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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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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Ohio Disclosure Rules

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When selling your home, you are obligated to disclose problems that could affect the property’s value or desirability in Ohio. Sellers and their Realtors are required to document any known defects to potential buyers. Sellers also have to take a proactive role by making written disclosures about the condition of the property.  Disclosure of a problem doesn’t mean you must repair or correct it. A buyer has an interest in getting the deal closed as well and oftentimes will overlook minor issues. More times than not, the disclosed item can become a point of negotiation between you and your buyer.

The Residential Property Disclosure Form is designed so that prospective home buyers are aware of known problems with the property during your ownership for a period not to exceed the past five years. Once the buyers have this in their hands, they have the right to rescind the purchase contract if it is made before the closing, within 30 days of signing the purchase contract and within three days of receiving the form itself.

Not everything needs to be disclosed. Many problems are obvious – a water stain on the ceiling for example or a deck that is rotten and falling apart. As a seller, you don’t have to disclose it. You can’t conceal or prevent a buyer from investigating the problem. A defect that is open, observable and can be discovered through inspection and inquiry is called a patent defect. The buyer can be held responsible and liable for all defects that could have been discovered upon inspection.  The burden is on the buyer to notice these issues prior to purchase.

If there’s any doubt about whether something should be disclosed, the best policy is to err on the side of disclosure. Full disclosure will protect sellers from future legal claims.

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Do a Home Inspection Before Listing to Sell

Be ready for the buyer’s home inspection. Find out the exact condition of your home before you put it on the market to sell. The home inspection is often where the deal falls apart because buyers will make their offer contingent on approval of the results. Hidden defects or problems can turn the negotiating into the buyer’s favor. Even if you offer to fix a problem that arises on the buyer’s inspection report, skittish buyers may be hesitant to close the deal. Knowing before you list your home gives you the opportunity to fix the problem or price accordingly.

  • Buyers use items that need to be repaired on a home inspection to ask for a reduced price. The reductions are commonly based on estimates that are often inflated.  When you fix the repairs, you can call the contractor with the best price, saving you money in the long run.
  • Sellers can justify listing price through a pre-inspection. You can feel confident in the price you are asking with the results available to buyers. In a hot market, some buyers will make an offer on a home without the home inspection contingency.
  • According to Forbes, “…. pre-inspection is a goodwill gesture. It demonstrates a willingness to go beyond what’s expected, and that sets you apart from other sellers. You’re sending a signal that your house is an “open book,” and that you’re being upfront about the property. All of this can give potential buyers peace of mind and confidence.”

Once you have the pre-inspection report in your hand you can’t ignore any issues that came up. You’ll be required to disclose that information as a known defect or fix it before anyone makes an offer.  There may be some issues that you aren’t able to take on and it will be reflected in the price. You and your Realtor will be able to establish the right sale price including what you can or can not fix before putting your house on the market.

The bottom line: As a seller, getting a home inspection before listing your home gives you more time to make the repairs that you can and to shop around and control the costs for the work.  Be sure to hire an experienced Realtor that will know how to interpret inspection reports, and to let you know which issues are vital to address before listing your home.

 

 

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Quitclaim Deeds

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When a mortgage is in danger of becoming an unsustainable burden a homeowner’s finances,  they may sign a quitclaim deed that will transfer some ownership interest in their home to another party. Quitclaim deeds are most often used when a home is transferred between family members or to cure a defect on the title, such as a name that has been misspelled, or  when an owner gets married and wants to add a spouse’s name to the title, or when the owners divorce and one spouse’s name is removed from the title. Sometimes, they may be used to transfer ownership of a home from an individual to a sole proprietorship or corporation.

Common facts needed to understand a quitclaim deed:

  1. The quitclaim deed contains no warranties of title or ownership. If the grantor owns nothing, the grantee receives nothing.
  2. When purchasing a home, the buyer should receive a general warranty deed, not a quitclaim deed. Title insurance is favorable and often required by mortgage lenders.
  3. A real estate purchaser under a quitclaim deed is in many legal situations considered to be on notice that the title has defects.  It is recommended that an experienced professional undertake a title examination based upon a title search and render a title opinion prior to completing the purchase.
  4. If one has borrowed money under a real estate mortgage, a quitclaim or other deed to a third party does not release one’s liability for the mortgage debt. The lender may release a debt, but a borrower can’t avoid payment by unilaterally shifting that debt to a third person.
  5. Subsequent ownership by the grantor after the delivery of a quitclaim deed is not impacted or transferred by the quitclaim deed.
  6. Recording any deed in the public records at a local courthouse or recorder’s office, as determined by state law, only gives public notice of one’s claim of ownership. A deed does not guarantee actual title or ownership.
  7. If two or more individuals are co-owners of real estate, a quitclaim deed by one owner only transfers at best that one owner’s ownership rights. If the quitclaim deed requires the signature of all co-owners, the deed is invalid unless all co-owners have signed it and the deed is then delivered to the grantee. However, if the quitclaim deed allows one co-owner to sign it and claims to transfers the entire property to a grantee who takes physical possession of the property, then the deed may create an adverse possession ownership claim to the entire property.
  8. If one individual owns real estate and desires to add a co-owner such as a spouse, a quitclaim deed might be used. It’s in the best interest to contact an attorney before doing so, in order to curtail any taxation or inheritance issues.
  9. Call the best Title Insurance Agency because a title examination is necessary.
  10. There can’t be a reversal in a quitclaim unless the original owner proves that the quitclaim deed was signed under duress in a court.

As efficient as quitclaim deeds are in transferring real estate ownership from one person to another, they suffer from certain shortcomings that make them inappropriate for all but their intended purposes. Whereas they transfer title to a property, nothing more and nothing less, purchasers demand transfer assurances that quitclaim deeds can’t provide. They want warranties that guarantee “clear title” or lack of ownership encumbrances in the property. In such transactions, sellers transfer their real properties with general or special warranty deeds that offer those assurances to their buyers.

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Millennials and Real Estate

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The millennial generation has emerged as a dominant force in the housing market. They are looking for homes that are turnkey with very little work needed.  Forbes listed this group to be the top 10 real estate trends to watch out for in 2018. What are they looking for?

Green Home – Millennials want to do their part to conserve natural resources.  Recent studies have found that they are the most willing to pay extra for an energy efficient home. These homes will be designed to conserve energy, water, and gas and have the smallest impact on the environment. Features might include double hung windows, efficient air and heating systems, low-flow toilets, even bamboo flooring.

Tiny Home – Millennials prefer experiences over “things” and don’t want a lot of maintenance.  They are learning to live within their means and to pay off school loans by adapting to a pared-down lifestyle. Living a minimalistic lifestyle will reduce their carbon footprint, and lessen the amount of useless junk that so many other generations hold on to.

Three Bedroom Home – This and two bathrooms is the most preferred, and 1,000 square feet is the minimum. They want a home in the suburbs that will accommodate a family if they are married with thoughts of a future within a safe neighborhood and good schools. They want privacy, fenced smaller low maintenance yards and trees.

Investment Home – Millennials are looking for homes they can buy and rent out to generate income.  Flipping homes after renovating is another motivation. These homes may need repair but are in the best neighborhoods. They believe that investing in real estate is less risk, has tax benefits and has the potential for higher returns than the stock market.

Where are they buying homes? Past generations were taught to go where the jobs were regardless of the quality of life to be found in any given city. Millennials want to live in places they love, expecting employers will find them there.

How are they finding their homes? 91 percent use online resources to start the housing search, and 70 percent will then work with a traditional real estate agent.  Quality photos will be key to marketing a home.

Millennials are just starting to shape the housing market.  Their incomes will increase as they age and more change will come. The real estate industry needs to understand them, follow the trends, be innovative and proactive to convince them to buy a home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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