BUYERS

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 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!

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

How to Move with Kids Without Losing Your Mind

by Cathie Ericson |  Reprinted from realtor.com
kids - 1

There’s no doubt that moving can be a life-draining experience under the best of circumstances. Add in kids—and it most certainly does not qualify as “the best of circumstances.” In fact, complete chaos can ensue. But don’t despair: Here are some tips to minimize the insanity of relocation with little tykes in tow.

Give them an early heads up

Kids are insightful little critters, and even the really young ones have likely gathered that something is up. Rather than letting them fret, give them the low-down on the plan as soon as you know you are moving.

“Set up a special dinner night with pizza or their favorite food and inform your kids of the move,” recommends Brad Pauly of Pauly Presley Realty in Austin, TX.

Explaining details—that mom has a new job, that the house will have a room just for them, and that the new town has a great park—will help to allay their concerns. Reassure them that all their familiar items will go with them, and that they will have ample time to say goodbye to friends.

Let them decorate the boxes

If you have younger kids, consider doing the majority of packing while they are with a baby sitter or friend, or at night. Not only are they likely more interested in shutterstock_28772560unpacking boxes, but they also might be upset seeing their things go away, even if it’s only temporarily.

Older kids can help fill boxes, and then let them unleash their creativity with stickers and markers.

“Allowing them to personalize their box of belongings keeps them busy and also makes it easier for you to identify what goes to their room when you arrive at the new house,” Pauly says. Kids will want to set up their new digs as soon as they can.

Keep kid ‘essentials’ on hand

Set aside one box of items you will need ASAP, and take it with you in your own car rather than placing it on the moving truck. Let your children choose the “essentials” in their life and place them in this box. For them, it might be a certain teddy bear or toy. No judgments!

This box is all about what your kid will want on hand. That way if the moving truck ends up late or boxes get lost, your kids know they’ve got the things they love most within reach, which curbs the odds of a first-night-in-new-house meltdown.

Keep important family paperwork around, too

Also keep in your own car a box of any important school-related documents (e.g., birth certificates, medical records, and transcripts) to ensure your kids are prepared for their new school.

“It’s easy to misplace papers when moving, so making sure important documents are ready to go will make the move less stressful on the other end,” Pauly says.

Purge while packing—with consent

Kids are hoarders by nature, and that can spell trouble when you realize you are paying to move the bottle cap collection or stuffed animal menagerie.

“This is a great time to go through their belongings and donate items that have been outgrown or overplayed,” says mom and Realtor® Susan Chace of Avenue Properties in Seattle. Talk about the fresh start they will have setting up a room sans clutter, and underscore that the donations can help someone else.

However, you want to make sure they have bought into the whole “letting go” thing; if they’re overly upset, it might be wise to table the purge.

“While you might be tempted to get rid of that broken toy or that shirt that no longer fits, you should keep it unless you’re certain your kid is OK parting with it,” Pauly warns. “Young kids tend to be attached to all their things, and ensuring they see their familiar belongings in their new home will provide comfort.”

Say farewell properly

Closure is tough for everyone, but especially for kids, who may be incredibly anxious about whether they’ll find a new BFF or if their new teacher will be as kind as Ms. Jacki.

“Have kids take photos of their room, yard, school, friends, and anything else that’s important to them so they can create a memory book of this chapter in their lives,” suggests Chace. You also might want to throw a going-away party to allow for proper goodbyes.

Enjoy the journey

If you’re moving out of the region (road trip!), make the drive part of the excitement. Show them the route you’ll be taking, and highlight areas of interest you’ll see along the way. Try to plan a few fun stops along the way. And don’t forget the souvenirs.

“If you’re traveling across many states, collect a magnet from each place you visit and display them on your new refrigerator,” says Chace.

Stick to routines

Make sure to stick to your schedule throughout the moving process, including naps and rituals like family meals or family game night, says Pauly: “Maintaining familiar routines as much as you can is reassuring.”

Finally, remind them that the most familiar thing they are bringing is still with them: their family. Cheesy we know, but deep down, your kids really do care.

Cathie Ericson is a journalist who writes about real estate, finance, and health. She lives in Portland, OR. Follow @CathieEricson

Is Home Flipping for You?

Luann 1While you may think that home flipping went the way of the dinosaurs after the real estate bust, flips actually rose 3.1 percent from 2015 to 2016, with gross profits averaging $62,624, according to research from ATTOM Data Solutions.

Home flipping enjoyed a boost last year thanks to low inventory in many areas of the country and an infusion of foreign and domestic capital, says ATTOM, who reported that roughly 6 percent of condo and single-family home sales in 2016 were flips – the highest share in three years.

Hot markets in California – like San Jose, San Diego, and San Francisco – along with cities such as Baltimore, Md., Boston, Mass., New York, N.Y. and Seattle, Wash. earned more than $100,000 in profits. The most flipping took place Florida and Tennessee, where it comprised 11.7 percent of all sales in Memphis, Tenn.

Are you ready to get into the flipping game? Consider these pros and cons:

Pro: Home flipping can be very lucrative, earning you a sizable sum of money within a very short period of time.

Con: Conversely, when a flip becomes a “flop,” you can lose money. This can happen when unexpected expenses for home repairs or taxes arise, or when holding costs accrue from paying the mortgage and other expenses for a longer than anticipated period of time.

Pro: Home flipping is a great learning experience and will sharpen your skills on all things real estate, including construction, related finances and the local market.

Con: The process can be very stressful. There will be bumps along the way and there is always a risk involved, so make sure you’re ready for the roller coaster ride.

If you’d like more detailed real estate information about your market, please contact Anne Lakusta, Keller Williams Dallas Metro North, at 972-874-1905.

KELLER WILLIAMS DALLAS METRO NORTH – October 2015 STATISTICS

Keller Williams Dallas Metro North is Outperforming our Entire DFW area!

We have sold 1050 Listings YTD, Selling $20,779 higher per home and Selling them 21 Days Faster! LORE NOVEMBER 2015

Furnish Your Home For Less

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Starting out with a “blank slate” can be both a blessing and a curse. The blessing comes if you have enough money to furnish your home with whatever you want from wherever you choose. Furnishing a home on a shoestring, though, takes creativity, an eye for a good value, and possibly some elbow grease.

While some discount stores, such as Ikea, sell inexpensive new furnishings, careful shoppers can find better quality for less money with used furnishings. Here are a few ideas for getting what you need at dramatically discounted prices.

Inspiration

Whether you are furnishing one room or a whole house, it’s important to have an idea of how you want the room to look before you go shopping. Once you have the design in mind, it’s easier to shop for the components.

Model homes in new home communities are great places to get decorating ideas. These homes are carefully decorated to appeal to a broad range of homebuyers’ emotions. Color schemes, accessories, and furniture choice and placement all play to the shopper’s emotions.

Interior design and decorating websites may also be good sources of inspiration. Check out Better Homes and Gardens, HGTV, Real Simple and Southern Living for budget project ideas to get your household furnished for less.

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Used is Good

One of the hardest things to learn is how to look beyond the obvious wear and tear to the actual “bones” of used furniture.  Look beyond the fact that the upholstery is ratty or the legs are scuffed – look at style.

If you like the lines of the coffee table, buy it. Scratches and dings are easy to fix. Hate the ugly green upholstery on the otherwise perfect Chesterfield-style sofa? Buy it. Have it recovered in a yummy fabric of your choice.

Once you’ve mastered the technique of not judging furniture by its cover, it’s time to go shopping.

Garage and Estate Sales

Yes, there are differences between garage sales and estate sales. The latter is the disposition of goods of a person’s estate. The garage sale, on the other hand, is the sale of a person’s extra belongings or things they no longer need. Both sales offer used items, but estate sales typically have a better variety, and the items are usually in better condition.

Expect to pay more for estate sale items than garage sale items, and prices are typically not negotiable. In both cases you’ll need to supply your own moving labor and transportation, so factor that cost into the cost of the items you want to purchase.

You can find garage and estate sales advertised on Craigslist, in newspaper classified ads, and by following directional signs in neighborhoods.

Consignment Stores

Furniture prices tend to be a bit higher in consignment stores than if you were to purchase the items directly from the owner’s home, but you can occasionally find some bargains.

Thrift Stores

Salvation Army, Goodwill, Deseret Industries (in the western U.S.) and hospital auxiliary thrift stores are sources of deeply discounted used household items. Finding something decent is a bit challenging, but once in a while you’ll find just the piece you’ve been searching for, so don’t disregard these sources.

Online Shopping

Craigslist is the best online site for inexpensive home furnishings – mainly because it’s local. The first place to navigate once you arrive on your local Craigslist page is the “For Sale” section, where you’ll find a link named “Free.” Everybody loves free, right? Within this category you’ll see ads that are headlined: “Curb Alert.” These ads contain free items that the owners place at their curb, available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Directly beneath the “Free” section is a link to the furniture section. Here you can find everything from new furniture to gently used designer pieces and ratty junk. Craigslist gives you the opportunity to search by owner or by dealer and to use keywords, which saves you from having to scroll through hundreds of ads for headboards when you’re looking for a dining room table.

You may also want to peruse the “Household” and “Antique” sections, also located under “For Sale.”

Another website where you can search for furniture is eBay. You can find some bargains here, but keep in mind that shipping charges may just destroy any savings you realize on the items themselves. One way around this is to click the down arrow next to “Sort.” At the bottom of the list you’ll find “Nearest First.” Click on that link to re-sort items according to geographic location.

Etsy is an interesting website for perusing handmade items, such as artwork, containers, planters and pillows suitable for accessorizing.

Finally, join the freecycling group in your area at Freecycle.org. Membership is free, and so are all the items posted.

Shopping frugally allows you to make big, dramatic changes to your home décor without breaking the bank.

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