Buying a Foreclosed Home

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A home that has been foreclosed means that the owner is no longer legally bound to the property and it will be placed in a foreclosure auction. This will be public record and once the home was transferred from a homeowner to a bank or lender, it will be available at a reduced price in the housing market.

Purchasing a foreclosed home can be high risk but can also an incredible investment. The first thing to do is to choose the best Realtor that specializes in foreclosed homes. The home you have found may be listed at an affordable price, but often buyers underestimate the money they will spend to make the home livable. Usually, these homes are in need of repair and the Realtor will help determine if it is worth the investment.

Most importantly, the buyer must do a physical inspection because buying a foreclosed home is buying “as is”.  The bank that now owns the home does not have to disclose and usually doesn’t know any of the previous history, or any problems that have taken place. Missing appliances, hidden holes in floors & walls, vandalism, broken piping and stolen fixtures are just a few of the details easily missed. Trees, vines, and bushes can uproot foundations and grow into the piping. The longer the home has been sitting – which can be quite a long time frame – the more damage is found.

The Bottom Line: Buying a foreclosed home might end up costing more in repairs than planned and may end up being a bad financial move. The home might be sold at a great price, but in the end, the home could be a money pit. Getting the help of a skilled Realtor is paramount in this situation because what you see and don’t see in the home is what you get. It is essential that the buyer knows what they are getting into and a good Realtor will be able to highlight all the pros and the cons.

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National or Local, Title First Agency

With clients that include some of the nation’s largest lenders, Title First employs a consultative approach to our national title company services that allows us to uncover and address your unique business needs or processes. We assemble a specialty account team to facilitate direct communication and to ensure accountability at each stage of your customized process. This also ensures you will be working with the same team that learned and implements your process.

Title First provides comprehensive vendor management products and title services nationwide. We are licensed in 32 states and have an extensive partner network that enables us to provide complete coverage through the nation.

 

 

 

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Quick Advice For Home Buyers

Do you have plans to buy a home soon? Be sure you are armed with the best Realtor in your area. If you aren’t paying cash for your new home and will be getting a mortgage, you will want to follow some quick advice.

Don’t damage your debt to income ratio by making a major purchase before closing. If for some reason you can not wait to by a new car, you might have to wait on owning a home. The bank could easily determine that car payment would hinder your ability to pay your mortgage. Wait until after you get the house to do some spending.

Don’t change jobs.  The lenders like to see consistency versus constant job hopping. From their perspective, your employment and income are paramount to your ability to make your payments.  Generally, there are three different characteristics of your employment and income that are considered – the amount, the history and the stability. Many lenders will do a final check to verify that your employment and income hasn’t changed since your final loan approval was issued. Further, some lenders will require 30 days of paycheck stubs for new employment. If you can’t provide these stubs, it could delay your mortgage approval. Worse, it could result in your mortgage application being declined.

As a home buyer, never surrender your earnest money to a For Sale by Owner Seller. There isn’t anything stopping the sellers from spending the money before the transaction goes through. If the deal should fall through you’ll have to fight to get the deposit back. It should be put into a trust account. Find an attorney willing to hold the deposit for you until the transaction is finalized. Your contract needs to state what will happen to the deposit in the event that the transaction falls through.

Stay practical and realistic during the home buying process. Don’t let your emotions get in the way.  Occasionally, sellers are willing to fix some of the problems with the home and others may not be as willing. Don’t let that refusal close the door on your dream home. Conversely, you shouldn’t let your loyalty to the home blind you to costly repairs down the road. You certainly don’t want to be in a money pit.

Talk to your insurance company right away.  Failing to line up the insurance will lead to delays in closing.  Your lender will more than likely require that you purchase at least some homeowners insurance before settling on your mortgage. In most cases, you’ll be asked to provide proof that you’ve prepaid one year’s worth of coverage before the lender will consider closing.

If the appraisal comes in too low, don’t panic. There are several solutions to this dilemma.  Your emotions may be running high and making a good decision can be difficult. A skilled Realtor will be an invaluable asset at this point and be able to guide you through.  It’s their job to keep up with the details, daily, of your deal and if the seller won’t come down in price, as painful as it may be, you may have to prepare yourself for the worst-case scenario – walking away.

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True Market Value of a Home

Every seller wants to sell their home for the best possible price – and as quickly as possible. To accomplish this requires taking a certain approach to the home sales process that many owners are unaware of. Getting the fair market value of your home starts with picking a real estate agent you can trust.

In real estate terms, the “market value” of a home is the most probable price that it will sell for, based on local housing market conditions and recent sales activity.  In the simplest sense, whatever someone is willing to pay for it is the true market value.

When searched online, you may find many estimates of your home that have been automatically generated based on public information like tax records, sales history, and comparable sales. Problem is, your home’s features and condition are not part of that equation. Every home and lot is unique, so having a real estate agent to help you select the most like-kind comps and add or subtract value based on differences in condition, updates, size and more.

A skilled Realtor will give you comparable properties with the same footage, same style of home, the similar number of bedrooms and bathrooms, located in the same area as your home and similar upgrades or updates.  A basic formula used: Comparable sales prices + value adding features = a good asking price

The Bottom Line:  Pricing your home too high and you may end up missing out on the buyers willing to pay the fair market value of your home, which results in reducing the price after 60 days. The buyers have usually moved on at that point or see your home as “unwanted” due to the long days on the market coupled with the price reductions. You may find your self “chasing the market down” – a term used when a home gets no offers (or too low offers) and continues to reduce the price to catch up with the market.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Adding Value to Your Home

Want to increase the value of your home?  This can be done on the inside or the outside, from do-it-yourself for the smaller projects to hiring a contractor for the larger jobs. You can give your home a facelift a little at a time. Most homeowners don’t have the finances for a complete overhaul done all at once. To most people, their home is their largest investment and they would like to keep it in prime condition. Although the price of your home is mostly determined by the current market conditions, there are several things you can do to maximize the value of your home.

1. Decorative moldings can be used throughout the home to trim doors, floors, walls, windows, fireplaces, and ceilings. These moldings can be found at practically all home improvement stores and are fairly easy to install to enhance the look of any room.

2. An updated kitchen is what most potential buyers really want in their new home. Replacing the cabinets and countertops can be done gradually. You may also get creative and improve the old cabinets by painting them and then replacing knobs or handles.

3. Vinyl windows are a great way to increase the value of any house. These windows function better than the old wooden windows by opening for easy cleaning and they conserve more energy in the months when heat or central air will be used the most. They do not require painting and they can really make a house look beautiful.

4. Adding a new roof can make a very strong impression. The roof is the first thing people see and this can play a strong role in how much your house will sell for. A new sturdy roof provides protection from leaks that make ugly stains on the ceilings in your house that can lead to more damage.

5. Installing vinyl siding can add up to $10,000 to the value of your house. If you have fairly decent vinyl siding already, hire a power wash company to clean the siding and give your house a fresh new look.

6. Painting the interior rooms of your home can transform any house with a few coats of paint. You can be as colorful and creative as you like and you can take your time doing so, one room at a time.

7. Flooring absolutely makes the difference in any room. Whether you use linoleum, tile, wood or carpet, a new floor can make all the difference.

8. Adding new appliances such as a refrigerator, stove, dishwasher, washer, and dryer can greatly improve the value of your home. Along with adding a new water heater, furnace, and central air unit.

9. Exterior landscaping can enhance a home’s value. Keep your yard well maintained and strategically place flowers and shrubs. Installing or replacing a fence along your property line will also be a great attraction to potential buyers, especially if they have children and pets.

10. Adding a new deck is a great asset to the exterior look of your home. These can be made from a variety of wood and sealed to preserve the natural appearance.

Adding value to your home can be as simple and as affordable as you want it to be. Most improvements can be accomplished a little at a time, all depending on your time and budget. Smaller improvements can be made by simply adding potted plants along the stairs up to your freshly painted front door or by adding a small table or work of art in your foyer.

A visit to the home improvement store or looking through magazines can spark creativity when remodeling your home. Even if you have no idea where to start, one spark can lead to another and another,and then, before you know it, you have created a beautiful home that you may never want to leave!

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TITLE FIRST CAN ASSIST YOU IN PROMOTING YOUR BUSINESS WITH OUR FULL LINE OF MARKETING SOLUTIONS.

As a full-service title company, Title First believes in providing value-added services. Whether you’re a Realtor, lender, builder, law firm, buyer or seller, our helpful resources help you meet your goals.

Net-to-Seller:  This convenient tool helps you estimate your clients’ profit and presents it in a professional format that you can share.  Closing costs are calculated by adding up all various fees and charges a home seller pays when selling their home. For example, title insurance, home warranty, commissions, transfer tax, mortgage balance, prorated property taxes, mortgage balance and will also run various scenarios.

Full-Color Postcards, Imagery is powerful:  Stop working so hard. Title First has teamed up with PostcardBuilder.com to help you design, print, and mail your full-color, glossy, postcards. Choose from a variety of templates. Studies show that 56% of customers find print marketing to be the most trustworthy and are one of the best ways of exposure of your property and your business.

Property Profiles:  For your next listing, make a good impression on clients and prospective buyers with a bound presentation of property information.  Include some local market data that shows historic trends, how quickly homes are selling, or anything else that would be useful for the homeowner to understand how you will arrive at a price for their home. Explain  how the sales process works and how you will market their home in this presentation.

TitleFirstAgent Application:  Provide a higher level of service to your clients with a tool that enables you to give quick, easy estimates to any real estate financial questions. The app features net sheets, quick estimates, closing costs, prorated taxes and much more.  Watch the demo, here.

* Only available for Central Ohio

Listing Flyers:  Email us your MLS link, logo, and personal photo, and we will create a professional full-color info sheet for your listing.  This flyer, can help to sell your client’s home even when you aren’t there. Potential buyers will carry the flyer and all the information back to their home.

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Short Sale, Foreclosure and the Title to a Property

The most basic part of buying a new home is dealing with potential problems that may have been created by its previous owners. Short sales, foreclosures, bankruptcies and financial situations have added another element to the entire closing process that makes title insurance essential.  The title to a house is the document that proves that a person owns it.  Without that proof, the house can’t be sold or bought.

Title First Agency experts oversee and perform thousands of closings each year nationwide and ensure that all of the details of the title transfer and closing are in proper order. Unfortunately, at this time there are plenty of situations that could make problems with a title and complicate the process of buying the affected houses.  No matter why the house is being sold, its title problems must be cleaned up so they are not inherited by the buyer.

Short Sale: A short sale is when the lender agrees to let you sell your home for less than the outstanding mortgage debt. The proceeds from the sale pay off a portion of the mortgage balance and the lender releases the lien on the property. A title from a short sale is not always free and clear. A good Realtor will make sure to get a preliminary title search performed to determine the extent of outstanding legal obligations. If a home is bought without a clear title, the buyer could be responsible for the mechanic’s lien, which is a legal claim placed on a home to settle unpaid or partially paid contractor work,  any unsettled contractor liens, property-tax liens, IRS liens, homeowners’ association special assessment liens or even a second mortgage loan.

Foreclosure: Homeowners that can’t afford their home may decide to relinquish ownership and give the house to the bank that holds the mortgage. Mortgage foreclosures can cause a lot of issues with the chain of title. Sometimes, even though the owner loses their home, they may not actually lose the title to the property.  The property may have plenty of repair problems since financially distressed owners often let their properties fall into disrepair. From leaky basements, unpaid taxes,  to bills from homeowners’ associations to quarreling lenders – it can take some time to sort out who is owed what, how they will be paid, and when the title will finally be cleared. All buyers of foreclosed property need to protect themselves by making sure the title search shows that any previous mortgage was satisfied, canceled or otherwise released to avoid any future title problem.

The Bottom Line: There are dozens of potential barricades to clear title.  Buying or selling a home has become a complex transaction and you need a trusted title search company to guide you through the process. The experts at Title First oversee and perform thousands of closings each year. When using Title First, you can sign confidently on the dotted line knowing that all details of your title transfer and closing are in proper order. We are here to answer any questions you may have about buying or selling a home, and our team will guide you through the entire process.

 

 

 

 

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FSBO Is Not Easy – Call A Realtor

Ready to sell your home? Of course, you want to make as much money as you can from the sale and you might be thinking your best plan to accomplish that is selling your home yourself – FSBO –  to avoid paying a real estate agent, which is understandable. But, we offer you a few reasons why hiring a good Realtor is a better idea.

Marketing a home is not easy:  Listing your home online doesn’t take much effort. Anyone can do that, which is why you must make your stand out and be noticed. A Realtor will have avenues to get the word out to other agents who are working in your price range and neighborhood, an option you won’t have to sell your home on your own. The Realtor’s very own website, Facebook & Instagram account will attract prospects that you simply won’t have the access to.

Qualifying a buyer is not easy:  There is a big difference between pre-approved for a mortgage and pre-qualified. A skilled Realtor will be able to find out whether the person that wants to see your house is qualified or just curious. Having to prepare your home to show takes a lot of work and you surely don’t want to put your life on hold while you ready your house for show – just for a curious neighbor. Realtors are trained to ask qualifying questions to determine the seriousness, qualification, and motivation of a person calling to see your home.

Staying unemotional about your home is not easy:  Selling your home and preparing to move is never easy and always an emotional process. A good Realtor will be there to buffer any situations that might occur because you might be letting your emotions take over. Most buyers know that an FSBO home has been priced by the seller and is quite often overpriced because they can’t detach themselves emotionally from their home. Savvy shoppers realize that after a while, sellers who can’t sell their home will finally hire a Realtor and the home will be on the market at the right price.  If they have the time to wait? They do. If not? They move on to another home.

Being home during the showing is not easy: Or smart. Nothing makes the buyers more uncomfortable than having the seller present when looking at a home. With FSBO you will have to be there touring your home with the potential buyer. More times than not, the showing will be rushed and some of your best selling points will be overlooked.

Negotiating is not easy: Especially if it’s your own home that you love and have emotional ties to. Negotiating is a complex matter and all transactions are unique.   Skilled Realtors know the laws, the contracts, the comparable sales, the closed sales that the banks usually look at when they decide to lend the money for the purchase, and the appraisal. There are plenty of points to negotiate on before the actual sale takes place. Repairs to the house, lawn upkeep, and even additions can be negotiated in the contract that may ultimately affect the price but can be negotiated almost entirely outside of the price discussion.  For every negotiating point, there’s a tactic to handle it best.

The bottom line:  Working without an agent requires a huge investment of time, knowledge, and effort. Besides separating your emotions from the home you love and possibly raised your family in, you should know how to stage it to sell, market it, negotiate and be able to accept a negative response from potential buyers. You can try to do it alone to save money, but hiring an agent has many advantages.  Interview and find the best Realtor in the area. Expect that they will be able to get the most exposure for your home, help you negotiate a better deal, and dedicate more time to your sale.  The right Realtor will bring expertise to the transaction, financially and legally.with many financial and legal

 

 

 

 

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Title Search for Buyers and Sellers

Buying or selling a home has become a complex transaction and you need a trusted title search company to guide you through the process. The experts at Title First oversee and perform thousands of closings each year. When using Title First, you can sign confidently on the dotted line knowing that all details of your title transfer and closing are in proper order. We are here to answer any questions you may have about buying or selling a home, and our team will guide you through the entire process.

Title First will be responsible for ensuring that all the documents related to the ownership of a property are in order before the real estate transaction is performed. We will also provide an agent to oversee the entire closing process. Insurance will be furnished that protects the buyer and the lender if legal issues arise after the closing.

Once a home is bought, the buyer takes possession of the title for the property. Titles are at the local courthouses and the buyer does not own the property until his name appears on the title. There have been times when titles are not properly taken care of when a home changes hands, which means that if there are any liens on the property still have a claim on it. When this happens, the owner who did not sign off on the deed exchange still has a claim on the title.

Title First will perform searches on behalf of the property owner and the lender. We will review court records to guarantee that any liens on the property have been satisfied and that there are no outstanding claims. We also make sure that the seller that holds the title has the right to sell the property, and that it is has a clear title to close.

Title First will supervise over the loan closings and any other real estate transactions. We are then responsible for recording the title, mortgage and any other document related to the transaction at the local courthouse.

Title First will offer a title insurance policy that will provide coverage for property owners and buyers in the event of legal disputes related to the ownership of the property. However, these issues should not arise as all of the searches are done before the closing. But, there is always the occasion that something was overlooked that can threaten the interest of the owner or lender.

If you have a question or would like more information, please contact our title experts.  614-503-7434

 

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Real Estate Myths: Debunked

Are you ready to start looking for your first home?  Buying a home can seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Your home will likely be the biggest investment you’ll make in your life, which can also make it your biggest risk.  Don’t fall for the following myths:

Myth: If you pre-qualify for a loan, you will be approved for a mortgage

Loan approval involves an underwriter analyzing hundreds of pages of documentation, as well as considering other factors like the home appraisal report. A pre-qualification letter, however, is based on a quick, preliminary analysis of your credit report. Getting the letter is a recommended early step to show you’re a serious buyer, but it doesn’t mean a loan approval is guaranteed.

Myth: You need 20% for a down payment

There’s an array of loan options that don’t require 20 percent down — in fact, this amount is rare in today’s home buying market. According to the National Association of Realtors, 60 percent of millennials are putting just 6 percent down on average.

Saving for a big down payment can be advantageous, but you don’t want to deplete your savings or risk coming up short on your mortgage payment. Instead, you should save as much as possible for unexpected expenses.

Myth: You don’t need a real estate agent

Realtors are so important to the home buying process. Real estate agents get a commission, but the home buyer does not pay their fee. It is paid by the seller and is built into the selling price. Every seller expects to pay a buyers agent commission. If you show up without one thinking you can get a 3% discount on the price you will quickly regret it. Realtors help you get the lowest purchase price with their expertise and using comparables. Real estate contracts are long and often hard to understand for the average person. There are many items such as home appraisals, inspections, opt-out clauses, etc. that you need to know about in depth in order to protect yourself.

Myth: You need a perfect credit score

Your credit score doesn’t have to be flawless for you to be able to find a mortgage that fits your budget. It surprises many when they talk to a lender and realize that they can still qualify, even with a lower credit score. To offset potential negative factors on your credit history, you may need to have a larger down payment or meet other qualifications, but you don’t need to have a “perfect credit score” to qualify.

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