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Sellers & Buyers

When It Makes Sense To Not Use A Real Estate Agent

when is makes sense to not use a real estate agent

When It Makes Sense To Not Use A Real Estate Agent

While most real estate agents are licensed under their state laws many agents jump into the business in hopes of easy money and little work since the barrier to entry can be quite low.  In fact the opposite is true.  Many agents who jump in thinking there is a lot of money to be made in real estate quickly realize that just like any other job they only get out what they put into it.  As a result homebuyers and sellers will find many agents who are lacking and not willing to do all it takes to make sure their client’s needs are put first.  Whether it be the agents who don’t return calls, don’t respond to emails or live in the stone age and still rely on fax machines and want ink signatures on paper forms they  have to hand carry everywhere, it is not benefit to someone wanting to buy or sell real estate to have to deal with that.  Real estate transactions can be done in pretty much most states without the use of a real estate agent and this article explores where doing things on one’s own can be an option.

Renting A Home

One of the most common times where a real estate agent may not be needed is when a homeowner is wanting to rent their home out.  There are many national and local websites that allow owners to post their vacancies for rent without the need for a real estate agent.  Some of these sites may even provide generic lease documents for property owners to use, though it should be cautioned that local laws often control specifically the way residential leases can be written so it is best to consult with a local real estate attorney to make sure the lease...

4 Things That Can Kill Your Home Sale

4 things that can kill your home sale

4 Things That Can Kill Your Home Sale

Just because an offer has been accepted on a home does not mean it is a done deal.  Instead there are many steps that need to be accomplished prior to the actual homebuyer and sellers being able to close on the home and transfer ownership.  Before closing there are a number of issues that can pop up that may not only stall a home sale but can kill the deal completely requiring the home to go back on the market.  This article looks at where issues may pop up and some ways to prevent those issues from causing a deal to fall apart.

Buyer or Seller Cold Feet

While not as common this does happen from time to time where either the buyer or the seller decide they no longer want to buy or sell a home.  If the homebuyer announces their intention ahead of time not to buy the home then sellers may only have lost a few days on the market and can quickly have the home back on the market.  On the other hand if homebuyers declare they don’t want to buy the home at the last minute this can leave the home sellers in a tough situation especially if they have packed everything up and maybe even moved out of the house.  Often these situations can result in a lawsuit to recover money for expenses made in anticipation of selling the home and the buyer could be forced to buy a home if a court ordered them to complete the terms of the contract they agreed to.

In the event the seller decides not to sell the home hopefully they also announce that decision early and not force the buyer to spend money to hire an appraiser, home inspector and more in order to make sure the home is in good condition.  If done early enough then maybe the buyer will...

Using Checklists For When Selling Or Buying A Home

using checklists for buying or selling a home

Using Checklists For When Selling OR Buying A Home

Whether you are selling a home or buying a home, going into the process organized is key in order to make sure things are done right and in order.  Getting a pre-approval after making an offer on a home is a surefire way to failure as the homebuyer does not know whether they can afford the home they are making an offer on or whether they will be approved for a mortgage with the lender they apply with.  Similar with sellers is a home seller who does not prepare their home first hand and instead decides to list as is the chances of them getting a good price for their home is greatly reduced.  Instead both homebuyers and home sellers will be better off by keeping a checklist of things they need to do and the order in which to do them in order to ensure a successful sale or purchase.

What Should Be Covered In A Home Sellers Checklist?

Home sellers should have a pre-listing checklist which covers the preparation of the home prior to putting it on the market as well as a checklist to cover what is done to the home prior to showings while the home is on the market.  By having a home properly prepared home sellers can help ensure homebuyers are not distracted by readily apparent flaws in the home like uncleanliness, clutter, pet smells or more.  Home showings are just as important as pre-sale preparation since during the actual showings homeowners will learn if buyers are actually interested in their home.

Any pre-sale checklist should include items like painting the house (indoors and outdoors), update/refresh landscaping, tune up mechanicals of home (like HVAC, garage door openers, plumbing, windows, doors and...

What To Know About Real Estate Deeds

what to know about real estate deed

Real Estate Deeds Explored

When a homebuyer purchases a home they have a deed registered in their name which specifies how the property is owned.  If the homebuyers are married the deed will usually be “titled” or written to show that both homebuyer spouses own the property as a whole together.  There are other ways to title a deed and this article explores the different ways and the benefits and drawbacks of each of those ways.

Deeds Explained

There are a number of types of deeds that can be used for the transfer of real estate.  The most common types found are General Warranty Deed, Limited or Special Warranty Deed, Quitclaim Deeds, Trustee Deeds, and Fiduciary Deeds.  Deed types and deed names can vary based on state laws so it is always best to consult with a real estate attorney licensed in the state where the deed is to be recorded if there are any questions as to what type of deed is needed.

A General Warranty Deed is the best possible type of deed to receive from a home seller as it guarantees that the seller has clear title to the property.  The home seller gives a warranty to the homebuyer that the deed is free from claims of others and if a claim would happen to arise the prior owner could be responsible for helping to settle the claim or to reimburse the current owner for any loss suffered as a result of a valid claim.  Even with the General Warranty Deed it is still advisable for the homebuyer to purchase title insurance to protect against any claims as even...

Anatomy Of A Real Estate Offer

anatomy of a real estate offer

Anatomy Of A Real Estate Offer

Both homebuyers and home sellers need to understand what is involved in an offer to purchase a home.  Contracts to purchase a home contain many different terms and requirements that are binding to both the buyer and the seller.  Even a simple slip in missing a deadline can result in consequences the parties may not fully understand the consequences of.  So not only is a thorough understanding of the terms of the contract to purchase a home necessary understanding the critical timelines is also a must.

This article primarily deals with residential real estate.  While there are some similar concepts in commercial real estate, the buying of commercial real estate is a different type of transaction that does not have all the protections required under law that residential real estate has.  Regardless of the type of transaction, due to the complexities involved it is always advisable to have a professional Realtor or real estate attorney assist buyers or sellers with their real estate transaction.

Basics Of An Offer To Buy Real Estate

All contracts to buy or sell real estate must be in writing.  Generally formal contracts are used and provided by many states and real estate agent boards for use by home buyers and sellers.  The contract to purchase rental real estate must include the subject property information (usually the address), the amount being paid to purchase the property along with any other conditions and/or qualifications of the purchase, as well as the buyer and seller information. 

Both the buyer and the seller must accept the terms as is with no changes in order to have an accepted contract to sell the real estate. ...

What Causes A Home To Appreciate or Depreciate In Value?

what causes a home to appreciate or depreciate in value?

What Causes A Home To Appreciate or Depreciate In Value?

There are many factors that can affect the value of a home.  Some factors can cause a home’s price to increase in value whereas other factors can cause the value to go down.  The factors that affect home value are not always internal to the home, external factors can also have dramatic impacts on a home value just as internal factors can.  By knowing and understand what factors can impact the value of a home, homebuyers and home sellers can better position themselves in the real estate market for success.

External Factors That Can Affect The Value Of A Home

The National and State Level Economy

When the economy at the national and state level are running great the values of homes have a tendency to increase.  With more people employed and with more access to credit there will be more homebuyers ready to move into a home.  As a result this will have an upward effect on home prices.  Now just because the national economy is strong does not mean the state or local economy will be strong as well.  If a large local employer decides to move their operations to another area along with all the employees who work there that will result in many of those employees wanting to sell their home at the same time which can depress the price of homes in the area.

When the national and local economies are down due to recession or some other factors that will put downward pressure on the value of homes.  Lower employment and lower access to credit means fewer people will be able to afford to buy a home or be willing to sell their current home to buy a bigger home. ...

Tips For Picking Real Estate Professionals When Buying or Selling Your Home

tips for picking real estate professionals when buying or selling your home

Tips For Picking Real Estate Professionals When Buying or Selling Your Home

When buying or selling a home there are a number of different professionals involved in the process.  These professionals are involved in critical parts of the real estate transaction that in order to be successful having the best and brightest is important.  One of the main reasons for bringing in the best professionals possible is that the buying or selling of a home is usually one of the largest transactions a person will have in their lifetimes.  As a result home buyers and sellers would like everything to go perfectly so that their investment in a home can keep itself going over the long haul.  With that in mind the following tips below will help home buyers and sellers choose the best professionals to help make sure the transaction is a successful one.

Picking The Right Home Inspector

Whether you want a home inspection for buying a home or prior to listing your home for sale picking the right home inspector is important.  Your home is a long term investment and therefore you want to make sure the home you are buying is properly evaluated or as a seller you want to make sure the home you are selling is putting its best foot forward when it comes time to sell.  By taking care of home inspection before listing your home for sale you make it less likely you will have to scramble around to find contractors in order to get things done before closing.

If you live in a state where home inspectors are required to be licensed...

Telltale Signs You May Have Hired The Wrong Real Estate Agent

telltale signs you may have hired the wrong real estate agent

Telltale Signs You May Have Hired The Wrong Real Estate Agent

Depending on the state you are in the bar to get a license to become a real estate agent can be quite low.  Take a few classes, pass a test and you too can become a real estate agent.  On the other hand skilled real estate agents are continually doing more to enhance their knowledge and skills so they can better serve their clients.  So what are the exact signs that can let you know you got stuck with the wrong real estate agent?  Read on below to learn more.

Agents Not Returning Calls

If from the start of your relationship with a real estate agent you are having issues with them calling you back on time or they don’t call you back at all that is a major problem.  One of the greatest way to kill a real estate deal is by not returning phone calls.  In very fast moving real estate markets time is of the essence and if an agent is not able to put in an offer to buy a home within a reasonable amount of time of you calling them you could lose the home to some other buyer whose agent was timely in responding to their clients.

A typical example of this is after seeing a number of homes during the day you decide to take a few hours to consider which home you would like to make an offer on.  After finally deciding on a home that best works for you, you call up your agent and leave a voice message saying you would like to make an offer on one particular home.  If your agent never returns your call to get the details of your offer that means they are not able to get the details of what you want to offer submit it to the sellers.  If your agent is not able to...

Dealing With Multiple Offers On A Home For Sale

dealing with multiple offers on a home for sale

Dealing With Multiple Offers On A Home For Sale

In an active real estate market when a home is properly prepared and priced right the chances of a buyer or seller facing the situation of multiple offers on a home is increased.  By handling a multiple offer situation properly both home buyers and sellers can ensure success on their part.  When handled incorrectly multiple offers can cause some buyers to waste money during the purchase process and lead some sellers to think their house can be priced much higher than it currently is and reject good offers in hopes for more money.

How To Deal With Multiple Offers As A Home Seller

While it may be a great feeling to have your home in a multiple offer situation you need to make sure it is handled properly otherwise you could end up scaring buyers away.  A multiple offer situation is a chance to get a little more money for your home and possibly get some better conditions when it comes to the offer contingencies.  Sellers should definitely not get greedy when it comes to multiple offers as that could cause buyers to look elsewhere.  Demanding much higher offer prices or removal of contingencies (inspection, appraisal, financing) is going overboard and will send up red flags with buyers.  Not only that if the price is too high to meet the appraisal price then you could look at having to renegotiate the price or having the buyer walk away under the appraisal contingency clause.

Ideally if a buyer offers to buy your home at the same or better price and waive certain contingencies like home inspection that offer may be better than a higher...

Real Estate Scams To Watch Out For

slick businessmen in suit real estate scams to avoid

Real Estate Scams To Watch Out For

Anytime you find an activity with money involved you are sure to find scam artists who are more than ready to part you with your hard earned money. Real estate is no different and there are many scams that individuals with less than honest intentions will try. By being aware of these common real estate scams you can make sure you do not become a victim yourself and if something does seem too good to be true have an idea of where you can dig for more information.

Real Estate Scams That Target Renters

This particular scam targets both home sellers and people looking for a place to rent. The scam artist in this scam will take pictures of a home for sale from a real estate website and then post those pictures on rental sites hoping to draw in potential renters. Part of the scam also involves not actually getting you into the rental home by saying it is occupied so only pictures will be used. Even if you are allowed into the rental home you still need to be careful as there are some rental companies that let anyone in through a home unattended so long as they provide some identification and a credit card. The scammers can get in using stolen identities or using your own information you gave them on an application.

Usually but not always the rental amount they advertise the place at seems too good to be true. For example you might see a rental advertisement showing a nice home for rent for only $700.00 where if it looks to good to be true it probably isn't picture of home for rent...

How To Negotiate After The Home Inspection

how to negotiate after the home inspection picture of a man reading a letter

How To Negotiate After The Home Inspection

Once your home inspection is completed and depending on the age, condition and how you are selling your home you can expect to receive a list of requested repairs to deal with any issues your home may have. While a good buyer’s agent will counsel their clients that the home they are buying is not a new home and everything won’t be in perfect condition, asking for repairs of safety related issues is advisable. If you as the seller get a large list of requests requesting even simple things be repaired then it may be the case that the buyer’s agent did not counsel their clients properly when it came time to draw of the list of repairs. If you were advertising and selling your home as-is then the home inspection report is mainly for the buyers to know what they are getting when they purchase your home. Anything in need of repair on an as-is home is for the buyers to deal with and your home should be priced accordingly.

Timing and Market Condition Affect Your Ability to Negotiate Home Inspection Repair Requests

Your ability to negotiate will depend on the type of market you are in and how long your home has been on the market. If your home is in a seller’s market where as soon as a home pops up for sale they are under contract in less than a week then you are in a stronger negotiating position than if it were a buyer’s market with too many homes up for sale and not enough buyers. In a buyer’s market you must make the buyer happy in terms...

Comprehensive Guide To Buying Or Selling A Home

guide to buying or selling a home

The Real Estate Transaction Guide For Buyers And Sellers

If you have never bought or sold a home before or haven’t bought one in a while you may not be aware of all the steps that go into the home buying or selling process. The process does not just start the instant you decide to sell or buy a home but instead starts out well before and requires plenty of planning and coordination with a number of different professionals. This guide to buying or selling a home will take you through the steps a seller and buyer must go through in order to buy or sell a home.

Jump To The Sellers Guide

Buyer’s Process of Buying a Home

Mortgage and Credit

When getting ready to buy a home the process should not start with getting online and searching for homes that look nice or searching for a hot neighborhood to buy in. Instead the first step should be contacting a couple of different mortgage lenders and exploring your financial options for buying a home. Borrowing to buy a home is a long (15-30 year) term commitment and over spending on fees or the interest rate you pay means you will be paying more money than you have too. That money can be better spent on saving for retirement, paying for your children’s college, or on up keep of the home. There is no need to spend extra money when you don’t have to. So interview a number of different mortgage lenders and find out what they are offering and what are the costs associated with their mortgage options.

In addition to shopping around for mortgages you should also take a close look at your credit history. Do you have any credit...

8 Great Negotiating Tips For Real Estate

8 great negotiating tips for real estate graphic

8 Great Negotiating Tips For Real Estate

When attempting to sell or buy a home often times emotions and the competitive spirit can get the best of people resulting in a failure for anyone to reach their goals. What brought you to the negotiating table in the first place is a desire to sell or buy a home. Part of negotiating is knowing what position you stand in compared to the other party.

If you are in a seller’s market where there are more buyers than homes you as a buyer may not be in the best position to demand and expect to get everything. The reverse applies as well where you as a seller are in a buyer’s market where there are glut of homes. Standing pat and hoping to sell your home at a price you want without concessions will leave you with an unsold home and buyers moving onto something better priced. With that in mind here are some negotiating tips for both the seller and the buyer, which can help you reach your final goal.

Negotiating Tips For Seller

1. Take Pricing Out of the Equation

Probably the best negotiating tip for a home seller is to get the home pricing right the first time and then it becomes an issue you don’t even have to negotiate on. If your home is priced just right then you will get offers early on and may even get multiple offers allowing you to pick the best offer without having to haggle over price. Take the pricing issue off of the table and there is no need to negotiate about it.

2. Come Prepared Knowing Your Goals

Know ahead of time what you are willing to do and not willing to do with your home. Do you know your home has an old HVAC or older...

Podcast #9: Real Estate And Appraisals

Podcast #9 Real estate and appraisals

For this podcast Real Estate and Appraisals I sat down with John Jardine owner of Jardine Company. During our conversation we discussed the appraisal process, what is an appraisal, how to prepare for an appraisal, FHA appraiser steps, and more. This podcast is helpful for those wanting to sell their home and want to learn more about what appraisal involves.  

I hope you enjoy the podcast and find it informative.  Please also consider sharing with those who may find it useful.

Listen via YouTube:

You can connect with John Jardine on LinkedIn.

You can connect with me on FacebookPinterestTwitterGoogle+LinkedInYouTube and Instagram.

About the author: The above Podcast “Podcast #9 Topic: Real...

What To Know About The Real Estate Residential Property Disclosure Form

residential property disclosure form image

Residential Property Disclosure Form

Most residential homes when put up for sale must have a residential property disclosure form filled out disclosing the known conditions of the property. Many residential disclosure forms require the disclosing of not only conditions that are in existence now but also conditions that have happened in the past and have been repaired. Some state disclosure forms (like Ohio) set a limit of 5 years for reporting past issues, so if it happened 5 years or more prior and has been repaired you may not have to disclose it now. Always use the property disclosure form created by your state government as it will contain state specific items that forms from other states may not cover.

The property disclosure form is not a warranty or guarantee for the things disclosed. Instead it is simply notifying buyers of issues and then it is up to the buyers to decide whether they wish to purchase the home or not. Improper disclosure or lack of disclosure can result in a lawsuit where the seller may be forced to pay damages to the buyer or even worse the seller can be forced to take back the property and make the buyer whole monetarily.

Actual Knowledge Requirements in Disclosure

When filling out the property disclosure form you should answer based on your actual knowledge of the conditions in the home. What this means is that you personally know of an issue that is present or has happened in the past. So if your basement sump pump failed a year ago and the basement flooded as a result this would be required to be put on the property disclosure form. Now on the other hand if a neighbor mentioned that he had heard your house or perhaps a neighbor’s house flooded 7 years ago (before you even...

Top 8 Issues Found In Home Inspections (Infographic)

Top 8 Issues Found In Home Inspections

Top 8 Issues Found In Home Inspections

When selling your home there is a good chance that the buyer will request a home inspection. Having too many issues in the home inspection report could send up red flags to the buyer that causes them to back out of the deal. Many of the issues found in home inspections can be remedied beforehand so that the home inspection will turn up nothing but a clean check of the home and useful suggestions on various aspects of the home. Ideally getting your home inspected prior to listing it for sale is best since a home inspector will go through your home just as they would for a buyer and give you a list of all the issues they find. With that pre-listing inspection list you can repair those problem areas ahead of time so there is one less thing to cause your home sale to go bad.

Regardless of whether you decide to go the pre-listing inspection route or not there are some common issues found in home inspections that you should be aware of. By checking your home with regards to these common issues and making repairs before you list you are in better position to reach the closing table. Additionally you may end up saving yourself time and money since having to make repairs while under the deadline of a closing date means you may have to go with whoever is available and pay whatever price they charge since it has to be repaired.

Top Issues To Be On The Lookout For

1. Electrical

Electrical Issues are the number one issue to be on the lookout for as they are one of the most common problems found by home inspectors. You should...

Podcast #8: Real Estate and Family Law

Podcast 8 Family Law and Real Estate graphic

For this podcast Real Estate and Family Law I sat down with Michael McNeil, Attorney with Graydon Head Law Firm. During our conversation we discussed divorce and selling a home, prenuptial agreements, the effects of divorce on mortgage payments and more. This podcast is helpful for those wanting to sell their home and may be going through the process of divorce.  

I hope you enjoy the podcast and find it informative.  Please also consider sharing with those who may find it useful.

Listen via YouTube:

You can find Michael McNeil's Graydon Head Link Here.

You can connect with me on FacebookPinterestTwitterGoogle+LinkedInYouTube and Instagram.


20 Important Mortgage Terms To Know

20 Important Mortgage Terms To Know

20 Important Mortgage Terms To Know

Whether buying or selling a home it is important to know the terms that are being used when a mortgage is involved so you don't end up under water. First and foremost the professionals you are working with should be telling you what these terms mean and what is the cost for you for the type of mortgage you choose. If you are not getting the answers you need then you are better off looking for someone else to assist you in the process.

While these terms are not overly complicated, knowing them before you start your home sale or home purchase will save you some time. The early legwork in getting a pre-approval to know what you can afford or seeing what your mortgage payoff is so you know if you can pay off the mortgage upon sale are important steps. Mortgages are long term commitments that can affect your lifestyle for some time to come. By fully understanding the terms of your mortgage and the amounts you will be paying you will be in a better position in the long run.

Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM)

A mortgage whose interest rate can adjust during the payback period based on market interest rates. ARM loans usually have limits on how much the interest rate can adjust per year and the maximum amount an interest rate can be adjusted to over the lifetime of the loan.


Is the paying off a debt (principal plus interest) in fixed payments over a set period of time. Often times you will be presented with an Amortization Schedule when you take out a loan. The Amortization Schedule details what part of each payment goes towards principal and what part goes towards interest.

Construction Mortgage

Typically a short term loan where the borrower is given money to pay...

Should I Use A Discount Broker To Sell My Home?

Picture of confused lady with caption

Should I Use A Discount Broker To Sell My Home?

Now that you have prepared your home to sell with these great tips, you may be wondering what is the value of a regular real estate brokerage versus a discount brokerage. After all you can get great deals at your local big box store and save money rather than spending it on a more expensive version. While you can get a better deal at a big box discount store the question remains will you get a better value? The same applies with a traditional real estate brokerage versus a discount brokerage, you may be getting a better deal up front by saving on the commission but what is the long term cost to you in terms of your home selling price and help in getting to the closing table?

What a Discount Brokerage Can Provide

Discount brokerages vary in their business models. Some will offer more service for a slightly reduced commission, whereas others offer you nothing other than listing your home on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) with a flat fee or large discount on commission. The amount of services they provide will also vary based on the business model those brokerages choose to follow.

Be on the lookout for any of these discount or deep discount brokerages that cut the commission paid to the buyer’s agent. In all fairness the buying and the selling agents should be getting an even 50/50 split commission. Discount brokerages that cut the buyer commission while keeping their own commission high are only hurting you as the home seller in the long run since there is less incentive for buyers agents to bring...

What Does It Mean To Be House Poor?

Picture of lady looking at computer with text what does it mean to be house poor?

What Does It Mean To Be House Poor?

You purchased a home but now you find yourself regretting the decision, mainly because the house payments or the money needed to properly maintain the home are taking up a large portion of your monthly budget leaving you in a cash crunch situation. That is what is referred to as being house poor. The best way to avoid being house poor is by purchasing a home within your budget. For those who already have a home that is stretching their budget there may be some other options to look into.

Determining Affordability Prior To Purchasing A Home

Prior to purchasing a home it is important that the potential homebuyers look closely at their month to month income and expenses as part of an affordability analysis. All payments such as car loans/leases, car insurance, utilities, student loans, and other debts must be added up and compared to your total take home pay. If you are a married couple or soon to be married couple, you should add up both the incomes and debts for each person as part of the analysis. Now you may currently have rental expenses which may or may not be equal to what a mortgage payment will be. The rental payment still should be counted towards your debt since your mortgage payment for your home is also paid once you purchase the home. You may need to add some amount to the rent payment in order to account for a larger mortgage payment, in the case where you don’t currently have rent payments use a mortgage calculator like the one found here to get a rough idea of what a mortgage payment will be at a certain home price point.

Ideal would be...

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