Real Estate FAQ'S

Real Estate FAQ'S

Your agent is one source and probably the best way to consider a successful Inspector.

Inspectors are listed in the yellow pages as well. Some Inspectors have a reputation of being thorough & may have
more reasonable fees or will come on short notice if they have worked with a particular agent before.

You can ask for referrals from friends, too.

Ask for their credentials, such as contractor's license or engineering certificates.

Also, check out their references. Check references for anyone you are considering hiring.

The best place to get stats and do market research is what is known as the "National Association of Realtors," or NAR. The NAR is what is known in the real estate market as "The Voice for Real Estate" and is the largest association in The United States of America. The greatness of this association is twofold: First, is its ability to provide both the realtor and the buyer a place to gather pertinent information about the current real estate market, and Second, because of its sheer membership. NAR boasts over 1 million members and is growing. Each member or realtor is involved in its community in a variety of aspects within the residential and commercial real estate industries. If you are looking for information on the real estate market, look no further than the best, the National Association of Realtors. If you have questions, please don't hesitate to give us a call; we can even do the research for you. Simply provide us with the information on your dream home or investment property, and we will go to work for you. The advantage for you is that we are realtors; we specialize in the real estate market and research. We will find that property and promptly communicate with you in order to see and potentially secure your home and or commercial property project.

An appraisal is an estimate performed by a professional property appraiser that attempts to determine the price or value of a home, commercial property, or space of land based on several factors. When an appraiser approaches the home or property in which they are attempting to appraise, they generally use the following 7 criteria:

  1. Recent sales of comparable properties.
  2. Location of the real estate.
  3. Square footage of the building and or land.
  4. Quality of construction, if any
  5. Market flux.
  6. Pertinent historical Information.
  7. Forecast of Future Potential.

Looking for an appraisal of a piece of real estate? Give us a call, and let us connect you with some of the best real estate appraisers in the market.

The million-dollar question, "Are fixers a good idea in bad areas?" If you do a cursory search in the search engines using our question as the search parameters, you will find a variety of different answers. Some realtors say, "Location, Location, Location," others say, "No, it is a bad idea," and still others will say, "Just do it." It is our experience that when it comes to investing in distressed properties or fixer-uppers, it is important to take a balanced approach. That means study and research. It is probably not the best practice to accept what anybody says about a piece of property without doing the proper market research. When looking to buy a home or commercial real estate, take the following steps to determine your best course of action. Remember, nobody will care about your investment better than you.

  1. Check the value of the homes in the immediate neighborhood.
  2. Compare "apples for apples" homes. AKA. A competitor analysis.
  3. Crunch the number, and make sure the amount spent to fix it up is worth it.
  4. Have a really good home inspection done to determine potential pitfalls.
  5. Have no less than three contractors bid on the project. See
  6. Talk to a seasoned flipper.
  7. Seek counsel from a seasoned realtor.

These seven steps are not a perfect set of steps in determining whether a distressed home is a good investment, but by taking these steps, you will be more informed and equipped to make the best decision possible. If you have any questions, we invite you to give us a call; we would love to help.

Generally, when a home is sold, the wall coverings and light fixtures are included with the sale of the home. The great thing about America is that pretty much everything is negotiable when it comes to selling or buying a home. It's what used to be called wheeling and dealing. Although we are not always comfortable negotiating on aspects of the property, it is not outside the realm of possibilities. The best thing to do is discuss what you want with your realtor and let them do all the negotiating. That is one of the great reasons for having a good realtor. The most important thing about purchasing a new home or property is getting the deal that you are comfortable with, without the stress of wondering how it is all going to work. If you allow the process to work for you, it will. Happy hunting!

The appraised value is a certified appraiser's opinion of the worth of a home at a given point in time. Lenders require appraisals as part of the loan application process; fees range from $200 and up.

Market value is what price the house will bring at a given point in time given the market, location, condition & recent sales. A Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) is an informal estimate of market value based on sales of comparable properties performed by a Real Estate Agent or Broker.

A home is worth what a willing & able (or qualified) buyer is willing to pay for it given the market & what other like homes are selling at during that time. Everything else is an estimate of value based on many factors. To determine a property's true value, most people turn to either an appraisal or a comparative market analysis.

An appraisal is a certified appraiser's estimate of the value of a property at a given point in time. To make their determination, appraisers consider square footage, construction quality, design, floor plan, neighborhood, and availability of transportation, proximity to shopping and school amenities. Appraisers also take lot size, topography, view, and landscaping into account.

A Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) is an informal estimate of market value based on comparable sales in the neighborhood performed by a Real Estate agent or broker. You can do your cost comparison by looking up recent sales of comparable properties in public records. These records are available at local recorders or assessor's offices, through private companies, or on the Internet.

A standard homeowner's policy protects against fire, lightning, wind, storms, hail, explosions, riots, aircraft wrecks, vehicle crashes, smoke, vandalism, theft, breaking glass, falling objects, weight of snow or sleet, collapsing buildings, freezing of plumbing fixtures, electrical damage and water damage from plumbing, heating or air conditioning systems, according to the Insurance Information Institute. It's referred to as Fire or Hazard Insurance.

Such policies are "all-risk" policies, which cover everything except earthquakes, floods, war and nuclear accidents.

A basic policy can be expanded to include additional coverage, such as for floods and earthquakes and even workers' compensation for servants or contractors. Home-based business coverage, an increasingly popular rider, does not cover liability associated with the business.

Insurance experts recommend that homeowners obtain insurance equal to the full replacement value of the home. On a 2,000-square-foot home, for example, if the replacement cost is $80 per square foot, the house should be insured for at least $160,000.

For personal items, homeowners can increase their coverage beyond the depreciated value of items such as televisions or furniture by purchasing a "replacement-cost endorsement" on personal property. A Homeowners Policy is recommended beyond a Fire or Hazard Policy that is required when you buy a property.

Some experts recommend an inflation rider, which increases coverage as the home increases in value.

Homeownership offers tax benefits as well as the freedom to make decisions about your home. An advantage of renting is not worrying about maintenance and other financial obligations associated with owning property.

There are also a number of economic considerations. Unlike renters, homeowners who secure a fixed-rate loan can lock in their monthly housing costs and make prudent investment plans, knowing these expenses will not increase substantially.

Homeownership is a highly leveraged investment that can yield substantial profit on a nominal front-end investment. However, such returns depend on home-price appreciation. One author writes. "One property may cost more than another today, but will it still be worth more down the line?"

While your low offer in a normal market might be rejected immediately, in a buyer's market, a motivated seller will either accept or make a counteroffer.

Full-price offers or above are more likely to be accepted by the seller. But there are other considerations involved:

* Is the offer contingent upon anything, such as the sale of the buyer's current house? If so, a low offer, even a full-price offer, may not be as attractive as an offer without that condition.

* Is the offer made on the house as is, or does the buyer want the seller to make some repairs or lower the price instead?

* Is the offer all cash, meaning the buyer has waived the financing contingency? If so, an offer at less than the asking price may be more attractive to the seller than a full-price offer with a financing contingency.

Learn everything you can about the homeowner's association before you buy into a development governed by one. The association's financial, political, and legal conditions are very important to your investment and quality of life.

When run properly, homeowners associations maintain the common grounds and civility in the complex. If you follow the rules, the association should not intrude on your privacy or cost you too much in association dues.

Poorly managed associations can drag down property values and make living there difficult for residents. Start by studying the association's covenants, codes, and restrictions, or CC&Rs, and find out if you can live by them. For example, if the rules prohibit loud music after a certain hour, and you like to play your CDs late at night, this may not be the place for you. Don't move in thinking you can get away with violating the rules or change them later because you may find yourself in turmoil with determined neighbors firmly in control of the association board.

Find out all you can about the association's finances. Beyond reviewing the budget, talk to the association treasurer and find out if dues are expected to increase and if any special assessments are planned. Ask if special inspections have revealed problems with roofs or plumbing that may cause a dues hike or special assessment later.

Call and meet with the association president. If you are the type of person who despises intrusions into your private life and the president seems more interested in gossiping about the residents than maintaining the property, this may not be the right condo complex for you.

Speak with residents to get their views on the association's finances, its property manager, how it operates, and any politics. Associations are volunteer organizations with elected boards, like a mini-government, so politics can enter the picture and spoil a good thing.

Lastly, take some time to understand how homeowners associations are organized and how they conduct business. Like all Real Estate investments, the more informed you are, the better off you'll be.