Tag Archives: home buying

The Butcher, The Baker, and the Candlestick Maker – in the World of Real Estate


The Butcher, The Baker, and the Candlestick Maker –
in the World of Real Estate

Whether you’re buying or selling your first home or your tenth, a real estate transaction is a complex, convoluted ordeal. Your real estate agent is the one person who will be at the center of everything going on.

The process of buying or selling will seem like it is dragging on forever, and in the next instance be moving at warp speed. This is why having the necessary things in place is so critically important, especially for the home buyers.

Most homebuyers start the process by looking for a home on-line or by visiting open houses. Those are OK approaches; however, the problem is that if they find a house they would like to make an offer, they are instantly trying to find an agent or worse, they simply sign-on with the first licensed agent who passes the mirror test. Or even worse yet, they sign on with the listing agent who is contractually obligated to represent the best interests of the seller.

At the same time, the buyers are frantically looking for a mortgage officer who will put together a package they can afford and be approved for. All the time other potential buyers are looking at the same house and may want to buy it. There is a saying in real estate: The house you looked at today, and want to think about until tomorrow, may be the same house someone looked at yesterday, and wanted to think about until today.

When buying or selling real estate, you don’t just have a real estate agent, you have the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker -you will need a whole team to get you to the closing table. Having at least the beginnings of that team is critical.

To start, it’s a good idea to select a REALTOR® with whom you feel comfortable and can communicate with. The number one complaint that clients have about their real estate agent is communication. The number one complaint that agents have about clients – you guessed it – communication.

Next you need to have a mortgage officer who can put together a mortgage that works for you. Shop around for a mortgage just as you did for the real estate agent.

To round out the team, you will most likely need a home inspector, appraiser (mortgage company selects the appraiser), moving company , etc. A good REALTOR® will be able to help you fulfill your team as needed.

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

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What to Watch For When Buying a Flipped House


What to Watch For When Buying a Flipped House

Some house flipping projects are more withstanding than others, and you don’t want to be the buyer stuck with the flop. These red flags are what to look for if you’re in the market for a flipped house.

How’s the flooring? 

Floors are integral to a home’s look and foundation, and you don’t want to move into a place that has flawed flooring. Before you buy, do an assessment of how the floors look—especially near the trim—where any discrepancies could hint at other problems.

The doors and windows are faulty 

If the doors and windows throughout the home aren’t closing smoothly when you open and close them, that’s a problem. Same goes if the doors are swaying open after you’ve tried to shut them. When it comes to these features, every millimeter matters, which is why it’s important to make sure everything is installed properly.

Unkempt paint jobs

If paint on the walls is sloppily done or looks off in any way, this is definitely a sign that there are other red flags in the space, too. Check the walls carefully to ensure that you won’t be making these repairs down the road.

The neighborhood is vacant

If there are a lot of vacant properties in the neighborhood you’re looking to buy a home in, as well as high crime rates or other poor conditions, you may want to reconsider your decision to buy. If you’re buying the home with the intent of reselling down the line, a bad neighborhood could be a hindrance.

What’s that smell?   

If there are any noticeable foul odors in your walkthrough, that’s definitely a red flag. This could mean many things: rusty pipes, mold, or a number of other problems that may signify it’s not the flip for you.

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

 PLEASE VISIT AND SHARE MY BLOGS AT

WWW.ROLANDLOW.WORDPRESS.COM

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What Every REALTOR® Wants You to Know About Defects in a Home


What Every REALTOR® Wants You to Know About

Defects in a Home

Buying a home is a major step for the vast majority of people and making sure you have expert help along the way is critically important. Having a home inspection by a qualified, certified home inspector is truly a must.

Home inspection

When it comes to buying a home there are two types of defects that home buyers need to be aware of – patent defects and latent defects. The first defect is a patent defect: For example, you walk into a house and you notice a dripping faucet. Although no one truly wants a dripping faucet it is clearly visible to a potential buyer. The buyer came either negotiate having the faucet fixed or they can take care of it themselves once they have closed on the property.

The more serious of the two defects is a latent defect. A latent defect is a defect that is not visible to the naked eye to a normal person. For example: A crawl space under the house that has a leaking water pipe that has resulted in mold. Few potential buyers would go under the crawl space to have a look.

This is why potential buyers should always have a home inspection conducted by a qualified, certified, licensed home inspector. This does not include a relative who once worked on a construction project. This is money well spent as it can save you from buying a home with problems or at least negotiating the repairs.

The home inspector will conduct a thorough inspection of the property and provide the buyer with a detailed, written report of their findings. They will identify patent and latent defects and make recommendations on how it should be corrected. It is important to note that not all latent defects may be observable to the inspector, but they will report those items that they can.

There is one more step that should help to protect potential home buyers. Latent defects that cannot be identified by a normal person, and that the seller or real estate agent has knowledge of, must be reported to a potential buyer. Sellers who fail to report latent defects that they had knowledge of may be liable to the buyer after the closing.

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

PLEASE VISIT AND SHARE MY REAL ESTATE BLOGS AT
WWW.ROLANDLOW.WORDPRESS.COM
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What Every REALTOR® Wants You To Know About Warning Signs


What Every REALTOR® Wants You To Know About Warning Signs

 When you are in the market of buying a home, all too often home buyers let emotions rule rather than sound advice about the home you are about to buy.  Here are some tips that every buyer should have on their radar when looking at a home.

  1. All too often sellers think it is a good idea to have an overwhelming scent in the house to make it smell pretty! Unfortunately, what is a good smell to one, is a bad smell to another.  The word of advice for sellers, make sure your house is clean – the less smell you have in the house, the better.  As a REALTOR®, I would advise anyone and everyone to avoid scents in your home, especially burning scented candles.  Artificial scents in the home may be an attempt to mask other scents.
  2. Buyers should be aware of deferred maintenance, such as burned out light bulbs, leaky faucets, yard that is not groomed. These may be signs that other maintenance was ignored, such as changing furnace filters on a regular basis.  Deferred maintenance can cost the home buyer later.
  3. Cosmetic touch up can be an indication of a larger, ignored problem. A room that has one wall repainted, but not the rest, may be indicative of a problem that needed to be covered up, such as a water leak.
  4. Foundation cracks may be slight cracks from settling or it may be a sign of a much more serious problem. I have repeated many times in this blog to always, always, always have a home inspection done by a qualified, certified home inspector.  Only then can you be reasonably sure that the crack in the foundation is normal or an indication of a much more serious problem.
  5. Most buyers are aware to look for water damage within a house, such as spots along a wall that may have indicated a water leak at some point in time. But the other thing involving water that buyers should be alert too is that beautiful creek out back.  What may be a quaint babbling brook may turn into a torrent of water with the slightest of rain and may encroach your home.
  6. Several years ago, mold became the issue that every buyer was looking for. Black mold was the kiss of death in trying to sell your home and rightfully so.  Black mold is a very serious health risk and buyers need to be aware of mold.  However, let me very clear, just because a mold is black does not mean it is Black Mold.  Only someone certified in identifying the various types of mold can make that determination and only then by having it tested by a lab.  Never the less, any indication of mold indicates an abundance of moisture in an area and needs to be evaluated.
  7. As indicated in number 6, uncontrolled moisture can lead to several problems and may indicate improper ventilation. A good home inspector will be able to identify this issue and say what the problem most likely is.
  8. One area that I think buyers and even real estate agents may overlook is the unanswered question on a home disclosure. Most people will skim the disclosure form looking for something to jump out at them, but pay little attention to a question that the seller simply did not answer. To me that is a red flag that warrants extra scrutiny.
  9. Windows that do not open and close smoothly may be an indication of foundation issues or simply cheap, poorly installed windows. In either case, it can cost the buyer money down the road.
  10. One area that warrants a closer look and that is any patch work. If you have ever had a plumber come to repair a leak from a pipe in the wall, you will know that they will cut a spot out of the wall, repair the leaky pipe and leave you to repair the hole in the wall.  Trying to get someone out to repair one small section of drywall is next to impossible, so often times home owners will try to repair it themselves.  Be watchful for repair work on drywall or tiled areas that appear to have small areas that were patched.

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

Real Estate Market Conditions – March 2017


Real Estate Market Conditions – March 2017

Market conditions for real estate in Maryland continues to improve for March 2017.  However, it really depends if you are a buyer or seller.

Homes that settled in Maryland for March of this year increased by 18.8%.  That is good news for sellers, not so good for buyers.  In March 2017, there were a total of 6,850 homes sold compared to March 2016 where 5,768 homes sold.

The good news for sellers’ is that in March 2017 there were a total of 21,094 homes listed for sale compared to last year a total of 25,088 homes for sale.  This decrease in inventory has resulted in an increase of the average home price of 6.2%.

Months of Inventory is a measurement of how many months it would take to sell all the homes on the market at the rate homes are currently being sold.  For example:  If there are 1,000 homes for sale in a given location, and the market is selling 300 homes a month, the Months of Inventory would be 3.3 months.

Generally speaking, if there are 6 months or more of inventory it is considered a buyers’ market; 3-6 months is considered a neutral market; and less than 3 months is a sellers’ market.

In March of this year, Maryland remained in a neutral market, meaning it neither favored sellers or buyers.  However, in 2016 there were 4.3 months of inventory compared to 2017 that had 3.1 months of inventory. Maryland is very close to transitioning into a sellers’ market.

Because of the lower inventory this year, home prices have crept up, although not dramatically.  The average home price closed in March 2017 was $309,102; up from $291,071 in 2016.  This represents a 6.2% increase.

Individual county statistics should be coming out next week.

If you are thinking of buying or selling in the near future, 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 or Selling


What Every REALTOR® Wants You to Know About Buying or Selling

Whether you are looking to buy or sell real estate, and whether it is your first transaction or your tenth, one of the most important things you can do is pick a REALTOR® who is the right fit for you.   If you talk to a seasoned real estate agent, they will undoubtedly tell you that you that you have to select a seasoned real estate agent.  If you ask a new agent, they will tell you that a new agent (who doesn’t have a lot of clients) will be able to spend more time and energy for you.

Step-1-choose-a-realtor

As a seasoned agent I will tell you the truth (the truth according to Roland).  You can pick either a seasoned agent or a new agent – what is more important is how well you communicate with each other and whether or not you are on the same page with communication, open houses, showings etc.  A new agent still has the experience of a broker that they can turn to for advice.  And sometimes, seasoned agents think their way is the only way.

That being said the biggest problem is that 70% of buyers or sellers pick the first real estate agent they see.  Quite often if buyers go to an open house they will have the agent on site write a contract for them.  It is critical to remember that the agent that is at the open house works for the seller!  It’s the seller’s best interest that they are looking out for, not yours.

When sellers’ list their house for sale, they have a real estate agent that is representing them.  Buyers’ should do the same.  As buyers’ I strongly suggest that before you start looking, find a REALTOR® whom you are comfortable with and sign a buyers’ representation contract with them.  Then – and only then – do you have representation for your best interests.

Whether you are looking to buy or sell, I have a booklet to help you with many situations.  This booklet is free of charge and there is absolutely no obligation when you receive this booklet.  At the end of this blog is a form to add your name and email address and I will forward it to you.

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 contact me by 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.

image

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