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SO MUCH TO DO – SO LITTLE TIME

SO MUCH TO DO – SO LITTLE TIME

“If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?” – John Wooden

Time is the only thing that everyone has the same of – whether you are rich or poor, famous or ordinary, we all have the same amount of time to accomplish what we want to do on any given day.

This past weekend I think I may have bit off more than I wanted.  I decided to build a website to showcase all the short sales I have for sale and it pretty much took up all of my weekend.  So, I never got to post what I wanted to talk about yesterday.

Briefly, yesterday was the Epiphany – the day when the wise men – Magi – went to see the Christ child. These three men traveled a great distance just to see the newborn king and bring him gifts.  King Herod was jealous and afraid this newborn king would be greater than him, so he asked the wise men to come to his palace after they saw the Christ child, to tell him where he was so he could also pay homage to this newborn king.

An angel appeared to the Magi in a dream and told them of King Herod’s plan, and so instead of  returning the way they came – via where King Herod resided  – the Magi took a different way home.  In essence they had a “Plan B”.

Do you have a “Plan B”?  In today’s world and economy, it is very important to have a “Plan B” to keep you afloat.  If you don’t have one, I suggest you begin giving it a lot of thought. I know I am!

By the way, please stop by my new “ShortSaleAlachua.com” web site and take a look at the “Pre-Approved” short sales I have on the market. This is the website I built this weekend that took up all of my time.  Just click on the link below to view the site.  Thanks

https://sites.google.com/site/shortsalealachuacom/home

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GET A QUALITY HOME INSPECTION

“About the time we can make the ends meet, somebody moves the ends.” – Herbert Hoover

4 truths about home inspectors

Why are there so many consumer complaints?By Barry Stone
Reprinted from:  Inman News™

DEAR BARRY: I read your column religiously every week and it seems that most of the problems answered by you deal with questionable inspections by home inspectors. I am beginning to think that the majority of home inspectors are either extremely incompetent or are in the pocket of the sellers or realty agents. How can a buyer find an honest, reliable and competent home inspector? –Archie

DEAR ARCHIE: Your question raises more than one issue, so I offer the following four answers:

1. Many of the questions I receive are complaints about home inspectors. Human nature being what it is, people speak up more readily when they have a bad experience than when they have a good one. The fact is, there are many competent home inspectors in the profession, but people don’t write to say what a great home inspection they just had. Therefore, the complaints show up often in my articles.

2. Unfortunately, there are many home inspectors who do not perform thorough or competent inspections. No doubt, there are some cases where this is due to unethical relationships with REALTORS®. Personally, I don’t know any inspectors who operate on that level, so I expect that collusion of that kind is a rare practice.

But home inspectors are often exposed to subtle suggestions and pressures from agents. Without intending to be dishonest, there could be a tendency, in such cases, to soften the presentation of some disclosures.

3. Some home inspectors lack the knowledge and experience needed to conduct a thorough and adequate property evaluation. Most home inspectors receive ongoing education from associations such as the American Society of Home Inspectors and various other state associations. But not all home inspectors are on the advanced side of the educational curve.

4. The toughest question is: How can I find a competent, reliable home inspector? The best I can offer is a method that is not foolproof. Try to find someone with years of experience, who has performed thousands of home inspections. Look for someone who is regarded by real estate agents as a nit-picky perfectionist. In fact, you could call real estate offices and ask if there is an inspector who is known as a “deal killer” or “deal breaker.” Inspectors with that kind of reputation are likely to be qualified and honest.

DEAR BARRY: The house I’m buying is more than 100 years old, and there appear to be some structural problems. The main support beam in the basement is cracked, causing the upstairs floor to sag. The sellers have installed temporary supports and say that permanent repairs can be done at a later time for about $1,000. Should I buy this home or leave it well enough alone? –Chris

DEAR CHRIS: If you seriously wish to purchase this home, you should disregard the sellers’ assessment of the support problems and have the foundation and framing systems professionally evaluated. Concerns regarding the structural integrity of a home should not be left to chance or to off-hand opinions.

The framing defects should be investigated by a licensed structural engineer. The property should also be fully evaluated by the most thorough and experienced home inspector you can find.

Additional problems will be revealed by a qualified home inspector, and with the sellers soft-selling a structural defect, additional findings could be decisive.

To write to Barry Stone, please visit him on the Web at www.housedetective.com.


TIPS FOR STAYING SAFE THIS WINTER

“We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of    regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.”                         – Jim Rohn

Residential fires take their toll every day, every year, in lost lives and destroyed property. The fact is that many conditions that cause house fires can be avoided or prevented by homeowners. Taking the time for some simple precautions, preventive inspections, and concrete planning can help prevent fire in the home — and can even save your life should disaster strike.

  • All electrical devices including lamps, appliances, and electronics should be checked for frayed cords, loose or broken plugs, and exposed wiring. Never run electrical wires under carpet or rugs as this creates a fire hazard.
  • Wood-burning fireplaces should be cleaned by a professional chimney sweep each year to prevent a dangerous buildup of creosote, which can cause a flash fire in the chimney. Cracks in masonry chimneys should be repaired, and spark arresters inspected to ensure they are in good condition and free of debris.
  • When using space heaters, keep them away from beds and bedding, curtains, papers — anything flammable. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use. Space heaters should not be left unattended or where a child or pet could knock them over.
  • Use smoke detectors with fresh batteries unless they are hard-wired to your home’s electrical system. Smoke detectors should be installed high on walls or on ceilings on every level of the home and inside each bedroom. Statistics show that nearly 60% of home fire fatalities occur in homes without working smoke alarms. Many municipalities now require the use of working smoke detectors in both single and multi-family residences.
  • Children should not have access to or be allowed to play with matches, lighters, or candles. Flammable materials such as gasoline or kerosene should be stored outside the house.
  • Kitchen fires know no season. Grease spills, items left unattended on the stove or in the oven, and food left in toasters or toaster ovens can catch fire quickly. Don’t wear loose-fitting clothing, especially with long sleeves, around the stove. Handles of pots and pans should be turned away from the front of the stove to prevent accidental contact. Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher within easy reach.
  • Have an escape plan. This is one of the most important measures you can take to prevent death in a fire. Your local fire department can provide detailed recommendations on escape planning and preparedness. In addition, all family members should know how to dial 911 in case of a fire or other emergency.
  • Live Christmas trees should be kept in a water-filled stand and checked daily for dehydration. Needles should not easily break off a freshly cut tree. Brown needles or lots of fallen needles indicate a dangerously dried-out tree, which should be discarded immediately. Always use non flammable decorations in the home, and never use lights on a dried-out tree.
  • Candles should be placed in stable holders and placed away from curtains, drafts, pets, and children. Never leave candles unattended, even for a short time.
  • Christmas or other holiday lights should be checked for fraying or broken wires and plugs. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when joining two or more strands together, as a fire hazard could result from overload. Enjoy your indoor holiday lighting only while someone is home, and turn them off before going to bed at night.

Your local Pillar To Post office wishes you and your clients a happy and safe holiday season.

A big thank you to Karl for sending this article my way.

Karl Spitzer
karl.spitzer@pillartopost.com
www.pillartopost.com

SELLERS; IF YOU WANT IT, ASK FOR IT!

SELLERS; IF YOU WANT IT, ASK FOR IT!

“Ask, and it shall be given unto you.”  –  Jesus Christ

There’s nothing more frustrating to a ready, willing, and seemingly able buyer than to lose an offer to another buyer — especially since the seller was not specific (down to the letter) about what he expected to receive.

Sure, there’s the list price; but in today’s fast-paced market, a buyer/ prospect may offer thousands more than the list price and STILL not be the lucky buyer who gets the property!

That’s why sellers should be as specific as possible with buyers in what they want to receive and achieve in a successful offer.

Let’s tackle the major elements the seller should be prepared to address with serious buyers. I suggest that sellers (or their real estate agent) prepare a “Suggested Contract Requirement” sheet to give to buyers, outlining what they expect in the following:

Loan pre-approval
By now, it should go without saying that buyers without loan pre-approval shouldn’t be competing in the current market; but sadly, some are. That’s why it’s important for the seller to specify that buyers be pre-approved for loans ample enough to fund the purchase price, AND detail the type of loan and respective costs (if any) the seller would cover.

For example, a buyer might claim to be pre-approved for a mortgage of “x” amount. What she fails to disclose, however, is that it’s Veteran’s Administration (VA) financing and she expects the seller to cover her two discount points. On a $140,000 sales price (with zero down) that’s a hefty $2,800 for the seller.
Or what about the buyer who claims to have “cash” coming to him to fund the purchase (often coming from proceeds of an estate or settlement of a law suit.) The buyer’s funds are delayed. In order to close the sale, he must borrow the money, causing the seller a three-week delay in accessing his proceeds. Verifying the buyer’s funding (which is tougher to do in a “cash” sale) is vital for sidestepping potential delays for the seller.

Earnest Money
In the old, slower school of home buying a decade or more ago, buyers would offer a meager amount of earnest money or even a post-dated check with the idea that they could always up the ante if need be. In today’s market, more (rather than less) earnest money is advised in most situations. Not only does it subtly signify to the seller how financially motivated a buyer is, but can serve as a buyer’s first (and often only) shot at a strong first impression to the seller.
By letting prospective buyers know (in writing on the “Suggested Contract Requirement” sheet) the minimum amount of earnest money the seller is seeking, it places a strong buyer on equal footing with competitors. It also gives a heads-up that if you want a stronger foothold with the seller in this area, exceeding the suggested minimum amount is certainly in order! If a buyer structures an offer to include minimal contingencies like obtaining financing in a certain amount and the property appraising for at least the sales price, etc., earnest money would be at little risk of loss.

And what about contingencies? Should a seller require that buyers make all offers free of positively all contingencies if they’re serious about the property? Hardly. But keeping contingencies to a minimum (as we’ll see in Part II of this article) definitely gives buyers an added advantage over their competition and results in a smoother sale for you as a seller.

IF YOU ARE A “FOR SALE BY OWNER” THEN YOU NEED TO KNOW THIS!

IF YOU ARE A “FOR SALE BY OWNER” THEN YOU NEED TO KNOW THIS!
“He is happiest, be he king or peasant who finds peace in his home.” –  Goethe

Many homeowners believe to maximize their home sale they should sell it themselves. At first glance, they feel selling a home is simple. Why would they pay a broker free for something they could do themselves? In fact, close to 25% of all the homes sold last year were sold For Sale by Owner (FSBO).

However, close to half of the FSBOs said they would hire a professional next time they sold. Thirty percent said they were unhappy with the results they achieved by choosing FSBO. Why?

Many FSBOs told us the time, paperwork and everyday responsibilities involved were not worth the amount of money they saved in commissions. For others, the financial savings were even more disappointing. By the time they figured the fees paid to consultants, inspectors, appraisers, title lawyers, escrow and loan officers, marketing, advertising, they would have been better off to have paid the broker’s fee that would have included many of these charges.

Selling a home requires an intimate understanding of the real estate market. If the property is priced too high, it will sit and develop a reputation for being a problem property. If the property is priced too low, you will cost yourself serious money. Some FSBOs discovered that they lost money as a result of poor marketing decisions. In the final outcome, this far outweighed the commission they would have paid.

Before you decide to sell FSBO, consider these questions and weigh the consequences of assuming the responsibility versus employing a professional. A little time spent investigating now could pay off tenfold in the end.

Questions To Consider

  • Do I have the time, energy, know how, and ability to devote a full forced effort to sell my home?
  • One of the keys to selling your home effectively and profitably is complete accessibility. Many homes sit on the market much longer than necessary because the owner isn’t available to show the property. Realize that a certain amount of time each day is necessary to sell your home.
  • Am I prepared to deal with an onslaught of buyers who perceive FSBOs as targets for “low balling”?
  • Another challenge of selling a home is screening unqualified prospects and dealing with “low ballers.” It often goes unnoticed that much time, effort and expertise is required to spot these people quickly. Settling for a “low ball” bid is usually worse than paying broker commissions.
  • Am I offering financing options to the buyer? Am I prepared to answer questions about financing?
  • One of the keys to selling, whether it’s a home, a car.. anything, is to have all the necessary information the prospective buyer needs and to offer them options. Think about the last time your purchased something of value, did you make a decision before you had “all your ducks in a row?” By offering financing options, you give the home-buyer the ability to work on their terms. You’ll open up the possibility of selling your home quicker and more profitably. A professional real estate agent will have a complete team for you to profit from… lenders… title reps… inspection companies… they’ll be completely at your disposal.
  • Do I fully understand the legal ramifications and all the necessary steps required in selling a home?
  • Many home sales have been lost due to incomplete paperwork, lack of inspections or not meeting your state’s disclosure laws. Are you completely informed of all the steps necessary to sell real estate? If not, you may want to consider consulting with a professional.
  • Am I capable of handling the legal contracts, agreements and any disputes with buyers before or after the offer is presented?
  • Ask yourself: “Am I well-versed in legalese? Am I prepared to handle disputes with buyers?” To avoid any disputes, it is wise to put all negotiations and agreements in writing. Many home sales have been lost due to misrepresentations of what was negotiated.
  • Have I contacted the necessary professionals… title, inspector (home and pest), attorney, and escrow company?
  • Are you familiar with top inspectors and escrow companies? Don’t randomly select inspectors, attorneys, and title reps. Like any profession, there are inadequate individuals who will slow, delay and possibly even cost you the transaction. Be careful!

My hope with this report has been to educate you and help you avoid the pitfalls many FSBOs go through. I hope you found the ideas valuable and if there is every any way I can be of service to you or anyone you care about, please contact my office. Your initial consultation is always completely free and you’re under no obligation of any kind. I’d love to hear from you!

Sincerely,
Jocelyne Grandjean-Brown
RE/MAX Professionals
352-870-9929

WHAT MAKES PEOPLE MOVE?

WHAT MAKES PEOPLE MOVE?
“A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.” –  George Moore

Do you have a new job? Want more space? Want to own your own home? Move closer to relatives? Want a change of scene? How about – do you want to move away from your relatives? Believe it or not, moving away from relatives was the number three reason cited for moving according to a new Internet survey.

Clyde and Shari Steiner, authors of The Complete How-to-Move Handbook, compiled a comprehensive survey targeting people who pay for their own moves. The Steiners are self-styled moving experts having been through 15 relocations themselves. They gathered the information to use in their book, and it is available to read at their site, http://www.movedoc.com

“You would expect leaving friends and family would deter people from moving, but 75 percent more in our nationwide survey said they wanted to escape instead of moving closer,” comment the authors.

The survey information was self-selective, and the results were calculated on the collective data gained from a total of 432 moves. The top three reasons for moving were to take a new job (8.18%,) get a better home (7.55%,) or to move away from friends or relatives (7.55%.) Only 5.66% wanted to get closer to family and friends.

The number one reason people gave for leaving their present home was too little space (45.8%). Dangerous neighborhoods or noise prompted another 29.2% to leave, and 29.2% others blamed a long work commute for their desire to move.
The biggest advantage to moving, according to the survey results, is the change of lifestyle, with the second biggest advantage cited – making new friends.
Of the respondents, 45.8% owned their own home.

The Steiners admit that their results are far from scientific, yet the results are still intriguing.

For example, 83.3% of respondents were women. According to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR,) over 18% of homebuyers are single women compared to only 9% of men, a huge leap from a generation ago. Could the Intern et and the housing industry be overlooking a potentially large demographic – the Internet-surfing female nomad? Who knows? AR, over 18% of homebuyers are single women compared to only 9% of men, a huge leap from a generation ago. Could the Internet and the housing industry be overlooking a potentially large demographic – the Internet-surfing female nomad? Who knows?

According to the bi-annual home buying and selling survey released by the NAR, 42% of homebuyers came from rental situations, and 36% owned a single-family home and another 6% owned a shared wall residence, closely approximating the Steiner survey.

The NAR lists the number one reason buyers made a housing change is to own a home of one’s own (37%.) The majority of home buying appears to be voluntary. Only 15% of home buyers chose their new home because they were relocated, and no statistic exists which suggests that the move may have been forced by other circumstances such as debt.

According to other results, 16% of home buyers wanted more space because of marriage or a growing family, 8% wanted a larger home for investment, tax deduction or a more upscale neighborhood. Only four percent wanted less space. Five percent of buyers wanted to be closer to jobs/schools/relatives.
But do families buy homes to move away from their relatives? We don’t know – that question is missing from the NAR’s survey.

What’s your reason for moving?

Related Articles:
Americans Are On The Move
Rate of Moving Is Beginning To Slow

Written by Blanche Evans
March 25, 1999

    

WILL MY UTILITY BILLS BE PRO-RATED IN ESCROW?

“If a man has money, it is usually a sign too, that he knows how to take care of it; don’t imagine his money is easy to get simply because he has plenty of it.” – Edgar Watson Howe

At close of escrow, certain expenses will be pro-rated, giving the Buyer and Seller any credits they may be due or paying any unpaid expenses owing from either party. The pro-ration of these expenses divides up the expense fairly between the parties, determined by the length of time each party owns the property.

The typical expenses which are pro-rated are the property taxes, interest, insurance premium, rents, homeowners dues or maintenance charges. These are expenses which, if unpaid, could become a lien on the property. Utility bills, on the other hand, are not typically attached to the property but rather to the person’s name alone. Although they typically do not become a lien against the property, there are some states where this is the exception.

In some states, utility charges may become a lien against the property and thereby encumber the title. Water, sewer, and propane charges follow the title of a property and can become a lien if left unpaid. When closing a transaction, the closing agent will be very careful to verify the status of these utility bills, determining if they are paid or unpaid, and any remaining balance due. The charges will be determined and the Buyer and Seller’s proportional share will be pro-rated in escrow at the time of closing.

Verify with your closing agent if utility charges will be pro-rated in your state. If you are the Seller, providing your closing agent with your utility bills early in the escrow will save time and clear up any uncertainties at the time of closing.

If you are the Buyer, ask to verify the utility pro-rations which appear on your escrow instructions and closing statement and be certain that all unpaid bills will be paid at the time of closing. You don’t want any surprises after the close of escrow or to find an unpaid water or sewer bill that could attach to the property and become a lien against your title.

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