Sept. 18, 2020

The Best way to Find a Home

Are you house shopping and looking for a better way to shop? Bill Jones and Bryan Schube discuss some popular questions that come up when house hunting. 

What is the best way to find a home?

With so many outlets to search through, like Zillow, Trulia, Realtor, Craig’s List, Facebook Groups, and more, it can be a real job to find the home you are looking for. A buyer’s agent can do the looking for you, so you can be sure not to miss a thing!

Is there a better/secret way to locate a deal?

No, unfortunately. If there were a special site for good deals, every listing would end up there because every listing believes and wants buyers to believe, that they have a great deal. We recommend not signing up for potential spam and definitely not paying any site for a promise of a secret deal. 

Is a for-sale-by-owner a good deal?

It can be. Usually, a FSBO is trying to cut costs by selling their home on their own. This can mean you find a good deal, but be careful. A FSBO may be asking for too much without knowledge of the market and comparable pricing. An appraisal can save you from paying too much. Having an agent on your side will ensure the written offer is made to protect your best interests.

Can I get a good deal at a real estate auction?

Potentially, but there is risk involved. Many real estate auctions are done online, so not seeing the property in person increases the risk factor.

Do you need an agent to find a good deal?

You can get lucky and find one, but you won’t miss any of the good deals if you have an agent looking on your behalf.

Do you need to check listings every day?

It is recommended to regularly check property listings. If you have an agent watching for you, you can focus more on living your life and not adding another thing onto your plate.

Can I look for houses without feeling spammed?

Yes. Be honest with your agent about your wants and needs so they can narrow the search for you. This will result in fewer messages about properties that won’t interest you.

Can I narrow my search to specific neighborhoods?

Yes! You can limit your search to room count, attached garage, full basements, and even down to a specific street. The narrower your search, the longer it may take to find a home. 

I can’t find any houses I like, are my expectations too high?

Probably. Usually, there is not a perfect home that will check all your boxes and have the price tag you need. We recommend following the idea of the 80-10-10 rule. 80% of the house is what you are looking for, 10% can be changed, and 10% you can live with.  

I love every house, how do I decide which offer to make?

If you need to make a list of pros and cons, then do so! Figure out which home is the best for you. If you put an offer in and find a better home before that offer is accepted, you can pull your offer from the first one. 

 

Sept. 11, 2020

Is Now the Right Time to Sell?

Are you thinking about selling your home? We're here to give you tips on how to know the best time for you to list your home?

When should you sell your home?

When you are ready! This may sound silly, but are you prepared to move? Do you know where you are moving to? Make sure you have everything in order and you are ready to sell your home.

Should I sell my home now?

If you are ready, and satisfied with the current value of your home, yes! You may not get the best price or the fastest sale depending on the market in your area right now, but if that's okay with you, it's time to get started. The sooner your home is listed, the sooner the ball starts rolling.

How much should I ask for my home?

In a seller's market, it can be tempting to ask way above home value, but that's not our typical route. Asking for a higher price may limit the pool looking at your listing, and an appraisal can threaten the closing process. However, asking for the home's value can attract multiple offers, creating a competitive edge. Offers may take off contingencies and add escalation clauses and earnest money. It is usually more in your favor not to inflate your asking price.

You can find out the value of your home by talking to a listing agent. They will compare the location, size, condition, current housing market, and your goals in order to find your ideal listing price. 

How long should I wait to lower the asking price?

You will usually have the most activity on your listing in the first two weeks. You can usually re-evaluate based on feedback from showings and lack of. There isn't a magic timeline, and if you are not in a hurry to sell, you may not need to lower the price for a good amount of time. 

What does a listing agent do for me?

A listing agent does a lot. You can read all about what our listing agents do.

Paperwork can feel overwhelming, and agents are familiar with it. They can explain the legal language, guide you through the process, and most important- they market for you. 

What paperwork needs to be done to sell my home?

Unfortunately, it's not as easy as you'd hope to sell your home. There is a lot of paperwork and legality to cover between agreeing, signing, and handing over the keys. It makes a difference to have an agent on your side to navigate the legal, the negotiations, and the stress for you.

What marketing is involved to sell my home?

More than you would think! Not only are agents taking photos and writing a short description, but they also have a goal to make a buyer fall in love with your home. Getting the MLS listing allows the listed property to show up across the internet in many channels where agents and buyers alike are looking. In many cases, especially with health precautions, a video tour will highlight your property and allows potential buyers to feel the true layout of the home. Open houses haven't gone away! It can be limited to buyers and agents, but you can attract more walkthroughs by designating a time for a showing. Advertising on Facebook, Instagram, and other social channels will get in front of more people as well.

What time of year do people sell houses?

Traditionally, late spring/early summer but with the digital age, homes can sell anytime. The traditional time was created by the school year, ideal weather for traveling, and selling when people are looking. Now, buyers are much more flexible and the best time to sell is more about you and knowing if you're ready to sell.

When are people buying homes?

In today's world, all the time! The ability to locate, view, and even tour homes from your own living room has eliminated the Spring panic to attend open houses every weekend. The time of year is simply not a major factor. Keep in mind, most people are ready to move around the major holiday season, but for the right home, they can't turn it down.

What condition should my home be in to sell?

You want to make sure your home is clean. Fixing the little nicks goes a long way. Clean your windows to let in the natural light, and depersonalize your decor to allow buyers to visualize themselves living in your home.

When shouldn't I sell my house?

If you're not really ready to move, then you should rethink listing your house. Make sure your life is in a position to find and buy (and pack and move). Listing your home isn't something to do "for fun" or to "test the waters," so make sure the time is right for you.

How long are people staying in their homes?

There more people moving more frequently, so the average stay in a home is dropping. Some people stay in their homes for 30 years, while others start packing up after 2 years. Many factors come into play, but the average has shifted from over ten years to potentially less than five. 

Sept. 1, 2020

How do I Win multiple House Offers?

In a seller's market, you are not the only one eyeing that perfect home. We'll give you the insight into landing your dream house against multiple other offers.

Are you prepared to Win the Offer?

Are you able to have your funds in order, whether you are a cash buyer or relying on a lender? No matter what the situation, a big part of winning the offer is being ready financially.

Have you walked through the home? Not everything on paper lives up to the hype, so make sure you know what you are getting into.

Do you need an Escalation Clause?

An escalation clause states that you are offering X dollars, but if necessary, willing to go to X dollars. 
This clause is most valuable in a hot seller's market. When there are more buyers looking than homes listed, competition can be fierce. You may be dealing with offers over the asking price. An escalation clause gets the buyer's attention because it is clear you are seriously interested in the property.

While not always necessary, depending on the market, it may be the cherry-on-top of your offer.

Do you need to get Personal with an Offer?

Not as common as it once was, a letter to the seller can be the golden ticket. A letter usually includes a little bit about yourself and your tentative plans in the home. If you have kids, pets, a spouse, etc. Include whatever personal information you are comfortable with, but consider a brief bio and if you're starting a family, a home business, or enjoying retirement, etc.

What do you need to Win multiple Offers?

You may need a few, all, or none of these recommendations to win your offer. The housing market is variable, but each of these tactics has proven valuable in our experience.

Pre-Approval: Know your budget & be able to prove it.

Money Talks: Don't offer less than asking price. If you don't think it's worth it, rely on the appraisal.

Waive Contingencies: Carefully decide what you can do without.

Get Personal: Write a letter to the owner about why you want this home.

Cash is Great: If you are buying with cash, you're already ahead.

Escalation Clause: This states that if your offer is not good enough, you are willing to increase the price X dollars.

Earnest Money: If you have the ability, include an amount you're willing to give up-front when the contract is signed.

Can you Withdraw an offer?

Yes. While an offer is a legal document, the offer may be rescinded prior to acceptance. This may happen in the event that you put an offer in on a house you like, and then your dream home comes on the market. You may have been serious about the first offer, but now you want to put all you've got into your dream home. 

It is important to note that te offer must be rescinded before signing contracts. 

What does an offer Look like?

An offer is much more than just a dollar amount. There are a lot of details to hash out, such as inspections, earnest money, closing timeline, and more. The standard form used by the RE/MAX Unlimited Results team in Tiffin, OH is six pages of legalese and filling in. While varying state to state and even among regions, there is a lot included when making an offer. 

Is a house offer Legally binding?

While an offer has legal language, it is not legally binding unless contracts have been signed. Once your offer is accepted, both parties will sign a contract, making the offer a legal agreement. 

How long does it take for the offer to be Accepted?

Every transaction is unique, however, the range is typically a few hours to a few days. The timing usually depends on the amount of activity on a listing, whether there are negotiations back and forth, and the seller's schedule. 

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Aug. 21, 2020

How do I Increase my Home Value?

Watch Bill Jones interview our friend Jennifer Burns from Rustic Flair & Brush about making your home look it's best to increase its value. 

Should I worry about Staging and Decorating my House?

If you want the most buyers to see the most potential in your home, yes.

Having an outside perspective helps with making your home the most inviting. 

Remove the front door clutter. We're talking coats, shoes, umbrellas, hats, excessive keys, mail, whatever ends up in your entrance. If the first thing someone sees upon entering your home is clutter, they will want to walk right back out. 

Do I need more Space? How do I make my Rooms Look Bigger?

Whether you're working with smaller square footage or smaller size rooms, you don't need a total renovation or new addition. Some tips for making what you have feel bigger are:

Use natural light

Use light paint colors

Use Mirrors

Declutter! Everything has a purpose

Are Kitchens a Big Deal?

ABSOLUTELY. Kitchens are one of the top-selling features in a home. For several reasons, a great kitchen can make all the difference. 

A coat of paint helps, but it will not change your kitchen. 

If you have hosted holiday meals, you know that square-footage, counter space, and layout are all important. 

While included appliances make a statement, newer and matching appliances say more. 

A fresh backsplash and updated faucet can pop a modern look into your kitchen without spending a lot.

For a higher price tag, countertops, cabinets, and floor are highlighted features that buyers look for. Realistically, you may not want to invest in all that to sell, as it would be challenging to make back that whole investment. Some alternatives might be painting the kitchen cabinets, or getting an epoxy coating on the countertops.

Does Curb Appeal Matter?

Curb appeal may not have the same definition it used to, but it still matters! 

Curb appeal is the first thing a potential buyer sees. That was typically your front yard/porch. Now, with most buyers online, the first thing they see will be the photos. Within the first 5 photos, a buyer can decide whether or not that want to tour your home. It is so important for every photo to be taken with care and awareness of the space. Angle, lighting, and cleanliness go a long way. 

You do not need to renovate your whole yard, but weeding and trimming bushes will go a long way. We would also recommend adding mulch or stone to flower beds, and cleaning up any toys, bikes, etc. 

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Aug. 17, 2020

I wish I knew Before Buying my First Home

You aren't the first person to buy a house! We're touching on the things I wish I knew before buying my first house. First-time homebuyers are full of questions because buying a house is a big deal! We're breaking it down for you.

Is Buying a Home Stressful?

We would love to say, "No!" but honestly, it sure can be. Let us help! There are some great tools to reduce the stress involved.
BE PREPARED!
Get pre-approved and stick to your budget.
Prepare yourself for the downpayment, closing costs, and inspection fees.
Find a real estate agent you trust.



Join Bill Jones and Bryan Schube as they discuss Things I wish I knew before buying my first house.

Are Home Inspections worth it?

Yes. You may have experienced home buyers doing walkthroughs with you, but a professional inspection can turn up items that you definitely want to be aware of before buying. If the roof needs replaced right away, or mold is found in the basement, you want to know so that will weigh into your decision and what price you are willing to pay for a house.

Which Home Inspections should I get?

You should get the inspections you are comfortable with. 

We recommend getting a general inspection and if they have concerns, they will point you to more specific inspectors.
There are so many kinds of inspections, but you do not need them all. 

How will an Appraisal affect my Purchase?

If an appraisal comes back high, good for you!

If the appraisal comes back low, there are a few paths forward. You can negotiate further on price, or conditions you want to be met, or drop the deal altogether. 

Buying a Home for Today instead of Tomorrow?

The average homeowner stays in their house for 13 years. While that number has started declining, consider at least the next five years. Do you have young kids who will be wanting their own rooms? Will you be starting a family? Do you have older kids who will be moving out? Are you going to be working from home? Do you host holiday dinners or other large events? Keep your future plans in mind when setting the guidelines for your home. 

Should I Buy a Fixer-Upper?

Unless you have the skills, loan type, time, and patience, we do not recommend buying a fixer-upper.

DIY can be fun and rewarding for projects around the house, but buying a home that requires it becomes a huge project to take on. 

Can I Negotiate with the Seller?

Yes!!! We recommend using your agent's expertise. If a home is not worth the asking price, or needs repairs, negotiating is highly recommended. 

What is the Benefit of Buying instead of Renting?

When you buy a home, your monthly payments are leading toward something- owning your home! That means equity!

The freedom involved in owning your home allows you do invest in updating, upgrading, and truly loving your space.

The DownPayment isn't My Only Expense?

There are several costs to consider when buying your first home. 

Downpayment, whether you are planning for 3, 5, 10, or 20 percent down, know your budget and make a saving plan.

Closing costs, they vary so don't be afraid to shop around for your lender and title company.

Updates to -and for- your new home, you may want new furniture or appliances, a bathroom remodel, and more. 

If you need to rent a moving truck or labor to assist your move, there will be additional costs.

How much should I plan for Closing Costs?

Every situation is different, and prices vary based on location.

Around Tiffin, OH we typically see closing costs around $4,000, so be sure to include that when budgeting for your downpayment, new furniture or appliances, and other moving expenses.

How Important is my Credit Score?

That exact question would be redirected to your lender.

What we do know is you should not do things that greatly affect your credit while you're house shopping. 

If you buy a new car, buy the furniture for your new home, suddenly start missing payments... Your credit will change. The lender does re-check your score right before closing and if there was a sudden change, your pre-approval may be invalid.

Will I Find the PERFECT House?

Probably not. We all envision a dream house that has it all - if that's location, ranch or to story, full basement or fenced in yard, pool or large deck, etc. - and the chances of finding the "perfect" house in the budget is a pretty steep ask.

We recommend buying your first house with the 80-10-10 approach.

80% of the house is what you WANT

10% of the house you can CHANGE

10% of the house you can LIVE WITH

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Aug. 7, 2020

The Home Closing Process

So you've listed your home, you have an interested party, and now you're heading for the closing process.

Before the sign changes from FOR SALE to SOLD, you may have some questions.

What happens after the offer is accepted?

Maybe the offer was just put in, or you've gone back and forth a few times, but now you like the number.
Get that agreement in writing! 

For both parties, a written offer acceptance proves the agreement was made and holds each accountable.

Now, documents will be put in order, the title company and lender will be involved, and inspections/repairs come into place.

 

 

What happens after the contract is signed?

The records of the title and titleholder are reviewed. Currently, this may take 3-8 days (with COVID-19) of ensuring the record is clean, noting other mortgages, leans, probate information, or anything that could affect the title of the property.

Can house closings be done remotely?

Yes, mostly. E-signatures are legal and can be used for the majority of the closing process. The exception being the Mortgage and Title. Because these items must be notarized, the process cannot be completely remote.  

Can house closings be delayed?

Unfortunately, yes. Inspection issues, title issues, 

Who pays the closing costs?

In a typical transaction, the agents on either side get a commission from the seller.

Who sets a house closing date?

Usually the banker. 45, sometimes 30 days out from the contract. Is the bank ready to loan the money? Sometimes an extension is needed, and that's okay.

How does house closing work?

First, the buyer will come in to sign the necessary documents. This may take 30-45 minutes depending on the specific transaction. Afterward, the seller will sign their documents which is typically quick. After signatures are taken care of, the buyer and seller come together to talk utilities and details and pass the keys onto the new homeowner. 

How long does house closing take?

A typical transaction can take an hour, but each closing is different and may require more time.

How do I pay the Closing Costs?

In the State of Ohio, an amount exceeding $10,000 must be wired to the title company. If under $10,000, a cashier's check is accepted. The money will go to the title agency who will separate out the fees, commissions, etc.

What are Closing Costs?

Closing costs can include a variety of different fees. There are title fees, listing fees, bank fees, taxes, deed preparation fees, and several other things included. The breakdown and details can all be found in the contracts signed. 

Can house closing fall through? Why?

Yes. Deals fall through more often than closings, but anything is possible. Deals usually run into trouble during home inspections. Many lenders have specified conditions that a property must be in in order to loan money for a home. If the property is found to have a shifting foundation, mold, or other issues, the lender can decline the loan and the contract falls through. 

Are closing costs tax-deductible?

Probably not, but you can talk to your tax advisor regarding your specific circumstance. 

Who conducts the home closing? 

The title company, whether a manager or secretary will lead the closing meeting. 

Who attends the closing?

With current restrictions due to the COVID 19 pandemic, the fewer people attending a closing, the better. Normally, the buyer and seller would be present. In addition, lender, title manager, real estate agents, and family can all be present.

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July 31, 2020

Working with Real Estate Agents

The ins and outs of working with a real estate agent, why you should, and what they do...

Watch this interview with Real Estate Experts Tom Jagucki and Bill Jones. Contact an expert HERE. 
If you're wondering how to become an agent in Ohio, check out our step-by-step guide.

At what point do I get a Real Estate Agent involved?

The sooner the better.

If you are simply toying with the idea of selling, talking to an agent can give you an idea of the current market, whether you have some updating to do first, recommended price range to sell at, and so much more. The information can help you decide if and when you want to put your house on the market.

If you are browsing homes on an app, talking to an agent can get you focused on what you are looking for and what is in your budget. 

How do agents help with house showings?

Real estate is a full-time job. If you are selling your house, people want to see it. Having an agent gives you the freedom to continue your daily life without having to schedule in showtimes. If you are buying a house, agents can work around your schedule to do evening showings, or wait until your day off and have 2, 3, or even 8 showings in a day. 

How do agents help with finding homes?

Knowing what you are looking for in a home allows us to set up an automatic search for you, so no home is overlooked. Technology speeds up the process of finding, getting into, and putting an offer on a house. Because this process happens quickly, especially with a hot market, an agent helps you get in more homes, faster.

How do agents help with faster closings?

Managing paperwork and who gets what and when is no walk in the park. Having an experienced agent relieves you of the stress, knowing they have it under control. Closing on a home is a process, and agents know that process. 

Who do Real Estate agents work for?

The short answer is - You. When you sit down with an agent, they have you sign a contract stating that they are working for you. For that transaction, whether you are buying or selling, they are contractually employed by you. They will work in your benefit during negotiations, both monetary and not. Your agent will look out for your best interest.

When and Where do real estate agents work?

Everywhere, all of the time.

Real estate is not a 9-5 job. Your agent may not be available 24/7 but will reach out at the earliest available time.

Agents work a floating schedule around your schedule. They work for you and want to be available to you. Sometimes that means working until 10 pm, sometimes it means leaving home at 5 am. Some agents may give you their schedule open times, others may ask what your availability is. Each situation, and market, is unique.

Agents often travel for their clients. However, if they feel it's in your best interest, they will refer you to another agent in the area you are looking to move to. An agent in the area will know the market and save you time.

Can a real estate agent represent the buyer and the seller?

Yes. An agent may help you sell your home at the same time they help you buy your next house. These are two separate transactions that do not conflict with each other.  

An agent may also be working with the buyer and seller of the same property, however, it is a trickier situation. The agent must work for both the buyer and seller as separate transactions and cannot disclose information they know as an agent for the other party that they would not be privy to otherwise. The transaction is allowed and must be handled carefully by the agent.

How do Real Estate agent fees work? 
Who pays them? When do they get paid?

Real estate agents are independent contractors who are not paid a salary. Their commission check does not come in until after a sale is finalized.

In a typical transaction, the commission comes from the seller in an agreement they signed when listing the home. The agreed percentage or amount is then split between the seller's agent and the buyer's agent. 

Your agent works on faith that you will stick with them after they show you several houses. They want to build that relationship and trust because most transactions do not happen overnight. You will not typically fall in love with the first house you walk into. Life-changing decisions take time, and your agent knows that. Your agent wants the best for you. They learn your likes and dislikes from each property visited, and not visited.

What all can real estate agents do?

The list is frankly endless. Your agent will manage and guide you through the process of buying or selling your home. They will show you homes, or show your home. Real estate agents have experienced a number of scenarios that give them knowledge and expertise. By sharing their previous experiences, they can give you information and insight to help you make decisions. They will explain the choices for you, and allow you to make them. Ultimately, the home will be yours, the loan will be yours, and the decision is yours.

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July 28, 2020

Mortgage Pre-Approvals: How? When? Why?

No matter how seriously you're looking into buying a new home, getting pre-approved is a beneficial step to the next level. You may have questions about the process, so we answered some common questions for you!

Should I get pre-approved?

Yes, yes, and yes!

The pre-approval process takes a look at your life and figures out what price you can afford. This is extremely helpful when buying your first home because you might be looking at houses beyond what you can get financed for, or you may have limited yourself when you could afford a higher range than expected.

When you find "the one" house, you want to put in an offer that holds weight. If you put in an offer without a lender behind it, another offer may hold more weight simply because it's backed with a letter of pre-approval.

A pre-approval saves you time! You know what price to be looking for, your offer is more likely to be accepted, and you don't have to suddenly find a lender when the offer is accepted. 

Video recorded on July 24, 2020, rates discussed subject to change*

How do I start the pre-approval process?

Talk to a lender to begin the process! You can go through your local credit union, retail bank, or mortgage broker.

How long does it take?

While each situation is unique, the range is typically a few hours to a few days. If you are self-employed or had recent changes to your credit, it may require a more thorough review before approval. If you've been at the same job longterm with no major changes recently, you could walk out with a letter of approval in minutes.

What does the lender need from me?

Every lender is different, but they typically need to check your credit, debt, income, and assets. Be prepared with your W2s and most recent paystubs.

What is the difference between pre-approval and pre-qualified?

A pre-qualified letter is based on the information you give a lender. Therefore, a pre-qualification is usually not as accurate. A pre-approval requires pulling credit and other documentation verifying your information, which leads to more accurate approvals.

Is a pre-approval guaranteed?

Unfortunately, no.

There are several conditions within a pre-approval letter that must be met to get the desired loan. These may include needing to sell your home, home inspections, the property condition, insurance, closing costs, application fees, and more. 

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July 21, 2020

Join The REMAX Team

We're so glad you are looking into joining our team!

We would love to add you to our RE/MAX Unlimited Results Realty Office. With years of expertise to guide you and many resources to help you succeed, you can count on this decision.

Start the process!

Not yet a licensed agent? No Problem! Here's how to get started...

Become a Real Estate Agent!

1. You must be 18 or older and have a high school diploma (or equivalent).
You will need a background check, including fingerprints.

2. Required education includes 120 hours of pre-licensing courses completed within the last ten years before applying. 
These courses must be taken at a higher education institution. The 120 hours include 40 hours of Real Estate Principles and Practices, 40 hours of Ohio Real Estate Law, 20 hours of Real Estate Appraisal, and 20 hours of Real Estate Finance.

3. You must be sponsored by a broker in order to apply. This is where we come in! Bill Jones is the primary broker for RE/MAX Unlimited Results Real Estate. Reach out to get started!

4. Submit your application with your transcripts, $60 fee, and Salesperson Examination Application.

5. Once the application is processed, you'll receive a Candidate Information Bulletin with directions to schedule your test. Just pass the test (70% or better) and your new career begins!

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Posted in Realtors