Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Offer Accepted! What's Escrow?

So, working with a new buyer, we sometimes forget that they don't really know what the heck 'Escrow' is!

Realtors, with experience, can practically do their jobs blind-folded, on auto-pilot. Those same Realtors know that our clients need us to guide them.

So, what happens after you finally get an offer negotiated and accepted? When do you get your new house keys?

Well, we do the Escrow thing. Open, go thru, and then, close Escrow. Yeah, that simple!

LOL....well, for the buyers it is pretty simple. For agents, we do a lot of behind the scenes work. A lot......if we're doing our job right!

So herein is the life of an Escrow. And, remember, Escrow is a third party, they ensure that the contract is kept to, and they can't change anything without all the principals agreeing.

Escrow is opened by the listing agent sending the Escrow Officer (EO) a fully executed (signed by all parties) contract.

The Buyer(s) bring their deposit check to escrow and, Wala, escrow is open!

With most purchase agreements, there is a contingency period. I sometimes call it the 'If This Happens' period. Most contingencies are on the buyers side. If the financing pans out, I buy the house. If the inspection is okay, I buy the house, etc. Therein, the 'If' factor. Also called by me, 'The Period of Discovery'. Buyers spend a couple of weeks discovering all they can about the house, guided by their agent, to confirm that this is the right home for them.

Title reports, Inspection reports, NHD reports, Seller disclosures, Appraisals. All of these are provided for buyer to assist in the If and Discovery.

Buyer is required to complete and review these in a timely manner. Bind the property with appropriate Hazard Insurance...AND...satisfy all their loan processing requirements.

Agents are required to make sure all this stuff really is happening in a timely manner.

The last couple of weeks is usually the stressful time. Lenders require additional items. We are pressing for a timely close. Where are those dang loan docs??? (Smirk)

What's a Loan Doc? A mountain of paperwork that buyer(s) sign to buy their home. Some items have already been signed during the Escrow period, they seem redundant, but they have to be signed regardless. Your hand will get a little cramped during escrow!

The Loan Docs are signed with your EO about a week to 10 days prior to COE (Close Of Escrow). They are then returned back to the lender for a final review and more T crossing and I dotting.

There are conditions, PTF (prior to funding) that have to be met. That is the EO and mortgage brokers responsibility. Then, and only then, we are set up to Fund.

Yippee! Make sure the buyers have scheduled their utilities as needed, call them when we have heard it Funded (the loan) and then.....the next RECORDS in the new buyer(s) name. That's when it's official. That's when the new buyer(s) really own the house they are going to call home.

That's when I have the greatest pleasure....making the call to my clients at COE to tell them they now own the home.....I just love that. Even better is presenting them with their keys at the front door.

Hope this post helps some of you. Remember, I can do this're not expected to. Don't worry, that's my job!

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Next Decade in Real Estate

We're just about to head into 2011. The next decade. And again, I don't have a crystal ball, but I do have some experience.

So, in 2011, we will likely see more of what we've seen in 2010. Yeah, yeah, you already know that. But, we'll probably see more purchases again. Where we slowed down after the tax credits went away, we will see some people that just can't keep holding off on purchasing the American Dream.

We'll see some sellers that have been waiting for the market to turn around.... get tired of waiting. The reasons for waiting don't seem like the right reasons anymore anyways. They may realize that it is just too long to wait!

And, when new construction pops out? That will entice a few sellers with a little bit of equity to go ahead and sell to buy new again. We are the 'Town of New' remember?

Most people, the Real Estate Bible says, will move every 7-8 years. Even if we don't see it as the perfect time, it will just naturally happen anyways.

Mortgage rates are still really low. Under 5%. They may creep up to 6, but really, that's an amazingly low rate.

So (and I love doing these short blog posts, you see I like talking in person more), Real Estate just keeps on keeping on. And, so do I. Just call me. I'll help you in any way I can.

 Happy New Decade!

Friday, December 24, 2010

New Construction Increase, Will It Help?

I was letting the hubby sleep in today, this Christmas Eve.....and so, of course, I was reading my favorite sites again.

The last couple of months there has been some quiet talk about new construction being on the increase. I just read another one this morning. It notes that there has been some slight up and down this year in new construction, but overall, up by just under 10%.

That, to me, is a good sign. If we have the huge monies being pumped into the housing to build new construction it helps all around, don't you agree?

Generates jobs, generates sales, generates new homes for people to buy. Moves money around in our economy. All is good.

And, it makes me think that there may be a closer end to this housing crisis than we have been thinking. Give it a couple more years, about how long it seems to take to really get a good push on new construction, and we just may be seeing a brighter home front.

Merry Christmas to all, in new and old homes. I'm looking forward to a wonderful 2011. A year when we can work towards a fresh start. And, move on from the financial catastrophe we have been suffering.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What Comes With 2011 ?

I started this blog to share thoughts and exchange opinions and ideas. This post is just a wondering of things to come.

What will 2011 bring?  Certainly not an end to the housing 'crisis' we are in. Not that I see in this upcoming year.

But, will the new year bring people that need to sell their homes? Of course. And, what about people that need to buy a home? You bet.

Just a really short post, one that I talk about frequently......people will always buy and sell homes....always.

Even during crisis.....and well beyond 2011.

Happy Holidays to my blog and all!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Children's Choice!

Showing a home last night, I was surprised when the Sophomore daughter walked away from her parents as soon as they walked in the door to go upstairs and investigate which room may be hers. She was quiet, but definitely wanted to see how the house suited her. We'll see if that's the home she felt good in. Particularly since it was walking distance to where she goes to school.

Last weekend, showed a home to another family and the middle-school age son immediately said he liked the house where his trampoline would fit in the back-yard. That's the one we wrote an offer on.

I read an article that confirms I'm not the only one that is seeing that children matter beyond the coloring books and candies we keep in our pockets for entertainment while the parents are house-hunting....

It's not that they make the entire decision, but not only do we have to understand our adult clients wants and needs, but their children too.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Mortgage Interest and Property Tax Deductions

We've been hearing about it and it hasn't received enough votes to be put on the ballot. But, really? Take away the Mortgage Interest and Property Tax Deduction? Would that be a wise idea?

Everyone looks forward to tax time with a great amount of dread. Yet, for homeowners, the deduction of property taxes and mortgage interest paid has always helped to reduce the total amount due. I enjoy it, surely every other homeowner enjoys it as well. Makes paying income taxes less dreadful.

If it is taken away and property values are still in decline mode? In my opinion, that's just the icing on the cake to make some borrowers go over the edge to the next step. Let their property fall into default. And, then what happens? We have even more foreclosed properties.

I get that it would help with the economic situation, sort of....
But it's a band-aid for a bigger wound that would surely open....and bleed our economy even more.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Phone Call About SS?

Good Morning! I'm up, reading, thinking, planning my day. That's my Realtor life.

Today, I'm thinking about the phone call I received yesterday from one of my peeps about short-selling their home. Met with them a few months ago, concerned that the financial hardship wasn't truly there....just the value of the property had declined.

They have an agent that is being 'pushy' (their word) with them about a supposed investor that wants to buy in their track and would possibly allow them to rent the unit once it transfers ownership.

So, they call me for my opinion.....after the listing agreement has been signed with the other agent.....who isn't even a member of our MLS. Has an active license, but, in her own words, 'doesn't do much real estate.' But, has this investor buddy.

Hmmmm.....interesting isn't it?

Well, I can't say anything bad about this person, that's just not nice. I don't even know her, and it's just not PC. So, I make a couple of suggestions. Say, watch out for double-ended escrow. If the investor doesn't come to light right away, decide if you want to pursue the closing of a SS. I say, no feelings hurt if they want to use her.

And, we close the conversation with.....'Contact your Accountant. Speak to your Financial Advisor. Telephone your Attorney.'

Each SS situation is different. And, it is supposed to be valid hardship. And, when you're almost a year delinquent, does it really matter if you pursue a SS or let it get foreclosed upon?

Your choices, just like your choice of agent to work with. Some are good choices, some may not be. Still yours.

Happy Saturday morning!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Challenging Seller?

So, we've got these sellers...and both say that they want to sell? But every step of the way one of them digs their heels into the ground. The other frets and tries to pull the one's heels out of the ground....but they stay firmly planted.

Until that heel planted one gets what they want....presumably. Notice I did not say that I assume that is what is going on. Because that makes an ass out of you and me, right?

Behind on their mortgage, need to sell. You'd think the heel planter would want the remaining equity, right? You'd think......but here we are another week and nothing moving forward.

I work towards helping all types of clients to obtain their goals. Whether it is buying their dream home, or selling to get the remaining equity out of the home to re-locate to another area.

Sometimes, the goal doesn't seem to be the same for everyone. And, sometimes, we don't really know what their true goal is.

'Sometimes' today.....and the heels are still firmly planted.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Daily Reading ..... Again....and Always

Up late last night on personal business, still read and replied to e-mails though. Love those smart-phones!

This morning I was reading my favorite news sites and saw at least one that made me perk up a bit. Most, of course, is still pretty much a bummer about our economy, but every now and again I read something that reminds me it's just a period we are going through.

This will pass.

So, I continue my reading, continue my prospecting, continue to service my clients. Snags in the road, that's all we have. And, we continue to work through those snags to get to the final destination. The sale of a home.

Again, and always, I will work for my clients. No matter how difficult each case may be. No matter how easy one feels than the other. No matter how much negative info I keep reading?

Again, and always, I will take care of you, my client. For now, for life.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

As-Is Sale, Really?!?!?

When buying or selling homes, particularly in the current market, frequently the property is advertised 'AS-IS'. What the heck does that really mean?

Well, it honestly could mean a few different things, as noted in the article I have linked here:

Fortunately for my clients I cover both sides of the purchase. Whether it is my seller that is low on funds and doesn't want to do repairs or it is my buyer that is looking at a home with that noted in the Agent Confidential Remarks.

My seller? They still have to disclose everything they know about the property. I still have to do an Agent Visual Inspection Disclosure (AVID) as well.

My buyer? You bet they are going to be told to have a professional inspection completed on the property. And, I do my AVID for them also.

And, the funny thing is, frequently the inspection doesn't show anything wrong so we are good to move forward without worrying about the AS-IS statement. But, also kinda funny, when something is noted as having a problem on the inspection report, I've still asked for it to be repaired, whether standard sale, SS or does get repaired!!!

Remember, everything is Real Estate truly is negotiable ! So, don't be afraid of that statement. If it's the home of your dreams, write an offer, get accepted, and see what comes of the seller disclosures and the professional inspection. Those will help you make the decision. And, sometimes, there really isn't much wrong with the house and the seller just thinks they are covering their tush by making the agent put AS-IS in the remarks.