When the Inspection report is not good...

What to do When the Inspection report isn’t good

BY AMERICAN HOME SHIELD |OCTOBER 15, 2020

Whether you’re representing the buyer or the seller, the home inspection can be a critical time in the real estate transaction process. When the home inspection report is good, a collective sigh of relief can often be detected from agents and clients alike. When the home inspection report isn’t good, it’s time for agents to swing into action. Here are some steps to consider:

Know your market.

To some extent, reaction to a less-than-stellar inspection report may be tempered by whether you’re dealing with a buyers’ or a sellers’ market. If it’s a buyers’ market, sellers may be on the line to fix most of the deficient items noted in the report before the deal can continue. In a sellers’ market, buyers may not have as much negotiating power. It’s important to understand the current real estate climate and explain to your clients how the market conditions factor into home inspection expectations.

Work with the other agent.

As soon as possible, contact the other agent in the transaction to discuss the inspection report findings. Acknowledge that the report contains bad news and start the conversation about next steps. As much as possible, try to get a sense of their reaction and willingness to make concessions.

Ask for more time.

The real estate contract often specifies a date or timeframe for removing the home inspection contingency. Requesting an extension of that date may give you and your clients the chance to consider the report, gather additional information or estimates, negotiate repairs, fix deficient items, or decide your next steps. If you think some extra time would help keep the deal on track, request it.

Get multiple estimates.

If the cost of repair work noted in the report concerns the buyer or the seller, gathering several quotes from qualified sources may help pinpoint what exact costs are likely to be. In some cases, repair costs may be lower than the client’s project, which can be reassuring. If the estimates come in higher than clients predict, they have the accurate information they need for negotiation and decide whether to move forward.

Communicate.

With accurate figures in hand, have a heartfelt conversation with your clients to understand how the inspection report affects their financial and emotional commitment to the deal. Be ready to communicate their position to the other agent clearly.

Negotiate.

After you’ve assessed market conditions, have an accurate understanding of costs involved, and have communicated with your clients, it’s time to negotiate. In some cases, you may be negotiating which repairs the seller needs to make before the deal can close. In other cases, you might negotiate a reduction in selling price or a credit at closing to cover the repair costs. If you’re facing an unusual inspection issue, seek advice from trusted colleagues who may have handled similar situations in the past.

Request documentation.

For everyone’s protection, specify that sellers submit documentation of repair work performed from qualified service professionals. It’s also a good idea to schedule a follow-up inspection or a walk-through to confirm that the negotiated work was satisfactorily completed.

Add American Home Shield® Home Warranty Coverage.

300,000 real estate transactions per year include American Home Shield home warranties, and for a good reason. In addition to offering important budget protection for covered items, American Home Shield coverage can help mitigate unexpected home inspection issues to keep transactions on track. Home warranty protection can also offer valuable reassurance to buyers, especially when the age or condition of covered home systems and appliances are in question.

When home inspection reports are disappointing, it’s important for clients to see their agent responding calmly and deliberately. They will always remember the valuable, professional, and steady guidance that you offer during a critical time.

For more helpful tips from our partners at American Home Shield, check out their blog!

Homes Sold by Jessica Harless | Next Home Realty Center

The Cost of Buying a Home – What Buyers Need to Know

Most buyers come into the home buying process with a budget already in mind. But if they match their home price to their available budget, they may end up in hot water come closing time. That’s why it’s so important to make sure as buyer,  you properly prepare for the hidden costs you’ll encounter on the road to homeownership. Here are a few expenses to be sure you are aware of.

Closing costs — Many of the closing costs are negotiable, but it’s common for buyers to pay most of them, particularly in a seller’s market. Mortgage fees, title insurance, recording fees, and appraisal fees are some of the small numbers that will add up to be the closing costs, which can vary and depends on the purchase price.
Moving costs — Once the closing is over and the home belongs to you, you’ll still have to shoulder the expenses of moving in. These numbers can vary depending on how far you’re moving and much of the moving labor you’re willing to do yourself, but you should know the answer to these questions before buying a home.

Utilities — While you may be able to afford the monthly mortgage payments, it’s important that you also consider the utility costs at your new home. Depending on their previous living situation, you may not think to consider the costs that come with water, electric, trash, and other necessary monthly utilities.

HOA Fees — If the property being considered is under the restrictions of a homeowner’s association, you could be looking at another few hundred a month in fees. Many HOAs provide services that you may find useful and worth the expense, but you may also want to look into what the HOA provides and make sure you feel comfortable signing on for the fees in exchange for whatever the service provides.

Property taxes — These are calculated based on the value of the property, as well as state and city regulations. This means that different properties even in the same city could come with different property taxes.

Insurance — Homeowners with a mortgage are almost always required to get homeowner’s insurance, so this is a non-negotiable expense for most buyers. The cost will depend on location and other factors, but you can expect their annual premium to be around a thousand dollars.

Once you have a complete understanding of the full financial picture of a home purchase, you may find that your budget has shifted. By getting this out of the way early, you will be looking at homes in your correct price range and will ultimately end up in a house that suits your needs and your budget.

Info courtesy of Russell Rhodes, SWBC Mortgage
Homes Sold by Jessica Harless | NextHome Realty Center

Why Home Equity Is a Bright Spark in the Housing Market

Given how we have seen more unemployment claims than ever before over the past several weeks, fear is spreading widely. Some good news, however, shows that more than 4 million initial unemployment filers have likely already found a new job, especially as industries such as health care, food and grocery stores, retail, delivery, and more increase their employment opportunities. Breaking down what unemployment means for homeownership, and understanding the significant equity Americans hold today, are important parts of seeing the picture clearly when sorting through this uncertainty.

One of the biggest questions right now is whether this historic unemployment rate will initiate a new surge of foreclosures in the market. It’s a very real fear. Despite the staggering number of claims, there are actually many reasons why we won’t see a significant number of foreclosures like we did during the housing crash twelve years ago. The amount of equity homeowners have today is a leading differentiator in the current market.

Today, according to John Burns Consulting58.7% of homes in the U.S. have at least 60% equity. That number is drastically different than it was in 2008 when the housing bubble burst. The last recession was painful, and when prices dipped, many found themselves owing more on their mortgage than what their homes were worth. Homeowners simply walked away at that point. Now, 42.1% of all homes in this country are mortgage-free, meaning they’re owned free and clear. Those homes are not at risk for foreclosure (see graph below):Why Home Equity is a Bright Spark in the Housing Market | Simplifying The MarketIn addition, CoreLogic notes the average equity mortgaged homes have today is $177,000. That’s a significant amount that homeowners won’t be stepping away from, even in today’s economy (see chart below):Why Home Equity is a Bright Spark in the Housing Market | Simplifying The MarketIn essence, the amount of equity homeowners have today positions them to be in a much better place than they were in 2008.

Bottom Line 

The fear and uncertainty we feel right now are very real, and this is not going to be easy. We can, however, see strength in our current market through homeowner equity that was not been there in the past. That may be a bright spark to help us make it through.

 Keeping Current Matters – 5/6/2020
Homes Sold By Jessica Harless -| NextHome Realty Center

Have You Outgrown Your Home?

It may seem hard to imagine that the home you’re in today – whether it’s your starter home or just one you’ve fallen in love with along the way – might not be your forever home.

The good news is, it’s okay to admit if your house no longer fits your needs.

According to the latest Home Price Insights from CoreLogic, prices have appreciated 3.5% year-over-year. At the same time, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports inventory has dropped 4.3% from one year ago.Have You Outgrown Your Home? | Simplifying The MarketThese two statistics are directly related to one another. As inventory has decreased and demand has increased, prices have been driven up.

This is great news if you own a home and are thinking about selling. The equity in your house has likely risen as prices have increased. Even better is the fact that there’s a large pool of buyers out there searching for the American dream, and your home may be high on their wish list.

Bottom Line

If you think you’ve outgrown your home, let’s get together to discuss local market conditions and determine if now is the best time for you to sell.

smart Home - Jessica Harless

TOP SMART HOME TRENDS FOR 2019

If there is one thing we know about the future, it’s that smart technology will increasingly be an everyday part of our lives. And the public is ready. Each year, sales increase on voice recognition products such as Amazon Echo, Google Assistant, and Apple’s HomeKit. Currently, 60 percent of customers have one or more of these items in their homes, and each year the IoT category (Internet of Things – devices that communicates together wirelessly) increases, resulting in more smart products that would make George Jetson feel right at home.

2019 brings us even more products and advancements that show how smart tech is smarter. Here’s a look at what we’ll see during 2019.

INCREASED HOME SECURITY AND SAFETY

Home video surveillance has been a success and you will see much more of it. Updated products from doorbell companies such as Nest and Ring provide detailed video of your front door, and neighboring cameras will coordinate to allow for additional views (with your neighbor’s permission). Along with a slew of video doorbell and camera products, there are also updated smart locks that give you automatic locking capability and easy access automatically via your app or voice technology.

Additional safety features on the rise include warnings of water leaks and fires, allowing you to catch issues sooner.

CLEANING

There are continued advances with vacuum robots and this year brings us to the next level. One ongoing issue with these products is the need for constant emptying, but the iRobot Roomba i7 automatically cleans itself, reducing the frequency of manual emptying.

Vacuum robots are growing in popularity each year. They clean automatically at your schedule, avoiding stairs and ledges and attacking dirtier areas through the help of laser sight technology. And their ability to automatically leave and return to a charging station means you don’t have to lift a finger.

Other advances in the cleaning category are new self-cleaning toilets and stoves as well as wifi controlling capability for washers, dryers, stoves, and dishwashers.

HOME FRAGRANCE

Fragrances are perhaps the biggest extension of the beauty tech category. Products from companies like Kompoz and Moodo become your personalized home fragrance concierge. They use a jukebox-style system for creating ambient scents to suit your mood or occasion. Moodo’s product called MoodoGo also offers this tech for your car.

BATHROOMS

The biggest news in this category has been in smart toilets. They are now motion activated, lighting when you approach. You can talk to your AI devices such as Alexa and Google Assistant, listen to music, and even activate a light show for ambiance. Not only do these toilets provide our favorite benefits of Japanese-style features such as seat warning and bidet technology, but they are also now self-cleaning. The Kohler Numi even has a foot warmer.

Other areas of the bathroom are seeing advancements as well. There are voice-activated shower and tub controls and increased tech with mirrors that allow you to check the weather, order replacement toiletries via Amazon Replenishment, and get beauty tips from the ever-expanding line of beauty tech.

KITCHENS

There is an increased focus on AI interaction on products throughout the kitchen such as coffee makers and Instapots and even faucets. With the limitations of voice technology, there is a need for more involved smart screens that provide more information and interaction, so we are seeing interactive screens on refrigerators and stoves. Refrigerators such as the Samsung Family Hub series of refrigerators have a built-in screen that functions much like a tablet. You can download recipes off the web or download apps that specialize in all things food-related, including delivery company apps for easy ordering. You can check your calendar, create a shopping list, let your kid’s hand draw notes, and enjoy favorite TV shows and music. These screens are also handy controllers for smart home devices including doorbells, lighting, and other smart kitchen devices, communicating with AI devices such as Alexa and Google Assistant.

Similar features are appearing on ovens, with additional benefits such as touch screen doors for easy-to-use controls and technology that automatically senses how long to cook an item. You can even watch your food cook on your smart device thanks to onboard cameras. You can control functions remotely and make sure it’s off when you’re not at home.

SMART TVS

For TV’s in 2019, the biggest news is they are getting larger, more detailed, and some models even fold like a roller shade such as the LG Display 65” TV. This rollaway design may make a TV’s constant presence in your living room a thing of the past. With smart tech, we are seeing a continued focus on voice recognition, allowing you to ask Alexa and other devices to start your favorite shows and adjust volume controls or pause it without a need to stare at your controller.

BABY TECH

New smart tech in baby care is working hard to make parenting easier. You can track your baby’s breathing, vital signs, and movement as well as record video and more accurately hear and speak. One surprising addition is Nanit’s creation of Breathing Wear – a swaddling blanket that works with its camera devices to provide breathing monitoring without the need for a cumbersome and uncomfortable hand or foot band.

PET TECH

It’s the dawn of a new day for pets. We are undergoing the refinement of “digital daycare,” allowing you to care for your furry friends while you are away, avoiding the cost and hassle of pet daycare. More advanced microchip technology will track your pet’s whereabouts and communicate wirelessly with pet doors, allowing your pet in and other intruders out.

There is more focus on devices that monitor, track, and report your pet’s every move using more advanced HD cameras, LCD displays, and monitor detectors. Pets can also call you, and I assure you they will. In between their calls, they will have more activities to keep them busy. They can enjoy puzzle games that provide treats, play with automatic ball launchers such as iFetch, and play specially designed game consoles with special touchpads.

There is also an increased focus on automatic feeders and waste disposals such as self-cleaning litterboxes and even a new smart toilet for dogs called InuBox.

WATCH FOR INCREASING SMART TECH IN THE FUTURE

The continued focus on smart technology means we will expect much more in the way of convenience. They will gladly take on the tasks you hate, making home life easier and more fun. It’s hard to argue with that.

reprint from luxury home marketing…

 

Equity Position - Jessica Harless One 2 Selll

Do Homeowners Realize Their Equity Position Has Changed?

Yesterday, we reported that according to CoreLogic’s latest Equity Report, nearly 268,000 homeowners regained equity and are no longer underwater on their mortgage in the first quarter. Homes with negative equity have decreased by 21.5% year-over-year.

A study by Fannie Mae suggests that many homeowners are not aware of how their equity position has changed as their home has increased in value.

For example, their study showed that 23% of Americans still believe their home is in a negative equity position when, in actuality, CoreLogic’s report shows that only 8% of homes are in that position. 

The study also revealed that only 37% of Americans believe that they have “significant equity” (greater than 20%), when in actuality, 74% do!

Do Homeowners Realize Their Equity Position Has Changed? | Simplifying The Market

This means that 37% of Americans with a mortgage fail to realize the opportune situation they are in. With a sizable equity position, many homeowners could easily move into a housing situation that better meets their current needs (moving to a larger home or downsizing).

Fannie Mae spoke out on this issue in their report:

“Homeowners who underestimate their homes’ values not only underestimate their home equity, they also likely underestimate: 1) how large a down payment they could make with their home equity, 2) their chances of qualifying for mortgages, and, therefore, 3) their opportunities for selling their current homes and for buying different homes.”

CoreLogic’s report also revealed that if homes were to appreciate by an additional 5%, over 800,000 US households would regain positive equity.

Bottom Line

If you are one of the many homeowners who is unsure of your current equity situation, let’s meet up to discuss your options.

Home Equity - Jessica Harless One 2 Sell

74% of US Households Have Significant Equity

CoreLogic’s latest Equity Report revealed that 92% of all mortgaged properties are now in a positive equity situation, while 74% now actually have significant equity (defined as more than 20%)! The report also revealed that 268,000 households regained equity in the first quarter of 2016 and are no longer under water.

Price Appreciation = Good News for Homeowners

Frank Nothaft, CoreLogic’s Chief Economist, explains:

“In just the last four years, equity for homeowners with a mortgage has nearly doubled to $6.9 trillion. The rapid increase in home equity reflects the improvement in home prices, dwindling distressed borrowers and increased principal repayment.  

These are all positive factors that will provide support to both household balance sheets and the overall economy.” 

Anand Nallathambi, President & CEO of CoreLogic, believes this is a great sign for the market in 2016 as well, as he had this to say:

“More than 1 million homeowners have escaped the negative equity trap over the past year. We expect this positive trend to continue over the balance of 2016 and into next year as home prices continue to rise.  

Nationally, the CoreLogic Home Price Index was up 5.5% year over year through the first quarter. If home values rise another 5% uniformly across the U.S., the number of underwater borrowers will fall by another one million during the next year.” 

Below is a map illustrating the percentage of households in each state with significant equity: 

74% of Households in the US Now Have Significant Equity! | Simplifying The Market

Many homeowners with more than 20% equity in their home would be able to use that equity as a down payment on either a larger home or even a retirement home.

Bottom Line

If you are one of the many Americans who are unsure of how much equity you have in your home, don’t let that be the reason you fail to move on to your dream home this year!

HVAC Maintenance Checklist

hvac-maintenance-checklist_20a0065871b5190ce9098b3a57050ec6

It’s a good idea to hire a HVAC company to inspect and do maintenance on your system every fall and spring. They’ll do things like inspect and clean the wiring and mechanisms of the unit, which is bit more challenging for the average homeowner.

But you can prolong the life and increase the efficiency of your system if you follow a simple maintenance plan.

Some things you should do immediately; other tasks only need to be done seasonally or once a year. Here are the steps to a healthy HVAC system:

Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/heating-cooling/hvac-maintenance/#ixzz3dZs3pidY
Follow us: @HouseLogic on Twitter | HouseLogic on Facebook