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Our Blog

An ongoing series of informational entries

5 Tips Most Homebuyers Don't Consider

December 20, 2016

Homebuying can seem like a daunting process, but here are a few tips to think about before buying a home that a lot of owners wish they had considered:

1. Think Long Term and Think Re-Sale. Many buyers get "trapped" due to their instant emotional connection with their "perfect" home. Ask there a chance I may have to sell in the next couple years? Is this house Priced At top market value? What are costs to Re-Sell this home? Is this neighborhood Depreciating? Are their any Encroachments (where part or all of a structure is on a neighboring lot)? All these questions are very realistic and happen often, unfortunately.

2. Ask for Homeowners Association Covenants and Restrictions Before deciding on a home. These days, many associations have tightened up on what they will and will not allow the owners to have and do in a community. Many will not allow cars parked on street, trash cans in front of your home, or certain types of fencing may be prohibited. Many newer communities have also outlawed certain breeds of dogs! If you want to build a pool....this is mandatory to review beforehand, as many communities will not allow them.

3. Look at ALL costs of owning your home. Its Easy to get caught up in only budgeting the 3 majors: Mortgage, taxes, and insurance. However, its always wise to request a history of average Utility Expenses from the seller. Also consider the cost of any upgrades you will be "needing", as well as considering Commuting time to your job, office, or Kids Schools.

4. Always Picture a home VACANT when browsing. Some owners have their homes "staged" to look very high end. On the other hand, other owners allow showings on their home in a messy or cluttered state. Get past the initial emotions when you walk in the front door, and actually Look at the house itself!

5. You Cant change the View! Most cosmetics and interior renovations can be done fairly easily. However, its harder to move a house to get a better location, schools, neighbors, or even a better Lot! So if you are loving the house and telling yourself "Oh, i'll get over the Radio Tower in the back yard....make sure you CAN get over it".....because a lot of things will Not change, and it will affect your resale. - Kimberly Clark, BIC

Thoughts on "FSBO'S" - For Sale By Owner

January 3, 2016

Many buyers ask me as a Realtor: "What do you think about For Sale By Owner homes?" Many buyers these days turn to websites such as Craigslist, Zillow, etc. in search of their perfect place. The opposite is just as true, many home sellers turn to these websites as well to try selling their own homes themselves. Most of the time, the only avenues private sellers really know of to utililize are sites such as these, or the local paper, if they choose the non-Realtor route. I can't Knock FSBO's. Who doesn't want to save money?? BUT....sometimes Saving money is NOT always saving money. They key is to educate yourselves first! To answer my buyers question, I let these inquiring minds know that it honestly all depends on the property, and how "house smart" the FSBO owner is. I do not mean that as an insult. As Realtors, we are trained to "play the game" and stay on top of the housing market and trends. That is our job and most of us are very good at it! This includes correctly pricing a home, getting through the psychology of good negotiating, and most important, not getting emotionally we can be the best advocate possible for our client (who, lets be honest, may be too emotionally involved to be rational sometimes). Not to mention we provide and handle paperwork, attorneys, and handle all the little items most don't consider. We also "Push" the process along by staying on top of Everyone. With FSBO's however, A lot of these owners are novice when it comes to selling a home, which leads to the first issue: properties being priced incorrectly. Some are too low, which is a great thing for a buyer, but with that being said.... unless buyers are "seasoned" with the market, they probably wont know how good of a deal it is without a Realtor (who is a FREE service to buyers by the way!) or an Appraiser. On the other hand and more times than not, homes are Overpriced. Owners have unreasonable expectations about what they feel their property is worth, and they have no Realtor to give the hard Reality check. A lot of it is not surprisingly due to their sentimental/emotional attachment to the property, regardless of what the property's true "brick and mortar" value is. Say Its been their home for the past 20 years...their children grew up in the home.....people tend to illegitimately put value on their sentiments which gets in the way of good, fair business....especially when this seller gets a month into the process with a buyer and the deal falls through because their house does not appraise for the sales price. Another point to consider, and this is IMPORTANT: There is only ONE commission to be saved, and Both parties cannot save that commission. Sellers try selling on their own so they don't have to pay Realtor Commission (which normally standard is 6% in our market), and buyers search out these FSBO owned properties in hopes these sellers will "make them a deal" since there is no Realtor involved. Both parties normally don't win, and both usually go through the process blind, unfortunately. IF the process doesn't fall through anyways due to high emotion, lending issues, paperwork issues, attorney issues, repairs, money, timing, etc. Not to mention the legal issues you can get into by not filling out all the state mandatory disclosures, and no, FSBO is Not exempt! Saving money is Not Always Saving Money! If you do not have the tools to navigate your way through as well as protect yourself, what you thought may have been a good idea, could actually be a Pitfall! Unless its a hot home or a hot market, By the time many FSBO owners sell their home in a lot of instances, they have paid more in mortgage payments than a Realtor Commission would have been, and sat on their home much longer than it would normally take a Realtor to liquidate it. So, before you decide to try selling your own home, or considering purchasing a home not listed on the "MLS" , make sure to do all of your research, or give a local Realtor a call. Our thoughts are always free, regardless of the route you choose! - Kimberly Clark, BIC

A "BAD Flip" Versus a "Good Flip"

January 19, 2017

A lot of people hear the word "investor", and thanks to HGTV, automatically picture someone driving up to a renovation project in a BMW that is going to produce $100,000 profit for them in 3 months. In turn the buyer or owner gets this elaborately upgraded home that produces OOOOhhh's and AAAAhhhh's. Sometimes this is the case, but for a lot of people, this is a common misconception. There are all different sorts of investors. I used to be one for years, and most of my investor clients I've worked with through Real Estate seem to like the "lower end" homes they can initially secure for under $100,000 that don't cost much to buy and repair, but the profit is still good enough for them to pay the bills, make some decent money, and move on. When an investor gets a "Good Flip"....they buy the physically distressed home, do good, SOLID repairs, and sell the home at a fair price. Buyer gets a nice, upgraded, cleanly renovated home, and the investors net their desired return. Everyone is happy. The issue is when an investor gets a "Bad Flip" where they initially pay too much for a home, underestimate repair costs, the market tanks where the home is located, Their initial AVR (After Repair Value) was wrong, or some other reason that cuts into investors equity after the initial purchase is made. In turn, to salvage their anticipated Profits, this investor does very poor quality repairs and cuts corners to save money and keep their equity, then tries selling this poorly renovated home at Top market value to a new, sometimes "unsuspecting" buyer. In most cases, these homes will still have new flooring, paint, kitchens, bathrooms....sure. As a Realtor, it comes easy for me to tell the difference between a home that has been well renovated, and one that cut ALOT of corners. This is just one of the hundreds of reasons we Realtors are Hired by buyers. Here are some things to make note of as a buyer when viewing a "renovated home": Check the roofline....are there 1, 2, or 3 layers of roofing shingles?? Lazy rehabbers will sometimes put a roof over an old roof to save money, but the weight of it over time can sink in the entire top of the home. Or they will just replace "bad shingles" even though the roof is really beyond its usable life. Check closets....are they finished out? Did the seller only paint the outside of the kitchen cabinets and leave the inside that bright Red? Did they overlook that rotten support beam in the crawlspace to save money? Buyers rarely go into crawl spaces anyway.... I mean...the house hasn't caved in yet....why not? Did they caulk the new counters or seal all the grout? Don't worry, you'll find out soon enough when your grout gets Stained from dirt, and/or counters start separating from water damage behind the sink. Did they even secure that dishwasher or just push it into the "hole"? Did they forgo the trim and shoe moulding in hopes you wont notice in the 15 minutes you view the home? Are the ceilings and walls "wavy" or flat? You cannot imagine how many times I have seen these things. Keep in mind... Just because it is marketed as "renovated" ....never assume everything is perfect and fixed.....don't let that word deter you from getting a formal Home Inspection! Once that house closes, the problems are the Buyers! - Kimberly Clark, BIC

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