These terms are handy to know terms when you are involved in either buying or selling real estate:
These are most often prepared by the person selling a property. They can include a property condition disclosure, a lead based paint disclosure (for properties built prior to 1978), and a septic disclosure to name a few. You should ask for copies prior to preparing a written offer.
Good Faith Estimate
A lender is required to provide a borrower this document at loan application. It provides the borrower a breakdown of their loan costs, closing costs and downpayment required. It also gives an estimate of the total monthly payment. The numbers from the Good Faith Estimate and the closing statement should align fairly close, if not you should ask questions.
This stands for Mortgage Insurance Premium. If your obtaining a mortgage with a loan to value greater than 80%, then the lender will require mortgage insurance in most cases. The premium is usually paid as part of your monthly house payment. For some loan programs a portion of the premium is collected when the loan is funded.
This is a claim by someone or a company on a property, usually for money owed. In Tennesse a Deed of Trust is filed with the Register of Deeds in the county where the property is located. This document reflects the terms of the loan, and is a matter of public record.
This is a a term used when the market is in the buyer’s favor. The buyer usually has the advantage when it comes to negotiations. A buyer’s market occurs when there are more homes for sale than there are buyers to purchase them, thus forcing sellers to me more aggressive with pricing. Usually homes take in excess of six months to sell in this type of market.
This term is used when there are not enough homes available for the number of buyers looking to purchase. This environment gives the seller the advantage when it comes to negotiations. In this type of market you will see home prices on the rise as many properties will receive multiple offers. In this kind of market, homes that are priced right and in good condition may only be on the market for a few weeks.
Selling a home For Sale By Owner (FSBO) is not an easy task, that’s why most FSBO’s end up hiring a REALTOR®. Nationally the success rate of FSBO’s is very low. Over 80% of all FSBO’s end up hiring a REALTOR® to get their home sold in the end.
Why is it so hard to sell without a REALTOR®?
1. Determining the right listing price – Pricing a property correctly is probably the most important step when placing your home up for sale. If your home is not priced right, then you stand a slim chance of selling in a competitive market. A REALTOR® will have access to the sales data, plus their experience to best advise you on a proper listing price.
2. Buyer’s want your commission savings – One of the things most sellers don’t understand when deciding to go the FSBO route, is that many buyers know you are marketing you own home in order to save the commission, and they want a part of that savings. Many of the buyers will take 5% right off the top regardless of whether the home is priced well or not.
3. Availability for showings – It’s hard for many homeowners to be available to show their home at the time buyers want to look. Buyers can come at all hours of the day and night. Most serious buyers are looking at a number of homes within a given time period and are not willing to rearrange their schedule to accommodate an unworkable seller. One advantage of having a REALTOR® is they can take care of all showings, thus freeing you up to keep your life as normal as possible during the selling process.
4. Showing to unqualified buyers – It’s a waste of your time and the buyers if they are unable to obtain the financing needed to complete the purchase. If a REALTOR® is involved, in most cases only pre-qualified buyers will be looking at your home.
5. Negotiations & inspections – This is an area where an inexperienced seller can put their self at great risk. When your dealing directly with the buyer you can be put of the spot with answering questions and making decisions without thinking them over carefully. You might unknowingly commit to something without understanding all of the cost and time considerations. Negotiating buyer inspections on your home can be tricky as well. These are areas were a REALTOR® will look out for your best interest.
While it’s not impossible to sell your home on your own, you can see there are many pitfalls along the way if your not experienced. By hiring a REALTOR® studies have shown that you will usually sell your home for a higher price, and you will have someone on your side to make the process much easier.
As one works each day in real estate, every day is a new day. Boredom is not an option and meeting new people is a must. In addition, real estate agents gain invaluable skills such as marketing, sales, operations, negotiations and networking. Most real estate agents operate as independent contractors, which mean they decide their own business model and set their own schedule.
Working at a local real estate firm adds value to the community by helping fellow residents and new neighbors realize their dream of home ownership. Not only can it be personally rewarding, but practicing real estate is also a great way to network and meet new people in the community.
If you think that you might be interested in a real estate career, go to www.TopOfKnox.com to find out more.
Before you decide to list your home take a look at these areas to see if changes are warranted:
1. Curb appeal – This is your first chance to make a good first impression with a buyer. Stand in the street and take a hard look at your home’s exterior. Are the shrubs overgrown, is the lawn neatly trimmed,
should you add some flowers, do you need a new mailbox and etc. You want to have landscaping that’s welcoming, looks great and will keep the buyer interested.
2. Exterior – Walk around the outside of your home and make an assessment of the condition of its exterior. Do you find some damaged trim, do you need to paint, are the window screens in good order, do you find areas that need to be caulked and etc. If the buyer finds the outside of your home to be in good repair, then you’ve set the stage for a more favorable showing on the inside..
3. Kitchens – They can often make or break a sale. You want the buyer to walk-in and fall in love with your kitchen. Take an objective look at your kitchen; could it use some improvements? It could be as simple as a fresh coat of paint, or all the way up to a full blown renovation.
4. Baths – A nice bath rates high on a buyers list. It much like the kitchen in that you can simply improve it with a fresh coat of paint or do a full renovation. Many small improvements on a bath can have a great impact, such as, new lighting, new towel bars, a new sink and the like.
5. Decorating – You may love the color schemes in your house, but many buyers may not. You want to have your house decorated so that it appeals to the masses, not a select few. Generally neutral color tones work best.
6. Pets – Pets bring unwanted issues when trying to sell. If at all possible try to find a good temporary home for your pet while your house is on the market. If that’s not possible, at a minimum remove your pet from the home when it’s being shown.
If you lost your home due to a foreclosure or short sale, you probably would like to own a home once again. The good news is that a number of guidelines have changed which may allow you an opportunity to buy a new home sooner than you think.
The traditional waiting period after a foreclosure is seven years. However; these waiting period guidelines may change and you would be best served to get up to date information from a qualified mortgage professional. Many lenders will shorten the waiting period some if there were extenuating circumstances surrounding the foreclosure of your home. Was there a death or illness that prevented you from earning enough money to meet your mortgage obligations? Did you loose your job or incur a substantial pay cut for some reason? These and similar reasons might be enough for a lender to shorten your waiting period after a foreclosure.
Your credit is often re-established quicker after a short sale than a foreclosure. Generally lenders will require only a two-year waiting period before they will consider you for another mortgage. Once again; seek the advice of a licensed mortgage professional to obtain the latest information on their qualifying guidelines.
Most people only buy a couple of homes in their lifetime. This lack of experience leads to many home buyers feeling woefully unprepared, increasing their stress level which affects their decision making at the worst possible time. The process doesn’t have to be so complicated if you keep things in perspective.
Keep in mind you’re not getting married. You don’t have to make a lifelong commitment to a home. So relax, you only need commit to a home for a few years. You can always move later if you fall out of love with your home, as long as you buy it right.
Here are a set of rules that will help you through the process:
*Determine your needs for the next five years. Affordability is number one. Make sure you consider all the costs: mortgage payments, taxes, insurance, maintenance and utilities. Your family size, lifestyle and profession are also important factors.
*Get the facts. The number one rule is do not overpay for a home. Try to determine what a home is worth based on comparable sales. If the home needs repairs, be realistic when you estimate those costs.
*Don’t fall completely in love. Lacking experience, people rely on their emotions. Remember a house is just sticks and stones and there are plenty of them out there.
*Get professional help. Seek the assistance of a REALTOR® to help guide you through the different steps. Educate yourself as much as possible so that you can better utilize your agent.
*Don’t be afraid to pull the trigger or walk away. Once you compile all the facts concerning a house you love, it becomes a much easier decision. If you love a house, the price is fair and affordable, then don’t be afraid to seal the deal.
There were several favorable events that benefited the average home buyer in 2013:
•Mortgage rates remained low
•The heated bidding wars that were happening in some markets ceased
•Investor buyers have cooled off, creating less competition and holding down prices
•The latest in technology has made home shopping easier for most buyers
The REALTORS®’ Code of Ethics was established in 1913 by the National Association of REALTORS®. It’s a set of rules that were established to raise the standards of professionalism and service in the real estate industry. The rules are divided into three areas: 1) a broker’s duties to his clients, 2) a broker’s duties to his fellow brokers and 3) a broker’s duties to the public. The current Code of Ethics contains seventeen articles.
Over its one hundred year history, the Code of Ethics has been amended and revised to keep up with the changing times. Local REALTOR® Associations are charged with enforcing the Code of Ethics and handing down punishment to those found to be in violation of one or more of the articles.
To keep REALTORS® up to date on the Code of Ethics, the National Association of REALTORS® requires all REALTORS® to take a training course on the subject every four years.
In recognition and appreciation of their obligations to clients, customers, the public, and each other, REALTORS® continuously strive to become and remain informed on issues affecting real estate and, as knowledgeable professionals, they willingly share the fruit of their experience and study with others.
Source: National Association of REALTORS®
These links will give you access to the most current property listings from the Knoxville Area Association of Realtors MLS system. The information is updated on a daily basis, so check back often.