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Do I Need a Real Estate Agent to Sell a Crofton Home?

Crofton MD Real Estate Q & A

Woman realtorQ.  Do I need a real estate agent to sell my Crofton home?  I can put a sign in my yard, hold open house, and post the details online without an agent.

A.  Yes, you can do those things, but selling a home in today’s market requires more than finding a buyer. Perhaps I’m a little prejudiced, but I’ve had the privilege of observing many good real estate agents at work.   I’ve seen them anticipate, recognize, and neutralize problems in a real estate transaction before the sale is de-railed –  and often without their client ever knowing there was a threat to the transaction.  These sales would not have closed without a good real estate agent holding together the transaction!

Karen Bernetti, a real estate stager, former REALTOR, and author in Southington, CT, puts it this way:

Are REALTORS Worth Their Commission?
by Karen Bernetti

Are Realtors Worth Their Commission? I used to be one of those part-time Realtors (that full-time agents love to hate). During my years as a Realtor, I found the really good seaonsed agents intimidated me A LOT. Why? Because they seem to know EVERYTHING about everything. I was in awe – and by the way, I still am.

  • While (most) agents are not home inspectors – they sure know a lot about radon, HVAC systems, wells, septic systems and more.
  • While (most) agents are not licensed mortgage officers – they sure know the in’s and out’s of getting buyers approved for financing.
  • While (most) agents are not licensed appraisers – they sure know a lot about property values.
  • While (most) agents are not attorneys – I’m amazed at how much they [the REALLY good ones] know about real estate law.

  • While (most) agents are not home improvement contractors – they are often a wealth of knowledge when it comes to roofing, siding, flooring, windows and more.
  • While most agents are not interior decorators – many know a lot about home staging.
  • While (I’d venture to guess many) agents don’t have an MBA, they sure know a lot about marketing and advertising.
  • While (most) agents are not bankers, I’m amazed at how they (the REALLY good ones) manage to navigate through the scary world of short sales and foreclosures.
  • While (most) agents are not licensed psychologists – they sure know a lot about family and marriage counseling. They get stuck in the middle of a lot of touchy disputes between spouses and family members.
  • And while (most) agents are not professional journalists, a lot them are truly amazing writers! Especially the friends I’ve had the privilege to meet here in the Rain (I would list them but I would be here all night if I did. They know who they are).

You have to be a very special person to last in this business. The true professionals that I know are without a doubt worth every penny of commission they earn.  You really have no idea how hard (good)Realtors work – until you’ve done it yourself.

It made sense for me to have a real estate license years ago when my husband was building houses. And when we were in the condo management biz, being licensed allowed me to offer more services to our clients. I’m no longer involved in either of those businesses anymore which is why I am no longer a licensed Realtor.

I’m happy to finally be able dedicate myself full-time to my staging business – my true passion. I’ll leave the business of representing buyers and sellers to those whose shoes I don’t believe I could ever properly fill.

Are REALTORS worth their commission?  Absolutley! 

Karen, it’s so true.  Experienced real estate agents spend a lot of time in the company of home inspectors, appraisers, etc., and we do constantly learn from them.  Our clients reap the benefits of these experiences!  Thanks for letting me re-blog this at Focus On Crofton.

Originally posted at Activerain.com. 
Re-posted at FocusOnCrofton.com with permission

Posted by Margaret Woda | Discussion: Comments Off on Do I Need a Real Estate Agent to Sell a Crofton Home?

Should I Re-Schedule My Home Inspection if It Rains?

Crofton MD Real Estate Q & A

Q.  The weather forecast doesn’t look very good for the day my home inspection is scheduled. Should I postpone it?

A.  What better time to check for a leaking roof than a rainy day!  I definitely would not recommend re-scheduling the home inspection on your Crofton area home.

Northern Virginia home inspector Jay Markanich adds his perspective to this, but his formatting and photos didn’t transfer to FocusOnCrofton.com  Please click on the link below to see his original post, including photos:

Home Inspections In The Rain
by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector

Sometimes people will call me to ask if our scheduled home inspection should be canceled because it’s a rainy day.  Of course I say NO!  When it’s raining and water is flowing, on, off and around a house, you can see things not otherwise manifest!

Take this house for instance.  When I got there it had been raining all night and well into the morning.  It was raining hard at the time I arrived.  Taking the time to carry my things to the front porch, I noticed this leaking under the front porch roof.

There isn’t any reason why water should be dripping from around that wood trim, the ceiling drywall and inside the siding!  There was a pretty good puddle at the bottom, so obviously this had been happening all night.  Was it leaking inside too?

Let’s see, um, yep, it’s leaking!  The moisture meter stopped at over 30%.  That’s lots of moisture!  The house is one year old and never lived in.  It is custom built and expensive.  Such leaking would be exceptionally unusual.  So, why the leaking?

Just a slight issue with a lack of step flashing where the siding meets the shingles over the front porch roof.  It has been like this since the day they installed the shingles.  Flashing was an after thought.

Now, had we postponed this inspection due to rain, this slight flaw would not have been so easily noticed!

Remember, CUSTOM builder!

So next time you’re tempted to postpone a home inspection due to rain, think again!

My recommendation:  If it’s raining, and you are scheduled for a home inspection, keep the appointment!  Come prepared for the rain and plan to look around.  You might see something revealing, and that you might not otherwise have opportunity to see!

_______________

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia
www.jaymarinspect.com

Posted by Margaret Woda | Discussion: Comments Off on Should I Re-Schedule My Home Inspection if It Rains?

Question from a Prospective Crofton Home Seller

Crofton Real Estate Q&A

Q.  What information should I provide to my agent when I list my Crofton home?

A.  The best way to prepare for questions you’ll face in the coming weeks is to provide this paperwork to your agent at the time you list your Crofton home for sale: 

NOTE:  Items marked with an asterisk may be shared with prospective buyers.  Your personal financial information is confidential and will not be shared with prospective home buyers.   

Copyright 2006-11.  All rights reserved.

DISCLAIMER: Information contained in this post is deemed reliable on the date of publication, but it is not guaranteed and it is subject to change without notice.

________________________________________________________________________________________

For additional information about real estate and communities in the triangle formed by D.C., Baltimore and Annapolis, Maryland, contact Margaret Woda at Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.  Enjoy a competitive edge in your next real estate transaction or military relocation with Margaret’s 30+ years of real estate experience and local knowledge on your side, as your adviser and advocate. 

 

Posted by Margaret Woda | Discussion: Comments Off on Question from a Prospective Crofton Home Seller

Can I buy another home after a short sale?

CROFTON MD REAL ESTATE Q&A

Q.  Sold HomeHow long do I have to wait to buy another house if I do a short sale?

A.  Cathy Baumbusch, of RE/MAX Allegiance in Springfield, VA did a very nice job of answering this question in her blog on Activerain earlier this week:

How long do I have to wait to buy another house if I do a short sale? by Cathy Baumbusch

I often get this question from people at cocktail parties and other social events that I attend. The first time this was posed to me, my thought was why on EARTH would you even be THINKING about buying another house after you just went through the agony of a short sale? But after wiping the drink that flew out through my nose off of the person that I was talking to, I realized, OK, this is a legitimate question.

You came upon hard times, you might have made some bad financial decisions (who hasn’t?), or you lost your job. It happens. And truth be told, to look forward to the time when you can take the plunge again into the pool of homeownership is actually quite a cheerful way of looking at things. It reflects hope, a kind of optimism that you thought could only be found in stories about little red-headed orphan girls with bad hairdos and funny names.

So here is a rundown on the waiting periods after a “derogatory event”. And, who knew?, it matters whether you got a conventional, FHA, or VA financing, and a conforming or non-conforming loan. (Confused yet? If so, just call me.)

Conventional Financing

Pre-foreclosure or Short sale

Conforming: Loan-to-value (LTV) less than or equal to 80%: Two years. LTV 80.01-90%: Five years. LTV greater than 90.01%: Seven years

Non-conforming: Loan amounts over $1,000,000: Seven years from completion date. Loan amounts less than $1,000,000: Unless there exists “fully documented and supported extenuating circumstances”, Seven years.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Conforming: Four years or greater from either the discharge or dismissal date.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Conforming: LTV less than or equal to 80%: Two years or greater from discharge date, or four years or greater from dismissal date. LTV greater than 80.01%: Four years or greater from either discharge or dismissal date.

Multiple Bankruptcy Filings within the last seven years (who does that?)

Conforming: LTV less than or equal to 80%: Five years or greater from the most recent discharge cor dismissal date. LTV 80.01%: NOT ALLOWED. (You better think long and hard about this one.)

Non-conforming (all bankruptcy types): Loan amounts over $1,000,000: Seven years from completion date. Loan amounts less than $1,000,000: Unless there exists “fully documented and supported extenuating circumstances”, Seven years.

Foreclosure

Conforming. Seven years.

Non-conforming. Seven years. No extenuating circumstances allowed.

Deed-in-lieu of Foreclosure

Conforming: LTV less than or equal to 80%: Four years from completion date, subject to owner-occupant purchase or limited cash-out refinance AND, if a purchase transaction, applicant must contribute from their own funds, the greater of 10% minimum down payment or the minimum required by the product. If this requirement is not met, the waiting period is seven years.

For LTV greater than 80.01%, it is five years subject to owner-occupant purchase or limited cash-out refinance, AND, the maximum LTV is 90%. Contribution as above also applies. Again, if not met, the waiting period is seven years.

If the transaction is a cash-out, second home or investement, the waiting period is seven years.

Non-conforming: Loan amounts over $1,000,000: Seven years from completion date. Loan amounts less than $1,000,000: Unless there exists “fully documented and supported extenuating circumstances”, Seven years.

FHA

Foreclosure/Deed-in-lieuof foreclosure: Generally, for a foreclosure or deed in lieu, the waiting period is about 3 years. Of course, extenuating circumstances beyond your control may save you, but only if the borrower has established good credit since. Unfortunately, transfer or relocation does not count as exteby-nuating circumstances.

Bankruptcy. Chapter 7: Two years, if the borrower has established good credit since the discharge and demonstrated ability to manage financial affairs. (Not sure how this is determined.) It could be less than two years if the good ol’ “extenuating circumstances” come into play, and the borrower can show that those circumstances are not likely to recur.

Bankruptcy. Chapter 13: After a one-year payout period, the borrowers performance is satisfactory, and court approval is granted.

Credit counseling: After one year payout plan is successful and borrower receives written permission from the agency.

VA

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: In general, if the bankruptcy occurred more than two years ago, underwriters for VA loans can disregard it.

For less than two years, the VA looks at the borrowers almost on a case-by-case basis. They look at whether credit has been reestablished satisfactorily. Further, if the bankruptcy was deemed to be “beyond the applicant’s control”, the applicant’s may be able to qualify if certain requirements are met. Divorce, unfortunately, is not normally viewed as beyond an applicant’s control.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: If applicant has completed all payments for the requisite two to five year period, the applicant may qualify. If payments are being made for 12 months on a satisfactory basis, they may qualify.

Foreclosures: For this, a complete look at the file is necessary. In general the guidelines for bankruptcy is followed. Veterans need to be aware, though, how thier eligibility may be affected for any subsequent loans.

 

So there you have it, the general rules for buying another home after a short sale, bankruptcy or foreclosure. A follow-on question is always “how bad will my credit be affected?”. The short answer is always, of course, it depends. If you’re doing a short sale, you’re probably behind in your payments at least a few months. That in and of itself will damage your credit by 50-300 points the experts say.  I personally don’t know anyone whose credit was only dinged a mere 50 pts after missing payments and doing a short sale. But if the statistic is there, it must have happened somewhere.

With a bankruptcy or foreclosure, you can count on a reduction in your credit score of several hundred points. There’s really no getting around this.

One other tip to keep in mind, there are no quick fixes to repairing your credit. If it sounds too good to be true, you know it probably is. You know what the rules are, stick to them, and we’ll all be OK.

Thanks to my friends at Bank of America for contributing to this post.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thanks, Cathy, for answering this question for my Crofton area readers!

 

Posted by Margaret Woda | Discussion: Comments Off on Can I buy another home after a short sale?

Should Renters Get a Home Inspection?

Crofton Real Estate Q&A

Q.  Should I get a home inspection before moving into a Crofton rental property?  I’m concerned about safety issues and hidden defects.

A.  Frankly, a home inspection for rentals isn’t customary in this area… but it’s probably a good idea.  Here’s why I say that…

The typical rental move-in checklist deals primarily with cosmetic issues:  The carpet, walls, windows…  But what about the things you can’t see?  These are the things a home inspection would disclose. 

Home inspection - istockphoto.com

Wouldn’t you like to know before moving into the property if some of the electrical outlets aren’t grounded?  What if there’s an open electrical junction box in the attic?  If the roof leaks or basement floods?  Does the furnace have a cracked heat exchanger?  Is there aluminum wiring and, if so, are there any safety precautions the tenant should take?  Would you recognize a wood-destroying insect if you saw it?  Was the deck built well enough to hold the 30 people expected to attend your son’s graduation party?

A home inspection usually costs about $250-$300 in the Crofton area, but that could be a small investment in your family’s safety. 

If a home inspection indicates any compelling safety issues, you should ask the landlord to correct them before you move in.  You can (and should) still make a record of cosmetic discrepancies, which you can identify on your own, but there’s more to property condition than cosmetics.

If you’d like me to provide contact info for 2 or 3 local home inspection companies, let me know as soon as possible because it may be a few days before they can fit you into their schedule.  Then, if they find anything you want to report to the landlord, you may need a few days to negotiate requested repairs.

____________________________________________

Maybe a home inspection SHOULD be customary for rentals…  Perhaps a landlord should get one before listing his property for rent.  That wouldn’t be a bad risk-management strategy for landlords.

There’s no simple answer to the question about whether a renter should get a home inspection.  Or… perhaps there is. 

Many thanks to the renter who asked this question and inspired me to consider this issue.  I am going to start offering a home inspection to my rental clients and landlords.

Copyright 2006-11.  All rights reserved.

DISCLAIMER: Information contained in this post is deemed reliable on the date of publication, but it is not guaranteed and it is subject to change without notice.
________________________________________________________________________________________

Margaret Woda, Crofton REALTORFor additional information about real estate and communities in the triangle formed by D.C., Baltimore and Annapolis, Maryland, contact Margaret Woda at Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.  Enjoy a competitive edge in your next real estate transaction or military relocation with Margaret’s 30+ years of real estate experience and local knowledge on your side, as your adviser and advocate. 

Posted by Margaret Woda | Discussion: Comments Off on Should Renters Get a Home Inspection?

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