LET’S MAKE AN OFFER!

 

The day has come when you have found your one and only.  Maybe not your true love of the human variety, but you did find a home you love.  Now what?!  Here is some information you need to know as you move forward with writing an offer.

Full legal name:  

You will sign purchase agreements for your home the way you typically sign your name legally unless you are buying the home in another name, such as an LLC.  If you are applying for a loan, you will sign purchase agreement documents the same way you sign your loan application documents.

Offer price: 

What price do you want to offer for the home?  Let’s have a discussion about the sale to list price in the neighborhood if we haven’t already.  We will discuss whether you should expect to pay below asking price, asking price, or above asking price based on today’s market.  I will email you comps to review and give you my opinion as to what the home is worth.  * Typically there is some negotiating back and forth.  You need to decide how much you’re willing to pay for the home and what your walk away price is.

Earnest money: 

Typically, we offer 1% of the purchase price.  There are some circumstances that warrant offering more earnest money and I will let you know if I recommend it for your purchase to make your offer more appealing.  The earnest check can be a personal check or cashier’s check made payable to the listing brokerage.  We specify the due date for this in the purchase agreement and it’s typically due in a few business days after offer acceptance.

Consider the earnest money as part of your down payment.  If you’re planning to pay $30,000 for a down payment and you’re paying $3,000 in total earnest money then at closing you would owe an additional $27,000 for the remainder of the down payment.

The earnest money is not something you get back if you walk away from a purchase due to a change of heart.  That money is your way of demonstrating to a seller you are serious about closing on the purchase of their property.  Things can come up during the inspection process that lead to a mutual release and, depending on how that process goes will depend on whether or not you are be entitled to a refund of earnest money.  I always tell buyers that money is gone once they write the check so that they are only making offers on homes they are serious about buying.

Method of payment:  

I will need to note your method of payment in the offer.  We will need to know what percent of the purchase price you are borrowing and the length of the loan.  If paying cash, I will need to provide proof of funds to the seller within 24 hrs of making an offer and if you are going to have an appraisal.

Closing cost credits: 

Do you want to ask the sellers to pay any of your closing costs?  Generally the sellers pay their closing costs and the buyers pay their own closings costs, however, we can ask the sellers to pay some of your closing costs on top of theirs, if needed.

Closing date: 

We often see closing timeframes of around 45 days if a buyer is getting a loan and 30 or less days for cash closings.  Closings take place during the weekday from 9 AM – 4 PM at a title company.  They take approximately one hour unless you are paying cash and then it will be closer to 30/45 min.

You can ask for a longer closing date if that is what works best for you.  Keep in mind you can typically lock your interest rate for only up to 60 days.   If you want to close in less than 30 days and you are getting a loan, you would need to let me know right away and I would help direct you to lenders who can make that happen.

If you’re not getting a loan and are paying 100% cash you can close as quickly as 14 days.  Especially if there will not be an inspection or appraisal.  The title company essentially needs enough time to get a title policy and have the closing scheduled.

Possession: 

It is not uncommon for sellers to ask for a few extra days of possession after closing to get moved out of the home.  So don’t be surprised if a seller counters with this request.  I’ve had sellers with months of extra possession and, often, we note in our listings when the earliest is that a buyer could get possession if the seller has a specific timeframe.  For example, it is not uncommon for sellers to want to stay in their home until the end of the school year and move over the summer.

Inspection: 

You can either completely waive all inspections, reserve the right to have an inspection, or buy the home “as-is.”  More often than not, buyers reserve the right to have an inspection.  We often ask for 15 days to both complete the inspection and provide a response to the seller.  We also ask for additional days, if needed, to further examine any issues that come up in the initial inspection.  I recommend reading the inspection portion of the contract more than once to make sure you thoroughly understand what a defect is according to IN law.

Home warranty: 

Do you want to ask the seller to provide a home warranty on the property?  They are $500 and here is a link to more information on an HSA home warranty:  https://www.onlinehsa.com/.  Home warranties are great for first time homebuyers, especially if the home is older.  This can provide some peace of mind that there will be some financial help with bigger replacements/repairs in that first year of homeownership.

Contingencies:  

Any other contingencies we need to be aware of?  Do you need to sell your current home before you can buy?

While negotiations sometimes go quickly, it can also take several days of going back and forth.  Every seller is different and some people can make decisions quickly whereas others need time to think things through. Patience is key once you submit an offer and start to work through negotiations. Cool, calm, and collected is my daily mantra.

Keep Calm & Real Estate On!


Posted on March 10, 2020 at 8:38 pm
Kristi Gibbs | Posted in Buyers |

SOCIAL MEDIA PRIVACY SETTINGS

Have you ever seen a friend or family member post on social media about their home purchase or sale?  I certainly have!  Sometimes those posts include information that could benefit one party to the transaction.  This is why I strongly recommend changing your privacy settings on social platforms, especially Facebook, so only your friends can see your posts.  Not public or friends of friends.

I often look up the other party to a transaction on social media.  I try to get an idea of who they are and hope that I luck out by finding a post that says they found the home of their dreams.  Great, now I know my seller has a stronger negotiating position because someone has declared to the world of Facebook that they love my listing.  Maybe they posted they’ve moved out of state and posted a photo of that new home they just bought.  Super, now I know you are likely quite motivated to sell. 

Other agents are also looking you up on social media.  By changing your settings, they won’t be able to see your personal information.  Since you are working with me, you are not going to post about your home search or purchase until after the closing anyway.  Correct?!

We are all learning with social media that revealing too much personal information can lead to unintended consequences.  There is already an issue with wire fraud and people posing as real estate agents to trick buyers into wiring funds to the wrong account.  Let’s not make it easier for them to track down buyers and sellers by blasting that on social media.  Keep it under wraps and then, post closing, have at it!


Posted on February 1, 2020 at 2:17 am
Kristi Gibbs | Posted in Buyers, Buyers & Sellers, Sellers |

SECURING YOUR HOME

 

With all the new home technology available, there are a myriad of ways to secure your home.  The more tech savvy are controlling everything from the HVAC system to interior room lights to a crock pot from a phones.  Others are still using a wooden rod in the track of a sliding door so whatever your level of home security prowess, here are some simple tips/reminders:

1. Keep your yard mowed and well-maintained. While you might be out of town for a few weeks this summer, make sure your exterior doesn’t clearly advertise that.

2. Have dawn to dusk lights on your exterior. You can add a sensor to existing lights so they turn on and off automatically.  If you want to take it one step further, buy a timer for an interior light or two giving the appearance someone is home.

3. Install an alarm system.  Today’s alarm systems aren’t hardwired and difficult to install.  In fact, many homeowners are installing systems themselves.  There are systems you can own and take with you if you move.  I personally use SimpliSafe.

4. Deadbolt doors and lock all windows. It is so easy to forget to do this so give doors and windows a check before you head out of town.

5. Be smart about what and when you post on social media. Don’t advertise to the public you are away on a week long vacation.

6. MY TOP TIP FOR BUYERS – RE-KEY YOUR NEW HOME.  We don’t know how many copies of your keys are floating around town.  A local locksmith like J&S Locksmith can get it done!

7.  Have you ever heard of a Door Devil?  This device prevents your door from being easily kicked-in and, according to Door Devil, installation is easy peasy.  Doors are kicked in regardless of there being a security system or not, so just one more smart way to keep you and your valuables safe.

Pro tip: Don’t leave boxes from expensive purchases sitting outside without breaking them down – you don’t need to advertise what might be found in your house.


Posted on January 29, 2020 at 12:22 am
Kristi Gibbs | Posted in Buyers, Buyers & Sellers, Sellers |

HOME MAINTENANCE TIPS BY SEASON

Want to keep some preventable maintenance from haunting you during a home inspection?  If you purchased a home in the last year, then you probably remember the inspection process and whether or not the home you bought had a slew of issues.  Could any of those have been prevented by regular maintenance?  I would suspect so and this is why I am encouraging good care of your home.  It’s your biggest asset after all!

 

SPRING:

√ Deep cleaning – including wiping down baseboards & cleaning windows.
√ Check smoke detectors/carbon monoxide detectors & replace batteries
√ Service and clean your A/C system
√ Clean your disposal – put 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain followed by 1 cup of white vinegar. Plug drain and wait several minutes. Then flush with hot water.
√ Add window screens if you took them out over the winter.
√ If you have landscaping beds and want to prevent weed germination, this is the time to sprinkle on some Preen or other weed control.

 

SUMMER:

√ Carefully power wash siding, patios, walkways, and even driveways to remove build-up.
√ Clean/repair decks. Waterproof and/or re-stain or paint if needed.
√ Clean out dryer vent and any other exhaust vents exiting your home.
√ Clean aerators on faucets and shower heads. Protect sink aerator by covering with masking tape before using pliers to remove. Use a toothbrush carefully to clean without scratching.
√ Check all tile grout and caulking around sinks, tubs, etc… Repair as necessary.

 

FALL:

√ Clean gutters. I can not stress the importance of this enough!
√ While cleaning gutters, take a peek at the roof to see if there are any obvious issues.
√ Trim branches that overhang or are touching the roof/siding.
√ Have your furnace cleaned and serviced.
√ Winterize exterior faucets. Unhook your hoses before the first frost.
√ Have chimney cleaned.
√ Test sump pump. Make sure it’s plugged in and all looks good.
√ Service and clean furnace. Ask your HVAC professional to also take a look at your water heater, checking for any issues.

 

WINTER:

√ Remove window screens to store for the winter. Have any damaged screens repaired.
√ Vacuum refrigerator coils – it will run more efficiently!
√ Deep clean your basement. Look for signs of mold and water.
√ Check your crawlspace for water and mold. Easier said than done, so hire a foundation company or home inspector to inspect for you.
√ Check toilets to see if they are loose at the floor and tighten.
√ Reverse the direction of your ceiling fans to circulate the warm air – energy tip!

 

* Don’t forget to check your furnace filter and replace when necessary.


Posted on December 3, 2019 at 8:03 pm
Kristi Gibbs | Posted in Buyers, Buyers & Sellers, Sellers |

TOP QUESTIONS BUYERS ASK ME ABOUT WORKING WITH A REALTOR

 

So you are thinking about buying a home and you have already read my post about selecting a real estate agent, but you still have some questions. Hopefully below you will see some of those questions asked and answered.

 

Can you show me homes that you don’t have listed?

  • Yes! I am a licensed real estate agent and a member of our local MLS. Therefore, I can show you any home listed in the MLS for sale.  I am also a member of MIBOR because I work in Brown County as well as Monroe County.

 

If I want to see a home I just call the listing agent, correct?

  • While you can call the listing agent to see the home he or she has listed, I suggest a different approach.  If you know you are going to be in the market to buy, then why not ask friends and family if they know any standout real estate agents?
  • See if you can come up with a few agents to consider. You can interview agents as a buyer and a phone conversation sometimes takes care of whether or not it’s a good match.
  • The top reason to select one agent to be your guide is that he or she will get to know you and do their best to make sure you get into the right home.  If you cold call a listing agent we’ll assume he or she does not know you, there is no trust established, and they might not take the time to get to know what you really need.

 

If an agent shows me a home, does that make he/she my REALTOR if I want to purchase that home?

  • Unless there is an agreement to the contrary, yes.
  • If a realtor in Indiana shows you a home at your request and you decide you want to purchase that home, the offer should come from the agent who showed you the home. Unfortunately, many buyers assume they can call the listing agent to see a home and then their realtor (who did not show them the home) can write up the offer as their agent.  The agent who showed the home is the procuring cause.
  • When I meet a new buyer, I ask if they are working with another realtor before agreeing to show them a home to try to avoid this scenario.  A great agent will have your best interests at heart should an agency issue arise. 
  • Just remember to call the realtor you want to work with to show you any homes.

 

Will I have to pay your commission?

  • When you are working with a realtor as a buyer’s agent, the seller pays the commission.
  • The listing agent has already negotiated the rate he/she will pay the buyer’s agent before it hits the MLS.
  • Buyers can direct their attention to the home search and the price they can pay for a home will not have to take into account a fee for their agent.

 

Can you show me your listing and sell me your listing?

  • Yes to both. I can show you my listing and represent you for the purchase of my listing. This is called limited agency (or dual agency). The real estate agent is representing both the buyer and seller.
  • A consent form has to be signed by all parties to allow limited agency.
  • A requirement is for the limited agent to not share ANY information that could give either party an advantage. For example, the price one party is willing to pay should not be discussed with the other party. The agent has to stick to sharing information that he/she would know if they were only representing one side of a transaction.
  • If you trust your agent, I find that this sometimes really is beneficial to both parties.
  • If you are not comfortable with limited agency I suggest asking your agent if there is someone else in their office you could use to represent you for the purchase.

 

Do I have to sign a buyer agreement?

  • It is not common in Bloomington to have buyers sign a buyers agreement saying you will work with one particular realtor exclusively like it is in some other markets.
  • I place a lot of trust in buyers and hope that they come to me before they start their home search so we can go over the process together. Prior to working together we go over our expectations so that moving forward we are on the same page.

 

I could go on and on with questions and answers. In fact, most of these questions could have much longer answers, but I am trying to keep it concise.  My advice to someone looking to hire a realtor varies based on their situation and I always error on the side of caution.  If you have other questions, reach out to me!


Posted on November 18, 2019 at 6:30 pm
Kristi Gibbs | Posted in Buyers |

SHOULD I TEST FOR RADON?

I always recommend a radon test when purchasing a home. Your inspector will ask if you’d like to test for radon. Some homes have radon mitigation systems in place, but many don’t. It doesn’t hurt to test even if a system is in place in order to confirm that it’s doing its job.  Homes on crawlspaces can test high for radon so it’s not just limited to homes with basements.

What is radon?

It is a colorless, odorless radioactive gas that is caused by a breakdown of uranium and moves up from the ground into the air we breathe. So it can exist anywhere and your greatest exposure is in your home where you spend most of your time. Testing is the only way to know your level of exposure.

Is it dangerous?

Yes, radon can cause cancer and it certainly impacts your indoor air quality. Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.  It is estimated to be responsible for 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year (2,900 of those individuals never smoked).

What level of radon is allowable by EPA standards?

If a home tests at 4 pCi/L (picocuries per liter) or higher then it is recommended that a radon mitigation system be installed. Those systems are very effective at lowering levels and several companies in the area are qualified to do that. The level of radon is an average over a period of time. Nearly 1 out of every 15 homes is estimated to have elevated radon levels.

How is it mitigated?

A vent pipe system with a fan is typically installed to pull radon from beneath the home and vent it outside. It doesn’t require any major changes to a home so it’s relatively easy to add.  The cost can range between $900-$1,500 depending on how large the home is.  Two systems might be required. I would consider inquiring about radon-resistant construction techniques if I were building or remodeling a home. In addition to a radon system, you can also have foundation cracks sealed or anything else sealed that might be letting the gas escape into the home. That will help make the system more effective.

 

As always, reach out to me with any further questions!


Posted on November 4, 2019 at 7:39 pm
Kristi Gibbs | Posted in Buyers, Buyers & Sellers |