We’re Closing!

We’re Closing!

  You have been keeping your house clean for what seems like an eternity. A Buyer came along and you negotiated the terms and your agent calls to say, “We’re closing!” So now what? There are several things you need to know and to consider about the closing. If you read my blog Read The Contract!, you will know how important it is to read what you are signing. Not only can you get into legal trouble if you don’t, you may not understand the important details of the actual closing and your move. I go over the contract with my clients but even still, there is so much information and many times, emotion, that not everyone understands the details they are agreeing to. Let’s take a look at some details that can be overlooked:   Closing and Possession Date:Are these dates the same? In Tennessee, most of the time they are but not necessarily. If they are the same, that means that when you go to closing to sign the paperwork, if you are the Seller, you need to be out of the house for good. If you are the Buyer, when you go to closing, as long as the house has been paid for (I will talk about this point in more detail), you should receive keys and be allowed to move in immediately. As a Seller, if you know you are going to need more time to get out, that needs to be discussed in negotiations. As a Buyer, if you need to get into the house prior to closing, that needs to be negotiated on the front end. Be sure to communicate timing with your agent or the other party. Your closing may be first thing in the morning and the other party may not be signing papers until the end of the business day if the closings are “split.” This may cause some confusion as to when the Seller needs to be out and when the Buyer can move in. Funding:Whether the Buyer is paying cash or getting a loan, the money needs to be in the hands of the title company and possibly even the Seller, before the keys will be given and the Buyer will gain possession.  If there is a loan involved, the loan will need to be funded by the mortgage company and the down payment and any closing costs will need to be received. Many people think that since they signed the paperwork, it is a done deal and the Buyer can move in. Just like you can’t walk out of a grocery store with a full cart without paying, you can’t move into a house you haven’t paid...

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READ THE CONTRACT!

READ THE CONTRACT!

  I get so many calls from clients and agents asking me questions. Sure, I can just give them the answer, and ultimately, I do, but I also ask, “have you read the contract?” When was the last time you signed something you didn’t read? Think about it. I bet it was more recent than you remember. Did you click, “I agree” to something online without reading it so you could move on to the next step? Did you sign a car rental contract or a form at the doctor’s office without reading it? We are all guilty of it. I wonder what sort of issues we could get into from some of the legal documents we sign that we don’t read. We don’t know! Well, the legal ramifications of us not reading the 20 items before we click “I agree” to buy a song on iTunes is probably much less than they are on a purchase and sale agreement in real estate. When everything goes as planned and both parties do their part and the sale closes without incident, no problem. However, what happens when it doesn’t? Do you know how you can lose your earnest money? Are you sure? Do you know how you can keep a Buyer’s earnest money? Are you sure? Do you know how you can get out of a contract? Do you know how many days you have to apply for your loan? Did you know a Buyer needs to provide notice to the Seller that the appraisal has been ordered – and paid for? Do you know how long the parties have for inspections? What is a resolution period? When does it start? And how long is it? If you write multiple Counter Offers, do all the points on all the forms go into effect? Can I take the custom drapes that I had made for my Dining Room? What is a fixture? I can take the rose bush that was my mother’s that is planted in the backyard, right? I said I was getting a Conventional loan but changed my mind, does this matter? What are the things I have to pay for at closing? Wait a minute! I got to closing and there is a charge for Transfer Fee that I am having to pay for. What is that and why do I have to pay for it? What’s a performance deadline? Most of these items are answered in the Purchase and Sale Agreement. If you read it, you will know the answer to it. A few are more detailed and are things that only good agents may know the answer to (rose bush). These are just some reasons to...

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Fairytales and Real Estate

Fairytales and Real Estate

  It’s about that time where the costumes come out and people are dressed up as all sorts of creatures and other beings. Halloween is fun but sometimes you encounter real life characters. If you are in a business where you have customers or clients, you will probably relate to some, if not all, of these comparisons. I had a client who compared herself to Goldilocks so when I started thinking about it, I realized that there are a lot of correlations between real estate and fairy tales – other than the obvious. Goldilocks – This is the home buyer that looks at everything on the market. This one is too small, the lot on this one is too big. My job is to find the one that is “just right” and help them get it! Chicken Little – This is the home seller that worries about everything – they think the sky is falling when it was only an acorn that hit their head. Is the description good enough on the photos? If we don’t have an offer the first day, what’s wrong? What if buyers don’t like the neutral paint you told us to use? My job is to try to calm their fears on the front end by educating. Selling can be very stressful and if they already have a worrisome personality, it’s all the harder. I tell people what they need to know from my years of experience working with buyers. No two houses are alike so there definitely are some variables I take into consideration. It’s not generally a one-size-fits-all marketing plan. Cinderella – This is the client that just goes with the flow without complaining. They respect my opinions and suggestions based on my experience. They know I am going the extra mile to do everything to either sell their house or find them the perfect house. In the end, it’s a perfect fit and they get an outcome that was even better than expected. And they are usually the ones that give ME a gift at closing. Pinocchio – This buyer doesn’t want me to know that their previous house was foreclosed on a few years ago, that they had a bankruptcy, or want to impress me with how much money they make so they lie to me. I don’t need to know any of this information. Frankly, it’s not my business as a Realtor. What I AM concerned with, however, is that they can qualify for the house so when they talk to the lender, they need to tell them because, guess what? They are going to find out anyway, and it will save some embarrassment later. The Pinocchio seller is the one that...

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Should I Have an Open House?

Should I Have an Open House?

When people sell their house, a lot of Sellers think they have to do an open house for it to sell. Others pause and ask, “should I have an open house?” Well, it depends on who you ask. There is the real estate agent perspective and the Seller perspective. Both say, “yes” and both say, “no.” Here’s why. Real estate agents who say, “YES”: Know the property is in a high-traffic location and could produce a Buyer. However, not necessarily a Buyer for this property. Some real estate agents use open houses to pick up new Buyer leads for their business. When marketed well, a real estate agent can produce many leads from one open house. Want to make sure they are doing everything their client feels is necessary to sell the house even if they know it’s unlikely they will get attendees or find the Buyer from an open house. May just want to catch up on their reading or paperwork for a couple of hours while they wait for visitors. Sellers who say, “YES”: Just assume you must do an open house as part of the marketing plan. Feel that their property has the potential to get a lot of traffic and think they may get an interested prospect walk through. Want their real estate agent to do as much as possible to sell their house and feel that an open house is a good way to do that. Real estate agents that say, “No”: Feel that the property is not in a high traffic area and they won’t get many, if any, prospects, except for, perhaps, “nosey neighbors.” Are concerned to hold an open house due to liability of the Seller’s personal belongings or due to personal safety. Sellers who say, “No”: Don’t want random strangers walking through their home without ample supervision. Feel their agent does outstanding marketing outside of open houses and feel that their house would not be a good candidate for selling during an open house. Some Sellers of unique or high-end properties feel that their property is best marketed via word of mouth, print, and online and then having the prospective Buyer set up a private showing. So, should you have an open house? As you can see, there are good reasons to do open houses and then there are good reasons not to do open houses. It really depends on the Seller and the Real Estate Agent and making sure they are on the same page in their ideas and opinions of...

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Puppy Prozac

Puppy Prozac

  Anyone who knows me, knows my love for animals – especially my two dogs. They have been constantly by my side through many things in my life, one for the last 14 years, the other for 9. The youngest one has always been full of energy. She would chase a ball or a Frisbee for hours. At some point, the energy turned a bit negative and she and her “sister” would get into fights. Something would set her off and they would just go at it. Many tears were shed and quite a bit of money was spent on vet visits and trainers. As her behavior worsened, I finally started putting puzzle pieces together.  She had anxiety, and lots of it. I found a trainer that specialized in these behaviors and we discussed medications since behavioral training alone hadn’t seemed to help much. I took her to the vet and they prescribed her what I call “Puppy Prozac”. I felt bad. For a lot of reasons. I felt bad having to put her on a daily medication. I felt bad that I couldn’t help her any other way. But most of all, I felt bad that I hadn’t done it earlier. It took some time for it to take affect but she is much calmer now. It didn’t change her personality as I had feared and it didn’t take away all her OCD and anxious behavior, but I can leave without her tearing things up and there have been no more vet visits because of sibling rivalry. I realized that I was making excuses. I was brushing it under the rug. I didn’t want to admit there was something wrong. I just thought it was her personality and that I would just have to live with it. What I didn’t consider was how much happier she would be once she took a little pill every day. I see this with homeowners. What? Puppy Prozac? Well, not exactly. What I mean is, I see houses that clearly have some issues. Anyone walking in the door would recognize it immediately but the homeowner doesn’t want to admit it. They don’t want to take responsibility, do the work, or spend the money. So, they let it go. And the result is, it doesn’t go away, it gets worse. That hairline crack that showed up a few years ago that has gotten bigger. The door that was sticking that now won’t even close. The wood that was wet that you can now stick a finger through. The gutters that have been clogged and have turned into water running down the wall in the living room. Most of these things would be fairly...

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It’s Fall Y’all!

It’s Fall Y’all!

  You can feel it, finally. The crisp air in the morning and the cooler temperatures at night. Pumpkins on porches, pumpkin desserts, and pumpkin spice in your coffee. Fake spiderwebs that I think are just an excuse to not clean the real ones. Ghosts and skeletons hanging in trees, haunted houses, hayrides and corn mazes. It’s Fall Y’all! With the change of season comes a change of market. Some people would never dream of selling their house anytime but Spring, but let me give you some reasons why you may decide now is the time, and what you need to do if you pull the trigger. 1. It isn’t so hot. I must say, it isn’t such a pleasant experience to show Buyers houses in the heat of summer in the South. You get in a hot car, burn yourself on the seatbelt and leave sweat marks on the seat. You turn on the A/C and get hot air blowing around the cabin. It cools down about the time you are at your next stop and then you step out into the humid heat. You want to look at the outside but you are already sweating profusely. The lock sticks and you struggle to get the door open to get into the cool house. There is a sense of relief once you step inside but the only thing you can think is, “Do you think they’d notice if I took a shower?” Looking in the attic and the crawl space is not something you will want to spend much time doing because of heat and possible critters. So, heat can put a negative feeling in a Buyer’s head about a house that they normally would have given a second look. 2. The kids are back in school. If Buyers have children, it is not necessarily “fun” to take them to see houses. For one thing, they can be emotional over not wanting to move. Secondly, they get bored. They get into things. They want a snack. They need to pee. They want your attention. They want to go outside. Or, they love every house they see and they don’t want to leave any of them. Either way, it can detract the parents from really getting a good look at the house and seeing what they need to. You might not be able to make the best decision or you may miss some things because the kids are around. 3. Colors are beautiful. If the leaves are changing colors, nature has done decorating for you. Oranges, reds, and yellows can add a warm, welcoming feel to a home. Feel free to use pumpkins and fall flowers to decorate but make...

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