Monthly Archives: August 2017

How to Make an Offer on a House

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new home owner receiving key in hand after buying homeYou found the right house! Congratulations! Before you start buying new furniture or contacting a moving company, you need to make an offer on the house and make it yours.  The process of making an offer on a house and having it accepted can come with a million different questions; we’ve heard them all—and have compiled the most frequent into a list of answers. (You can also get the answers—and our expertise—in person. Just contact us.)

How much should I offer on a house? What is the right price to offer?

The right amount to offer on a house is dependent on your budget and the value of the property. Your real estate agent should be able to give you an idea of what the house is worth, based on comparable sales in the area. Basically, the worth of the property is based on the sales prices of other local properties with similar lot sizes and square footage.

There are a few factors to keep in mind as you make an offer:

  • A low-ball offer can offend a seller and lead to a more difficult negotiation (this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make a lower offer, it’s just something to factor into your decision if you really want the property).
  • The amount the seller sees is the amount with all the “others” factored in. For example, if you make a full offer of $150,000 but ask for $10,000 to cover closing costs, the seller is going to look at the offer as $140,000 (not full price).
  • A large amount of contingencies or major contingencies can make a seller choose not to accept your offer. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t include contingencies; it’s your right to include as many as you want.

What contingencies should I include?

The exact contingency or combination of contingencies a buyer includes depends on their exact situation. These are some of the most common contingencies buyers include in the offer:

  • Home inspection. This contingency gives the buyer the option to walk away if there is a problem found during the home inspection. If there is a minor issue, the buyer can request that the seller fix the problem. However, if the problem is more severe, like a bad roof or furnace that needs to be replaced, the buyer can opt out of the contract. This is a contingency that we recommend that every buyer include in their offer.
  • Financing. If the buyer is using financing to cover all or part of their home purchase, a financing contingency covers the situation where the financing would fall through before the closing. This contingency gives the buyer the chance to opt out of the contract.
  • Property sale. For buyers who have their home on the market and are making an offer on a new house, a property sale clause gives the buyer the chance to walk away if their home doesn’t sell.

What do I do if the seller does not accept my offer?

If the seller does not accept your offer, you have two choices. You can either make another offer or walk away. Your real estate agent can help you make the choice that best fits the situation, or set up showings for other properties that you make want to submit an offer for.

Pet Owners: Tips for Buying the Perfect Home for You and Your Pet

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woman with dog looking for new homeDog, cats, chickens, snakes, birds. There is no doubt that our pets play a key part in our lives. They are family. Why shouldn’t they be an important part of our home search? That’s why we’ve put together a list of tips that can help you as you search for the best home that suits you—and your furry, feathered, and scaled friends.

Identify the ‘musts’ of your new home.

After applying for a mortgage, the next important search is to identify what is most important in your home search. As a pet owner, your list may be different than a non-pet owner; for example, a sun room for your cats or birds or an adequate fenced-in yard for your chickens and dogs may be at the top of the list. If you have an arthritic pet, a home with a limited amount of stairs could be included. If you are concerned about clean-up, add hard and durable floors to your list so you can easily clean up after your pets (especially during potty training!). Share your list with your real estate agent to make sure you are both on the same page during your home search.

Ask about fencing and other rules that could affect you and your pet.

Before you sign on the dotted line, ask the right questions to determine if there are any rules that could impact you and your pet. Most neighborhoods have basic regulations about cleaning up after the pet and controlling your pet, but there are some areas that could have additional rules. If you want (or own) chickens, ask if they are allowed. There are also municipalities and homeowner’s associations (especially pertinent for condo, town home, and some neighborhood purchases) with rules concerning noise restrictions (be aware dog owners), the number of pets you can own, the types of pets, fencing, etc.

Research your neighborhood.

If you have a more energetic pet or a pet you like to socialize, research your neighborhood to make sure your pet is allowed to visit local parks and businesses. Pay attention to traffic patterns, as well, so your pet is not at risk from a busy street (both when they are out in the yard or when on walks). Lastly, research local businesses so you don’t have to drive far for all your pet’s needs (i.e. food, grooming, daycare, health, etc.) To narrow down your options, talk to your real estate agent about any special needs you and your pet have before you start looking at homes.

Ask about previous pets.

A home with pets is not an automatic reason to not purchase a house; however it is a question that needs to be asked. If you have pets that would mark where a previous pet was, you do need to factor in the cost of new flooring or a deep flooring clean so you and your pet are both comfortable in your new family home.

What are the first steps to selling my home?

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young homeowner selling home and moving outIt’s time to sell your home! There are a million emotions that accompany the decision to sell: excitement, panic, nervousness, anticipation. The good news is that there aren’t a million steps that go with a home sale, just a few steps that stand between you and that sold sign.

Find out how much your home is worth.

One of the first steps is to find out how much your home is worth. Don’t check your property tax bill for the information; the value of your home is based on comparable sales in the area, location, condition of the property, and square footage (more details about how to determine the value of your home here). Instead, contact a local experienced real estate agent for a free estimate of your home’s worth.

Do your financial research.

Once you’ve found out the value of your home (and subtracted the costs to sell), it’s time to choose a lender for your next real estate purchase (details on how to select the right lender here). If you’re not buying another property, contact your financial advisor or tax consultant for advice.

Get a pre-listing inspection.

A pre-listing inspection is basically a home inspection done before you put your home on the market. The advantage to a pre-listing inspection is that it gives you, the home seller, the chance to resolve any issues found at your own cost by a contractor you choose. For example, if the home inspector identifies a window that needs to be replaced, you can choose a window and replace it at the cost you choose instead of making concessions that cut into your bottom line.

Once you’ve made necessary repairs, ready your home for sale. Improve the curb appeal of your property (use this curb appeal checklist) and prepare the interior for a showing. Give your home a deep clean or ask your real estate agent for a list of local cleaning companies that can make your home look like no one has ever lived there. Declutter your home so you can show off the best features of your home (i.e. archways, fireplaces, etc.) and make rooms look bigger.

Contact a real estate agent (again).

When your home is ready, contact a local experienced real estate agent to list your home.  Then wait for the sign to go up in your front yard, the calls about showings to come in (here’s how to get your home ready for a showing), and the sold sign to go up.