Contract to Close

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Contract to Close :  Keep Your Home Sale from Falling Apart

After finding a buyer, all you have to do to make it to closing is to avoid these five traps. Finding a buyer for your home is just the first step on the home selling path. Tread carefully in the weeks ahead because if you make one of these common seller mistakes, your deal may not close.

By: G. M. Filisko

atlantic Real Estate BRokerage Laura D HazlettMistake #1: Ignore Contingencies

If your contract requires you to do something before the sale, do it. If the buyers make the sale contingent on certain repairs, don’t do cheap patch-jobs and expect the buyers not to notice the fixes weren’t done properly.

Mistake #2: Don’t Bother to Fix Things That Break

The last thing any seller needs is for the buyers to notice on the pre-closing walk-through that the home isn’t in the same condition as when they made their offer. When things fall apart in a home about to be purchased, sellers must make the repairs. If the furnace fails, get a professional to fix it, and inform the buyers that the work was done. When you fail to maintain the home, the buyers may lose confidence in your integrity and the condition of the home and back out of the sale.

Mistake #3: Get Lax About Deadlines

Treat deadlines as sacrosanct. If you have three days to accept or reject the home inspection, make your decision within three days. If you’re selling, move out a few days early, so you can turn over the keys at closing.

Mistake #4: Refuse to Negotiate Any Further

Once you’ve negotiated a price, it’s natural to calculate how much you’ll walk away with from the closing table. However, problems uncovered during inspections will have to be fixed. The appraisal may come in at a price below what the buyers offered to pay. Be prepared to negotiate with the buyers over these bottom-line-influencing issues.

Mistake #5: Hide Liens from Buyers

Did you neglect to mention that Uncle Sam has placed a tax lien on your home or you owe six months of homeowners association fees? The title search is going to turn up any liens filed on your house. To sell your house, you have to pay off the lien (or get the borrower to agree to pay it off). If you can do that with the sales proceeds, great. If not, the sale isn’t going to close.

G.M. Filisko is an attorney and award-winning writer who wanted a successful closing on a Wisconsin property so bad that she probably made her agent rethink going into real estate. A frequent contributor to many national publications including Bankrate.com, REALTOR® Magazine, and the American Bar Association Journal, she specializes in real estate, business, personal finance, and legal topics.

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Contract to Close – Atlantic Real Estate Brokerage

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Contract to close

Contract to Close

Contract to Close :  Keep Your Home Sale from Falling Apart

After finding a buyer, all you have to do to make it to closing is to avoid these five traps. Finding a buyer for your home is just the first step on the homeselling path. Tread carefully in the weeks ahead because if you make one of these common seller mistakes, your deal may not close.

By: G. M. Filisko

Mistake #1: Ignore Contingencies

If your contract requires you to do something before the sale, do it. If the buyers make the sale contingent on certain repairs, don’t do cheap patch-jobs and expect the buyers not to notice the fixes weren’t done properly.

Mistake #2: Don’t Bother to Fix Things That Break

The last thing any seller needs is for the buyers to notice on the pre-closing walk-through that the home isn’t in the same condition as when they made their offer. When things fall apart in a home about to be purchased, sellers must make the repairs. If the furnace fails, get a professional to fix it, and inform the buyers that the work was done. When you fail to maintain the home, the buyers may lose confidence in your integrity and the condition of the home and back out of the sale.

Mistake #3: Get Lax About Deadlines

Treat deadlines as sacrosanct. If you have three days to accept or reject the home inspection, make your decision within three days. If you’re selling, move out a few days early, so you can turn over the keys at closing.

Mistake #4: Refuse to Negotiate Any Further

Once you’ve negotiated a price, it’s natural to calculate how much you’ll walk away with from the closing table. However, problems uncovered during inspections will have to be fixed. The appraisal may come in at a price below what the buyers offered to pay. Be prepared to negotiate with the buyers over these bottom-line-influencing issues.

Mistake #5: Hide Liens from Buyers

Did you neglect to mention that Uncle Sam has placed a tax lien on your home or you owe six months of homeowners association fees? The title search is going to turn up any liens filed on your house. To sell your house, you have to pay off the lien (or get the borrower to agree to pay it off). If you can do that with the sales proceeds, great. If not, the sale isn’t going to close.

G.M. Filisko is an attorney and award-winning writer who wanted a successful closing on a Wisconsin property so bad that she probably made her agent rethink going into real estate. A frequent contributor to many national publications including Bankrate.com, REALTOR® Magazine, and the American Bar Association Journal, she specializes in real estate, business, personal finance, and legal topics.

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Prepare your Home for Sale – Atlantic RE Brokerage

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prepare to sell

prepare your home to sellPrepare Your Home for Sale

Many buyers today want move-in-ready homes and will quickly eliminate an otherwise great home by focusing on a few visible flaws. Unless your home shines, you may endure showing after showing and open house after open house — and end up with a lower sales price. Before the first prospect walks through your door, prepare your home for sale.

Consider these smart options for casting your home in its best light.

1.  Have a Home Inspection

Be proactive by arranging for a pre-sale home inspection. For $250 to $400, an inspector will warn you about troubles that could make potential buyers balk. Make repairs before putting your home on the market. In some states, you may have to disclose what the inspection turns up.

2.  Get Replacement Estimates

If your home inspection uncovers necessary repairs you can’t fund, get estimates for the work. The figures will help buyers determine if they can afford the home and the repairs. Also hunt down warranties, guarantees, and user manuals for your furnace, washer and dryer, dishwasher, and any other items you expect to remain with the house.

3.  Make Minor Repairs

Not every repair costs a bundle. Fix as many small problems — sticky doors, torn screens, cracked caulking, dripping faucets — as you can. These may seem trivial, but they’ll give buyers the impression your house isn’t well maintained.

4.  Clear the Clutter

Clear your kitchen counters of just about everything. Clean your closets by packing up little-used items like out-of-season clothes and old toys. Install closet organizers to maximize space. Put at least one-third of your furniture in storage, especially large pieces, such as entertainment centers and big televisions. Pack up family photos, knickknacks, and wall hangings to depersonalize your home. Store the items you’ve packed offsite or in boxes neatly arranged in your garage or basement.

5.  Do a Thorough Cleaning

A clean house makes a strong first impression that your home has been well cared for. If you can afford it, consider hiring a cleaning service.

If not, wash windows and leave them open to air out your rooms. Clean carpeting and drapes to eliminate cooking odors, smoke, and pet smells. Wash light fixtures and baseboards, mop and wax floors, and give your stove and refrigerator a thorough once-over.

Pay attention to details, too. Wash fingerprints from light switch plates, clean inside the cabinets, and polish doorknobs. Don’t forget to clean your garage, too.

By: G. M. Filisko

G.M. Filisko is an attorney and award-winning writer who has found happiness in a Chicago brownstone with the best curb appeal on the block. A frequent contributor to many national publications including Bankrate.com, REALTOR® Magazine, and the American Bar Association Journal, she specializes in real estate, business, personal finance, and legal topics.

 

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Get your Dream Home – Use a Buyer’s Agent – Atlantic RE Brokerage

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Buyers agentYou need a Buyer’s Agent if you want to purchase a home

Great homes are selling in days, even hours!    Without an expereienced Buyer’s Agent working for you, your chances are slim that you will get your dream home under contract.  You can drive around and call the names on the signs or you can HIRE A BUYER’S AGENT.

A Buyer’s Agent is a REALTOR that represents the Buyer.  When you see a property with a sign and a name on it, that REALTOR represents the Seller.  When you are thinking about purchasing a home, hire a REALTOR to represent YOU.  There is NO COST to you to hire a REALTOR to represent you in a home purchase.

Many people ask the question, ” If there is NO COST to me, the Buyer, then how does the REALTOR get compensated?”   A Buyer’s Agent is compensated only when you close on a home.   Generally speaking, the Seller agrees to pay a REALTOR commission at closing and it is built into the Seller’s Closing costs.   At closing, the REALTOR commission is shared between the agents.

Hiring a Buyer’s Agent is important and finding the right REALTOR can make the process much less stressful for you. A Buyer’s agent will be with you every step of the way.  The entire buying process generally begins with a consultation about your financing, what your needs are, and the features that you would like to have in your new home.  From there, your Buyer’s Agent will help you find the perfect property and then negotiate the price on your behalf.

Once the contract is executed the fun begins with a page full of deadlines for deposits, loan applications, inspections, surveys, approvals, etc. This is a time when you can really see the benefits of your REALTOR.

The moral of the story, when thinking of buying, find the best Buyer’s Agent you can and get ready for the ride of your life.

About Atlantic Real Estate Brokerage – Satellite Beach, FL

Laura D Hazlett has been a Florida Broker for over 8 years and in the Real Estate Management Industry for over 20 years. She is a proud mother of a college graduate (USF), is a graduate of University of Miami, and a successful business owner.  Laura’s no-nonsense approach to real estate makes transactions easy, because of her direct style of communication and her team of successful partners. Her husband, Mark, serves as the CFO and provides great insight for investors and commercial real estate enthusiasts.  You get a great team when you work with Atlantic Real Estate Brokerage.

Laura has assembled a great team of Agents. Selected with professionalism and a concierge approach to clients and vendors, Atlantic Real Estate Brokerage Agents are the best in their field.  They are selective with their client base which proves to be an effective way to serve all clients with world-class service.

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What school boundary is this house in? | Atlantic Real Estate Brokerage

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school boundaryWhat school boundary is this house in?

When house hunting (for your family home, or investment) a big key to value of the home is school boundaries.  To verify school the desired school boundary by address, go to :

School Locator for Brevard County

Remember, school boundaries are subject to change, but this is the link directly from Brevard County School District, so you will be sure of what school your child will go to (as of the time you search the site).

Thinking about a private school in Brevard.  We have many options.  The US Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences Publishes a database of private schools nationwide.  To see those in our area, follow this link:

US Dept of Education Private School Database

Happy House-Hunting !

About Atlantic Real Estate Brokerage – Satellite Beach, FL

Laura D Hazlett has been a Florida Broker for over 7 years and in the Real Estate Management Industry for over 20 years. She is a proud mother of a college graduate (USF), is a graduate of University of Miami, and a successful business owner.  Laura’s no-nonsense approach to real estate makes transactions easy, because of her direct style of communication and her team of successful partners. Her husband, Mark, serves as the CFO and provides great insight for investors and commercial real estate enthusiasts.  You get a great team when you work with Atlantic Real Estate Brokerage.

Laura has assembled a great team of Agents. Selected with professionalism and a concierge approach to clients and vendors, Atlantic Real Estate Brokerage Agents are the best in their field.  They are selective with their client base which proves to be an effective way to serve all clients with world-class service.

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Why do I need a Pre-Approval Letter- Atlantic RE Brokerage

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Why do I need a Mortgage Pre-Approval Letter?

pre-approval

So, you are ready to buy a house, now what?  The first step in the entire process is to meet with a lender and obtain a mortage pre-approval letter.  Be sure to select a local lender with multiple great references.  Feel free to speak with more than one lender.  Your lender should be one you trust and comes highly recommended.

Pre Approval vs. Pre Qualification

A pre-approval letter is the result of a meeting with a lender where your credit was checked and documentation verified in order to give you a  “pre- approval” to obtain a loan of a specific amount.  The lender will also let you know the TYPE of loan(s) that you qualify for.   This is step one in the home buying process.  You can never skip step one in this process.

How much can you afford?

A pre-approval letter will let you know the maximum loan amount you can afford.  It is important that you know this before your home search so that you are searching homes in the correct price range.

How much do you want to pay monthly?

Your pre-approval letter will let you know the maximum loan amount you qualify for and the loan officer will review with you the monthly payment for that loan amount.  It is important to review your budget and goals to find a monthly mortgage amount that you are comfortable with.  If your are approved for an $1800 mortgage payment, but want to stay in the $1500 payment range , the lender can advise you on what price point you will want to focus your search on.

Required when making an offer on a home

A recent pre-approval letter signed by your loan officer will be required when you find your dream home and want to make an offer.  In today’s market you may actually be competing with another buyer to purchase your dream home, so having a pre approval letter is necessary when making an offer.  Many Sellers will not entertain an offer witout a Pre-Approval so in today’s market dont take a chance.

Next Steps

Once you have a pre approval letter in hand, then it is time to meet with your REALTOR and begin your home search !!  Your REALTOR will help you understand the dymanics of your specific maket.  For example, in our market here on the Space Coast right now, homes are selling very close to list price and often there are multiple offers.  It is important that you look at homes in your budget and not assume that the Seller will take an offer significantly lower then their asking price.  You will rely on your REALTOR to provide a market analysis of any home you are interested so that you will feel comfortable with your offer.

 

About Atlantic Real Estate Brokerage – Satellite Beach, FL

Laura D Hazlett has been a Florida Broker for over 8 years and in the Real Estate Management Industry for over 20 years. She is a proud mother of a college graduate (USF), is a graduate of University of Miami, and a successful business owner.  Laura’s no-nonsense approach to real estate makes transactions easy, because of her direct style of communication and her team of successful partners. Her husband, Mark, serves as the CFO and provides great insight for investors and commercial real estate enthusiasts.  You get a great team when you work with Atlantic Real Estate Brokerage.

Laura has assembled a great team of Agents. Selected with professionalism and a concierge approach to clients and vendors, Atlantic Real Estate Brokerage Agents are the best in their field.  They are selective with their client base which proves to be an effective way to serve all clients with world-class service.

 

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10 Tips for Small Bathrooms – Atlantic RE Brokerage

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small bathroom10 Inside Tips From a Designer Who Specializes in Small Bathrooms

Got a small bathroom to renovate? Go wild with texture and colors if it’s a rarely used guest bath, but stick to clean and simple in a master bath.

That’s the word from designer Jamie Gibbs, who transforms incredibly small bathrooms in New York City into beautiful spaces. “I liked being shocked by details in a little space, especially if it’s not going to be used much,” Gibbs says.

His small-bath secrets:

1. Avoid textures in bathrooms that get daily use. In a heavily used bathroom, anything with texture becomes a collection spot for mold, mildew, and toothpaste. Say no to carved vessel sinks or floor tile with indentations.

2. Be careful with no-enclosure showers with drains right in the floor. These Euro showers allow for a feeling of openness, but the average American contractor doesn’t know how to waterproof the floor for them, Gibbs says. The tile seals can be compromised if not installed correctly, causing the materials to decompose, and water to leak underneath.

3. Use opaque windows and skylights to let light filter into all parts of the bath. A long skinny window with frosted glass means you don’t have to burn high-wattage light bulbs. Make sure water condensation will roll off the window into an appropriate place (i.e. not the framing or the wall) to avoid future maintenance issues.

4. Look for fixtures that have a single handle rather than separate hot and cold taps.“Space-saving gearshift faucets are a very good choice in small bathrooms,” says Gibbs. You’ll also save money by not having to drill holes in the countertop for the hot and cold taps.

5. Save space with wall-mounted toilets and bidets, but be aware that the water tank goes into the wall. That’s fine if space is such a premium that you won’t mind going into the wall to make any repairs. But if you share a wall with a neighbor, that’s a different issue.

6. Use a wall-mount faucet to make a reduced-depth vanity work in a small space.“I can get away with a 22” vanity instead of a 24” vanity with a wall mount faucet,” Gibbs says.

7. Check the space between the handles and the faucet of any space-saving fixtures.“If you can only get a toothbrush in it to clean, you’ll save space, but it’s functionally stupid,” Gibbs says. Make sure the sink is functional, too. If you’re using a vessel sink, make sure it’s large enough and not too high. “If it’s too high, you’ll knock it so many times that the fittings will come loose,” Gibbs says.

8. A pedestal sink is all form and no function.“It’s a great-looking sink, but there’s no place to [set] anything,” Gibbs says.

9. Wall-mounted vanities seem like they’re space savers, but they create dead space between the vanity and the floor — a space that often accumulates junk and never gets cleaned.

10. If you’re comfortable with it, go European and put up a glass walls between the bathroom and bedroom to create the illusion of space. Or put bathroom fixtures in the bedroom just outside the bath.

 

By: Dona DeZube

Published: December 27, 2012

A New York City designer shares secrets to making a small bath both functional and beautiful

 

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It’s possible there has never been a better time to be a homebuyer

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As I continue my search for a new home in the real estate market I can’t help but think about how different my home-buying experience is from what it was like for my parents or others in previous generations.

First of all the home search process is completely different. Everything is online these days and you can typically see 20-30 pictures of every house that’s on the market on the Internet. You can make first level determinations from your own living room about the types of homes you would like to look at without having to go to dozens of places in person. You can pull up tax records, school district maps and neighborhood reviews on every house on the market. There’s a huge time saving aspect of being able to cross off the ones you don’t want to physically visit.

But the houses themselves are also completely different than they were in the past. The U.S. Census just released a report on the characteristics of houses going back to the early 1970s which make this abundantly clear:

  • In 1973, 49% of homes had no air conditioning. In 2015, just 7% of houses have no AC.
  • In 1973, 40% of homes had 1.5 bathrooms or fewer. In 2015, just 4% have fewer than 1.5 bathrooms.
  • In 1973, 64% of houses had 3 bedrooms while 23% had 4 bedrooms or more. In 2015, 42% of houses are 3 bedroom while 47% come with 4 bedrooms or more.
  • In 1973, the median house had 1,525 square feet of space. In 2015, the median house has 2,467 square feet of space.
  • In 1973, the average size of a U.S. household was 3.01 people. In 2015, the average size of a U.S. household is down to 2.54 people.

Houses today also have wireless Internet connectivity, better appliances, and are generally more energy efficient. They aren’t making enough of them in my estimation – and I may be stating the obvious here – but new homes today look better, have more features and are higher quality than those built in the past.

To summarize – houses today have fewer people living in them with more space, more bedrooms, more bathrooms and more comfortable living conditions.

But wait…there’s more.

Mortgage rates are at record lows:

30-year conventional morgage rateA Wealth of Common Sense

Everyone complains about record low interest rates from an investment perspective but this is one place were the financial consumer is benefitting. The median home in the U.S. is now worth $296,400. I took the average annual 30 year fixed mortgage rate going back to 1972 and applied those corresponding rates to this current median home value to see what the monthly payments worked out to:

Monthly payments for 30-year mortgageA Wealth of Common Sense

So at today’s median home value – $296,400 – and at current mortgage rates – 3.63% – the monthly payment would come out to $1,349/month (before taxes, PMI, down payment, etc.). That same mortgage at 1981 interest rate levels would have cost you more than three times as much or $4,136/month. Your money goes much further at today’s rates than any time in the past 40+ years.

People talk about a student loan crisis these days, but I’m guessing the savings we now receive from lower interest rates on home loans has to dwarf those in comparison. Homebuyers in the 80s and 90s could always refinance but that involves costs every time it occurs.

Houses are obviously more costly today than they were back in the 70s and 80s, but asRobert Shiller has pointed out in his research the average home generally appreciates at right around the rate of inflation over the long-term (with the caveat that there are always outliers in certain areas that make things unaffordable for large groups of buyers). Once you factor in the tax savings on the deductible interest costs you can basically get a mortgage interest rate today that will be equal to or less than the future rate of inflation. That’s not a bad deal.

 

Owning a home isn’t for everyone. Plenty of people learned this the hard way in the real estate boom and bust. Leverage can be painful on the downside. And young people still trying to figure out what they want to do with their life are probably better served renting because of the flexibility it allows in being able to move to other cities for employment opportunities. My general rule of thumb is that you shouldn’t buy a home unless you’re willing to own it for at least a decade.

It’s understandable that many people are still scarred from the real estate crash, but buying a home today seems like a pretty good deal to me. For those willing to act responsibly with their home buying decision, it’s quite possible that there has never been a better time to be a homeowner.

Read the original article on A Wealth of Common Sense. Go to A Wealth of Common Sense to read more of Ben’s stories. Copyright 2016. Follow A Wealth of Common Sense on Twitter.

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