Real Estate FAQ: What Are Some Negotiating Tips?

A: Know the seller’s motivation to sell. This will enhance your negotiating position.  Sellers who must move quickly due to a job transfer, divorce, or contract on another home, are more inclined to accept a lower price to speed the process along.

Remember, too, that the listing, or asking, price is what the seller would like to receive for the home. It is not necessarily what the seller will settle for. So know value. Before you make an offer, check recent sales and listing prices of comparable neighborhood homes and compare them to the seller’s asking price.

Other tips:

-Be flexible.  Never say, “take it or leave it.” That can sour negotiations and ruin the deal.

-Never show your hand or reveal your next step.

-Each time you increase your offering price ask for something in return, such as repairs, appliances, even lawn furniture.

-If you plan to pay cash or have a tentative commitment for a loan, use your strong financial position as a negotiating tool.

-Don’t let emotions such as pride, fear, love, and anger get in the way of negotiating the best deal.  Leave irrational feelings at home.

This post has been authored by Eric Slifkin, REALTOR® serving South Florida’s Treasure Coast. You can reach me at 888-288-1765, or visit my Web site. As your resource for information on new or resale homes throughout the Treasure Coast, please be sure to contact me about any home you may find on the Web, yard sign or ad and I will research the property, arrange showings and handle all the details.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.

Do You Know What Questions to Ask when Joining an HOA?

By John Voket

It's been awhile since I reported about homeowner associations or HOAs.

Neighborhood Link (neighborhoodlink.com) defines a HOA or Homeowner Association is a legal entity created to manage and maintain the common areas of a community. Typically these "common areas" consist of things like pools, clubhouses, landscaping, parks, streets and roads.

HOAs are typically set up by the original developer of the community with a set of rules called "Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions" otherwise known as "CC&Rs". One of the primary functions of the HOA is enforce and ensure that these "CC&Rs" are adhered to by the individual homeowners.

One Boulder, Colorado real estate blog (taylorrealtygroup.net) recently posted a helpful punch list of questions to ask if you are buying a house or condo that is governed by a HOA.

According to the Boulder blog, those questions should include:
 

  • How much are the dues?
  • What is the history of the due increases?
  • Does it include building insurance or not?
  • What are the specifics of the insurance and what insurance will you be required to carry vs. the HOA carries it for you?
  • Are there HOA budget reserves for things like concrete repair, deck repair, staining/painting/etc? Also, look at maintenance contracts like landscaping, security, snow removal etc. Do they look reasonable to you? Is one of the HOA members also one of the contractors?
  • If you haven’t already—find out how much the transfer fees and capital reserve requirements are when you close and negotiate to have the seller pay for them (unless you have already agreed otherwise)
  • Find out how many units are owner occupied versus rented out. The HOA will know this. If it’s higher than about 10 percent rentals then the blog advises: don’t buy it.
  • Find out the current status of all the membership dues. How many units are in the HOA and of that, how many are past due. How much?
  • Get the minutes from the past years HOA meetings and read the to see what kind of stuff they talk about and this will tell you how picky they are and what type of violations spur actions against residents.

This post has been authored by Eric Slifkin, REALTOR® serving South Florida’s Treasure Coast. You can reach me at 888-288-1765, or visit my Web site. As your resource for information on new or resale homes throughout the Treasure Coast, please be sure to contact me about any home you may find on the Web, yard sign or ad and I will research the property, arrange showings and handle all the details.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.

Real Estate FAQs: Should I Avoid an Adjustable Rate Mortgage?

Financing Your Home Purchase

 

Mortgage Info

Q:  Should I Avoid an Adjustable Rate Mortgage?

A:  Because adjustable rate mortgages, or ARMs, fluctuate with the market, they offer less stability than fixed-rate loans.  If an ARM is adjusted upward, monthly payments will increase, and for a lot of people that can be too big a risk to take.  On the other hand, should rates drop dramatically, homeowners can reap the benefits of lower rates without refinancing, thereby saving thousands of dollars.

Lenders first introduced ARMs in the 1980s when interest rates soared into the double digits, forcing many people out of the home buying market.  They tied the rate to a variable national index, such as U.S. Treasury bills.

Today, many first-time buyers who have difficulty qualifying for a home loan, still settle for adjustable rate loans because the initial, “teaser” interest rate of the mortgage is normally two or three points lower than a fixed rate loan.  ARMs are particularly attractive if you plan to be in your home a short time.  They tend to adjust yearly or every three years, usually within certain limits, or caps, that prohibit the interest rate from shooting up too high.  Make sure terms such as these are spelled out in any ARM agreement you choose.

This post has been authored by Eric Slifkin, REALTOR® serving South Florida’s Treasure Coast. You can reach me at 888-288-1765, or visit my Web site. As your resource for information on new or resale homes throughout the Treasure Coast, please be sure to contact me about any home you may find on the Web, yard sign or ad and I will research the property, arrange showings and handle all the details.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2014. All rights reserved.

Q: How Do You Choose a Good Condo?

A: Seek ownership in a well-maintained building, and pay special attention to the financial health of the condo association. Lax maintenance may be a sign of financial trouble, which could result in higher maintenance fees and problems trying to resale the property later.

Things to consider:

Get a copy of the latest financial statement from the condo association.

Ask the board of directors – which is elected by the unit owners from among themselves – if major repairs or improvements are imminent. If so, find out how much they will cost and whether there is enough money in the reserve to cover them.

Check the by-laws, rules and the covenants, codes and restrictions (CC&Rs). You may find, among other things, that they prohibit or restrict pets and the renting of units. Some may require that the board have the right of first refusal on the sale of any unit.

Learn everything you can about the homeowners association, including legal disputes and conflicts. Start by reading the minutes of the association meetings.

Find out the owner-to-tenant ratio. Because many condominiums are often purchased as investments, there could be a high percentage of tenants in the building.

 

 

 

This post has been authored by Eric Slifkin, REALTOR® serving South Florida’s Treasure Coast. You can reach me at 888-288-1765, or visit my Web site. As your resource for information on new or resale homes throughout the Treasure Coast, please be sure to contact me about any home you may find on the Web, yard sign or ad and I will research the property, arrange showings and handle all the details.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2014. All rights reserved.

Stuart, Florida Rental Homes: FAQ’s

Stuart, Florida Rental Homes: FAQ’s

An Interview with a Landlord

While renting a home may be a lot less complicated than buying one, there are still a variety of complications that can arise. Make sure you head into renting with a clear understanding of the lease and the landlord. Below are 6 key questions to ask a prospective landlord. By the way, the landlord will probably have some questions for you, too.

What is the protocol for maintenance issues? Find out the best way to communicate with your landlord regarding maintenance requests and determine the time frame in which you should expect a response. If the landlord can’t clearly answer these questions, that could be a major red flag.

How many have come before me? It’s good to know if the landlord and/or other tenants have lived in the rental unit before you. If the property has had a few other tenants, that’s often a good sign; however, if it’s changed hands dozens of times, that could pose a variety of problems. If tenants move in and out quickly, this could signify an issue with the unit.

Can I make upgrades to the property? In an effort to secure a responsible tenant, some landlords will make upgrades to the rental unit or allow the tenant to make changes. Find out if you can add your own stamp with painting, flooring, landscaping, or appliances, and if so, what procedures are in place for pre-approval.

Is there a regular extermination schedule? Pests are often common problems in rental units. Ask the landlord if an exterminator services the property on a regular basis.

What will utilities cost? Utility expenses need to be factored into your decision-making process and subsequently, your budget. Ask the landlord to provide you with the previous six months of utility bills (water, gas, electric) to help you determine whether or not the rental is affordable.

What are the particular rules and regulations? It doesn’t matter how thoroughly you read your lease (and you should — before signing), because little things can get past you. This also helps you get to know your potential landlord a little better. You’ll learn about their personality and you’ll be able to gauge whether or not you will get along down the road.

Source: Yahoo! Real Estate

How Much House Can You Afford?

How much house you can afford depends on your total monthly income, your interest rate, your intended down payment and the loan amount. See our infographic below to determine how much house you can afford.

 

First home buyer series - how much house can you afford?

How Much House You Can Afford Infographic

 

This post has been authored by Eric Slifkin, REALTOR® serving South Florida’s Treasure Coast. You can reach me at 888-288-1765, or visit my Web site. As your resource for information on new or resale homes throughout the Treasure Coast, please be sure to contact me about any home you may find on the Web, yard sign or ad and I will research the property, arrange showings and handle all the details.

 

FAQ’s: Am I Ready to buy a Home?

The decision to purchase a home is a highly personal one, based on both tangible and intangible factors. Beyond your personal situation, local market conditions, financing costs, and future expectations must also be evaluated.

Ready to Buy by Eric Slifkin 772-288-1765

 

This post has been authored by Eric Slifkin, REALTOR® serving South Florida’s Treasure Coast. You can reach me at 888-288-1765, or visit my Web site. As your resource for information on new or resale homes throughout the Treasure Coast, please be sure to contact me about any home you may find on the Web, yard sign or ad and I will research the property, arrange showings and handle all the details.

Home Buying: The Negotiating Process

You’ve found a home that’s right for you and it’s time to make an offer. What steps are involved in negotiating a real estate purchase?

The Negotiating Process by Eric Slifkin

 

This post has been authored by Eric Slifkin, REALTOR® serving South Florida’s Treasure Coast. You can reach me at 772-288-1765, or visit my Web site. As your resource for information on new or resale homes throughout the Treasure Coast, please be sure to contact me about any home you may find on the Web, yard sign or ad and I will research the property, arrange showings and handle all the details.

Frequently Asked Questions About Closing

Closing (also called settlement) is the legal transfer of property ownership. Usually, but not always, possession is transferred at closing. Sometimes the seller may ask to close the sale but retain possession, and pay rent to the buyer until vacating the property at a later date.

Closing FAQs

 

This post has been authored by Eric Slifkin, REALTOR® serving South Florida’s Treasure Coast. You can reach me at 888-288-1765, or visit my Web site. As your resource for information on new or resale homes throughout the Treasure Coast, please be sure to contact me about any home you may find on the Web, yard sign or ad and I will research the property, arrange showings and handle all the details.

Real Estate FAQs: What is a Shadow Inventory

The Real Estate Educator: Lurking in the Shadows

By Gee Dunsten

With all the good news in the market, from strong housing demand to rising prices, we can’t ignore shadow inventory. Not only does shadow inventory exist, it will have an impact on all markets for some time to come. In this time of confusion and misunderstanding, every agent needs to have a basic understanding of shadow inventory and must be able to explain its impact to consumers.

Shadow inventory refers to the inventory of homes not yet for sale that will eventually come on the market sometime in the near future. Although most people believe shadow inventory to be the group of distressed homes in some phase of foreclosure, shadow inventory actually includes three categories of homes:

1. Properties already foreclosed on, but not yet on the market for sale

2. Houses currently in the foreclosure process

3. Properties where the homeowners are at least 90 days delinquent on their mortgage payment

Studies indicate that 95 percent of those homeowners who fall 90 days behind on their mortgage obligation never catch up and their home eventually comes on the market as a short sale or foreclosure. Those who catch up on their mortgage payments are referred to as the “cure rate.” From 2000-2006, the cure rate was 45 percent, while from 2007 to the present, the cure rate is less than 5 percent.

Some of the best sources for harvesting current accurate statistics on shadow inventory include:

1. Core Logic Negative Equity Report

2. LPS’s Monthly Mortgage Monitor

3. S&P Indices (Quarterly Report)

As shadow inventory comes on the market, the total supply (inventory) of homes increases. The increase of shadow inventory homes, however, does not result in an increase in more equity home listings, but an increase in distressed property listings (REOs, short sales, foreclosures) that force the price of existing home listings downward.

Whether consulting a buyer or seller, agents need to separate fact from fiction and explain the effects of shadow inventory in their local markets. They need to communicate the fact that there may actually be a larger inventory of homes than the MLS numbers indicate. Don’t just tell your clients about shadow inventory—show them what they need to know with strong visuals on your PC, tablet or smartphone.

Whether you create them yourself or subscribe to a service, you’d be wise to shed light on the shadow inventory in your area.

George “Gee” Dunsten, president of Gee Dunsten Seminars, Inc., has been a real estate agent and broker/owner for almost 40 years. Dunsten has been a senior instructor with the Council of Residential Specialists for more than 20 years. To reach Gee, please email gee@gee-dunsten.com.

This post has been authored by Eric Slifkin, REALTOR® serving South Florida’s Treasure Coast. You can reach me at 888-288-1765, or visit my Web site. As your resource for information on new or resale homes throughout the Treasure Coast, please be sure to contact me about any home you may find on the Web, yard sign or ad and I will research the property, arrange showings and handle all the details.