Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Getting the Home Loan - Why It Takes So LONG to Close

  There are several reasons it may take what seems like ages for your home to close.   Today I am going to discuss one of those reasons: Mortgage Loan Underwriters.  Before the housing bubble, underwriters were careful to judge the worthiness of a loan (or were supposed to ).  However, they were making judgements on the information they were given and in the short time allowed to examine that information.  What did they want to know?  Your credit worthiness, your job history, and the value of the property.

Fast forward to today, underwriters still want to know those three things.  However, the information is examined carefully and throughly.  Indeed, some lenders now have three seperate underwriters for each loan; one handling credit, one for employment, and one for appraisal info.  Just imagine the delays possible with three underwriters and their maternity leaves, ill parents, vacations, etc. 

To further complicate the lending process some lenders, primarily large banks, are outsourcing their underwriting to other countries.  If there is anything about the property that might not be easily seen on paper by the underwriter, have your agent contact the lender or appraiser with the information.  For instance, if all the other homes in an area are at a premium price, but this property is on a busy road, it should generally be appraised for a bit less.

Isn't real estate about local??  I digress.

Keeping all this in mind, it is easy to see how final approval for your loan can take weeks.  In the meantime, DO NOT BUY ANYTHING ON CREDIT.  DO NOT CHANGE JOBS.  And breathe. :)

One possible way to shorten the length of closing?  Buy local.  Use a credit union or regional lending instution. 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Laundry room before-and-after: This whole room was DIY-ed top to bottom for only about $150!
Here is a perfect example on how spending a little time and money can result in selling your home faster and for more $$$$.  Thanks to AlongTheWay.com for sharing these photos.

This laundry area could be the detail that sells the house, especially in a subdivision where there is little to differentiate one home from another.

Monday, December 3, 2012

While looking for reviews of faucets, I found a website (in addition to explaining price and quality issues) give wonderful American Made alternatives to imported faucets.
http://starcraftcustombuilders.com/sources.faucets2.htm Good info.

virage bath Faucet

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Handy Dandy House Cleaning Notebook - Sell Your House Someday

You Will Sell Your House Someday
      In the meantime...enjoy a tidy, well maintained home.

     If you have ever sold your house and rushed to do the deep cleaning, niggly repairs and finish those projects that have languished for years, you know how exhausting and stressful it can be. 
     Sarah Turner has done what most of us vow to do...fix the problem before it becomes a problem.  Step by step.  Here is how she does it.  Check more of her home treasures at http://www.memoriesoncloverlane.com/.

Spring/Fall Cleaning and/or Sell This House!

Here's how I spring clean:
I take a notebook.
I make a heading for each room. Even closets.
I imagine that I'm a potential buyer of this house. You know...PRETEND!...and see the room through someone else's eyes.
I stand in each room and look around and see all the imperfections.
Then I write down what needs to be done if I were to put it up for sale. Every single thing.
Yes, this is scary.
But it works.
For example, in my master bath, the shower really needs to be recaulked because some of it is peeling off and it looks messy. One of the towel bars is coming out of the walls. (Hmmm, someone swinging perhaps?) And I think the closet in my bath needs to have some reorganization...bigger plastic bins for medicine and so forth are in order. It looks messy.
I write that all down. Numbered.
And proceed to the next room.
No matter how small OR big, I write down what needs to be done.
That's my Master List for the year.
I go through it once or twice a year, and sometimes it doesn't get all done, but that's OK.
Because when it's written down I know it will be, eventually.

I came up with this method when I had to show our past two houses in order to move. I learned this: It's super super annoying to have to do all those little things you procrastinated for years, for SOMEONE ELSE! My houses never looked so good as when they were ready to be put on the market. This really annoyed me. And I vowed it would never ever happen again. (I'm just kidding on that last sentence...I'm really not that dramatic about something so trivial.)

But this way, I don't feel overwhelmed about all the little repairs and improvements that need to be done, because I know I'm working on them.

When my list in my handy dandy notebook is done, I carry it with me to the first room, when I'm ready to get to the "cleaning" part. This way, I can write down what I need, the measurements, and so forth, and put all that on a separate sheet in the notebook. I can go to the store with my list, maybe 3 rooms out, and get everything I need, without making constant errand runs. If I need a new curtain, or organization bins, I have the measurements right there.

Then I scrub like I'm showing the place.

Sometimes, I know I will get just one room done a day. Or maybe even one a week. I set a realistic goal for myself so I won't burn out and I can still keep up with my daily happenings.

I relegate to a separate page, those BIG projects...painting a leaky ceiling, finding a new chair for the den, hanging grasscloth in the dining room, (yes I bought some, CHEAP!) etc., so I don't get too slowed down. This list can also serve as a "wish list" if I can't get it all done right away.

But the first step, remember, WRITE IT DOWN. Get a cute notebook at Target, your HOME IMPROVEMENT notebook, and start pretending.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

How A 5 Minute 'Repair' Can Help Sell Your House

When I am working as a buyer's agent and showing a house, some of the details that I suggest to my clients are: examine the HVAC filters, try all windows for ease in opening and closing, taste the water and check the water pressure.

 If the HVAC filters are not clean, chances are good these sellers are not very maintenance oriented.  If the water tastes terrible (even if a water test gives it a passing result) the buyer may want to have a water filtration system installed.  Good to know before you go into negotiations.  Many people just WILL NOT BUY a house with poor water pressure.

I was reminded of this when I started doing the dishes in our new rental.  We just sold our farm and are building a small home on less acreage.  The water pressure in the kitchen was terrible until....we cleaned the aerator.  This five minute job can make the difference between a sale or no sale.

Photo 1: Unscrew the old aerator
Just another reminder: the details matter when selling (or renting) your home.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Repair Request

Repair Request Negotiations: CYA - Every one in any legal transaction wants to cover their ____ and, I believe, most people also want to create a win, win, win, outcome for all involved.

CYA sometimes leads to complications for no real reason.  For example, the home inspection done our home "uncovered" flexible polybutelene piping.  The home inspector, (because he has attended plumbing workshops and inspected homes with obvious damage from flexible pipes), brings this to the attention of the buyer and buyer's agent.  Rightly so.  He further regals the buyer about the many failures in a nearby city. 

What he does not say is that the failures were due to a combinations of factors; first generation polybutelene, the plumbing also being used as part of hydro-heating system and that most failures in the early polybutelene were on the hot water supply.  That accounted for the many, many failures in the development he referred to.

The buyer's agent, trying to protect her client's best interest, is concerned about the plumbing and wonders why we did not disclose the fact that the house had flexible plumbing.

The seller (me) did not believe this was anything to disclose.  When I had my home inspection, the same plumbing was identified as 2nd generation polybutelene, not the piping that had caused so many problems. Not totally convinced, I had plumbers confirm that it is still the piping they use in homes today, especially homes on well water.  Having lived with copper plumbing in a home with well water and dealing with the green stains on fixtures AND green hair, I was happy to have non-corrosive plumbing and less lead in the system.  If anything, I felt the flexible piping was a plus.

Not sure how this will play out and if it will be a deal breaker.  Will post our progress or lack thereof.

In the meantime, still not packing.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Due Diligence

North Carolina Offers to Purchase and Contract are now more like commercial real estate contracts in that the buyer pays (a negotiated amount) to have a due diligence period ( a negotiated time) to conduct inspections and/or to consider if they want to move forward.

This is great for the buyer.  While inspections are done, the buyer can really consider at more of a leisurely pace if the property really suits their needs. 

It is good for the seller, too.  After the due diligence period.  Until then, their home is essentially off the market and if the buyers walk they have to start all over again.

To be fair, the buyer has some risk, too. Once they commit, there is no asking for additional concessions as was possible in previous Offer to Purchase and Contract documents.  Too, if they have too long of a due diligence period, the seller (depending on the market and the property) may get additional backup offers making the ability to negotiate for repairs less strong.  Indeed, the backup offer may be better than the buyers own offer.

That said, there is much more uncertainty for the seller.  Knowing whether to start packing, make arrangements for moving and for new housing is difficult without a commitment.  Further complicating this scenario is when the closing date is close to the due diligence date, making this especially challenging.

For sellers with children, elderly parents, or animals, how to proceed during the due diligence period can keep you up at night.  Take heart and take the long view. It is a short period of time in a lifetime.  BREATHE and get ready to pack!