Category Archives: Home Buying

Should I Get a Home Inspection?

There are many good reasons why both a buyer and a seller should get a home inspection. The buyer wants to know if there are any problems with the property that might prevent them from purchasing it. The seller needs to find out if there are any issues that should be fixed prior to placing their home on the market.

Here are some of the more common problems discovered by home inspectors:

Roofing – Many roofs are found to be beyond there normal life expectancy. Most lenders require that a roof have at least three to five years of life remaining, so many times a new roof will be required in order to meet this standard. More minor issues could be popped nail heads or flashing issues around a chimney or in a valley.

Ceiling damage – Most ceiling damage is caused by water. Either rain water that’s leaked through the roof, or a plumbing leak. The source of the leak will need to be determined and fixed prior to repairing and/or painting the ceiling.

Electrical – The most dangerous problems discovered at home inspections can be attributed to electrical issues. Many of the problems found are overloaded circuits, connections not in junction boxes, improper grounding, and no GFI’s to name a few.

Drainage – Improper drainage around a house often leads to water intrusion into the basement area, which can cause wood rot, mold, mildew, fungi and the like.

Wood rot – This is caused by wood being exposed to water for extended periods of time. The wood will eventually loose its supporting strength, and it will need to be replaced.

Fireplaces – Many of the issues with fireplaces and chimneys have to do with firebox deterioration, damper doors not opening and closing properly, improper venting, and masonry cracks. 

Plumbing – The majority of the plumbing issues are usually fairly minor in nature. Many times it’s leaking faucets, toilets, and drain lines. Another common problem is too much water pressure, which is caused by a faulty pressure reducing valve.

Water heaters – Most water heater problems found are improper electrical connections, pop off valve lines not properly routed, and the water temperature set too high.

Mold & Radon – These can be two of the biggest deal killers. You’ll need to hire a professional to test for these items to determine if there is a problem. Once you have the results you can then decide if any action is needed, and what the costs would be to correct it.

Why Choose a LeadingRE Firm?

Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® is a network of over 500 of the very best real estate firms that are located in over 40 countries. These firms have 4,000 offices with 120,000 sales associates. In 2012 these firms had sales of $272 billion dollars representing over one million transactions, which placed Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® #1 in sales volume in the United States.

Sales volume numbers for 2012 were as follows:
Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® – $272 billion
Coldwell Banker – $200 billion
Re/Max – $188 billion
Prudential – $126 billion
Keller Williams – $119 billion
Century 21 – $107 billion
Sotheby’s $53 billion
Real Living – $37 billion
ERA – $23 billion
Realty Executives – $17 billion
Better Homes & Gardens – $11 billion

Firms affiliated with Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® can offer sellers global exposure of their home in addition to strong marketing expertise at the local level. Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® has the resources to market your property to the highest possible number of potential buyers. With 120,000 talented associates around the world, they expose your property to buyers on six continents ensuring more eyes are on your property. In addition they receive inbound clients from other affiliates around the globe who are interested in purchasing a home.

If you are looking for the best real estate firm to sell your home, then you need to consider a firm that’s affiliated with Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®.

Source: Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®

Views on Housing Vary by Age Group

Younger Americans are more likely to think owning a home is attainable but not necessarily a good investment, while older Americans believe the opposite, according to a Country Financial Security Index survey.

Here’s a breakdown on the survey results:

Think owning a home is attainable for a typical middle-income family by age group 
18-29 / 49%
30-39 / 50%
40-49 / 45%
50-64 / 43%
65 and over / 36%

Think buying a home is the best investment families can make by age group –
18-29 / 37%
30-39 / 37%
40-49 / 44%
50-64 / 48%
65 and over / 51%

Source: Council of Residential Specialists

VA Loans Post Record Year in 2013

The Department of Veterans Affairs recently announced that the number of loans it guaranteed reached a record high in 2013.

The VA guaranteed almost 630,000 mortgage loans in 2013 according to Mike Frueh, the director of the VA’s Loan Guaranty Program.

An overall tight lending environment is making VA loans more attractive to current and past service members.

VA loans do not require a downpayment. Roughly 90 percent of all VA loans for home purchases are made with no money. These loans do not require private mortgage insurance to be purchased, as with most other high loan to value mortgages.

States that have seen the largest increase in VA loans within the past year are Arizona (up 40 percent in 2013 over 2012), Ohio (30 percent) and Connecticut (30 percent).

Sources: The New York Times and REALTOR®Mag

Tips for Choosing the Right Real Estate Agent

Buying real estate is complex, and it’s important for you to select an agent who is competent, honest and knowledgeable, and will represent  your best interests throughout the entire process of either buying or selling a property.

Here are some key areas to look for when selecting an agent:

Experience
Ideally you want an agent who works in the business on a full time basis, and closes at least five to ten sales per year. The more closings an agent has under their belt, the better prepared they will be to help you through the many twists and turns of a real estate transaction.

Time to work with you
You want an agent that will spend the time with you that will be needed. If an agent seems too busy, maybe you should look for one that’s less busy.

Location
Generally you will be better served if you pick an agent that has sold a number of properties within your neighborhood. They will be most familiar with the property values and issues unique to your neighborhood. Additionally they will often have a pool of prospective buyers that are interested in the area.

Help you protect yourself
You want to pick an agent that will help you to make smart decisions. This agent should be well-versed enough to advise you on a number of issues, such as, financing, negotiations, inspections, closing and etc. 

Someone you feel comfortable with
The working relationship between you and your agent will be one that will usually last several months from beginning to end, so make sure you feel comfortable with who you choose. 

Real Estate Search Links for Monroe & Rhea

These links will give you access to the most current property listings from the Knoxville Area Association of Realtors MLS system. The information is updated on a daily basis, so check back often.

Monroe County
http://idx.diversesolutions.com/link/308224 

Rhea County
http://idx.diversesolutions.com/link/308238

Here’s How Most Buyers Find a Real Estate Agent

Most buyers find their real estate agent in one of the following ways (listed from most common to least common):

1. Referred by a friend, relative or neighbor

2. Website

3. Used agent previously

4. Saw contact info on a For Sale or Open House sign

5. Meet agent at an open house

6. Referred by another agent

7. Personal contact by agent

8. Employer or relocation company referral

9. Office walk-in

10. Internet search engine

Source: National Association of Realtors®

Learn These Real Estate Terms

These terms are handy to know terms when you are involved in either buying or selling real estate:

Disclosure Statements
These are most often prepared by the person selling a property. They can include a property condition disclosure, a lead based paint disclosure (for properties built prior to 1978), and a septic disclosure to name a few. You should ask for copies prior to preparing a written offer.

Good Faith Estimate
A lender is required to provide a borrower this document at loan application. It provides the borrower a breakdown of their loan costs, closing costs and downpayment required. It also gives an estimate of the total monthly payment. The numbers from the Good Faith Estimate and the closing statement should align fairly close, if not you should ask questions.

MIP
This stands for Mortgage Insurance Premium. If your obtaining a mortgage with a loan to value greater than 80%, then the lender will require mortgage insurance in most cases. The premium is usually paid as part of your monthly house payment. For some loan programs a portion of the premium is collected when the loan is funded. 

Lien
This is a claim by someone or a company on a property, usually for money owed. In Tennesse a Deed of Trust is filed with the Register of Deeds in the county where the property is located. This document reflects the terms of the loan, and is a matter of public record. 

Buyer’s Market
This is a a term used when the market is in the buyer’s favor. The buyer usually has the advantage when it comes to negotiations. A buyer’s market occurs when there are more homes for sale than there are buyers to purchase them, thus forcing sellers to me more aggressive with pricing. Usually homes take in excess of six months to sell in this type of market.

Seller’s Market
This term is used when there are not enough homes available for the number of buyers looking to purchase. This environment gives the seller the advantage when it comes to negotiations. In this type of market you will see home prices on the rise as many properties will receive multiple offers. In this kind of market, homes that are priced right and in good condition may only be on the market for a few weeks.