3 Red Flags To Look Out For When Buying A Home

We all know that interest rates are still incredibly low. Plus, although they are rising, home prices are still affordable. However, don’t let this lead you into believing that any home purchase is a good one. Yes, we are currently in a buyer’s market. However, you do have to exert due diligence before you buy. There are plenty of red flags out there telling you to move away from a purchase. Some problems can be fixed, of course, but sometimes you should just move on. There are two things you definitely have to look into.

First and foremost, check the neighborhood. This is of absolute vital importance. The community is either growing and decline and you need to find out which one it is. If there are many foreclosed homes and businesses, the community is going through tough times. Do also come back to the neighborhood on different days and at different times. This is also a great opportunity for you to get to know the traffic. Do also come at least once at night, so you can see whether the streets are safe and quiet at night or not. Speak to the police and ask for statistics on local crimes.

The second key factor to look into is for you to figure out whether you are looking at a foreclosure or short sale property. Indeed, these properties tend to be the cheapest, but that is because they often require a lot of work or because the entire neighborhood is declining.

At the end of the day, you should never purchase a property that you haven’t had inspected professionally. With the information above, you should be able to tell whether or not you might want to hire a professional inspector, or whether it is a clear no on the purchase. If there are any existing problems, you may want to consider not buying the property at all, or asking for a very significant discount as you will have to invest in the repairs sooner or later. Also, always trust the advice of home inspectors. They are there to make sure you don’t buy something that isn’t worth your while.

Signs You Are Absolutely Ready To Buy Your First House! As Well As Signs That You May Not Be…

Think you’re ready to buy a house? That’s great! Unfortunately, many people think that they’re ready to become a homeowner, when really they aren’t. Buying a home can have fantastic benefits, but it can also have fantastic disasters if you aren’t ready. Below are some signs that you are, in fact ready to buy your first house!

1. You want to settle down. 

Buying a home is a huge investment, and many financial experts advise staying in your home for at least five years to avoid losing money. Maybe you want to start a family, or perhaps you’re moving forward in your career. Whatever your motivation, if the idea of staying put for the next five years is exciting, you might want to start house hunting. Read: Buying Your First Home? 5 Signs You’re Ready.AAEAAQAAAAAAAANqAAAAJDRlMmEyOTIzLTQyMDMtNDY1OS05MDcyLTEwNDBiMjE0ZmEzMw

2. You’ve researched mortgage options. 
There is more than one way to buy your first home. mortgage loan types range from conventional, 30-year mortgages to special loans for veterans or farmers. If you’ve already done your due diligence and have a good idea which mortgage is the best option for you, you’re well on your way to owning a home. Read: The 10-Step Guide to Buying a House.

3. You know the pros and cons of renting vs owning a home. 
There are obviously major differences between renting and owning a home. Renting provides more freedom, but owning a home typically offers greater financial rewards through tax breaks, equity, and other factors. If you’ve identified the pros and cons of both options and come to an educated decision based on the current market, your finances, and your future plans, home ownership might be a great choice. 20130717-101404

4. You have excellent credit. 
Whether you rent or buy a home, excellent credit is important. As a renter you may be stuck with a large deposit, but if you go to purchase your first house with bad credit, your mortgage is likely to be denied altogether. A good credit score is also the ticket to a lower mortgage interest rate. See: These 5 Questions Will Tell If You’re Ready to Buy a Home.Credit-Karma-Score

5. You want to take advantage of equity. 
One of the greatest benefits of buying your first home is the equity it accumulates over time. As the gap between how much you owe and how much your home is worth widens, the equity in your home becomes like a savings account. Knowing that your equity can help fund a college education, prepare you for retirement, or save you from financial emergencies can provide you with great peace of mind.

Buying a House? Here Are Some Things You Should Strongly Consider Before You Decide To Make a Purchase

You don’t want to be stuck in the middle of a real estate transaction without knowing the answers to these questions. Here are some questions that may affect the purchase of your new home or sale of the old one that you might want to ask your real estate agent or attorney. FurstPerson-Considerations-for-Remote-Agent

How important is it to have a current certificate of occupancy for the property?
A CO indicates that the city or town has approved any construction on the property, that it has been properly completed according to the building code and is safe and habitable by town or city standards. It has become an especially important issue for mortgage lenders who may turn down the loan if there is any construction on the property that doesn’t have a CO. Sellers as well as buyers should be aware of the need for an up-to-date CO.DeepWaterAgent_whered2

If I change my mind and don’t want to sell my house, do I still owe a commission to the agent?
In general, if your agent brings what is referred to as a ready, willing, and able buyer who makes a full-price offer, the real estate agent is entitled to a commission even if you change your mind and decide not to sell your house.

After you’ve signed the sales contract, you may even owe the buyer something if you back out. For example, the buyer may have sold his house and put his furniture in storage in anticipation of moving. For further reading on this matter, see: Home-Buying Checklist: 20 Things to Consider Beyond the Inspection and, How to Buy a House – 6 Must-Dos Before Buying a Home.

Do I get an inspection done before or after I sign the contract of sale? Does it make any difference?
If you get the inspection done before signing the contract you can easily walk away from the deal if the inspector finds any problems with the property, but you run the risk of losing the house to another buyer while the inspection is being done. If you have an inspection contingency placed in the contract whether or not you can get out of it depends on the specific wording of the contract. Read: 10 Things to Consider Before Making an Offer on a Home.Unknown

If I’ve made an offer on the house and the seller has accepted the offer, can they then accept a higher offer?
An offer and acceptance is really not binding until a written contract is signed by both the buyer and the seller. Although negotiations are often conducted verbally or by e-mail, real estate agents want to get the contract signed as soon as possible to lock the deal in place when negotiations are complete.

As a seller should I let the buyer’s move in before closing?
Many things can happen even up to a few hours before closing that can wreck a deal. After someone has moved into your house (and it’s still your house until the closing) you have a tenant who has certain protected rights. If the sale falls through, you would now be faced with an eviction proceeding that can be complicated, long, and expensive, depending on where you live.

Can You Get Out Of The Contract On The House You Put An Offer In On? Yes. Here’s How To Do It…The Legal Way!

Real estate contracts are legal documents that bind all parties to the conditions in the real estate documents. There are contingencies in nearly all contracts that allow the parties to get out before the sale closes if certain conditions are met. See: My Offer Was Accepted: How Can I Back Out?

In order to be enforceable, a real estate contract must be in writing. It must identify the buyer and the seller, and it must include a description of the property. The contract must also identify the agreed-upon sales price, and it must be signed by all parties to the sale. If any of these elements are missing, you can get out of the contract.

Earnest Money

Earnest money is the amount paid by the buyer during the initial offer to purchase the property. The money goes into a trust account and is applied to the purchase price at the closing. If the contract fails, the trust account administrator disburses the earnest money according to the specifications in the contract. Read: How to Get Out of a Real Estate Contract. Earnest money is an indicator of the buyer’s faithful intent to go through with the purchase. If you’re a buyer and you pull out of a contract without a good reason, you could lose your earnest money.

Contract Breakers

Safeguards that protect the parties are built into the contract. These generally include, but are not limited to, the buyer being unable to secure a loan, the seller not providing a clear title or the property’s appraised value falling short of the purchase price. See: Housing Deals That Fall Through.

Additional contract breakers include an inspection turning up termite infestation or mold, although some contracts address these issues and their remedies in the original document. You may get out of the contract if the seller fails to disclose a property or title defect or if the seller or an agent misrepresents the property. Contact an attorney if you feel that the seller is fraudulently representing the property.

Agreeing to Cancel the Contract

In general, the best course of action is to communicate and come to a mutual agreement to cancel the contract. If the buyer wants out, the seller can agree to cancel and return or split the earnest money. Often, the seller sees the futility of trying to force the buyer to purchase the property, because the buyer is likely to walk anyway, especially if the earnest money is a small amount.

In addition, most sellers don’t want hard feelings, and they would rather get their property back on the market as soon as possible. The exception is when the property is part of a commercial acquisition and the seller is reluctant to let the buyer out, especially if a large amount of earnest money is on the line.

Right of Rescission

If the buyer walks for a reason not covered in the contract, the seller is legally allowed to keep the earnest money. If the seller tries to get out of the contract, however, the buyer can file a lawsuit for specific performance, forcing the seller to go ahead with the sale. Buyers have three days after the closing to change their minds if the property is a residence. Called the “right of rescission,” this protects buyers; however, they still might forfeit their earnest money if the seller complied with all the other terms of the contract.

What Are Off-MLS Listings? Are There Any Advantages? Yes, And No. Here’s Everything You Need To Know About Them For When You Come Across One

An “off-MLS” or pocket listing is a property that is marketed without the benefit of being listed for sale on the MLS. A property that is listed on the MLS has the advantage of being actively marketed to every real estate agent who belongs to that MLS and, through those agents, to their vast network of potential buyers looking to make an offer to purchase the property. Read: Secret Real Estate Listings You Won’t Find on the Market. Active marketing on the MLS usually includes open houses, broker tours and inclusion of seller’s property in the MLS’s download to various real estate Internet sites commonly used to search for properties. Off-MLS-Listing

On the other hand, as the term implies, an off-MLS listing generally is marketed by a single agent to one or a select few potential buyers. The marketing pool can be so small that in some cases, other agents within the same brokerage or brokerage office may not even be aware that a fellow agent has an off-MLS listing. Here are some answered questions about off-MLS listings.

Are off-MLS listings illegal?

It depends. They are not illegal if the listing agent fully discloses the pros and cons to the home seller and follows rules that are designed to protect consumers. Read: Is a Listing in the Pocket Worth Two in the MLS? Nevertheless, many real estate professionals believe that off-MLS listings may not be in the best interest of the property owner; particularly if a client does not know about the benefits of marketing his or her property through the MLS. To keep a listing off the MLS, a listing agent who is a participant of an MLS is required, under the rules of most MLSs, to obtain a signed certification from the seller that he or she does not wish to sell the property via the MLS.

sellers-282757Why would a home seller agree to an off-MLS listing?

Off-MLS listings sometimes are requested by celebrities, judges, prosecutors, or others who wish to maintain their privacy and/or limit viewing of their property to a select individual or individuals with the financial wherewithal to purchase. See: Off-MLS is Off-Base.

Are there reasons a home seller should avoid an off-MLS listing?

Yes. Most importantly, an off-MLS listing generally does not get the broad market exposure that a property listed on the MLS gains. That can significantly reduce the number of potential offers to purchase that a property seller may receive, which is an important consideration at a time when multiple offers above the asking price are commonplace in many neighborhoods.

What should I do if an agent approaches me with an offer to sell my home as an off-MLS listing?

Ask your agent about the pros and cons of selling your home off-MLS. One advantage is that your listing remains private if you wish to maintain privacy. However, a disadvantage is your home may not be exposed to the full population of available buyers, which means there may be less competition among fewer buyers, resulting in a lower selling price.

If you decide to list your home off-MLS, your agent may ask you to sign a standard seller exclusion form. Be sure you fully understand what you are signing and the adverse consequences outlined in the form of not listing your property on the MLS.