market but are waiting offers, and especially if you’ve already accepted an offer to sell your home. These make for all different types of offers on the new home and each do likely play a part in the decision of your offer being accepted. Your real estate professional should guide you through each scenario and what might be best for the market you are in.

The timing of a real estate transaction can be overwhelming and certainly unpredictable, so aiming for two transactions to complete simultaneously does come with headaches! Many might think it would be better to close the sale of the current home on the exact same day as the sale of the new home, right? It can! It has been done and people are able to do this just fine when everything goes as planned. However, often this is not an ideal situation if you do not have a back up strategy. The last few days before a real estate transaction can close are filled with disclosures and documents being signed, the final walk through, transferring of title, loan funding and deed recording. Many of these steps have federal or state laws deciphering a length of time required before proceeding to the next step. There are hundreds of details needing their t’s crossed and their i’s dotted on the first transaction before it can go on to fund the second transaction. While it can certainly be done in the same business day, it sure adds a lot more stress!

So, what would a back up plan look like? Typically when a sale closes before the new purchase is made, we see clients move in with family, friends, or into a hotel for a few days. You can also negotiate into your transaction a lease back where you pay rent to the new owners for those days you need. Finally, a pre-possession could be added to the contract if the new owner is willing to let you stay without collecting rent for those days – although this is often not a strategy that industry professionals prefer.

Either way or whatever options you may have – the process is slightly painful but entirely rewarding. If you have the right attitude, try to be proactive and responsive, have a back up plan and understand there might be a few hiccups along the way, your perspective will make all the difference! Happy house hunting!

This article and others on real estate tips by Chianne Hewer can
be found here at The Daily Tip Jar! 

Home Buyers, real estate tips

HOA: A convenience or hindrance?

Home Owners Associations. Some people started clenching their fists just by reading those three words, while others completely embrace the opportunity to have one! I have lived in homes with an HOA and also lived in some without an HOA; I can certainly see both sides of the good and the ugly! Not every part of the country is as familiar with HOAs, but they are very common in new build developments or suburban community neighborhoods. If you are looking to purchase a home, make sure you understand which HOA governs the home, who manages it and how much they charge for dues or fees. The fee amounts need to be considered if you are using financing to purchase the home, however, often you need to pay the HOA separately from your mortgage payment.

The advantage of having an HOA is typically communal area maintenance, holding the neighborhood to a set of standards including curb appeal, every so often playing a part in the safety of the neighborhood, and can sometimes jointly share pay electricity or trash bills. If the neighborhood has parks, pools, recreational activities or other communal benefits, most likely the HOA is cleaning and maintaining all these areas. Having an HOA can certainly make for maintenance free living and beautiful neighborhoods!

The downside to having an HOA would be the fees and dues they need to operate. Some HOAs have expensive monthly dues, transfer fees, and capital improvement payments while others have fairly inexpensive dues and are very reasonable for the services they provide. Another drawback some homeowners feel when they live in a community with HOA, is the lack of freedom should you want to change anything about the exterior of your home. The HOA will have rules called Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (CC&Rs) outlining their policies and guidelines to follow. These can include restrictions on paint colors, height limitations for home additions or renovations, landscaping changes, front yard belongings and more. These CC&Rs are intended to keep the cleanliness, safety, and impression of the community but some homeowners prefer the peace and freedom without an HOA.

Like most things in life, there are some good and some bad aspects to buying into an HOA. Ultimately, it is up to your preference and desire on where to own a home. Either way, make sure to do your research before buying a home and ask your real estate professional to help guide you through the process!

Find this article and others by Chianne Hewer at The Daily Tip Jar 

Home Buyers, real estate tips

Credit Misconception

Credit scoring and credit pulling often feels like a process that no one talks about the details. You can and should ask questions, though! Two very common misconceptions I hear from clients and others are concerns about different scores from different places and whether you can increase a credit score.

In order to understand how there can be multiple scores, first understand that there are different versions of credit scores. The biggest name is FICO and they calculate your score based on payment history, credit utilization, length of credit history, new credit and credit mix. This is unfortunately why not having any credit lines open can actually hurt your credit score. Each component weighs into an algorithm that spits out a score. One important aspect to note is that there are different formulas or scoring models that each industry needs to use. For example, when you apply for an auto loan they will weigh the components slightly differently than a mortgage company, or a credit card company. Why? Because they are loaning you money based on entirely different terms and for very different types of ‘items’ you are getting in return. They take your past behaviors into consideration based on the risk of what they’re lending.

Once you have reviewed or understood your credit score breakdown, you can then begin to increase or repair your score. Many are able to do this alone with discipline and changing of behaviors. You would need a very good understanding of what has hit your credit and a clear path to fix any issues. Others need help and hire credit repair companies who analyze your score and give you comprehensive steps to bring the score up based on the particular loan you’re trying to get approved. It all starts with understanding how it works and taking the time to review your score.

Don’t feel deflated about the credit rating system! It can seem complex but know that it carries a lot of weight when needing a loan, credit line, mortgage or rental agreement. The hard work put toward creating a healthy credit score can be worth it in the long run.  Decent or high FICO scores can often help with down payment assistance options for a home purchase, better interest rates, and more! Make sure to ask your lender or realtor for their preferred credit repair company.

Find this article and others by Chianne Hewer available on The Daily Tip Jar

Home Buyers, real estate tips

Make Money Buying

The saying goes, ‘you make money when you buy in real estate, not when you sell.’ Isn’t that an interesting concept? We say this for a few reasons; the first: when you buy and hold real estate, you have the investment and the value of its worth in your hands – a current value you know to be true to the market at that time. The second, typically (although always negotiable) the seller of the property incurs or absorbs a lot more fees, prepaid items, commissions, and sometimes even the buyer’s closing costs out of the proceeds from the sale. And third, real estate is an asset that will always be a necessary segment in markets everywhere in the world because, well, everyone needs somewhere to live so having real estate ownership is an advantage.

So, when you’re buying, it is crucial that you understand exactly what you are buying and how that might impact any future ability to sell. Create value initially when buying the property by ensuring some universally desired characteristics are in the property, rather than elements that are specific only to your liking. We all know from watching HGTV that backsplash, flooring and paint are somewhat easy for the next buyer to change and fix themselves based on their own personal taste. Instead of buying for just those cosmetic reasons, think about a few other things that might impact your future buyer down the road:

Energy Efficiency

A home that is more energy efficient will appeal to a more universal audience. Buyers like the idea of future cost savings when about to make such a big purchase. In markets like mine, temperatures in the Arizona summer can allow for utility bills to triple which means buyers look for dual pane windows, ceiling fans, updated or well-maintained AC units, they might check insulation, and even take north/south facing homes into better consideration when home searching.

Split Floorplan

While every buyer might be looking for something a little different than the next, in general the newer homes all have a split floorplan because it appeals to more buyers. A split floorplan is one where the main or master bedroom living is on a separate side of the house than the guest bedrooms. This allows for privacy and a feeling of having your own separate “wing” of the house. If your future buyer has young kids, this could sometimes be a deterrent in a few cases; however, most young parents still prefer the split floorplan as kids grow older and seasons change.

Location, Lots and Views

We all know location, location, location! I won’t beat a dead horse on that one, other than to remind you that sometimes location can also refer to what your lot has to offer even if you can’t be in the best location in town. Corner lots, lots backing to a park or reserve, quiet streets, or land with any kind of sought-after view will always keep value.

Renovation/Upgrades

As I mentioned earlier, in today’s market people are more comfortable with switching out tile and adding paint to make a house their own. If you do plan for any renovations to add value to your home; make sure the upgrades you are paying for pay you out in the end! Open concept is extremely high on buyer’s wish lists, as well as big master bathrooms and walk-in closets. Sometimes adding square footage, if not in the right places, might not add the value that you think! Every market, neighborhood and home price point will fluctuate on this, so be sure to work with or ask a knowledgeable professional within your market before doing any major renovations.

 

Buying real estate so you can make money might seem a little unorthodox at first, but once you appreciate the value that appeals more universally, you’ll be off to a great start! Market conditions can always fluctuate and require risk, but home buying and selling can have such an incredible reward if approached the right way.

 

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