What Every REALTOR® Wants You to Know – Who’s Agent Am I!


What Every REALTOR® Wants You to Know –

Who’s Agent Am I!

Of all the topics of real estate that I write about, none is as important as understanding the relationship between you as a buyer or seller and the REALTOR®

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For the most of us, buying or selling real estate is some of the largest financial transactions we will be involved with.  Knowing who is on your side and who is not is critically important.  When you list with an agent to sell your house, they will have an agent that will represent their interests in virtually every step of the transaction.  It’s the buyers that need to be aware of their risk in going forward.

Buyers’ should always, always, always have a Buyers’ Representative Contract with a REALTOR® to represent their best interests.  Not that a sellers’ agent will necessarily do them wrong, but it may not be in their best interest.

The Real Estate Commission for the State of Maryland recently enacted regulation that at first glance looks like just another thing to do.  They now require, as of October 1, 2016, that real estate agents who are holding an open house to post a notice in the open house that states, in part, “ATTENTION PROSPECTIVE PURCHASERS PLEASE READ THIS SIGN CAREFULLY.”

 The sign goes on to say, “This is to advise you that the agent who is conducting this Open House REPRESENTS THE SELLER(S) AND IS REQUIRED BY LAW TO PROMOTE THE INTERESTS OF THE SELLER(S).  ANY INFORMATION YOU GIVE THIS AGENT IS NOT CONDSIDERED CONFIDENTIAL”.  (Red lettering is required by the Commission).

I recently worked with a client that had been pre-approved for a mortgage for almost $100,000 more than the amount of the house they were looking at.  They were very proud of the fact that they were approved for so much, and should be proud.  But they wanted to let the sellers’ agent see the pre-approval letter thinking that it would show how solid of a buyer they were.  However, in fact, it would show the sellers agent how little they had to negotiate.  Mortgage companies know this and will be happy to provide a pre-approval letter for the amount that you are offering provided it does not go over the amount you are approved for.

This may seem like a simple thing that most people would know, but there are many issues just like this that a REALTOR® can work with you in your best interest.

I have said it many times before and will say it many times again, if you are thinking a buying a home within the next several months or even a year, talk to a REALTOR® now so you can get on the same page going forward.

If you are thinking of buying or selling, talk to a real estate professional – talk to a REALTOR® – who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to text or call me at 301-712-88098 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.

Roland

Great Rental Opportunity in New Market, Maryland- $1,995!!


Seldom does an opportunity come along such as this.  My clients are looking to buy their new dream home and have decided to expedite the matter by renting their existing home rather than sell it and have to wait to go to closing.

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This four bedroom, three bathroom home has over 3,200 square feet of living on three levels.  It has a large loft on the second floor that over looks the first floor.  It is nestled in the Linganore area and is in The Meadows development, a quiet neighborhood with mature trees.  The HOA  provides hiking trails, swimming pool, 3 lakes, tennis courts and more!!  This property is priced to rent quickly.

For more information please feel free to contact Guy Property Management at 301-745-1698.  Alice Guy is a REALTOR® with Coldwell Banker Innovations and owner of Guy Property Management.

If you are thinking of buying or selling – or leasing – talk to a real estate professional – talk to a REALTOR® – who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to text or call me at 301-712-8808 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.

Roland

 

What Every REALTOR® Wants You To Know About Kick Out Clauses


What Every REALTOR® Wants You To Know About

Kick Out Clauses

One of the most useful tools available to home buyers and home sellers is the kick out clause.

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Let’s say you have found your dream home on the market and you want to make sure your contract is accepted; however, you will not have enough money to buy the house until your house sells.  You can still put in an offer, and have it accepted, with a contingency that your house must sell in order for this contract to move forward.

This is great news for the buyer but may not be such good news for the seller if it weren’t for the Kick Out Clause.

The kick-out clause allows the buyers and sellers to come to terms on a contract with the contingency that the buyers must first sell their house in order to buy the new house.  However, because that scenario may not happen, the sellers can still market their property for sale and if they receive an offer that is acceptable to them they can accept the offer and then go to the original buyers to inform them that they now have an offer where the buyers do not need to sell their home – or whatever the contingency is.  The original buyers now have a specified period of time, usually 72 hours, to either walk away from the contract or remove the contingency from the original contract, in which case the first buyers would move towards closing.  This is called the right of first refusal.

There are many issues that need to be carefully monitored during this process.  For example, if the first buyers agree to remove the contingency to first sell their home, it does not mean that they will then be able to get financing to buy the home they want. Most contracts have a contingency in the offer that it is dependent upon buyers being able to obtain financing.   Contracts with contingencies and kick out clauses should be handled by professionals.

If you are thinking of buying or selling talk to a real estate professional – talk to a REALTOR® – who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to text or call me at 301-712-8808 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.

Roland

What Every REALTOR® Wants You To Know About Property Disclosure Forms


What Every REALTOR® Wants You To Know About

Property Disclosure Forms

 Every discipline has their own terminology that used to communicate within their field and real estate is no different.  However, when buying or selling a house it is a good idea to have some idea of what is taking place and how that will affect you.  That is where a REALTOR® is able to walk you through the process.

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The property disclosure form is used in every state in the county although it may have slightly different names.  In Maryland, for example, it is referred to as the Maryland Residential Property Disclosure and Disclaimer Statement.  This is one of the most important documents that both the seller and the buyer will deal with.

The Maryland Residential Property Disclosure and Disclaimer Statement must be filled out and signed by the seller(s) and must disclose any and all items that may materially affect the property for the buyer.  If there was a situation that occurred, such as a water leak, that must be disclosed even though it was repaired.  The repair that was done should also be documented.

Sellers’ who fail to disclose a known item may be sued for damages years after the close of the sale depending on the state in which the property is located.

There are some situations in which a property disclosure form may not be required, such as a foreclosure or bank owned property, an auctioned property, an estate sale or a flipped property where the seller never lived in the property.  In those cases the Maryland Residential Property Disclosure and Disclaimer Statement has a page for sellers’ to sign a disclaimer stating that the property is being sold “as is” except any latent defects that the sellers’ are aware of.

Latent defects are faults in the property that could not have been discovered by a reasonably thorough inspection before the sale.  For example: Mold that occurred due to a water leak and is simply covered up with dry wall.  Such a latent defect must be disclosed by the seller even if the property is being sold as is.  In addition, any agent that becomes aware of such a situation must disclose that latent defect to any future buyers.

To help expedite sales, many real estate agents are now suggesting to sellers to have their home inspected before listing the property for sale.  This will give the sellers some time to correct any items that need to be corrected and make for an easier process moving towards closing.  The one draw-back is that if the seller has the property inspected and the inspection identifies a defect, the seller must now disclose the defect to potential buyers.  My advice in such a situation is that the buyers will most likely have an inspection done and it will be identified eventually.  You might as well find out now and correct if at all possible.

If you are thinking of buying or selling, talk to a real estate professional – talk to a REALTOR® – who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to text or call me at 301-712-8808 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.

Roland

What Every REALTOR® Wants You To Know About Buying a Home


What Every REALTOR® Wants You To Know About Buying a Home

 Buying your first home is a very exciting but stressful time.  If you are thinking of buying your first home or your tenth, I’ll let you in on a little secret.  It’s stressful for everyone – however, the first time home buyers have more to deal with in many cases as they navigate the world of real estate.

Home Buying 101

Here are six steps that every home buyer needs to be aware of whether you’re buying your first home or your tenth.

Issue #1 The Chicken or the Egg

 If you ask any REALTOR® they will tell you to select a REALTOR® first and foremost.  If you ask a mortgage officer, they will tell you to select a mortgage officer first.  The truth is both positions should be on your team at the very beginning as you begin your search for a home.

The mortgage officer and the REALTOR® will work very closely together and it is important that both of these professionals are on your house-hunting team from the beginning.  It is important to note that the REALTOR® will be with you every step along the way from finding the right house, the mortgage officer, home inspector, title company, possibly contractors, moving companies and on and on.  Quite often the mortgage officer will be selling you the mortgages that are offered through their company.  If you meet with a mortgage company and they tell you that you do not qualify for a mortgage, I suggest that you talk to a REALTOR® who may be able to put you in touch with a mortgage company that will approve your mortgage.

Issue #2 The First Step is Not What You Think

 Very often home buyers begin their search for their new home by looking on the Internet to see what is out there.  They may drive around to different neighborhoods to get a feel of what they want.  The search on the Internet will have pictures of a low-priced homes that look wonderful.  The truth is that many REALTORS® – myself included – hire professional photographers to take pictures that make the average house look stunning.  I recently had a photo shoot on a rainy, cloudy day that was as dreary as one could imagine, but when the photos came back the skies were clear with beautiful white clouds and perfectly blue skies!  What’s not to love about a house that has beautiful skies!!

In addition, if buyers do not know what price range they will be able to get a mortgage they very often will look at houses that in reality they cannot afford.  Often times you will see dazzling pictures of a home with a caption of monthly payments that look enticing.  However, in the small print it says a percentage rate that only few people get and 20% down.  Looking at houses that are in your price range is absolutely critical.

Issue #3 You Do NOT Have to Have 20% Down

 Hogwash!  Mortgage companies would love to have 20% down and it’s a way to avoid the PMI Insurance, but there are other options out there that can still get you into a house.  FHA will generally only require 3.5% down and a VA loan requires zero down on your home purchase.  There are many, many options for down payment assistance, especially if buying your first home.  Talk to your REALTOR® about mortgage officers who can get you the mortgage that fits your needs.

Issue #4 The Cost of Closing on Your Home

 Home buyers are amazed at what is included in costs on closing on your home.  They understand the down payment, but there are many other closing costs that are involved.  A good mortgage officer or REALTOR® will walk you through those costs and explain what they are.  As a general rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to plan on closing costs between 3% – 6% of the purchase price of the home in addition to the down payment.

Issue #5 The Home Inspection

 Understandably, home buyers are trying to conserve as much cash as possible and often times they think that foregoing a home inspection is a way to save a few hundred dollars.  Bad idea!  The home inspection is one of the things that no home buyer should ever ignore – ever – not even for new homes.  It may cost a few hundred dollars, but it can save you thousands of dollars in the long run.

Issue #6 Making a Low-Ball Offer is Not Always a Good Idea

 Everybody wants to save money.  Chances are that the seller has placed their home on the market at the high end or above and the buyer will offer on the low end or below.  The further they are apart, the more unlikely it is that the two sides can come to an agreement.  As a buyers’ agent, before they make an offer I will complete a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) on the property to determine the fair market value of the home.  If the house if priced high, certainly I will suggest a lower offer, but if the house is priced properly I would suggest making an offer of the fair market value.  To be honest, you will most likely wind up paying that anyway and by low-balling your offer you run the risk of another buyer scooping the buy or making the seller angry.

This list could go on and on.  If you are thinking of buying or selling, talk to a real estate professional – talk to a REALTOR® – who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to text or call me at 301-712-8808 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.

Roland

 

What Every REALTOR® Wants You to Know – Mortgage Interest Rates


Unless you have cash to buy the home you want – and most people don’t – you will have to navigate the world of real estate mortgages and what all that entails.

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Most people do not “shop around” for mortgages.  They often times see an ad on the Internet for a low interest rate, call or email that company and the process starts.  But it is a good idea to look into various options for you mortgage.  At a minimum, talk to a mortgage person who can explain and point out different options for your mortgage.  One size does not fit all when it comes to real estate mortgages.

When a company advertises an interest rate for a mortgage, they are advertising a rate based on specific credit scores, amount of the loan, a specific down payment amount and on and on.  Often times those factors may not fit your particular situation, but sometimes there may be a better option.  It pays to talk to a mortgage officer to discuss your particular situation and see what program will work for you.

As of today, the mortgage interest rates for a 30 year fixed conventional rate is 3.5%; a 30 year fixed FHA mortgage is 3.375%.

Other options that may work for you is the VA at 3.25% and in certain circumstances, the USDA mortgage which is at 3.375%.

For more information about mortgages, contact Sharon Miller, loan officer, Coldwell Banker Home Loans at Sharon.miller@mortgagefamily.com or 717-331-2830.

If you are thinking of buying or selling, talk to a real estate professional – talk to a REALTOR® – who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to text or call me at 301-712-8808 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.

Roland