Read My Column Here

Oct. 26, 2019

The Basic Process of Negotiating a Real Estate Contract

Finally, a buyer loves your home and makes an offer to buy it.  This offer begins the contract process!  Normally, negotiating an offer is relatively painless, but, as purchasing or selling a home revolves around the largest investment of most people’s lives, it can also be difficult.  Lean on your strongest ally – your Realtor!

Here is usually how it works in Texas:

The buyer makes an offer using a promulgated contract form.  On this form, they set an offer price and include conditions of purchase.  Conditions, or terms, can include:  closing date, option period, earnest money deposits, survey costs, home improvements, closing cost assistance, and finance method, among others.

As a seller, you have three options when you receive the contract form:  Accept it, Reject it, or Counter-Offer.  If you choose to Counter, the ‘negotiation dance’ begins. This can include several rounds of counter offers, each with deadlines for responding and meeting various conditions set forth by either party.  This continues until an agreement is reached or the negotiations collapse.

Here is how to be successful during contract negotiations: 

*Ask Questions!  Even promulgated forms can often be complicated and contain many addenda for the various parts of the contract; such as Third Party Financing, Non-Realty Items, and Property Owner’s Association.  Your Realtor will clarify these forms for you.

*Respond Quickly to Offers!  When an offer is made, buyers are ready to buy.  If you want to sell, don’t wait to respond!  Things can happen, moods change, and buyers get remorse. 

*Stay calm, be patient, and don’t be afraid to meet halfway!  There is less stress when all parties remain civil and agreeable.  Split the difference over small expenses – and never lose track of what your ultimate goal is:  Selling your home and moving on to the next phase of your life!

Call me today to help you make your real estate dreams come true!

Oct. 26, 2019

Here are 5 Tips to Help You Prepare to Buy Your First Home

The process of buying your first home can be overwhelming.  But, whether your plan is to buy this year, or in 3 years, there are things that you can do NOW in preparation of being a Homeowner. 

Save Money:  You should be putting money aside for your down payment, closing costs, HOA fees, purchasing a survey, and other expenses which can arise that you didn’t know about or plan for at the beginning.  Every real estate transaction is different, so it’s best to save as much money as possible to cover your expenses.

Build Up Your Credit Score:  How?  Pay your bills on time!  Focus on your large purchases like auto payments, and then focus on your credit cards.  It’s important to have a good credit score so that you are approved for a home loan – a good credit score may also help you obtain a better interest rate.

Steady Employment History:  At least a 2-year steady, reliable, job history is usually required.  If you have over a 6-month gap in employment, it can be tricky to get you approved for a loan.

Talk to a Lender:  Know your loan options and whether you are eligible for grant or down payment assistance which will help you with closing costs and down payment. 

You DON’T Have to Buy at Your Highest Approved Amount:  Make sure that you aren’t ‘house-poor’.  Just because you are approved for a higher-priced home, doesn’t mean that you have to buy it.  Review your budget and make sure that your new house payment fits within your finances.

Call me today to help you find your dream home! 

Oct. 26, 2019

My House is FINALLY under Contract and The Buyer is having a Home Inspection!  What Do I Do?

First, Congratulations on your contract!  Second, all Buyers SHOULD have a home inspection.  Third, as a Seller – This is NOT a test!  Here are a few to do things:

  1. Make sure that all utilities are on!  Gas?  Make sure that all pilot lights are working.
  2. Repair/replace/install/clean:  lightbulbs, weather stripping, switch plates, door knobs, window locks (also any cracked or broken glass and/or screens), rain gutters and downspouts, chimney flue caps, add anti-siphon devices on the outside hose bibs.
  3. Replace dirty HVAC filters.
  4. Make sure that the inspector has access to all areas of the house!  Unlock, or remove items from in front of gates, electric panels, closets, attic doors and/or access ladders, sinks and bathtubs, ovens and cooktops, dishwasher, HVAC, water heater, and crawl spaces (for pier and beam homes).
  5. Have GFCI devices for electrical receptacles in garages, bathrooms, kitchens and exterior areas (I see this on inspection reports all the time!).
  6. Test (and replace batteries) of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
  7. Trim tree limbs and shrubs away from the home and roof, and while you are at it, remove any wood or other debris away from the foundation.
  8. Last thing to do is to remove your vehicles from the garage and/or driveway.  Give the inspector plenty of room to do his/her ‘thing’!

Remember, if you have been maintaining your home this is not something to stress over!

Call me today to help guide you on that first step in getting your home on the market – and you may be surprised at how you can fulfill your dream of selling your home! 

Oct. 26, 2019

Sellers:  Paint and How It Can Help You Sell Your Home

While it is true that the San Antonio area is still experiencing a seller’s market, painting is a small thing that you can do to help increase the value of your home and to sell it faster.  Remember sellers:  Buyers don’t want to shell out extra cash to paint after closing.  The more ‘turn-key’ your home is, the faster it will sell and the higher the offer you will receive from potential buyers.

It’s a good idea to tone down any loud wall colors or wallpaper choices with neutral paint.  Why?  This allows buyers to easily imagine there things in a space because neutral paint color goes with just about anything.  

Some great warm neutral colors that I am seeing out there are beiges, tans, golds, grays, and what I refer to as ‘greige’, which the best I can describe is a blend of gray and beige.  One color to avoid is bright white, it is too stark for most buyers to handle and the first thing I hear from my buyers is “Well this will have to be painted” thereby negating the “turn-key” effect that you want. 

Also, paint is more than JUST color.  Buy a high-quality paint, or at least something mid-tier:  cheap paint usually will cause you to have to use more coats and it won’t go on as smooth!  Different finishes and sheens can impact how the paint color pops, how easy a wall is to clean, and other factors.  Satins and semi-gloss are better for durability and stain resistance.  Semi-gloss is great for trim and doors because it is easier to clean handprints, and it is very good for bathrooms where you will encounter moisture. 

Call me today to help guide you on that first step in getting your home on the market – and you may be surprised at how you can fulfill your dream of selling your home! 

Oct. 26, 2019

Buyers:  The Very First Thing to Do Is NOT Go Home Searching!

In a market like ours, where buyers outnumber the number of homes for sale, YOU need to stand out.  The best way to do that is to get pre-approved for a mortgage BEFORE you even search for a home.  I always explain to my buyer clients that no seller in this market is going to accept a contract from a buyer that is NOT pre-approved.  Many don’t even allow non-approved buyers to view their homes as they see it as a waste of time.

If you are a serious buyer, being pre-approved will help you to understand your budget and will give you confidence of knowing how much home you can afford, and will make you a competitive buyer in a competitive seller’s market.

In order to get pre-approved for a loan, you will need to select a lender (your realtor can help guide you to fantastic local lenders).  Once you have done this, you will need to provide them information about your credit, any debts, salary (both current and historical), how much you would like to put as a down payment, and your residential history.  The lender will analyze this information to determine your ability to make your payments on a loan, how much cash you have on hand, your history of paying your bills on time, and what type of home you are interested in purchasing.  There are many types of mortgage loans available, so let your professional lender guide you on how much your down payment needs to be and what credit scores are necessary for you to qualify for a mortgage – don’t guess!. 

Call me today to help guide you on that first step – and you may be surprised at how reachable your dream of home ownership is!