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Navigating the Home Buying Process

(Published on - 2/9/2017 11:36:28 PM)

Spring is right around the corner and this is the time that many people begin to think about purchasing a home. In our region, spring and summer are the most common times to buy or sell a home. I have put together a list of tasks, roughly in order, that you will need to complete in order to move into the home of your dreams.

 

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Home Buying Process

  1. Obtain pre approval letter. Contact a lender you know personally or start with your bank or credit union. I am happy to provide references of lenders that are reputable and have expertise that meets your needs.
  1. Consider your budget. Just because you are approved for a certain amount, you may not want to spend that much each month. Consider other items you want to spend money on or save for. Vacations, college expenses, entertainment, and charitable giving are not items that a lender accounts for when giving you a maximum pre approval amount.
  1. Hire a Realtor. This involves signing an Exclusive Buyers Agency Agreement. This agreement outlines all of the things a buyer will do for you and most importantly, outlines the fiduciary duty that the Realtor has to you, their client. Utilize their knowledge of the area and let them help you navigate the buying process.
  1. Make a list of priorities. What must you have in a home? These are non-negotiable items. What is important to you? These items are really high on the list and items you may or may not be able to live without. What would you like to have? These items might be a stretch in your price range. If you can get them, it’s a bonus. If you don’t, well…it’s not a deal breaker.
  1. Begin your search online. Online services such as Realtor.com, Zillow and many others are great resources as you are starting out. Even better is to ask your Realtor to send listings to you that meet your criteria. The information will be more current and will contain more details.
  1. Look at some homes. As you tour homes in various parts of town and in different levels of your price range, you will begin to see a pattern of why some homes are worth more than others.
  1. Make an offer. Once you find that perfect home, you are ready to make an offer. Consult with your Realtor about the comparable sales (comps) in the neighborhood. If your home is somewhat different than those in the neighborhood, go outside the neighborhood for sales comps. Ideally, you should have seen enough homes that you know what the market is like for the area you are searching. Your Realtor can guide this process, but remember this is YOUR offer. Your offer can include asking for items from the seller including closing cost assistance or home warranty premiums. Keep in mind that the seller is interested mostly in the bottom line, not how it is distributed. Your offer must include some sort of consideration for the offer. Generally, that is in the form of an earnest money check to a title company or brokerage. It will also include the date you want to close and take possession and of course, the sales price.

 

  1. Negotiate the offer. Negotiations can range anywhere from a few minutes to several days. It really depends on the personalities of the Buyer and Seller. Realtors work to minimize emotional responses during this very stressful time and are required to take all offers and counter offers to their representing party.
  2. Sign the accepted offer and all accompanying documents. These documents vary from transaction to transaction. Your earnest money check will be deposited at this time.
  1. Perform inspections. Your contract will define how much time you have to hire professional inspectors to examine the property. Your lender will likely require a termite inspection. You may also inspect for mold, radon, lead based paint or really anything else you can think of and want to pay for.
  1. Complete Resolution of Unacceptable Conditions. This document lets the seller know if there are defects in the property that you find unacceptable. It is used to ask them to correct those items. The seller may choose to correct all, some or none of the items the buyer asks for. This can be a time of renegotiation between buyer and seller. If negotiations break down at this point and either the buyer or seller backs out of the contract, the earnest money will be refunded.
  1. Schedule movers and call utility companies. Utilities should transfer on the date of possession.
  1. Do a final walk through. You will want to walk through the home one last time before closing. The purpose of this walk through is to determine that the home is in the condition you expect (same as when you saw it, loved it and offered to buy it) and that the repairs or corrections that were agreed to on the Resolution of Unacceptable Conditions have been completed.

 

      Finally, you are ready for to close! Go to the title company with a cashier's check for the required amount and sign a bunch of papers. In most cases, you will receive possession of you home when all of your loan funds are available to be distributed.

 

There are a lot of steps. I would be happy to help you navigate them and would be greatful for any buyers you send to me to help. You can reach me at www.cindycurdrealestate.com or 816-665-8281 or cindycurd@realtyexecutives.com


HOAs: Will They Ruin My Life?

(Published on - 9/9/2016 3:57:18 PM)

Is an HOA Worth the Hassle?

 

There has been a lot of press lately about Home Owner's Associations and by far, the press has been negative. Just a few examples from our Kansas City Star:

 

Olathe Man's War with HOA over Landscaping

Angry Residents Dig for Truth...

HOAs From Hell:....

 

A common thread from these articles is that they are all written by the same person. Draw your own conclusions from that...I am not going there.

 

Where I am going is that home owners and buyers need to be aware of HOA rules, procedures and practices before committing to abide by them, which you do when you purchase a home in an area with a Home Owners Association.

 

If you are attracted to a housing area because of conforming architecture, a pleasing color palette, and streets that are unclogged by vehicles, you can bet there is a governing body that is ensuring that those qualities continue. If you are not willing to participate in keeping those standards where they are, then this place might not be the right place for you.

 

HOAs are not interested in your freedom to choose or even what you may define as your "needs". They are interested in preserving the atmosphere that they currently offer to all the other residents that have chosen this sanctuary as a place to live.

 

As a Realtor, my clients often direct me that they want to live in an area without an HOA. I appreciate that they narrow the scope significantly for me from the get-go, but I always ask a the follow-up questions, "Why?  What is it about HOAs that you object to? What things in your lifestyle do you think will cause conflict with an HOA?" Now, I am not one to push anyone into a neighborhood where they do not want to be, but I think there is a lot of misunderstanding out there about the pros and cons of Home Owners Associations.

 

Rule #1: Know the rules before you buy. Ask your Realtor for a copy of the HOA Covenants. They are often available online or can be obtained directly from the Association. TRUST ME: They want you to know the rules before you move in.

 

Asking for the covenants is not enough. You have to READ them. If you find something in the HOA rules that you cannot live with, DON'T MAKE AN OFFER ON THE HOME.

 

Some rules are vague and say something along the lines of "landscape changes must be approved by the architectural committee prior to installation". Do not take that to mean that if you ask for permission, it will be granted. Do you see other 12x12 four foot raised beds full of tomatoes in any other front yards? You are not likely to get approval for that either.

 

Rule #2: Do a thorough home inspection. If your HOA is responsible for some of the maintenance on your home, hire a professional to make sure it has been done correctly.

 

Rule #3:  Do not expect the HOA to change for you. They won't. It's not worth the battle. Even if you get on the board and try to make changes, a vote of the entire association is still necessary to make the change. Didn't you learn this basic principle when you were looking for a spouse? Same applies.

 

Rule #4: Be ready to move again if you have to. If your living situation changes, you may actually have to relocate. If you move in to an age-restricted community that allows only one person under the age of 55 to live in dwelling and you end up adopting 3 grandchildren, you are going to have to find another place to live. Hopefully, your super-strict HOA has kept the living standards up and you will be able to sell quickly to someone who was once just like you.

 

Sometimes it is not just about the rules. Sometimes it is the management of the HOA that is problematic. Ask to see financial statements. All HOAs have them. Then, as one final check, if you are really concerned about renegade and oppressive HOAs, check your county court filings. If you find your HOA involved repeatedly as either Plaintiff or Defendant, there might be a problem. Use discretion because one cranky resident who does not want to follow the rules can produce a boatload of lawsuits. This could cause the Association to have some hefty legal bills, but doesn’t necessarily mean that they are a problem for all residents.

 

Most importantly, take responsibility for yourself. Do not put yourself in a situation that is ripe for conflict. You know what kind of person you are. Don't give yourself more than you can handle.

 

I love to talk about real estate and welcome the opportunity to help people find their dream home. Please contact me to learn more.

 

 


Do I Need a Home Inspection?

(Published on - 7/21/2016 9:44:12 PM)

For this house, YES...but seriously....

Congratulations! You have signed a contract to purchase a home! It will be your refuge, your solace, your place to return to time and again. It will be the place you entertain, laugh, cry, cook, play and sleep. It will keep you warm in the winter, cool in the summer and dry when it rains...or will it?

 

There are no guarantees of any of those things, but there is something you should do to give you a better understanding of the mechanical and structural viability of what is probably your largest financial investment: Hire a qualified home inspector!

 

A home inspector will take a close look at your property and give you an opinion as to which items in the home are in good shape and which ones need attention or repair. A good inspector will have an eye for safety concerns and potential structural problems that could be hiding in your home and costly to repair.

 

It is a good idea to choose an inspector who has been certified by a professional organization. Those certifications require that inspectors stay up to date on evolving issues in the industry through continuing education. There are many, but the two largest are ASHI and InterNACHI.

 

A good Realtor should be able to refer a few inspectors to you. Also, friends and family that have moved recently can share their experiences with you. Talk to a few inspectors before you hire one.  Questions to ask:

  1. How long have you been in business?
  2. Do you have any certifications?
  3. Can I see an example copy of a complete home inspection report?
  4. Do you offer services like Termite inspections, radon or mold inspection?
  5. What are your fees?
  6. Do you have insurance?

Good home inspectors stay busy, so start your search as soon as you sign your contract. It is important to remember that ALL homes have imperfections. A home inspection is a tool for identifying if there are costly issues that may make the home purchase impractical for you. Sellers are usually willing to assist by repairing some defects that are identified through home inspection, so don't be afraid to ask for reasonable repairs to be done as a condition to closing on the property.

 

For more information about home inspections or real estate, please click HERE and I will get an answer for you right away!

 

 


Find a home for sale-Anywhere in the US!

(Published on - 5/27/2016 10:40:27 PM)

Moving across town can be hectic and confusing enough, but what if you are relocating ACROSS THE COUNTRY?

USA MAPFew people have the luxury of having a relocation specialist avaialble to them so they begin their home search online at sights like Zillow, Trulia and Realtor. Those few clicks create an advertising trail and soon buyers find themselves inundated with phone calls from Realtors. Buyers end up juggling appointments and commitments to Realtors representing different properties. There has to be a better way...

 

And there is! First of all, begin your search on a site that will not sell your information to anyone else. Try this site:  Find a home ANYWHERE

 

It utilizes ListHub data to bring you information from more that 63 different MLS (Multiple Listing Service) areas all in one place.  Secondly, contact a trusted local Realtor. Call someone you have used before or one who has been referred to you by a friend. That Realtor can interview and recommend a Realtor for you to use in the new location...and they should not charge you for that service!

 

If you find that you cannot locate homes through ListHub data at the site above and just want to talk to someone who can get you in touch with a reputable Realtor in the city to which you are relocating, please CLICK HERE and someone will get in touch with you right away with the promise that your info will not be sold!

 

 

 


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