Homebuying 2022

The pandemic has changed the world as we know it: our society, the economy, and beyond. Homebuyers have changed what they want over the past year as well, particularly those who work from home or have children who had to go to school online. There are ways to appeal to homebuyers in 2022. Here are four of the features most desired.

Home Offices: A lesson from the pandemic was the importance of having a place for adults to conduct office work and the kids to do schoolwork. There have been many requests from homebuyers for a home office, either an existing one or a room to create that perfect space. If you are a seller or plan to sell in 2022, repurpose an existing room as an office and make sure it’s in your listing. There have been buyers unable to find homes with room for office space so they narrow down their search to a home with more bedrooms than they need to for the opportunity to turn it into an office.

Kitchens: Another lesson from the pandemic – multifunctional spaces are important. With people spending so much time at home now, the kitchen can be a room for both working at the table or kitchen island while also cooking and eating a meal. The kitchen often sells the home. Features such as smart appliances and quartz in an open floor plan are the 2022 expectations. Add in a pizza over, wine fridge, pot filler, touchless faucet, butcher block, steam oven, and gas cooktop, and the value of your home increases dramatically. Even adding only one or two of these features can make your home the top of the list.

Outside Living Spaces: The look and feel of an entire home can be changed with outdoor renovations. The more time people spend at home, the more they want an oasis outside to spend time barbequing or relaxing. The rewards will be high by updating or adding a patio/deck, getting a smart sprinkler system put in, incorporating drought-resistant landscaping, room for a dog to run and kids to play ball, and adding a privacy fence. A mention of an outdoor kitchen or outdoor fireplace could attract buyers in 2022.

Energy Efficiency: Sellers are advised to include as many energy-efficient upgrades in their homes as possible if they want to attract the interest of first-time buyers. Today’s buyers will be more interested in the amount of money they will save on energy bills over the course of them living in the home. First-time homebuyers are interested in anything that will save them money in the long run, not excluding low-flush toilets, attic insulation, double-paned windows, and anything else that will reduce their carbon footprint and energy consumption.

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MYTH: You Don’t Need Title Insurance and Other Fables

MYTH: Nobody needs title insurance

Everyone needs title insurance. You may think you know the entire history of the house you’re purchasing, but it’s impossible to know everything. Title insurance protects your right to the property in the event that a previously unknown heir claims ownership of the property if it is later revealed that the “sellers” were not the rightful owners, or if liens against the property resurface. If you have an owner’s title insurance policy, you will not be responsible for paying any of the fees associated with protecting your right to the property, should these types of issues arise.

MYTH: New construction homes don’t need title insurance

Your home could be brand new, but the land on which the house is built isn’t. Chances are, the land had several previous owners before construction began. Buying property on such land opens you up to certain risks tied to ownership issues from previous owners.

Disputed wills, easements, and property liens are just a few of the issues common to land ownership. You could get caught in between the mess and end up losing your resources or, worse still, your new property as well. Title insurance is crucial even for a new home and should be among your list of priorities during the closing process.

MYTH: If no one challenges ownership, then the title policy is a waste

At the closing, when you purchase a title insurance policy, the closing company does the bulk of the work behind the scenes. The title company goes through many steps to make sure that everything is in place by that time, including conducting a comprehensive title search and identifying any potential issues. The team investigates the entire history of the property to ensure that you, the buyer, will be aware of any problems that will need to be addressed before closing. By the time the closing comes around, the title company has completed a great deal of research and legwork for you.

MYTHTitle insurance offers only minimal protection

When you purchase a home, you receive the “title” to the property. This title is your legal right to own it. Early in the home buying process, a title search is conducted to review the history of the property and uncover any issues that could limit your right to ownership. Even after the most meticulous search of public records, there can be hidden title defects, such as tax liens, forged signatures, claims by ex-spouses, and recording errors. These title defects can remain undiscovered for months or even years after you purchase the home.

MYTH: Title insurance is the same thing as homeowner’s insurance

Homeowners insurance protects you so you have the resources to pay for any damage that might occur to your property. Title insurance protects you from anyone else claiming your home is theirs or for some prior owner’s back taxes or encumbrances or any other real property dispute

Title First Agency: Dedicated to innovation and passionate about service, Title First Agency is your comprehensive, nationwide resource for title and real estate settlement services. Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, Title First has branch offices throughout the Midwest and a robust virtual partner network throughout the country. Title First got its start in 1956 as an affiliate of a local law firm and has since emerged as one of the largest independent title agencies in the nation. Proudly servicing Realtorslendersbuildersdevelopers, law firms, buyers and sellers, Title First is equipped to serve your residential and commercial title and settlement needs.

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The Messy Next Door Neighbor

You’re about to put your house on the market and it’s in tip-top shape. You’ve done everything you can to make your home shine. You’ve hired the best Realtor, it’s been professionally staged and your home is priced right. But, there is just one problem. The messy neighbors next door could potentially scare away buyers. What is your game plan? Here are some peaceful ideas.

The first step of dealing with difficult neighbors should be to approach them in an open and non-confrontational manner. In a respectful and diplomatic way, let them know you are preparing to sell your home and would love their help, but without insulting their home. Let them know you would appreciate anything they can do to showcase the neighborhood well.

There may be reasons the outside of the home looks unkempt. The owner could be sick, or there is a new baby, to name just a couple of reasons. If they complain that it would be too difficult for them to do, offer to help clean up the mess, or hire professionals to get the job done. While it will be money out of your pocket, you won’t be forced to lower your asking price and in the end, you will be able to recoup that when you sell your home. A professional yard clean-up typically costs approximately $500 per quarter acre of land, so to put this cost into perspective, $500 is only 0.2% of a $250,000 home. Even if the clean-up only increases your property value by 2%, you’ll recoup ten times your investment.

The next step if your efforts are futile would be to try city hall. Explore how they can help you. Many cities and counties have ordinances that prohibit things such as a vehicle on jacks, old tires, or an inoperable trailer/truck parked on a lawn. Beyond being an eyesore, it could be dangerous to a child who might wander onto the property, thus the police should be contacted. The fire department and health officials might be concerned about any tall, dead grass that could be a fire hazard and an attraction to rats or other animals.

The problem may not be the fault of the homeowner if they rent out their home and their tenants aren’t taking care of it or behaving in a way that impacts the neighborhood. If after you have had a kind conversation with them and things still aren’t getting better, you should find the owner. Your Realtor will be able to assist you in tracking him down and help in encouraging cooperation from him.

The Bottom Line: The effects of a messy neighbor can be major. The entire neighborhood can be beautiful, but if there is just one home that has overgrowth, messy gardens, waste, or junk spread about it can bring down the value of all the homes in the area. While you might be the only one putting your home on the market at the moment, you can probably get the other neighbors to help the situation. A clean yard benefits all.

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Paying Cash For a House

You’ve offered to buy a home for cash and it has been accepted. You will make the earnest money deposit and provide the evidence of the available funding as soon as possible, if not before signing the contract. It’s still important to get a title search done, conduct a final walk-through, have inspections all before you go to closing where you will sign paperwork to transfer the property.

Buying a home for cash may feel great, but it’s not always the best choice for everyone who can afford to do it.


Faster Closing

First, sellers may take less than the asking price to a buyer who offers cash. Closing costs are lower and there aren’t any fees for a bank attorney or mortgage broker. There are no loan origination fees or other lender fees assessed. During a typical home sale, it averages about four weeks to close. If you’re buying in cash without a lender the closing can happen within as little as a week.

No Contingencies

Mortgages can fall through for buyers that are preapproved. When you pay in cash, you eliminate that possibility. Presenting a cash offer removes the need for a financing contingency which is usually a requirement in a real estate transaction where the buyer is using bank financing. Depending on market conditions, the buyer may present a lower offer than what other bidders with financing are offering the seller. The seller may be willing to accept a lower purchase price in exchange for being able to close a deal quickly.

You Own Your Home

Bottom line, if you’ve got a mortgage, you don’t actually own your house — the bank does. When you buy a house in cash, you can feel secure knowing that no one can take that house away from you, and big, unexpected problems like a job loss won’t leave you without a roof over your head. Furthermore, you have immediate equity in the property.

Interest Money is Saved

Even today when interest rates are extremely low, interest paid on mortgage loans adds up to a large sum of money, sometimes you would be paying nearly double the asking price of the home.


Tying Up Your Funds

If you spend your life savings buying a house in cash, you’ll tie up all your money in one large investment. The money you use to buy your house isn’t liquid (meaning you don’t have direct access to the cash, and you’d have to sell your home to get your hands on it), so if you need your money for any other reason, it won’t be readily available. Additionally, you may face a shortage of cash that could have been used to invest in other lucrative assets. Taking some of the cash you use to pay for a home and investing it instead, could possibly make you more money in the long run.

No Tax Deductions

A buyer that uses a mortgage to purchase a real estate property enjoys tax breaks on the mortgage interest payments. When a buyer decides to purchase a home using cash only, they miss out on the tax deductions that they would’ve enjoyed if they used mortgage financing to complete the transaction.

Extra Title Protection

Reviewing the title for any other claims, liens, or issues that could prevent you from taking full ownership is all part of the home-buying process. The title research takes place whether you pay in cash or get a mortgage, and it’s always smart to get title insurance on your investment, which will protect you in the event that the title research missed any claims.

When you get a mortgage to buy your house, there’s another entity interested in making sure the title is clear and that you stay in the house and keep paying your mortgage: the mortgage lender. Your lender will secure title insurance, too, so that if there is a claim filed at some point, you’ll have an additional layer of protection that a cash buyer wouldn’t have.

The Bottom Line:

It’s scary to spend your entire nest egg in one place. If you can pay cash for a house and still have money left over for emergencies, home repairs, and other unexpected things that come your way, paying in cash is probably a great financial move. On the other hand, if paying cash for a house completely wipes you out, you might want to reconsider.

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Prepare Your Home to Weather Cold Temperatures

Indoor Preparations

  1.  Insulate exposed pipes to prevent them from freezing. These pipes are often found in crawl spaces, exterior walls, attics and garages.
  2.  Make sure your attic is properly ventilated and insulated. This can prevent ice dams and costly water damage.
  3.  Test your heating system early to make sure it works before it gets too cold.
  4.  Replace your air filters and make sure vents are clean and clear.
  5.  Insulate your water heater to help it work more efficiently in cold weather.
  6.  Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Heating, candles, holiday décor and storms can increase the risk of house fires and dangerous CO levels during the winter.
  7.  Make sure your doors and windows seal correctly. In some cases, you’ll need to seal exterior gaps with caulk. In other cases, you may want to invest in more energy-efficient windows.

Outdoor Preparations

  1.  Check the roof for loose, damaged or missing shingles. Make repairs before the winter storms hit to prevent more serious damage to your roof and your home.
  2.  Clear out all the gutters to make sure water drains properly. This can prevent expensive water damage inside and outside your house.
  3.  Shut down your sprinkler system and blow out the line. (You may want to hire a local professional for help.)
  4.  Disconnect and drain outdoor hoses and faucets to prevent freezing.
  5.  Repair cracks in driveways, walkways and stairs leading to your house. This makes your home safer and makes it easier to clear snow.
  6.  Put away or cover patio furniture, barbeque equipment, gardening tools, etc.
  7.  Stain or seal your deck so it is more resilient during winter storms.
  8.  Check the trees in your yard and make sure there are no weak branches that could damage your home (or someone else’s property) if they broke under a heavy snowfall or in a windy storm.

We wish you well this winter! Contact us anytime if you have questions about your home financing options.

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