Author Archives: Aurora

Why You Need a Buyer’s Agent

Working with an experienced buyer’s agent can make homebuying easier, but did you know it can save a buyer money, time and stress? Having an agent working specifically to protect you, the buyer, is vital when it comes to making educated decisions and when it comes time to negotiate on the sales price.

You may think that getting all your answers from the seller’s agent is fine, but keep in mind they do not work for you. The seller’s agent works for the seller to get them the most money possible for their property. Sharing too much about yourself, your desperate search for the perfect home or details about your finances can be a mistake.

Here are the facts:

  • A few decades ago all agents involved in a real estate transaction legally represented the seller. The evolution of the “buyer’s agent” came about in the mid-1980s as it became clear that buyers also deserved and wanted an agent representing their best interests – not the seller’s.
  • State licensing officials and trade organizations now require agents to disclose whether they are working for the seller or the buyer – and most buyers have learned it is wise to have their own representation.
  • Once you sign a buyer agency contract with an agent, he/she becomes your buyer agent; your buyer’s agent represents you, the buyer, with full confidentiality. Legally they are not allowed to disclose your personal motives or financial intentions to the sellers or their agent – for example, say you are really willing, and able, to pay more. That remains secret.
  • Typically, the buyer’s agency commission is paid from the proceeds of the closing, just as any other agent is paid. So, there is no added cost for the buyer.
  • Your agent can locate a property that is perfect for you, sometimes just as it is hitting the market – they have the inside scoop.
  • A buyer’s agent brings experience and negotiating skills to the table and knows the language of real estate. They may be able to negotiate with the seller and selling agent to obtain the lowest price possible.

Hiring a buyer’s agent makes finding a home that fits your needs and your dreams so much easier and less stressful. You need a buyer’s agent if you want to be able to ask questions and share your needs and challenges without worrying it will somehow help the seller’s price strategy.

You gain complete confidence that you can ask your buyer’s agent any questions that come to mind, because everything is confidential. This type of agent works for you to serve your interests – not the sellers. As an experienced buyer’s agent, I would be pleased to offer my experience and knowledge in helping you buy the perfect home. Please give me a call.

Homebuyer Strategies for Spring

Longer hours of daylight and warmer weather means the appearance of more “For Sale” signs on lawns everywhere. Buyers wait for it with a pent-up energy that is much like a colt let out of the barn after a long winter. Spring usually brings more homes to choose from and a better shopping experience as you view potential properties – minus the snowbanks.

But with the change of the season comes more competition from other buyers. If you want to boost your chances of moving into that new home by summer, here are a few strategies:

  1. Narrow down exactly what you are looking for in a new home. This means a general list of must-haves and then a list of nice-to-haves. The first gets priority. For example, if a backyard for your kids or dog to play in is a requirement to even consider buying a house, then that’s a must have. If you would love to have a finished basement for additional living space, then that might be a nice-to have.
  2. Get pre-approved for your mortgage. It’s a simple step you should take before you schedule any appointments to view homes. Your lender will compile all your earnings and payment obligations and get you pre-approved for your loan. Having your financing secured and a preapproval letter from your lender ready to go can mean the difference between getting your offer accepted by a seller or missing out.
  3. Use a qualified Realtor to answer all your questions, search your criteria for the perfect home and negotiate on your behalf at the bargaining table. You want someone who you trust and who is working hard to make your home buying dream a reality. I would love to help you with the entire homebuying process.
  4. Step away from your computer. That’s right. Use the computer as a way to get alerts about new listings but get yourself physically get out there to see the properties right away. Some homes sell within hours of hitting the market, so there is urgency to schedule a showing as soon as possible.
  5. Be ready to place an offer as soon as you know you have found your home. As mentioned above, some homes go under contract the same day they are listed. Your Realtor can advise you if the home you would like to buy is priced well or if there is room for bargaining. Take this experienced advice to heart, and if you found “the one” be ready to leap.
  6. Offer a few perks if there is a bidding war. Only you can decide if the home is worth offering more and how much you feel is comfortable to pay. But you can make your offer include whatever closing date best suits the seller or forgo contingencies that are above and beyond the basics (always keep the home inspection) – for example, like having your financing ready to go with full approval so you can close more quickly.

This spring, homebuyers should be ready to hit the ground running and be prepared to make an offer as soon as they find the right home that fits their needs. I would love to assist you in finding your new home and successfully navigating the entire closing process. Please give me a call to get started.

How Sellers Benefit from a Home Inspection

According to the National Association of Realtors, there are a few major issues that can affect
the sale of your home and they are typically uncovered in a home inspection. This is why some
sellers choose to order their own inspection before they put their home on the market.

A home inspection can cost between $350- $500, but it is an extremely valuable tool when it
comes to marketing a home and avoiding hidden surprises that could jeopardize the sale.

Remember this, after you accept an offer on your home, the buyer will order a home inspection
to make sure there are no hidden repair issues. If they uncover anything costly, they have the
right to back out of the deal or renegotiate the sales price to cover the repair costs. It pays to deal
with repairs before a contract is on the table.

Seller home inspection benefits:

  • Having detailed insight about the condition of your home before you are dealing with buyers means that any major issue found during the inspection can be fixed prior to receiving an offer.
  • You can present the findings of your home inspection to your Realtor to help market your home. Include receipts for any repairs completed and you prove to a potential buyer that your home is in good condition and will not surprise them with hidden issues. That is a something that puts buyers at ease and may lead to better offers.
  • A home inspection can also help you price your home correctly, with the help of your Realtor, to avoid painful renegotiations. If there is a repair issue that you can not afford to fix prior to sale, the issue can be disclosed, and the asking price lowered to reflect the current condition of your home.
  • Things to keep in mind

    A home inspection covers everything from urgent, deal-breaking issues to preventative, good-to- know home care. Here are a few big issues that sellers should know about before they list:

  • Hidden issues with the structure: Hairline cracks in the foundation tend to be signs from the home settling, but large cracks – uneven blocks or bowed walls – could signal a more serious and pricey issue.
  • Failing roof: But sometimes a leak occurs and damages the wood underlay to your roof – and you may not know about it yet.
  • Issues with home systems: Perhaps the furnace it is not firing correctly or some of the wiring is frayed and potentially dangerous. Home inspectors commonly find ungrounded fixtures, spliced wires not terminated in a proper electric box, receptacles wired backward, and improper breakers in the electric service panel.
  • Damage from pests: Termites and carpenter ants can severely damage the structure of a home. It is not always obvious at first glance either.
  • It is not a requirement for a seller to order their own home inspection prior to listing, but it can be very beneficial to the successful sale of their home and reducing the chances of unpleasant surprises. I am ready to help you through all the steps of successful home selling, so please give me a call.

    Why a Home Inspection is a Must-do for Buyers

    No house is perfect, but a home that has costly repair issues might be a property you should walk away from or at least a reason to negotiate with the seller to either make the repairs or lower the price to cover the cost of the repair.

    So, a home inspection really is a “must-do” for buyers to protect them from surprise repair costs and ensure they are getting exactly what they are paying for. Buyers are typically the ones to hire a certified home inspector to come in and carefully examine the entire home, noting all repair or replacement needs.

    Some sellers will pay to have this inspection completed before they list their home, allowing them to make needed repairs and to reassure potential buyers that the home is in good condition.

    As a buyer ordering a home inspection, you receive a comprehensive report that lists all the repair issues found (from minor to extensive) and how soon the repairs should be completed. It will cover everything in the home from really small issues to big ones that could cost thousands to repair.

    For Example:

    The roof: A roof can last more than 30 years. The home inspector will inspect the roof and verify its approximate age, if there are any missing shingles, discoloration, sagging or curling up at the corners. All of these can indicate a potentially costly repair is needed.

    Roof repair or replacement can cost $10,000 – $30,000 depending on the size of the home.

    If the home inspection finds an issue with the roof, it doesn’t necessarily mean you walk away from the home. It can be a negotiating tool with the sellers to adjust the price accordingly if repairs or a new roof is needed.

    The Septic: Septic systems also have an operational lifetime and will eventually need to be replaced; a home inspector will generally hire a specialist to check the system out. Your septic inspector will look for wet, soggy areas above or near the leach field or the septic tank, and spongy bright green grass over these areas, odors near the tank, gurgling sounds in the plumbing, and drains that empty slowly.

    A septic inspection will tell you about the condition of the tank as well, which is typically opened and examined by the septic inspector while water inside the home is left running and toilets are being flushed. The inspection report will list any signs of problems with the septic system and any repairs that may be needed.

    The furnace or boiler: A furnace can last between 15-30 years, usually without many problems. You should know how old the unit is and if annual maintenance and cleaning was completed (receipts are good to see).

    Your home inspection will tell you more about the condition and remaining lifespan of the furnace and any signs that there are repair or safety concerns to address.

    Buying a home is an investment, and there will probably be repairs needed while you live there. But you don’t want any expensive surprises to cost you more than you bargained for. I can help you find the right home, be with you through the home inspection process, and help you negotiate with the seller to get repairs completed, or the sales price lowered to cover it, before you buy.

    How To Prepare Your Home For Selling

    Many homeowners worry about preparing their house to put it on the market. It can be overwhelming if you don’t know where to start and what to focus on. Sometimes just looking at all the “stuff” you have collected in the basement, garage, or attic is enough to make a homeowner want to postpone listing the home for sale! It may look like a lot, but there are basic steps to take that will prioritize tasks and easily get your ready to sell.

    Here’s where to begin:

    1. Ask a Realtor what needs to be done – Some homes are ready to show without much effort from the homeowner. Some just need the clutter removed or closets cleaned out to really show off the space. Other homes have rooms in need a fresh coat of paint or the carpet cleaned. Asking for advice doesn’t mean you must do these tasks, but I can help you prioritize the things that will make your home show better and appeal to more buyers.
    2. Pick a room in need of some TLC – It helps not to look at the big picture if you feel overwhelmed by your list of tasks. So, pick a room, preferably an important one to buyers, like the living room or kitchen and start decluttering and organizing.
    3. Pack up items you don’t need – You are moving and will need to pack at some point, so you might as well start now. Packing up out of season clothing, decorations and even personal items like collections of family pictures, trophies, and collectables can really open up space in closets, shelves and even the walls.
    4. Clean every room like guests are coming – Yes, buyers are kind of like guests. They will probably notice if the bathroom isn’t clean or if the floor is covered in dog hair. Wash floors, clean carpets, get bathroom fixtures sparkling. Make each room look fresh, welcoming and spic and span.
    5. Boost your curb appeal – A buyer’s first impression can set the tone for how they feel about a property. Clean away debris in your yard, mow the lawn – if needed, add a seasonal wreath or potted plant by the front entry and put down a new welcome mat. Make your house say “welcome home” to potential buyers as they arrive.
    6. Make needed repairs – If there is something in need of repair, it is best to fix it before buyers start viewing the home. Show them that the home is well maintained and that there isn’t a list of repairs they must deal with after they buy.

    Preparing your home to sell doesn’t have to stressful. Focus on getting the house clean, uncluttered and ready for buyers. Give me a call. I understand what buyers are looking for and would love to help you prepare to showcase your home at its best.

    Closing Costs For Sellers

    If you are a first-time home seller, you may wonder what your closing costs will be and what is expected of you during this part of the real estate transaction. Being a home seller is very different than being the buyer when it comes time to close. From the amount of paperwork you will sign, to the financial obligations, your role in the closing is much smaller than it is for the buyer.

    But, here are some things to keep in mind.

    The closing signifies the completion of the sale of your house with the transfer of title from you to the buyer. This is where you will sign several documents, including the closing statement, which shows the contracted selling price you’ll receive from the buyer, minus the balance you owe on your mortgage and any other loans attached to the property. The Realtor fee for marketing your home and representing you throughout the process will also be deducted from the proceeds.

    As a seller, you have a few other deductions like the cost of the new deed and the government transfer taxes and recording fees. In New Hampshire, the real estate transfer tax on the sale, granting, and transfer of real property or an interest in real property, is $ 7.50 per thousand. In Massachusetts, it is $4.56 per thousand. This cost is USUALLY split between the buyer and seller.

    Sellers also pay prorated property taxes and any town/city fees, such as prorated sewer and water bills that remain. Any additional costs you have agreed to pay (for example, if you offered to contribute a set amount towards the buyers’ closing costs) may also be deducted at this time.

    The remaining proceeds are all yours and are typically paid to the seller in the form of a certified check or electronic transfer into their bank account.

    There are other situations that can impact a sellers’ financial obligations at closing. I would be happy to answer your questions and offer a no-obligation market analysis of your property to determine its current market value. Please give me a call; I would be pleased to offer my experience and knowledge.