Category Archives: Home Buyers

5 Important issues for having a property survey

Prospective home buyers think it may be a waste of money to purchase a new property survey. It is important to contract for a new survey if there is none available. Don’t you want to know specifically what you are buying? Purchasing a home is the largest financial decision made by most people. Acreage and raw land may have ambiguous markers. Fences have been known to have been moved or removed. A new home may have a zero lot line that may not be evident to a consumer’s eye.

A property survey conveys crucial information at the time of contract and future changes you may wish to make to your land.

5 Important issues for having a property survey:

  • Location of utility easements – As simple as this may sound, prospective buyers have asked why these easements are necessary! In order to have electric, gas, water, cable, internet, etc., utility easements are necessary. Location of the utility easements let you know not to pour new concrete for a gazebo over your gas lines! This is also required access for utility companies.
  • Property parameters – Does the driveway overlap onto the next door neighbor’s property? Property lines verify the length/width of the easement between your home and the public access (street or road).  Property lines also differentiate your neighbors property, side to side and in back, from your property.
  • Fence lines – If your neighbor contracted to install a fence overlapping onto your backyard, a survey is integral to protecting your rights. A survey can also verify fence ownership.
  • Location of septic tank lids and wells – knowledge for inspection, maintenance and access.
  • Location of improvements – house, concrete for sidewalks, driveways, patios, outbuildings, and any other structures. Gravel drives and walkways, as well as fences are noted.

The survey date is important if changes have been made – additions as well as deletions to the property since the date of the last survey.  A form T-47, Residential, Real Property Affidavit  can be used to verify no changes have been made to the property when a sale is transacted.  A survey protects your rights. A professional Realtor® or real estate attorney can guide and direct you for protection of your best interests.

 

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Why do I need a mortgage pre-approval?

The Realtor® requests a mortgage pre-approval or verification of funds. You have determined you are ready to research  the purchase of a house. You may start out looking at homes on real estate websites. During the process, you contact a real estate agent to view a specific home. You may not be ready to disclose all of your personal information, at this time. It may be your preliminary plan to determine what is available in the market. You may be researching a different area to move to or you aren’t sure of your buying power. The purchase of a home is the largest financial transaction most people will make in their lifetime. A serious buyer is willing to provide the information necessary to complete this transaction.

If you are on a search for a new place to call home, you will have to pay for it. A mortgage pre-approval gives you insight into how much home you are able to afford. A mortgage professional can also educate you on options and benefits you may not have been fully aware of. We all like to think we are our own experts but even Realtors® learn something new with each change in lending laws, policies and guidelines. Mortgage lenders are expert in their field and will provide all options available to you.

“PRE-APPROVED”

A cash buyer will be asked for verification of funds. A percentage of prospective buyers feel they do not have to disclose their personal information to a real estate agent. An experienced Realtor® will verify the buyer’s ability to pay. A licensed Realtor also has a fiduciary duty to keep information confidential and direct actions in the best interest of his/her customer/client.

If you are unable to apply for a mortgage or do not have your funds at goal status, a real estate agent will be able to provide information necessary for a successful transaction. If you have an existing relationship with a financial institution, they may be able to provide direction for attaining your home buying goals.

For the safety of a real estate agent and the owners of the homes you wish to view, prospective buyers must provide personal identification. Contact information allows the Realtor® to communicate information essential to the customer’s needs. When you are ready to purchase a home, realize the real estate agent providing services to you, is a professional. Your best interest is forefront.  A qualified buyer will have the information necessary to make the best decisions.

 

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20 Reasons to want multiple master bedrooms

According to a realtor.com® analysis, active listings which include more than one master bedroom, average 9 percent higher in price than those that do not. Consumers are more vocal when it comes to stating their needs in a home. Multiple master bedrooms are becoming the new trend in homes. Consumers are open when stating why they want more than one master bedroom. Some folks will share information they don’t tell their pastor, priest or rabbi but they will tell their realtor® specifically why they want separate master bedrooms.

Reasons for multiple master bedrooms:

  • Partners snore, thrash, talk in their sleep or get up too often during the night
  • Multi generational family needs – elderly parents, boomerang kids, siblings
  • Sleep disorders – such as insomnia, sleep walking, sleep apnea, sleep eating
  • One partner wishes to sleep with pets in the bed and the other disagrees
  • Accommodating children in the bed and the other partner requires sound sleep
  • Professions requiring nightly interruptions
  • Non-traditional work hours
  • Halitosis
  • Separated, living under the same roof
  • Open lifestyles (open to interpretation)
  • Environment – room temperature, more/less bedding, light/dark
  • Different preference for mattress/bed type (he hates the waterbed)
  • One can’t sleep without the TV on and the other requires silence
  • A need for one’s own space
  • Religion
  • Guest accommodation
  • Illness
  • Mismatched body clocks – night owl, early bird
  • Decorating differences – flowers and lace vs. taxidermy and ammo
  • They just want to sleep alone
090
Master bedrooms

It is important to tell your realtor® the specific type of home you want. The number of en- suite bedrooms is noteworthy. The reason why is strictly your own business.

A professional real estate agent or broker will be able to assist you in finding your dream home with the amenities you are seeking.

 

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HomeBuyer house hunting homework

Has your prospective dream home been the scene of a horrific murder? The history of the home and previous occupants may be of concern or hold historical value to a potential buyer. Homebuyer house hunting homework may be the call of action to answer important inquiries.

A professional Realtor® should readily have an answer or the resource available to research an answer. Questions are encouraged. An informed consumer is in a better position to make a qualified decision for purchase.

Examples of prospective homebuyer questions could be and have been:

  • Has anyone died in this house?
  • Were there any crimes committed in this house?
  • Are there sex offenders living nearby?
  • Is there a pet leash law?
  • Does the subdivision allow 3 story high jungle gyms?
  • Can I run my business from this house?
  • How far is the nearest firehouse?
  • Can I breed pit bulls in the backyard?

Your Realtor® should know, according to his or her state laws governing whether they are able to discuss a death in the home. Texas Realtors® or home owners are not obligated to disclose this information – whether they are aware of it or not. As a prospective buyer, you have the right to research available police records, state, county and local jurisdiction public files and local newspapers and publications for information related to the home’s address.

Public records will also be the key to the history of home ownership. Most counties now have the line of ownership available on the Internet. If you are an observant researcher, it may be evident to determine if the home was inherited or transferred within a family, a foreclosure, a history of improvements, tax history, lien history and a record of the properties/improvements dimensions.

The US Department of Justice National Sex Registry has a website for researching if there are sex offenders living nearby or within the community. The Internet is also a resource for locating the nearest police and fire house. If the home is located in a town, borough, suburb or sub-division community, they may have their own website with local rules, laws, regulations and activities available. Sub-divisions may also have a copy of the by-laws and deed restrictions posted by the home owner association (HOA). Your real estate agent will also be able to obtain home owner association information for you, also.

Home owner association by-laws and deed restrictions are usually very specific and will let you know the requirements for home ownership within the subdivision. Local jurisdictions will also inform you of yoHomebuyer house hunting homeworkur ability to run a business from your residence or not. Ask specific questions. You may be able to conduct business but may not be able to post a sign advertising the business on the property. Local jurisdictions will also be able to inform you of laws and regulations in reference to pet ownership.

Again, your real estate agent or broker will have neighborhood knowledge and resources to assist with answers to your questions.

 

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Statistics for Texas home buyers

Statistics bring to our attention trends and moves within our personal focus and direction. Though we are all unique individuals, state and national currents of home buying and home selling activity relay the propensity of our overall habits.

Women are rocking it in Texas. Twice as many women (14%) purchased homes in Texas as men between July 2014 and June 2015, compared to 7% of men. The national comparison is 15 % of women home buyers compared to 9% of men home buyers for 2015. Before the Fair Housing Act of 1968, women had a difficult time obtaining a credit card to buy a dress let alone qualify for a mortgage to buy a home. The Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974 further assisted women with obtaining credit.

Married Texas home buyers decreased 2% to 70% from the previous year. Six percent of unmarried couples bought homes in Texas between July 2014 and June 2015.

Homes purchased with room for parents or adult children (over 18 years of age) are 15% in Texas compared to 18% nationally.

The median size home sold during this time period is a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom, 2060 square foot house. The national average size home Headeris 1,900 square feet during the same time period. New home construction, 30%, accounted for Texas home sales. Texans like new and shiny. The national average is 16% which has recently remained constant.

Nationally, folks remain an average of 9 years in their homes. Texans average 8 years in their homes which decreased by one year between July 2014 and June 2015. The average age of a Texas home buyer is 45 years of age with first time home buyers median age of 31 years old.

Eight weeks was the average tenure for seeking the perfect property, with views of an average of 10 homes in Texas. 68% used the assistance of the internet and a Texas Realtor®. The primary purpose when choosing a Texas Realtor® in 2015 was to understand the buying process, assistance with pointing out flaws and features and 57% chose a Realtor® for counseling in selecting the best home for them.

#HomeBuyer
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Time of day matters for termination of contract option period

Effective, January 1, 2016, The Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC), implemented the time deadline as 5:00 pm (local to the listed property) for termination of the contract option period.Option termination

How many times in the past were you, as a real estate agent, conducting business at 11:57 PM?

 

#Realtor #REAgent

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Grow a down payment

Buying a home is within everyone’s reach. Attitude and discipline will assist in reaching your goal. First time home buyers are creative people. You can grow a down payment within the means you are living with now. Home ownership will benefit your financial bottom line. You may be paying higher rent than a future mortgage payment calculates.Grow a down payment

Review your expenditures. For one week, write down every cent you spend including gum, candy, coffee, soft drinks, movies, drive-thru and impulse purchases. If you are buying $5.00 per day, for on- the- go coffee or soft drinks during a work week, it totals to $1,300.00 per year.

Toll road fees appear to be incidental to save 15 minutes of commute time. If the toll is $3.00 each way to work, five days a week – a one year total is $1,560.00.

How bad do you really want your own home?

Quit eating out. For the cost of a chef salad in your local restaurant, you can purchase salad ingredients at your local market for a few days of salad at home. Salads do not require a lot of “cooking” expertise. Learn how to cook your favorite eateries’ entree. Your down payment fund will grow exponentially. Create events such as picnics for a new view instead of the golden arches. Barbecuing in your new back yard can be a dream come true.

Do you own a boat, motorcycle, ski-doo, snowmobile, RV or classic car being stored? How often do you utilize these fabulous grown-up indulgences? Sell these items. Add up how much you will save in insurance, maintenance, storage fees and running costs. Grow your down payment. Buy your home. Buy another fancy schmancy fun extravagance to store in your new garage.

Eliminate debt, starting with the smallest balance first. Observe the amount of monthly interest you are being charged on the account. Paying off each bill will allow that dollar amount to be saved toward your goal of home ownership.

One person’s junk is another person’s treasure. Consider a garage sale or selling unused items on Ebay, Craigslist or other auction sites. If the motivation is to own your own home, think of getting rid of “things” as less to move when you switch to your new house. Less stuff to move will also lessen the moving expense. Your down payment will grow with each deposit from the sale of possessions you no longer want or need. Do not buy anything you do not actually need until your down payment goal is met. Weigh the difference between “want” and “need”.

Each of these suggestions will take fortitude, tenacity and the extreme desire to reach your down payment goal. Increasing your income with a second job can expedite the process. It is still possible to make the dream of home ownership a reality in your near future.

Share your success- add a comment of any additional ideas you may have for growing your down payment.

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HOA -New Homeowner Association facts

A new HOA changes as it grows
A new HOA changes as it grows

New construction means new home smells. No one ever walked on the carpets with their dirty feet. A brand new subdivision with clean concrete driveways. After the emotional high, you have questions for the first homeowners association (HOA) meeting.

A new community is often created by a developer. A limited number of occupied homes may result in promised amenities, not yet completed. New infrastructure and noisy construction may be still in the process. A new homeowner association changes as it grows.

The newly created HOA is often comprised of the developer and their personnel. Let’s face it, before the first home is built, the initial “rules” are created by the developer and team. It takes time to finish the task of constructing your neighbor’s homes. The by laws, covenants and deed restrictions, which should have been given to each buyer, will specifically state the “who is who” and directive actions and requirements. It should state how often an HOA meeting will be held.

If you have never lived in a subdivision with homeowner association requirements, there is a learning curve. If the developer still retains the majority on the board of directors, this company is still financing monuments, amenities – such as swimming pools, club houses, landscaping, running trails, play areas, etc. If the community will comprise of 750 homes upon completion, the homeowner association dues should be calculated to sustain the current subdivision financial needs. Until that point in time, roads, street lights, sidewalks, green spaces, tennis courts and/or other planned amenities must still be funded. The first residents must exhibit patience with the process.

The homeowner association board of directors is not a landlord entity. They are not responsible for crime prevention, out of warranty repair claims, neighbor disputes, street parking or loiterers. The HOA is responsible for what is specifically written in the covenants and deed restrictions. Out of kindness, the community developer can create a “Neighborhood Crime Watch” and erect signs. Again, this is out of the generosity of their own funds to erect signs and provide guidance and direction for setting up a committee. An HOA meeting is not the time and place to bring up neighbor disputes because you don’t like the type of utilitarian vehicles parked in your neighbor’s driveway unless the covenants and deed restrictions prohibit the action.

Study and read your subdivisions by laws, covenants and deed restrictions verbatim. If there is an opening for a new director on the HOA board, you have a chance to be elected to participate in future decisions for your community.  The rules and regulations will assist with maintaining property values, preserve the aesthetics of  where you live and provide your home with the same or better environment you purchased it with.

 

Your questions and comments are always welcome.

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