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Rent vs Buy

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

Why should I buy in 2018?

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

Protect Your Home By Tricking the Bad Guys

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

Leaving on vacation or leaving your home for an extended period of time can be stressful for some. No one likes leaving their home, where they sleep at night, all their valuables, alone with protection or checking on them. But there are some tricks you can do to convince burglars that you are home, even though you are not! 

Before you leave, there are 7 things you can do to make your house less vulnerable to a break in and make your time away much more enjoyable: 

1. Dead-Bolts: dead-bolt window and door locks make it more difficult for someone to break in.

2. Alarm: Burglar alarms are the best way to alert emergency personal that there’s a problem. 

3. Exposed Hinges: Make sure all entry doors have the hinges on the inside.

4. Disconnect Internet: Keep your computers off and the Internet disconnected. If someone does break in they won’t be able to access your information and cause more damage.

5. Clean the Exterior: Put ladders, crow bars and anything else a burglar could use to break a window in a locked shed.

6. Timed Lighting: Put a timer on the TV and various lights. A flickering TV is all it takes to keep your house safe.

7. Don't be afraid to fake it: Fake camera on the outside of your home, high enough so it's hard to tell its fake. 

Best Time to Sell Your Home

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

When it comes to selling your home, the question always surfaces...When is the best time to sell? Late Spring and Early summer tend to be the most popular time to sell your home for many reasons. 

There are many pros to selling your home this time of the year; School is ending, Home Prices are up, and the summer months tend to free up more time. 

Pros of selling your Des Moines house now:

  • Larger Selling Price: With demand for homes high and inventory low, home prices are steadily increasing.
  • Better Home Evaluation: Home Value valuations are up as well.
  • Longer Days & Look Better: Longer summer days allow for more time to visit or show your home. Plus, spring & summer bring out the beauty in your yard....enhancing Curb Appeal. 
  • Bidding & Multiple Offers: Bidding may be a head ache for the seller at times but multiple offers is a wonderful situation to have!  Multiple offers normally up your Home's Price.

The Real Estate Market is HOT right now!  If you've considered Selling your Des Moines ara home, give Jon Smith a call for a personal consultation and up-to-the-minute market analysis!

Beat the Rising Interest Rates!

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

Mortgage Rates have risen to the highest level since 2014, with a likely hood to keep increasing through out the year. What does this mean for you? Acting sooner than later will make sure that you are locking in a lower rate.

Rates have already passed 4% in the last months, property economists have predicated that mortgage rates may rise to as high as 5.5% by 2018. This small percentage difference may not seem like a lot, but over the life of a mortgage, this can mean tens of thousands of dollars to the buyer. 

Following the increase in mortgage rates, home prices are predicted to see an equal increase in 2017. This means that home buyers will see a double hit in the cost of owning a home in the next year. Combining higher mortgage rates with home values going up, it will become more difficult to buy that home you are looking for. So beat the increase, go find your future home! 

The Benefits of a Pre-Approval

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

Whether you are looking to buy a house soon, or buy a house in the near future, applying for a pre-approval is a great way to prepare for the right house at the right time. By getting pre-approved, possible buyers can have all their financial concerns and questions answered before the special time comes to buy a new home. There are many reasons to get pre-approved:

  • Understanding total monthly costs, not just a monthly mortgage cost. Including tax rates, insurance, mortgage cost, possible HOA, property tax, and (depending on down payment) Private Mortgage Insurance. This will help the buyer narrow down a price range of a home they feel comfortable buying. 
  • Planning for down payment, closing costs, and any fees that are involved in buying a home. There is more than just the down payment on a house, and being prepared for all the cots makes the real estate purchasing process that much more stress free. 
  • Getting all the paperwork needed to apply for a mortgage together. Buying a house can be time sensitive, and the last thing you want to do is not be able to provide the correct paperwork needed to buy a home. 
  • Helps the seller know that they are choosing a serious buyer who already knows they are ready to purchase a home. 

Among the listed reasons, pre-approval to a home mortgage makes sure you are serious buyer! 

Prorations When Buying Or Selling A Home

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

The proration will credit the seller higher and higher depending on the rate of the proration and they will get reimbursed for what they have prepaid for the specific time period. However, the seller will not "own" the property. Every state will base its property tax differently. For example, in California, the calendar year is from July to June whereas it might be different elsewhere. Also, some states collect taxes ahead of time whereas others will make collections after the unpaid balance is expired. There are various kinds of pro-rations each one with its own definition.

Three of the most widely used are Insurance, Rent, and Utility. The Insurance proration has to do with the insurance premiums which will most likely be paid ahead of time buy a buyer. This will insure things like fire insurance. The rent proration is also paid in advance and is typically used as a buyer that is investing in a property that he or she plans to either sell or use for rent purposes. The last one, utility, is not used very often. The reason behind that is because utilities are not usually used as a proration at the end of a closing. For example, in a state such as Pennsylvania, if the seller doesn't pay the county or city utilities such as trash or water, then a roll-over happens and is added to the tax assessments.

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10 Contingencies You Need To Have

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

Buying a home means there will be costs involved in the process, such as earnest money deposits, appraisals, inspections, title searches and the costs to market your existing home. You may think you have all the bases covered in negotiating the terms of your contract, but things happen and deals do fall apart – some at the last minute.One way to protect yourself from additional loss is with appropriate contingencies. Accepted contingencies give you the right to walk away from the contract with no penalty (other than some of the incidental costs mentioned above).

In some cases sellers avoid contingency contracts and may pressure you to move quickly and drop contingencies. But what if the property fails to appraise at the right value, or your lender fails to fund your loan? Know what you can include in your contract as a contingency and be prepared to stand firm!

The home inspection provides the opportunity to help you decide if you should walk from a tempting deal. Even properties that look well maintained and in good condition can have hidden flaws. In addition to the basic home inspection, there may be other inspections (for lead, termites, sewer and others) or areas that need to be addressed in your contract. Make sure you know what you are getting into!

The types of contingencies vary from state to state. Here are the top 10 most common contingencies and what be aware of as you make your offer>

Common Purchase Contract Contingencies

  • Appraisal. Beware of the possibility that the appraisal may come in low.
  • Loan Contingency. Your lender may fail to find your loan as requested, even if pre-approved.
  • Home Inspection. One of the top indicators of flaws in the home.
  • Lead-based Paint. Federal laws gives all buyers 10 days to inspect for lead-based paint.
  • Wood Destroying Pest Inspection. The contract should specify who pays for termite inspection and correction.
  • Roof Inspection. Make sure the roof is part of the home inspection, and if not specify a third party inspection for the roof.
  • Sewer Inspection. This can be especially important for an older home or home on a septic system.
  • Preliminary Title Report. Make sure the seller can transfer a clean title, with no unpaid liens against the property.
  • Seller Statutory Disclosures. Some states require sellers to disclose all know material facts about the history of the property.
  • Contingent on Existing Home. This is one of the most common contingencies, and sellers usually specify a number of days to perform.

When negotiating your offer and contract, make sure you protect your rights as a buyer and understand your state laws and other requirements necessary to close on your new home!

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Is Your Contract Binding?

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

If you haven’t already entered a binding contract for a new home, then you’ve missed part one of The Home Buyer Tax Credit (it was April 30th).  If you have, then keep it mind that part two requires that you close on the home on or before June 30, 2010.

One of the questions that has come up as part of the tax credit push is what exactly is a ‘binding contract’ in the eyes of the IRS. No one really seems to know, but it does raise some interesting points.

For any kind of tax benefits or allowances, it is best to seek the advice of a tax accountant or attorney. They can help translate murky guidelines and offer the best course of action when buying or selling a home.

When it comes to actually writing an offer, the next step is to allow your realtor to craft the contract or use a standard state contract. Your offer should be thorough and concise. Don’t leave any terms blank or undefined. Any ambiguities in an offer can lead to interpretation down the line that render the contact ‘non-binding’. Not only can this have an impact on your Home Buyer Tax Credit, other tax advantages or even the ability to close on the deal.

Do your homework – and let tax and real estate professionals guide you. From the IRS to your local chapter of NAHB to your CPA, you should make your decisions based on a number of resources:

Internal Revenue Service

National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)

National Association of Realtors

All contracts have some contingencies – and some are more important than others. Just be sure to consult with an expert to make sure your offer is clean, clear and enforceable.

 

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Common Misconceptions About Residential Appraisals

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

You have found the perfect home and are ready to buy, and you lender needs a real estate appraisal. If this is your first time buying you may not understand exactly what that is. A real estate appraisal is a detailed report that is created by a licensed appraiser in your state and establishes the market value of a residential property. A number of considerations go into an official appraisal, and it forms the basis of the bank’s determination of the loan value. While appraisals do consider market comparisons, the actual appraisal value comes from much more than a market analysis.

Here are the components of a residential appraisal:

  • Property details
  • Comparisons  to at least three similar properties
  • Evaluation of the market conditions in the area
  • Environmental conditions that could decrease the property’s value
  • Structural issues that could decrease the property’s value
  • Estimate of time on the market
  • Status of the home site – new development, established neighborhood, acreage

Common misconceptions

  1. Appraisals aren’t the same as home inspections
  2. Appraisals are owned by the lender and not the buyer
  3. Assessed values don’t necessarily match market value
  4. Realtors do not provide appraisals
  5. Consumers do have the right to question appraisal facts and contest them

Understanding the neighborhood and ‘comps’ are an important part of your buying experience, but you are also bound to the official appraisal given to the lender. Work with your realtor, lender AND appraiser to make sure you understand all the details in the appraisal report of your new home.

 

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Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 23

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Contact Information

Photo of Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, SRES, SFR Real Estate
Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, SRES, SFR
Iowa Realty
3521 Beaver Ave.
Des Moines IA 50310
515-240-2692
Fax: 515-453-6404
 

 

 

Licensed in the State of Iowa