Buying

Home Inspections – Items That Aren’t Deal-Breakers

Contract 01After making an offer on a home, you’ll enter into a contract. Part of that contract should always include getting a home inspection. It is recommended that any homebuyer make an offer to purchase contingent upon a home inspection. This allows you to withdraw your offer if there are any major issues discovered during an inspection.

More than likely, the home inspector will find problems that need to be fixed before closing. Major foundation issues and significant water damage are at the top of the list of signs to walk away from.

On the other hand, there are some home defects found during an inspection that don’t have to be deal-breakers. Many of them can be fixed, and they can be used to negotiate with the seller for a lower price point or additional help with the closing costs.

homeinspection2Lead-Based Paint
Lead-based paint was banned in 1978, but it’s still possible that you could purchase a home that contains it if it was built before the ban. The sellers should disclose this, but the home inspector may find it, as well.

Ultimately, it is up to you to decide how comfortable you are with purchasing a home that has lead-based paint, but it doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker. You can hire a contractor who is certified to remove lead-based paint, and the home will be completely safe.

Concrete Floor Cracks
Cracks in a concrete basement floor may seem like a structural problem, but this is natural and not indicative of significant damage. Small cracks occur in concrete because it’s a porous substance. These cracks can be fixed at a relatively low cost, and shouldn’t be a reason for you to back out of a contract.

What is something that’s cause for concern are cracks in concrete walls, as these may or may not be associated with the structure. If the wall has moved or if the cracks have a large opening, then these would be deal-breakers.

Mold
Mold is something that no one ever wants to see in a home you put an offer on, but a little bit of mold by the shower doesn’t mean you need to back out of your offer – at least not immediately.

If mold is found during the home inspection, have a qualified mold inspector take a look. Not all molds are toxic, but the safest way to determine if this is a deal-breaker is by hiring a mold professional.

pestcontrol1Bug Infestations
Bug infestations can cause significant damage to the home’s structure if they aren’t exterminated quickly and efficiently. A home inspector may find signs of an infestation during an inspection, but how do you tell if it’s truly a deal-breaker?

The best way to know if there is pest damage to the home’s structure or foundation is to ask a qualified pest expert to do an additional inspection of the home. Someone who is a specialist will be able to tell you if the home just has a few bugs, or if you need to rescind your offer.

When problems arise during home inspections, it doesn’t always mean you have to back out of your contract. Home inspectors will often find problems outside of their scope of expertise, so always get a second opinion from a specialist before making a final decision. In many instances, these problems are opportunities to negotiate with the seller. You can request that the seller do the repairs, or ask for money to put towards repairs.

homeinspection3You can also ask the seller to include a home warranty on the home in the contract of sale, but it won’t repair the problems found in a home inspection contract. A home warranty is there to protect you from aging systems and appliances after you buy. Think of getting car insurance on a car that was just wrecked and then opening a claim – it wouldn’t work, because the insurance was put on after the damage happened. The same goes for a home warranty.

Information provided by Keller Williams Dallas Metro North. Call us today – we have over 400 qualified agents ready to assist you with your real estate needs!

5 Tips to find the right Realtor

Realtor 02Once you’ve decided to sell your home, you need a trusted guide by your side: Realtor, of course! Your realtor will be a trusted partner in this most important of all transaction. Here are 5 ways to find a Realtor who’s right for you.

Gather referrals, but take them with a grain of salt

There are a lot of agents out there. So how do you choose? Go ahead and ask your pals for referrals, but don’t fall into the trap of picking an agent purely because of rave reviews. The old mantra of location, location, location applies to real estate agents as much as homes.

“You want a Realtor who is very familiar with your area—and not just what he can pull up online,” says Wendy Flynn, a Realtor in College Station, TX. The reason is simple: If they’ve spent time in the area, they’ll know how to market your house there.

So a better question to ask your friends than “Know any real estate agents?” is, “Know a real estate agent who’s sold any properties in my area in the past few years?”

Test their communication skills

Once you have your list of potential agents, email them or call their office, then sit back and wait. This is your first test of a key component: how responsive will your agent be? Ideally, she should get back to you that same day.

“If it takes longer than four business hours without a decent explanation, I would be cautious,” says Chandler Crouch, broker for Chandler Crouch Realtors in Fort Worth, TX. Imagine if you’ve got competing offers on the table, or if some problem comes up with the home inspection. You don’t want to wonder where your agent is and whether you’ll hear back from her!

Probe their experience

Your initial conversation with a prospective listing agent should be like any job interview: Don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions right off the bat. A good agent should know his stats, and any dancing around these numbers could mean he’s hiding something. According to Crouch, you should ask the following:

  • How long have you been in business? Aim for Realtors with at least two years of experience, enough time to learn the ropes and finesse their marketing and selling plans. Time (on the job) is money (in your pocket).
  • How many houses did you sell last year? Look for agents with double-digit sales. “I wouldn’t consider an agent unless they had 20 or more sells a year,” Crouch says.
  • What percentage of your listings do you sell? Ideally you want an agent who has sold an average of 60% to 80%.
  • What is the average list price to actual sell price ratio for your listings? This can fluctuate by market, but you should still look for high numbers. “I would set a low bar of 95% to be acceptable for even the worst market conditions,” Crouch says.

Assess their marketing skills

Everyone knows that to sell a house quickly (and get the big bucks) you need to reach as many eyeballs as you can. And the way to suss out an agent’s ability to do that is to ask these questions:

  • How will you market my home? A Realtor should use at least a good brokerage website to showcase your listing, national listing portals such as realtor.com®, and an email subscription list.
  • How will you use social media? They should use at least Facebook and Twitter to market listings; they get bonus points if they post photos on Instagram.
  • What offline materials do you use? While most marketing is done online now, your Realtor should still make use of tried-and-true methods such as fliers, yard signs, and brochures, especially at an open house.
  • How much do you spend on advertising? “Don’t stop asking until you get a solid dollar figure,” Crouch says. Advertising costs vary widely by area, but Realtors should consistently spend a portion of their business expenses on advertising. By asking for a set amount, you’ll know if they’re doing that or not.

Don’t shoot for cheap

Finally, don’t assume the most inexpensive agent is the one for you. While agents work at different price points and some may take a lower commission, they should be confident enough in their abilities to stand by their prices, according to Crouch. So when you’re talking terms, he recommends asking agents if they’ll work on a discount. If they jump at the chance early on in the conversation, that might be a red flag.

“Think about this: If the agent can’t even negotiate to protect their own money, how likely do you think it will be for them to go to bat to protect your money?” Crouch says. “It’ll be a test of confidence in their own services at least.”

by Angela Colley, real estate writer for Realtor.com 

 

Information provided by Keller Williams Dallas Metro North. Call us today – we have over 400 qualified agents ready to assist you with your real estate needs!

KW | Dallas Metro North outperforming NTREIS!

Keller Williams Dallas Metro North is outperforming NTREIS!! Look at our figures: We’re selling $25,552 higher per home, taking 3.2% more listings and selling them 20 days faster in June 2017. Call us today for help with your real estate needs!

LORE JULY

It’s highly beneficial to use a professional, knowledgeable, local real estate agent! Call Keller Williams Dallas Metro North today!!

For Millennials, Homeownership Is a Waiting Game

shutterstock_282602042Millennials have their sights set on homeownership – but a new report makes a case that their dreams could be years from becoming reality.

According to a recent survey, though 80 percent of millennial renters aspire to become homeowners, 72 percent are held back by an inability to afford a home, with saving for a down payment the most challenging obstacle to overcome. Sixty-eight percent have less than $1,000 saved for a down payment; 44 percent, decidedly, have no down payment savings at all, and 40 percent have no savings plan in place to start.

Older millennials – those aged 25-34 and now in their prime home-buying years – are struggling to save for a down payment, as well: 42 percent have set aside nothing.

millennial-moneyThe down payment goose egg suggests millennials grossly miscalculate how much savings they need to afford a down payment, whether 20 percent – ideal to avoid monthly mortgage insurance and obtain better mortgage loan interest rates – or less. (In fact, when controlling for a 10 percent down payment, only 36 percent can save enough in three years.)

Another snag? Millennials who are saving up for a home have a long wait ahead of them. According to the survey, most will need to save for more than five years to accumulate enough for a 20 percent down payment, with those in the hottest housing markets – think ATX, the Bay Area and Silicon Valley – needing to wait roughly 20 years.

Injured Piggy Bank WIth Crutches“Our analysis shows that the lack of savings by millennials, combined with the extreme shortage in affordable entry-level homes, means that a large share of millennials may be stuck renting for years,” according to report authors Andrew Woo, director of Data Science and Growth, and Chris Salviati, senior growth associate, at ApartmentList.com.

All’s not doom and gloom, however. Millennials saving for a home in Kansas City, Mo., will need to squirrel away money for just five-and-a-half years, while those in Las Vegas, Nev., and Miami, Fla., will need about 6 years.

Millennial - indecisiveThere are other, less intimidating influencers keeping millennials from entering the housing market, too. Forty-five percent are “not ready to settle down” yet, and 36 percent are simply waiting to say “I do.”

“These results underscore the long-term crisis that homeownership in the United States may face, as millennials delay buying a home until later in life,” the authors state. “One of the outstanding questions for the housing market has been whether or not the nation’s largest generation – millennials – will purchase homes at rates similar to their parents or if they will continue to rent long into adulthood, or even indefinitely.”

For now, millennials are playing the waiting the game.

5 Sizzling Reasons to Buy a Home NOW

summerWe’re heading into the dog days of summer here in North Texas. The days are longer, the pool water is warm, and ice cream sales are up!

Yep, we’re sitting right in the middle of the most popular time of the year to buy and sell a home. And there’s no reason to sweat the idea of buying in the summer. In fact, there are some distinct advantages to making your way into the marketplace during housing’s hottest season – as long as you can stand the heat of a little competition.

1. Prices aren’t necessarily higher

“A huge myth about the real estate market is that homes sell for more in the summer and less in the winter. This is simply not true,” says Dippy Chhina of Dippy Real Estate.

Let’s be clear: Home prices do usually peak in June–August. And it’s a seller’s market in most areas. But other forces beyond the summer sun play a major role in a home’s asking price, Chhina notes. They include the number of similar homes also for sale in a given area, interest rates, and the job market.

“What is true, however, is that there are more homes on the market in summer than in the winter, and there is also a higher number of sales in the summer than the winter,” Chhina says.

Which leads us to our next summer-buying advantage.

2. Inventory is broader

shutterstock_1638721You wouldn’t buy a car from a dealer with only two models for sale, so why limit your options when it comes to picking a house? The open-plan kitchen you’ve been yearning for or a home in a stellar school district is much more likely to pop up in a busier marketplace.

“The large inventory offers significantly more opportunities for purchasers to identify specific floor plans, amenities, and locations,” says Sarah Lilly of Five Star Lakeshore Real Estate. Buyers “feel more confident in their search because additional properties hit the market every week.”

In some less competitive markets, knowing that there are plenty of homes for sale can give you more leverage for price negotiation, and peace of mind knowing that if you have to walk to away, another home will be just around the corner.

3. Buying and selling at the same time could be easier

If you need to sell your current home before you can buy another, you’ll likely have an easier time with the balancing act during the summer. Rather than getting trapped with two mortgages, you could have a more seamless transition in a busier market.

“If the client needs to sell a home before buying, the home will be more likely to sell, and potentially at a good price, allowing the client to purchase their new home sooner,” says Joe Lopez of Connect Realty.

But remember, these transactions take time, so if you’re planning on pulling off a double act, get ready as soon as possible so you can capture as much of that golden season as you can.

4. School’s out for summer

kidsAny beleaguered parent can tell you why this factor is crucial. By waiting until summer to make your move, you can minimize disruption to your kids’ lives. Plus, their schedule is clear to bring them along to showings. (Beware, though, not all agents appreciate young kids underfoot.)

“House hunting during the summer break from school means that kids can more readily attend showings— important when offer time is of the essence and parents want each member to approve of the new family home,” says Orlando Regional Realtor Association President Bruce Elliott, of Regal R.E. Professionals.

And if the sellers have kids, they might also be trying to cement a sale in time for the new school year—and will likely be more motivated toward the end of the season.

“Sellers who find their properties still on the market as summer draws to a close and the ranks of buyers thin out may be more open to price negotiation,” Elliott says. “In addition, those buyers who were unable to secure a home after months of looking and making offers may become fatigued and drop out of the hunt.”

5. You’ll get to know the lay of the land

It’s easier to do a little detective work on your potential home when the weather’s nice and the days are longer. Trees and flowers are in full bloom, so you’ll get a better idea of your prospective new yard. You can step out on that back porch and envision what it will really, truly be like to live there and host your long-anticipated Margarita Mondays. Plus, everyone’s more active, so you’ll get a better feel for the community.

“Summer brings people out of their homes, so while you are home shopping with your agent, you will get the chance to take the pulse of the neighborhood and see your potential neighbors,” says Kyle Springer of South Central Homes.

“Families can often get a feel for the neighborhood’s kid population during the day in the summer,” Elliott says. “Here in Orlando, where daytime temperatures reach the high 90s and so many homes have pools, buyers listen for sounds of shouting and splashing.”

But beware! Sometimes the romance of summer can distract you from some red flags.

cellphone tower“It is fine to stop and smell the roses, but also pay attention to what lurks behind them,” says Jerry Grodesky of Farm and Lake Houses Real Estate.

For example: the eyesore of a junk pile in your neighbor’s yard. Or the giant cellphone tower you didn’t see through those beautifully full trees—that now you can’t unsee. And make sure that foliage isn’t blocking any potential problems with the home, such as foundation issues or peeling roof tiles.

You should also use this opportunity to test how the property holds up in warm weather. See how well the air conditioning works when it’s pushing 100 degrees outside, and open all the windows to see if any stick or simply won’t open. Of course, your home inspector will check these things, but it never hurts to get a jump-start.

Source: Realtor.com

Information provided by Keller Williams Dallas Metro North. Call us today for assistance with your real estate needs!

Keller Williams Dallas Metro North remains a strong presence in the Metroplex!

Newest data indicates that Keller Williams Dallas Metro North remains a strong presence in the Dallas/Fort Worth real estate market!

Slide1In May 2017, Area 41, Keller Williams Dallas Metro North (KW-DMN) closed more than twice as many units as the next closest brokerage firm.

Area 41 = the communities of Argyle, Bartonville, Copper Canyon, Corinth, Double Oak, Flower Mound, Hickory Creek, Highland Village, Lake Dallas, Lewisville, Shady Shores and parts of Hebron and Northlake.

 

Slide2Similarly, YTD 2017 data for Area 41 clearly demonstrates that Keller Williams Dallas Metro North (KW-DMN) closed more than double the units of their nearest competitor!

Area 41 = the communities of Argyle, Bartonville, Copper Canyon, Corinth, Double Oak, Flower Mound, Hickory Creek, Highland Village, Lake Dallas, Lewisville, Shady Shores and parts of Hebron and Northlake.

 

Slide3In May 2017, Keller Williams Dallas Metro North (KW-DMN) ranked 5th in closed units for the D/FW four-county area (Collin, Denton, Dallas and Tarrant Counties). Also notable – Keller Williams brokerage firms are a strong presence in the area, holding the top eight positions for closed units in the Metroplex!

 

slide4YTD 2017 figures indicate another strong showing by Keller Williams Dallas Metro North (KW-DMN), ranking 5th in the D/FW four-county area (Collin, Denton, Dallas and Tarrant Counties) for closed units. 8 of the top 10 Metroplex brokerage firms for Closed Unit Data belong to Keller Williams brokerage offices!

 

Slide5Keller Williams Dallas Metro North (DMN) improved to 5 fewer days on market for YTD 2017 when compared to 2016.

Furthermore, our listings are selling 16 days faster than the area MLS listings, an improvement over 2016 figures by 3 days!

Area 41 = the communities of Argyle, Bartonville, Copper Canyon, Corinth, Double Oak, Flower Mound, Hickory Creek, Highland Village, Lake Dallas, Lewisville, Shady Shores and parts of Hebron and Northlake.
It’s highly beneficial to have a professional, knowledgeable, local real estate agent by your side! Contact Keller Williams Dallas Metro North today for your real estate needs!

4 Strategies to Make a New City Feel Like Home

Moving to a new city? You may find these tips from Real Simple Magazine helpful.Moving - 1Many big changes follow graduation day—including the overwhelming task of moving, often to a new, unfamiliar city. If you’ve recently settled in a brand new place, or you plan to move any day now, this week’s episode of “Adulthood Made Easy” is for you: Host Sam Zabell interviews Terri White, editor of Time Out New York, on how to take advantage of everything a city has to offer. Here, a few of White’s strategies for feeling a little less lost.

One last thing … “WELCOME to Texas!!!”
area - texas welcome