tips & tricks

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Buyers Tips

Are you ready to buy?

BUILDING A PLAN OF ACTION AND GET READY!

Buying a home will probably be one of the biggest personal investments/decisions one can make. Being organized and having an idea of what you want contribute significantly to getting the best home deal possible with the least amount of stress. It’s important to anticipate the steps required to successfully achieve your housing goal and to build a plan of action that gets you there.

Before you can build a plan of action, take the time to lay the groundwork for your decision-making process. THE FIRST AND SECOND STEPS ARE DECIDING TO BUY AND FINDING THE RIGHT AGENT!!!

Now ask yourself how much you can afford to pay for a home. If you’re not sure on the price range, call us and we will get you a great lender to ask questions and get you get pre-approved. Now that you are Pre-approved you will know exactly what you can afford and allow you to look for homes in your price range. Getting pre-approved also helps you to alleviate some of the anxieties that come with home buying. You know exactly what you qualify for and at what rate, you know how large your monthly mortgage payments will be, and you know how much you will have or need for a down payment. Once you are pre-approved, you avoid the frustration of finding homes that you think are perfect, but are not in your price range.

Now, ask yourself where you want to live and what the best location for you and/or your family is. Things to consider:

  • convenience for all family members
  • proximity to work, school and shopping
  • local transportation
    • style/design
    • number of bedrooms

Now you are under contract after finding the right home it is time of inspections:INSPECTIONS

As a buyer, you are entitled to know exactly what you are getting. Don’t take anything for granted, not even what you see or what the seller or listing agent tell you. A professional home inspection is something you MUST do, whether you are buying an existing home or a new one. An inspection is an opportunity to have an expert look closely at the property you are considering purchasing and getting both an oral and written opinion as to its condition.

Beforehand, make sure the report will be done by a professional organization, such as a local trade organization or a national trade organization such as ASHI (American Society of Home Inspection). Not only should you never skip an inspection, but also you should be present with the inspector during the inspection. This gives you a chance to ask questions about the property and get answers that are not biased. In addition, the oral comments are typically more revealing and detailed than what you will find on the written report. Once the inspection is complete, review the inspection report with your agent.

Once the inspection is done you have three options: 1. Take the home as-is, 2. Negotiate a new price or 3. Make a list of repairs the seller needs to do before closing.

GETTING A LEGITIMATE LENDER AND GETTING PRE-APPROVED

It used to be that buyers could go house shopping and make an offer on a property before getting pre-approved but times have changed and the mortgage criteria change all the time making it necessary to get pre-approved before hand. It also makes the offer to purchase a stronger offer in the seller eyes making it more appealing to accept the offer. 

Most lenders can pre-qualify you for a mortgage over the phone or through their website. Be careful before entering your personal information in a random website. They will ask for general information about your income, debt, assets, and credit history. Then lenders can estimate how much you qualify for. However, being pre-qualified and pre-approved are different things. Pre-approval means that you have applied for a mortgage; you have filled out the mortgage application, received your credit report, and verified your employment, assets, etc. When you are pre-approved, you know exactly what the maximum loan amount will be.

A pre-qualified letter is not verified and in essence, does not count for much if you are competing with other buyers who are pre-approved. When you are pre-approved, you and the seller know exactly how much house you can afford. It gives you credibility as an interested buyer and lets the seller know immediately that you will qualify for a loan to buy their property.

In addition to being pre-approved, it’s important to be pre-approved with a legitimate lender. Legitimate lenders include: banks, mortgage bankers, credit unions, savings and loan associations, mortgage brokers, and online lenders.

Sellers Tips

SETTING THE PRICE

The price is the first thing buyers notice about your property. If you set your price too high, then the chance of alienating buyers is higher. You want your house to be taken seriously, and the asking price reflects how serious you are about selling your home.

Several factors will contribute to your final decision. First, you should compare your house to others that are in the market. If you use an agent, he/she will provide you with a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis). The CMA will reflect the following:

  • houses in your price range and area that were sold within the last half-year
  • asking and selling prices of houses
  • current inventory of houses on the market
  • features of each house on the market

From the CMA, you will learn the difference between the asking price and selling price for all homes sold, the condition of the market, and other houses comparable to yours.

Also, try to find out what types of houses are selling and see if it applies to your area. Buyers follow trends, and these trends can help you set your price.

Always be realistic. Understand and set your price to reflect the current market situation.

Getting the highest price in the shortest amount of time

In order to get the highest price in the shortest time, you need to know how to market your home. The better you market your home, the more offers you will get. And the more offers you get, the more choices you have to get the price and terms you want.

The most important factor of marketing your home is pricing it right. Your price should be adjusted to reflect the market and your property’s worth. The key is to get as many people as possible checking out your fairly priced property. If your property is not priced fairly, there will be no buyers because your price is set too high.

Another important factor is the condition of your home. Make sure that your home looks ready to be sold. Fix any defects (peeling or faded paint, cracks, stains, etc.) Condition alone can sometimes prompt fast buying decisions. Not only should you fix any defects, but consider upgrading your home by making major repairs and cosmetic improvements before selling. A nice looking home triggers the emotional response that can lead to a financial response.

Learn how to negotiate the best terms for all parties involved. Terms are another factor that may be adjusted to attract buyers. If you insist on getting your asking price, think of what you can offer to the buyers. For example, improvements you’ve made or even offering seller financing at a lower than market interest rate on a portion of the sale price. Convince them why they should be paying the price you have set.

Lastly, get the buzz out about your home. List your house with a hot agent that ensures your house is listed on the MLS and on the Internet. On your own, get the word out. It should always be visible to passersby that your house is for sale, whether it is through signs, local advertisements or you telling friends, family, and acquaintances.

TITLE

How Should I Take Ownership of the Property I am Buying?

Real property can be incredibly valuable and the question of how parties can take ownership of their property is important. The form of ownership taken -- the vesting of title -- will determine who may sign various documents involving the property and future rights of the parties to the transaction. These rights involve such matters as: real property taxes, income taxes, inheritance and gift taxes, transferability of title and exposure to creditor’s claims. Also, how title is vested can have significant probate implications in the event of death.

The Land Title Association (LTA) advises those purchasing real property to give careful consideration to the manner in which title will be held. Buyers may wish to consult legal counsel to determine the most advantageous form of ownership for their particular situation, especially in cases of multiple owners of a single property.

The LTA has provided the following definitions of common vesting as an informational overview. Consumers should not rely on these as legal definitions. The Association urges real property purchasers to carefully consider their titling decision prior to closing, and to seek counsel should they be unfamiliar with the most suitable ownership choice for their particular situation.

Common Methods of Holding Title

SOLE OWNERSHIP

Sole ownership may be described as ownership by an individual or other entity capable of acquiring title. Examples of common vesting in cases of sole ownership are:

  1. A Single Man/Woman: A man or woman who has not been legally married. For example: Bruce Buyer, a single man.
  2. An Unmarried Man/Woman: A man or woman who was previously married and is now legally divorced. For example: Sally Seller, an unmarried woman.
  3. A Married Man/Woman as His/Her Sole and Separate Property: A married man or woman who wishes to acquire title in his or her name alone.
    The title company insuring title will require the spouse of the married man or woman acquiring title to specifically disclaim or relinquish his or her right, title and interest to the property. This establishes that it is the desire of both spouses that title to the property be granted to one spouse as that spouse’s sole and separate property. For example: Bruce Buyer, a married man, as his sole and separate property.

CO-OWNERSHIP

Title to property owned by two or more persons may be vested in the following forms:

  1. Community Property: A form of vesting title to property owned by husband and wife during their marriage, which they intend to own together. Community property is distinguished from separate property, which is property acquired before marriage, by separate gift or bequest, after legal separation, or which is agreed to be owned only by one spouse.
    Real property conveyed to a married man or woman is presumed to be community property, unless otherwise stated. Since all such property is owned equally, husband and wife must sign all agreements and documents of transfer. Under community property, either spouse has the right to dispose of one half of the community property, including transfers by will. For example: Bruce Buyer and Barbara Buyer, husband and wife as community property.
  2. Joint Tenancy A form of vesting title to property owned by two or more persons, who may or may not be married, in equal interest, subject to the right of survivorship in the surviving joint tenant(s). Title must have been acquired at the same time, by the same conveyance, and the document must expressly declare the intention to create a joint tenancy estate. When a joint tenant dies, title to the property is automatically conveyed by operation of law to the surviving joint tenant(s). Therefore, joint tenancy property is not subject to disposition by will. For example: Bruce Buyer and Barbara Buyer, husband and wife as joint tenants.
  3. Tenancy in Common: A form of vesting title to property owned by any two or more individuals in undivided fractional interests. These fractional interests may be unequal in quantity or duration and may arise at different times. Each tenant in common owns a share of the property, is entitled to a comparable portion of the income from the property and must bear an equivalent share of expenses. Each co-tenant may sell, lease or will to his/her heir that share of the property belonging to him/her. For example: Bruce Buyer, a single man, as to an undivided 3/4 interest and Penny Purchaser, a single woman, as to an undivided 1/4 interest, as tenants in common.

Other ways of vesting title include:

  1. A Corporation*: A corporation is a legal entity, created under state law, consisting of one or more shareholders but regarded under law as having an existence and personality separate from such shareholders.
  2. A Partnership*: A partnership is an association of two or more persons who can carry on business for profit as co-owners, as governed by the Uniform Partnership Act. A partnership may hold title to real property in the name of the partnership.
  3. As Trustees of A Trust*: A trust is an arrangement whereby legal title to a property is transferred by the grantor to a person called a trustee, to be held and managed by that person for the benefit of the people specified in the trust agreement, called the beneficiaries.
  4. Limited Liability Companies (L.L.C.) This form of ownership is a legal entity and is similar to both the corporation and the partnership. The operating agreement will determine how the L.L.C. functions and is taxed. Like the corporation its existence is separate from its owners.

*In cases of corporate, partnership, L.L.C. or trust ownership - required documents may include corporate articles and bylaws, partnership agreements, L.L.C. operating agreement and trust agreements and/or certificates.

Remember:

How title is vested has important legal consequences. You may wish to consult an attorney to determine the most advantageous form of ownership for your particular situation.