Homebuyers in November and December are Motivated

It’s a common thought, however misguided, that homes don’t sell during the months of November and December. The truth of the matter is that homes listed during this time period are likely to sell quicker and for a higher asking price.

Motivated Buyers: If there are people out there trudging through often cold, even snowy weather to look at homes for sale, they are motivated. It might be that they have had a job transfer, a family situation, and if you have a home available to look at that is priced right, they will come. The fact that it’s the busiest holiday time is also very telling about their motivation.

Competition: Simply because so many believe this isn’t the ideal time to sell their home, they wait to put it on the market, and with that, you are left with less competition. Remember also, that the internet is instant access to a home listing. Motivated buyers will start online and you want your home to be in the search results. Be sure to have professional pictures taken to showcase your home at it’s very best.

Year-End Tax Breaks: Plenty of buyers wan to reduce their taxes and buying a home lets them deduct the home purchase costs, such as points, interest, and property taxes.

The Bottom Line: Meet with an experienced Realtor and be sure to price your home right. Motivated buyers don’t have the time to negotiate and wait for gradual price deductions. While people will tell you to wait until Spring, the truth is that any home can sell at any time of the year if it is packaged right.

Share This Post



Whether you’re purchasing a new or existing home or refinancing, title insurance protects you against any problems affecting the title to your home.

The Basics
There are two types of title insurance: the owner’s policy and the lender’s policy. The owner’s policy protects your property rights as the homebuyer, whereas the lender’s policy insures the financial investment of the bank or lender. If someone else claims ownership of your property, title insurance typically defends you legally and financially.

Common Risks: Here are some examples of problems with title:

  • Liens against the property that serve as security for the payment of an obligation (e.g. mortgage liens, judgment liens for unpaid court judgments, federal tax liens, state and local liens for failure to pay real estate taxes or assessments, mechanic’s liens to secure payment for property improvements, liens for recovery of child support payments or, as in New York City, for unpaid parking tickets).
  • Easements that have been created by contract or arisen through use or adverse prescription (e.g. rights of way for utilities, rights acquired by neighbors because of a fence encroachment).
  • Building or use restrictions contained in recorded plats, agreements or deeds.
  • Claims arising out of bankruptcy.

These are just some of the many reasons why getting owner’s title insurance is crucial when buying or refinancing a home. It gives you peace of mind that your property rights are protected.

When you refinance, you are obtaining a new loan, even if you stay with your original lender. Lenders will usually require a new title search and lender’s policy to protect their investment in the property. Fortunately, homeowners don’t need to purchase a new owner’s policy—the one you bought at closing is good for as long as you or your family own the property. However, you may want to contact an ALTA member to update your policy to reflect changes in your life.

Enduring Value
Owner’s title insurance is a low, one-time fee based on the value of your home. For example, the typical owner’s title insurance policy costs an average of 0.5% of a home’s purchase price. With a home being one of the largest investments you’ll ever make, it’s clear why getting owner’s title insurance is such a smart way to give yourself peace of mind.

More Homebuyer Tips & Information
The American Land Title Association helps educate homebuyers like you about title insurance so you can protect your property rights. Check out Title First Agency to learn more about title insurance and the home closing process.

*This advertising offers a brief description of insurance coverages, products and services and is meant for informational purposes only. Actual coverages may vary by state, company or locality. You may not be eligible for all of the insurance products, coverages or services described in this advertising. For exact terms, conditions, exclusions, and limitations, please contact a title insurance company authorized to do business in your location.

Share This Post

Red Flags to Watch For When Buying a Home

Avoid buying a home that comes with extra work and expensive repairs. With all the emotion that goes into searching for the perfect home, it’s easy to overlook some very important issues while house hunting that could end up costing you big-time in the end.

Foundation & Structural: A home with problems in this area can end up costing thousands of dollars. The home depends on the sturdiness of the foundation. A few things to be on the lookout for:

  • Uneven floors – do you see any sloping or even separation form a wall?
  • Broken foundation blocks – any cracks in exterior brick mean that there could be water pressure build-up.
  • Hard to open or close doors and windows – a sign that there might be damage from water

Mold: Sometimes this issue results from neglect and other times it is a simple fix. Look where the problem is and if the mold is mostly in small areas it can be resolved. But, it can be a huge red flag and indicate issues with the home, such as major and expensive leaks.

Fresh paint: While it is not uncommon for homeowners to paint their homes to look their very best to sell, it’s important to look for the “patches’ of paint inside and outside the home. The damage that a “patch” is covering could be many different issues that could end up costing a lot of money.

Stains on ceilings: No paint “patches” can show you this red flag and it’s important to find out what is causing these stains. It could be a leak in the roof, ice damming, plumbing issues, etc. These need to be investigated as the repairs could cost thousands.

The neighborhood: Big red flag if there are many homes in the neighborhood on the market. It’s usually not a coincidence when everyone wants to sell their home at the same time. Look around for foreclosures or abandoned lots which indicate a stagnant growth. Look online where you will easily be able to find the crime frequency and sex offender lists. Are there a lot of rentals? Is the street a cut-through during commuting hours? All negative feedback is important as it will affect your ability to sell the home later.

The Bottom Line: Buying a home is a huge deal. It’s of utmost importance to find the top Realtor in the area in which you are looking as they will be able to point out many of these and more red flags. A home inspector can detect problems missed and then with an experienced Realtor you will know if its worth spending money to fix an issue or if you should negotiate a compromise.

Share This Post


Make sure all of your clients are protected
You’re a real estate agent, so you know that buying a home can be overwhelming for many of your clients. Homebuyers can easily feel confused and frustrated by the mounds of paperwork they have to sign. Plus, all the fees associated with closing can sometimes be a surprise even to an experienced buyer.

Owner’s title insurance is one of those items often misunderstood by homebuyers at closing, yet its value is tremendous. As an important advisor to your clients, you are in the position to help them understand the value of owner’s title insurance and the dangers that can be incurred without it.

What is title insurance?
Owner’s title insurance is a policy that protects homebuyers’ property rights. For the same reasons that the bank requires a lender’s insurance policy, a homebuyer obtains owner’s title insurance to protect their legal claims to the property.

How it protects your clients
Say, for example, your client recently purchased a new home from a builder, but the builder failed to pay the roofer. Wanting to be paid, the roofer filed a lien against the property. Without owner’s title insurance, your client would be responsible for paying this existing debt—meaning they’d be paying the roofer out of pocket instead of purchasing something nice for their new home, like new living room furniture. This is just one example of how owner’s title insurance protects homebuyers’ from various significant risks. With owner’s title insurance, your client would be protected from certain legal or financial responsibilities.

Enduring value
The good news is that owner’s title insurance protects homebuyers financially, as long as they or their heirs* own the home. For a low, one-time fee (average of 0.5% of purchase price), homebuyers can rest assured, knowing they are protected from inheriting existing debts or claims to their property.

State regulations and CFPB
Each state government regulates its own title insurance costs. In addition, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) regulates closing and settlement practices which can impact title insurance. Keep in mind that title insurance industry practices vary due to differences in state laws and local real estate customs. The party that pays for the owner’s title insurance policy varies from state to state, and sometimes even within a state. For more information about title insurance, or to find a company approved to issue an owner’s policy, please direct your homebuyer clients to www.homeclosing101.org.

Free resources for Realtors ®

Together, real estate agents, land title insurance professionals, and other stakeholders involved in real estate transactions can protect homebuyers and provide them with the peace of mind they deserve during the home closing process.

For more information about title insurance, and to get free resources for real estate agents, visit Alta.

*This advertising offers a brief description of insurance coverages, products and services and is meant for informational purposes only. Actual coverages may vary by state, company or locality. You may not be eligible for all of the insurance products, coverages or services described in this advertising. For exact terms, conditions, exclusions, and limitations, please contact a title insurance company authorized to do business in your location.

Share This Post

Title Insurance for Your New Home

smiling woman

One of the steps in buying a home is to have the title of the property searched and completed by closing. This is done to protect you, the buyer, and ensure that the title is clear. Once the home is under contract, buying title insurance is one of the first things you will do.

Owner’s Title Insurance provides protection to the homeowner if down the road someone were to say they have a claim against the home from before the owner bought it. This policy will provide coverage equal to the amount you are paying for the home. The title company will provide legal assistance and pay any valid claims. The policy will be good as long as you are in the home.

Lender’s Title Insurance is required by your lender to protect their lien against anything missed during the title search or any legal claims against the owner’s property. They will usually require insurance in the amount that fully covers their loan size.

  • The title company will look for claims to the home’s title that could ever affect your purchase. This includes public records that span many years. There are many issues that could come up, but the most common are:
    • Seller failed to pay state or local taxes
    • Contractor was not paid for work completed
    • Omissions or mistakes in deeds
    • Forgery
    • Undisclosed heirs or conflicting wills

The Bottom Line: Buying a home is a complex transaction. Nobody wants the past to come back and be a nightmare to the buyer of a home. Title First Agency experts oversee and perform thousands of closings each year and ensure that all of the details of the title transfer and closing are in proper order. We work with Realtors from the signing of the contract until it’s clear to close, ensuring everything is running smoothly and can close on time.

Share This Post

Don’t Scare Homebuyers Away. Be Prepared.

man and woman looking t a laptop

Putting your home on the market? There can be the normal challenges you might face (lowball offers, competition, slow market) and a few things that will outright scare people away from even considering your home. Before you list your home, consider having the following inspected:

  • Windows: Ensure all windows are opening, closing, and locking correctly.  Older windows sometimes will not remain open and may need to have the sash cords replaced. An experienced Realtor will point out things that may drain the homebuyer’s bank account, and windows are on that list. You might want to replace them before listing the home or consider adjusting your asking price to compensate for the old windows.
  • Furnace / Air Conditioning: Have a professional HVAC contractor clean and inspect your furnace prior to listing your home.  An HVAC contractor will ensure the heat exchanger is not cracked.  Make sure the contractor places a sticker on the furnace and provides a receipt and report so you can provide that to a homebuyer.
  • Electrical System: It’s not a good idea to try and sell a home with questionable wiring and electrical systems. This is a big one and vital to the value of your home. Problems will be found during the inspection and will have buyers moving on. Have a professional inspect the service entrance cable to ensure there is no fraying or splitting as well as assuring that there are no double-tapped circuit breakers.
  • Water Damage: An inspector will be looking for signs of leaks or water damage, so it’s in your best interest to get those issues repaired before listing your home. Trying to sell a home with water damage is daunting so it is best to have expert guidance. Additionally, mold is one of the biggest deal-breakers so consider getting a professional mold inspection.

The Bottom Line: The last thing you want to happen when a buyer decides he wants your home is to have one of the above situations occur. Properly preparing your home to sell makes a huge difference. Get the advice of an experienced Realtor who will have a list of contacts that include all types of specialists you will need to handle any of the problems. Buyers are not expecting perfection, but they want to know there aren’t any expensive burdens.

Share This Post