How Likely Are YOU to Find Home Buying Stressful?

Thinking About Buying?  NerdWallet has released their Home Buyer Reality Report and it has some interesting findings.  If you read the entire report, there are insights as to who is most likely to find the process stressful.  Frankly the findings were a bit surprising to me.

I would have expected the Millennials to have been the most stressed by the process because as a group they are most likely to be going through the home buying process for the first time.  I was wrong.  It was actually the Gen Xers that were most stressed.  Baby Boomers were least stressed overall.

So what causes the most stress?  Across the board, the biggest stressor seems to be the mortgage process.  Apparently many folks found it difficult to understand and navigate.  Millennials prefer to do an online application which is cool, but they also found the loan process complicated and confusing.

Generally, all generations were happier with their Real Estate Advisors than with their Loan Consultants.  That is both good and bad from my perspective as a Real Estate Advisor.  Although I’m thrilled to get higher approval ratings than lenders, the problem is that for most buyers a good loan is a necessity.

I think part of the comparative dissatisfaction with lenders may be that buyers are often unprepared to have the conversation with the lender.  Typically buyers are excited about the prospect of the new house and so they want to go look at houses (go sight-seeing) without having addressed the availability of the right loan to complete the purchase.

The entire purchase process is made up of lots of moving pieces and experience shows that putting together a strategy to help buyers get the education and understanding that they need reduces the stress and increases the chances of success.

So, the first step is to choose a Real Estate Advisor that you trust to hold your best interests paramount, someone that can ask you insightful questions to get clarity around what’s important to you so that you have a clear roadmap.  The next step is to work with your Real Estate Advisor to obtain a loan pre-approval that will let you shop confidently.

And, no, you haven’t even begun to look at potential new houses yet.  First things first!  A strategy that works will target the properties that are within your budget.  We don’t go out sight-seeing, rather we pick the best possible houses and look at them with a critical eye to determine which one will be the next best home for you.

 

Do you Know How to Recognize an Email Scam?

Email scams are on the rise.  Do you know how to recognize an email scam?  The scammers have become much more clever than they used to be and are spoofing different service providers than were previously targeted.  Check out the video to learn how to recognize a scam and protect yourself from theft of money or identity.

The latest scams purport to be from Docusign, a trusted eSigning service and Amazon, the popular shopping site.  Don’t be fooled into clicking a link that looks legit!

Did you know that Gmail will show you if it believes an email is legitimate? Look for the key symbol in front of the sender’s name.  

That symbol was missing in the examples in the video.  Go back and have another look.

Just to be safe, use both methods of verifying, checking the link location and looking for the key symbol.

Hope this helps you stay safe!

 

 

661.375.7325

 

 

 

5 Top Tips for Sellers to Choose the Best Purchase Offer

Your house is for sale and what you want more than anything is to get it sold quickly for top dollar.  If you made it appealing to buyers and priced it correctly to begin with you should receive offers pretty soon after it starts showing on the internet.

Once you receive a purchase offer, you can accept it, reject it, or propose a change in terms and/or conditions by making a counter-offer.  Keep in mind that all terms and conditions are negotiable.

  1.  Keep your emotions out of the process.  Yes, this is likely the home that you have enjoyed for a period of time and you will no doubt have mixed feelings about the move.  The prospective buyer doesn’t have any history with this house and is often less emotionally involved in the process at this stage.
  2. Think about what is most important to you about selling this property.  Is it getting the highest price, being able to move on your preferred schedule, or something else?  If price is the primary factor, you may need to compromise on closing date.  If the date for you to move is more important it may require a compromise in price or other terms.
  3. If your property receives multiple offers, your real estate consultant can (and should) prepare a method to compare the relative merits of those offers for you.  Ask for their best recommendation and reasoning as to which offer will most likely provide the optimal outcome.
  4. Review all the terms and conditions.  Yes price is important, but what else is at stake?  Is the buyer asking for closing cost help?  Do they want you to leave appliances or other personal property included with the purchase?
  5. Make sure the buyer is actually capable of completing the purchase.  The purchase offer should include a pre-approval from a reputable lender that your real estate consultant has already spoken with and proof of funds needed to close the transaction.  Because your property is no longer being marketed once you have accepted an offer, you want to be sure that offer has the best possible chance of concluding successfully in a closed transaction.

Remain flexible and use whatever information you can to negotiate the best terms of sale.  For example if the buyer needs to move quickly, you may be able to hold firm on price provided you can compromise on an accelerated closing.

Above all, make sure that you are comfortable with and understand how the process progresses once you have an accepted offer.

This is one in a series of articles designed to help the consumer navigate the world of a real estate transaction.  Real estate is local, and working with someone who knows the area and the specific issues that may affect your transaction is important.

Sally Sig extra smallPlease share your thoughts or questions by commenting below, emailing me at Blog@93561Home.com or phone / text at 661.375.REAL (7325)

 

Should You Pay A Record Retention Fee When Buying or Selling a Home?

Whirlpool 3159698458_ec3c3f3c23Most real estate agents work on a commission basis.  That means that whether you are buying a home or selling your house, the agent representing you is most often paid as a percentage of the purchase price.

An excellent agent is worth every penny they get paid.  And sometimes, worth much more than the commission earned on a particular transaction.  For example, right now I’m involved in what should have been a simple, slam-dunk transaction that has dragged on for 10 weeks and involved much more time effort and energy than any of the multiple transactions I’ve already closed in the same time period.

But I digress.

The point of this article is to make you aware of transaction-related fees that may appear on your closing statement and are often presented by a real estate agent as a “requirement.”  We’re talking about “transaction,” “processing,” or “records retention” fees that are disguised as required  in order to close your transaction.  I have heard that these fees can vary in amount anywhere from $100 – $1000.

These fees bother me for several reasons.  Foremost, is that those types of fees are simply the cost of doing business. The law requires that certain documents are included in a real estate transaction (transaction fee to make sure all documents are property executed).  Processing fees may be interchangeable with transaction fees but sometimes are charged by a third-party (for example in the dwindling popularity of short sales).  The law also requires that real estate brokers retain their records for a specific period of time (records retention fee, anyone?).

Keep in mind that each real estate brokerage sets their own business policies. The brokerage may indeed require these fees for their own transactions.  The good news is that there is no legal requirement to include these extra fees in your transaction.  In fact, paying those fees is a bit like watching extra money flushed down the drain.  So, what can you do about it?

If you are already in an active escrow transaction, and you love your agent, the best thing to do is have a discussion about the fees and negotiate those fees to satisfy yourself.

If you are just getting started with buying or selling a home, make sure that one of the questions you ask the agents you are interviewing is whether or not they charge any fees in addition to the commission.

It’s important to interview the agent you plan to work with in order to make sure you are a good match.  One of my favorite questions to ask is “do you discount your commission?”  Curious about the ramifications of the agent’s answer?  Call, text or email and I’ll be happy to discuss it with you.   If you would like a list of great questions to ask when interviewing, please let me know.  I’ll be happy to share that with you as well.

Is there ever a time that you might want to pay the a la carte fees?  I suppose if you decide to hire a discount broker and the addition of the fees doesn’t get the cost above what you would have been paying you could consider it.

One caveat to keep in mind is that “you get what you pay for.”  In the case of these extra fees, you are paying for what you are already getting.

Personally, I believe that if an agent is going to work on a contingency basis, as I do with the majority of my clients, than the commission should cover all the costs.  There are certain cases when I also will work on an a la carte basis, but then the client is fully informed of each of the fees he or she may encounter for my services.

This is one in a series of articles designed to help the consumer navigate the world of a real estate transaction.  Real estate is local, and working with someone who knows the area and the specific issues that may affect your transaction is important.

Sally Sig extra smallPlease share your thoughts or questions by commenting below, emailing me at Blog@93561Home.com or phone / text at 661.375.REAL (7325)