Great technology can go a long way to help you find your dream home. Although you may have an agent website for the home search, most of us want a great app for the smartphone to help us find the home we want. The smartphone is the go to device to search and find home. But before you go download any old real estate app, it’s good to know that there are a few different types to consider and more importantly the tools and information they provide can be critical to help you find, tyour, and decide to buy that dream home. So whether you’re on an active house hunt, looking for an investment property or want to put your abode on the market, take a look below to learn more about (and download) the what I think are the best real estate apps available today.
Realtor.com is, not surprisingly, the official search portal for the National Association of Realtors. One benefit of using its site is the close relationship realtors have with the Multiple Listing System (MLS) that provides data feeds used by most sites on this list. Because of the special relationship, however, Realtor.com is often updated a little faster and has a wider range of listed properties. There are also mortgage calculators, home affordability, rates.
Why I like it: The homes on the app are truly what is available. The ability to search by location, and to get the time and driving instructions to me make it the most useful of the apps. Its also easy to share any home you find by text, or email. Its still the standard for me to recommend for house hunting. The only knock is realtor.com has decided to not have a home value tool like Zillow for active listings
Zillow is arguably the best known real estate app, and for good reason. Zillow was a pioneer in online home value estimates, the Zestimate, and tells users estimated home values, past sale prices and more for virtually every home in the United States. If you are a homeowner, you can create an account to track your estimated home value over time and insights into a potential sale price if you decide it’s time to move.
Zillow App – Good but Not Great
Why I like it: While the the big miss for Zillow is the homes for sale data isn’t necessarily active or currently for sale nor updated in real time. The feature
You Probably Think There Should Be More Apps…
You wouldn’t be wrong but I think if you have both these apps you probably have what you need to be successful for buying or selling a home. Realtor.com’s app is the best for home search. Zillow is the best as a homeowner to keep track of your home values. Although these apps are free they are heavily an ad platform for agents, lenders, and real estate pros.
It’s only natural for home buyers to want the very best deal possible… and in some cases, that might mean making an offer well below its listing price. There is a fine line between what is a low ball offer and what is an aggressive offer.
There is a real estate myths that if you’re in a buyer’s market, you should always make a low offer. If you’re in a seller’s market or face a lot of competition, it’s almost never advisable.
Regardless, you should never make a lowball offer, you should be making an aggressive offer in any market. No one, especially the agents, want to negotiate a lowball offer can be treacherous, and there are really no right and wrong ways to handle it. Even in a buyer’s market, a lowball offer can insult the seller, and may result in the Seller passing on even responding to your offer.
How to make an aggressive offer.
Here are some general guidelines.
Study the market. Whether its a buyer’s or seller’s market, its important to understand where there are many sellers or few sellers. The higher the price the fewer the buyers so be aware of what homes you are looking at are selling quickly or not. Location matters and be aware how that impacts homes selling times. Your agent should be able to guide you whether you can be aggressive buying a home for the price point your looking at,
Find out the seller’s motivations. This isn’t always possible, but if you’re working with an agent, you can request that they try to find out why the seller is looking to move from the seller’s agent. If the seller’s agent is facing a lot of time pressure and needs to get the place sold ASAP, that puts you in a much better position to push for a better price.
Make a good, strong offer. Even when you’re writing an aggressive offer, you want your offer letter as appealing and reasonable as it can be. That might mean looking for little ways to entice the Seller to negotiate the price and terms… for example, you might waive certain repairs, or shorten the contingency period. Quick Tip for a Seller’s Market: A quick close (21 days) and a seler can remain in possession for a period of time at no cost can often save you money or get a favorable counter offer.
Remember, you can counter the counteroffer. Your first offer is highly unlikely to be accepted by the seller in a Seller’s market but may be accepted in a Buyer’s Market. You’ll probably receive a counteroffer, but remember, you can then make a counteroffer of your own. Make sure you work closely with your agent to again understand the issue with your offer when you receive a counter offer from the seller. From my experience little things that are not necessarily related to the offer price can be worked out when time is taken to understand the counter offer. Time isn’t your friend when negotiating so you should try to complete any negotiation within 72 hours if possible.
The Listing Agent is the Key. If you have hired the right agent, he should be able to talk to the listing agent, understand the seller’s motivations, get the information on the pricing the selling agent recommended for the house versus what the Seller listed the property at. Some listing agents will sell your aggressive offer, some won’t. Some sellers are willing to look at a fair offer, some are not. Bottomline, a good listing agent knows whether an aggressive offer can be accepted. Do your homework on the Listing agent for success.
These are just a few steps to consider as you make an offer price is below “asking” or sales price.
Making an Aggressive Offer: What isn’t effective or doesn’t work
Don’t make a lower offer just because you can’t afford to buy the house. If your aren’t qualified to buy the house and your lender hasn’t approved you for a large enough loan,the listing agent is going to believe you can;t buy the house and more often than not he is going to help you win the home and get your low offer accepted.
Don’t assume that making a cash offer will make your lower offer more appealing. If the homes in a neighborhood you are looking to buy are selling quickly, cash won’t necessarily get you a discount unless there are other more compelling terms.
Don’t be a Buyer who just makes low offers. The agents in your market know Buyers who are “lowballers” in the luxury market we talk and when there are few buyers looking at multi million dollar houses we know who you are.
One Last Thought
Use an aggressive offer to save you money but to win the house. An aggressive offer is more than the price. A good buyer’s agent will know how to sell your aggressive offer. More importantly make sure you chose an agent who will aggressively sell you as the best buyer in any market or price range.
For homebuyers, it’s helpful to create a list to keep focus on your search fo home. The list should be 5-8 non negotiables for your search. Some potential elements to include in your chart include:
Bedrooms, Baths, and Size
The criteria on the Home checklist can change but should really the criteria that matters for you to find and tour homes you want and not use your time looking at “everything.” Focusing on finding and touring the right home that meets your checklist, will prepare you to make an offer when you find the right one.
What to Include on Your Home Checklist
There are a number of factors you might consider for your wants and needs checklist. Here are some examples of criteria I recommend on your list:
Location. Desired school districts, proximity to work, and closeness to friends or family is a big need for most home buyers.
Price Point. Naturally, you’ll want to consider price. Getting your finances or pre-approved for a mortgage can help you determine just how much you can afford to spend on your next home.
Bedrooms. Bath, andSize. Chances are, you have some idea of how many bedrooms you will need, whether or not you require room for a home office, etc. Knowing the square footage of your current home can help you better estimate the space requirements of your new place.
Age/Condition. You may be searching for an older home you can spruce up and make your own. Or, you may want something that’s newer and in good condition.
Features and Amenities. Things like a pool or a big finished basement may or may not factor into your thinking, but they are at least worth considering.
I recommend you create the checklist with your agent. That way you will be able to see if the criteria on your list as criteria can be delivered by the home search your agent should and will provide.
If you’ve spent much time browsing real estate listings, you’ve probably noticed some properties describing and marketing the home as move-in ready. The perspective Buyer is hoping and believes when a seller’s agent lists their property as move-in ready, there won’t be any work required before the buyer can move in and make themselves at home.
But what, more specifically, should be a Buyer’s expectation for a move-in ready home? Is it just marketing for the home, or does it really mean there is nothing to be done?
What Should Expect of a Move-in Ready Home?
The first thing to understand is that this is not a legal definition; technically, any seller can list their home as move-in ready, regardless of its true condition. Buyers can’t take it as an ironclad guarantee, then, but most of the time, homes that are marked as move-in ready genuinely are.
So what should a Buyer expect for a move-in ready home? Simply it should be ready for occupancy, without any repairs needed first.
Please find a simple checklist to help you determine if the house whether described or not is move-in ready. Here are things I believe you should expect for a move-in ready home, and in no particular order:
Electricity. You should expect that there is proper electrical power; that all the wiring is up to code; and that older outlets or switches have been replaced.
Plumbing. All the household plumbing should be in good working order. It should be up to code, and there shouldn’t be any obvious or significant leaks anywhere on the property.
Roof. The entire roof, gutters, and downspouts are in good shape, and still has several years left in it. For instance, you may have a 30-year-old roof on the house, and while it may not be leaking right now, its days are probably numbered. Such a house wouldn’t be characterized as move-in ready.
HVAC. The home should also have heating and cooling systems that work properly and have a few years left in them. If the air conditioning unit is just a year away from needing replacement, the home shouldn’t be labeled as move-in ready.
Kitchen. When it comes to the kitchen, the key trait is functionality. A kitchen may need some aesthetic updates, and that doesn’t keep it from being move-in ready. However, a move-in ready kitchen should have a kitchen where the outlets and all the appliances work the way they’re supposed to.
Bathrooms. Again, the thing to think about here is utility, not aesthetics. The bathrooms should all be ready for normal use, which means the toilets should flush and the drains should be unclogged. Cosmetic issues aren’t deal-breakers per se.
Flooring. So long as the flooring is reasonably clean and free of any warping or buckling, it can qualify as move-in ready.
Paint. It’s not required that a home have fresh paint but the overall painted surfaces are in good serviceable condition. There shouldn’t be peeling or chipped paint everywhere. A bigger bonus of walls are free from nails and touch up has been done.
This short list should go a long way to help you determine if property condition is indeed move-in ready whether described or not in the listing. Condition is a factor in buying a house, Buyer’s shouldn’t perform any home inspections because a home because it looks good, but it certainly inspire confidence that the home is maintained.
A quick primer on what stays or goes with the sale
When a homeseller sells and moves out from their property, it’s expected that certain things are taken with them, like their clothing and household decor. And some things are left behind, such as the air conditioning unit and the dishwasher.
Thankfully, the California Residential Purchase Agreement addresses what you can and can’t take with you when your house is sold. It’s worth reviewing the purchase agreement with your agent, whether you’re buying or selling; doing so can give you some helpful clarity.
With regard to what you can and can’t take with you when you sell, there are some basic rules to keep in mind. A few words of caution. If a Seller take things they’re not supposed to you may face a lawsuit after the sale.
So first and foremost, remember that you can’t take anything that’s legally considered to be part of the property. This includes shrubs and plants. You may have a favorite rose bush that you’d like to dig up and replant at the new place, but it’s actually illegal to do so unless you expressly excluded it from the sale of your listing or in your negotiations with the buyer.
Along similar lines, buyers and sellers sometimes have misunderstandings about backyard items, such as patio tables, basketball hoops, and playground equipment. The rule of thumb here is that, if it’s anchored to the ground, it’s supposed to stay with the property; if it’s not anchored, you’re free to take it. Again, if you need an exception to this rule, you have to clear it with the buyer and negotiate accordingly.
So, with regard to the basketball hoop: If it’s a kiddie-sized one with an inflatable base, you’re free to take it. But if you’ve placed it into a hole in the ground and poured concrete all around it, then it counts as part of the property, and needs to stay.
Picnic tables and outdoor furniture will usually be able to go with you… again, unless you’ve somehow anchored them to the ground.
As far as inside home decor is concerned, buyers and sellers can often get into disagreements about lighting fixtures. You may have a beloved chandelier, but the rule of thumb is that lighting fixtures are part of the home and thus can’t be taken, unless you specify in your listing that they are excluded from the sale and will be replaced prior to close or a credit to the Buyer.
Helpful Tip: Simply remove those lighting fixtures before you list and replace them with something a little less ornate. If they’re not actually installed at the time of listing, then there shouldn’t be any confusion about whether or not you’re taking them with you.)
And what about window treatments? Rods and blinds are considered to be part of the house, and you’re not supposed to remove them. Though again, if you have window fixtures you’re really attached to, you can remove them and replace them before you list and avert the problem altogether.
Flat screen wall mounted TVs are often thought to be part of the sale. In the California Purchase Agreement they are excluded from the sale, but the wall mounts remain. Now a prospective Buyer can negotiate for the Flat Screen TV to be included with the sale. Again a Seller can remove the TV and mount prior to the listing to avoid the issue. (I recommend to repair the drywall from the Flat Screen TV mount, the purchase agreement simplifies the issue by allowing the mount to remain.
If you or someone you know recently purchased a home with a septic system, or are considering purchasing a home that uses a septic system, there are a number of things you need to know and consider in advance. Here’s a quick overview on septic systems, how they work, and what maintenance a homeowner needs to know:
Rural Properties Typically Use Septic Systems
In South Placer looking at rural homes for sale it isn’t unusual to find a septic system to be used to dispose of the liquid waste. A well designed and running septic is nothing that should concern a future homeowner. Just make sure you get the information you need and proper inspections to make sure its in good operating condition before you buy the home.
How It Works
Here’s the short version: A pipe drains all of the wastewater from your home and deposits it in a watertight underground tank. This is where solids (called sludge) settle to the bottom, and floatable materials (called scum) rise to the top. Both sludge and scum remain in the tank and are periodically pumped out by a professional septic service technician.
There is also a middle layer made up of liquid wastewater (called effluent), that drains from the tank into a buried drainfield in your yard, which helps the wastewater disperse into the soil. The soil in your yard filters out any contaminants, and the beneficial bacteria in the soil break down organics in the wastewater to use as plant food.
Here is a deeper dive into how aseptic system work:
Bacteria are what makes a septic system work. They break down waste, leaving water clean enough to safely percolate down into the earth. The whole system is designed to keep bacteria healthy and busy. Some live in the tank, but most do their work in the drain field.
1. All waste flows to the septic tank. 2. Watery waste, called “effluent,” fills most of the tank. Anaerobic bacteria begin breaking down the organic material in the effluent. 3. A layer of sludge falls to the bottom. Sludge is composed of inorganic solids and the byproducts of bacterial digestion. 4. A layer of scum floats to the top. Scum is primarily composed of fats, greases and oils.
The septic tank acts like a settling pond. Greases and oils float to the top. Heavier solids sink to the bottom. 5. A filter prevents most solids from entering the outlet pipe. 6. Effluent flows to the drain field.
The drain septic field provides a large area where bacteria can thrive and treated water can seep into the ground. 7. Holes in the drain septic field pipe allow effluent to seep into surrounding gravel.
Gravel around pipes allows water to flow into soil and oxygen to reach bacteria. 8. Aerobic bacteria in gravel and soil complete decomposition of the waste. 9. Clean water seeps down into the groundwater and aquifer.
The Septic System is Completely Separate
Both the potable water source for your home (a well, city line, etc.) and your septic system are completely separate from each other. The septic system is intended to disperse contaminated water back into the ground as a means of filtering it, but that effluent water does not come in contact at any point in time with your drinking water.
Types of Septic Systems
The only difference between types of septic systems is the size of the drain field and the soil in a home’s yard. For example, liquid waste sometimes encounters difficulty in dispersal when it is drained into clay-rich soil as opposed to sandy soil. When that occurs, the drain field will need to be large enough to handle the volume of effluent the average family generates. To prevent the possible clogging of a septic system, it is essential not to use toilets or sinks as a disposal for dental floss, coffee grounds, cat litter, paint, chemicals, or other non-biodegradable materials. However you should be aware that septic systems that need to be more “engineered” because of soil conditions are more expensive to maintain, repair or replace.
What Maintenance do I need to do with a Septic System?
The system system tank will need to be pumped every so often. The periodic pumping of a septic tank must be handled by professionals to remove the accumulated sludge and scum. How often the tank needs to be pumped depends largely on how large the tank is and how much wastewater the household generates. A three-bedroom house will most likely have a 1500-gallon septic tank that needs to be drained every three to five years, though depending on the waste generation and soil conditions, it may need to be done annually.
In addition to pumping, the tank should be regularly inspected for any leaks or clogs. The telltale signs that the system may be clogged include bad smells and slowly draining or gurgling fixtures. Also, it is very important to avoid the use of septic tank additives, which claim to break down sludge and scum within a septic tank to reduce for pumping. Studies have shown these additives can actually damage your septic system, resulting in a costly repair.
How Much Does It Cost?
There are several factors that go into determining the cost of draining your septic system, including tank size, drainfield size, and distance for hauling away waste. Pumping a 1500-gallon tank might cost somewhere in the $400+ range depending on the specific circumstances of the job based on your home’s tank size, location, and access to pump.
Before Buying a Home with a Septic Tank and System
You need to understand the septic system for the home you are purchasing.
You should inquire and ask for what the Seller knows about the system including the last time it was pumped and if any repairs were made to the septic system.You should go to the county or county website to research what septic system was installed at the property.
You should go to the county or county website to research what septic system was installed at the property. Make sure you get the complete design including the location of the septic field and any reserve field. Septic tanks are sized based upon bedrooms in the home. Also note the age and type of septic system design. Please note the distance from the home and the well if there is one.
You should schedule an septic tank pumping and inspection. On the contract to purchase your agent can request that the Seller perform this pumping and inspection. I recommend that this step be done prior to the close of escrow and unless its is available as a pre-sale inspection report you should not accept a report over 6 months old.
Inspections can give you important details about the condition of the home’s septic system but is often limited to the tank, You should walk the leach field and make sure there are no shrubs, trees, or pasture animals on the leach field.
Quick Tip: Adding a bedroom to the home? Adding a bedroom may require you to increase the capacity of the septic system. Planning to put in a pool, garage, granny flat, etc?... Its critical to understand the septic system design or you may be faced with an expensive cost to move the tanks and or leach field to accommodate the pool or garage you were hoping to add.
An Old Septic System or one Needing Repair can be a Big Expense
Even a well-designed and installed system can need replacement after 25 to 30 years, and replacement costs can vary widely. Most experts state a basic gravity-feed septic system can cost as little as $4,000 to replace, but if your system requires electrical or mechanical parts of function correctly, the replacement cost can range anywhere from $15,000 to $35,000. Replacing a Septic Tank
If you are looking at rural property it makes sense to make sure your real estate agent can help you understand buying a home with a septic. A septic system can be a big issue if you don’t do your homework before you complete the purchase of the home.
In South Placer, wells are the water supply to the residence found in rural and off-grid properties. Newer subdivisions in South Placer rural areas more often than not will have a public or private water agency provide treated water for the homes. In Loomis for example, Cambridge Estates, Sierra De Montserrat, MOnte Claire, etc the Placer County Water Agency (PCWA) provided service so the new homes built could connect to the local public water system. Let’s help you get the information you need when evaluating a Loomis or South Placer rural property with a well.
If you’re looking to buy or found a rural and or new home off-grid or in an area that isn’t served by the public water system, you’ll need to know a bit about wells. Although this subject can seem intimidating for those who are unfamiliar with well-water systems, there are only a few points you need to keep in mind to ensure you’re making a well-informed (agent humor) purchase. I also recommend working with an experienced real estate agent who buys rural or off-grid properties to help you decide if a home with a well is not an issue.
Water Wells Need to be Tested
Well Water Needs to Be Tested for Drinkability
The most pressing issue a buyer needs to investigate is the safety and purity of their future home’s water. Since the same water source (aquifer) could be accessed by many homes spanning a wide distance, what affects a nearby home may affect your home as well. Its important to note the animals, farming, and commercial business near your property with a well.
However the real validation of your well is a production and potability test of the well on the property your considering to purchase. If you are luck the Seller will have done a pre sale well test for you to look for. Again you shouldn’t rely on any tests older than 30 days or you see a holding water tank on the property (water tanks are usually an indicator of a well that cannot produce over 1200 gallons in a 4 hour period. In Placer County, the water is tested for potability (bacteria). Wells can also be tested for PH, hardness, turbidity, minerals, metals, radon, and volatile organic compounds but it is usually optional. Again your agent should be able to help you device which tests you need.
Test the Output and Production of the Well
Even if the well water itself is deemed safe for drinking, there can be issues that will affect its usability in your new home: namely low storage capacity and low flow rate.
Luckily, testing for these is simple. In general, wells store about 1.5 gallons of water per foot, so if you find out the well depth, pump depth, and water level, you’ll be able to figure out what the capacity of your well is.
Flow rate, the measure of how much water per minute is being pumped from the well, can be calculated based on the number of gallons the pressure tank stores before the pump starts and how long it takes the pump to turn on and off. Regulations require homes to have a flow rate of between 3 to 5 gallons per minute, but it’s best to find a home with 6 to 12 gallons per minute.
Verify Your Well is a Safe Distance from Septic Tank and Leachfield
Homes that require or use a well for water for the property usually will also make use of a septic tank for waste storage and disposal. Placer County requires a minimum distance of 100 feet distance all wells need to be in relation to any septic system. This prevents septic water effluent or a septic system failure from reaching the well and contaminating the water supply with harmful materials. The Placer County Building Department or the Seller should be able to identify both where the well and any septic system is located. Checking the original well permit for the properly is another key piece of information since there is a well drillers report and a potability (drinkability) test done after the well was drilled and capped.
Avoid Hand Dug or Shallow Wells
The two major types of wells are drilled and bored wells. Most shallow and hand dug wells don’t penetrate bedrock or granite and are more susceptible to groundwater and soil contamination As a buyer you may have to manage and maintain the potability of the water. Also the production of the well may be inadequate in the future and you might be facing the expense of putting in a new well for your water supply.
There is More Than Just the Well to Look At When Buying a Home
The average well will last for about 30 to 50 years, but if the well is producing water satisfactorily you can proceed with the purchase. From my experince wells may start experiencing issues anytime, most likely the pieces and parts of the system that gets the water into your house. Be aware of the age of the well pump, the motor relay, pressure switch, and pressurized water tank. Check out the condition of the water lines to the house from the well, as well as the electrical power from the house to the well. When the test is being done for the well test and potability, have the well testing company inspect the rest of the system and give you a bid to replace it. I’ve lived in Loomis for 17 years on a well and I’ve replaced the entire system that supplies the water to the house. The only thing I haven’t replaced is the well itself.
Quick tip: Another consideration with rural property is irrigating the property. Is your well for the water to the house also used to irrigate the property? Used to supply water to livestock or animals? Most wells aren’t going to have the size and capacity to pump the water you need to supply water to a 1+ acre property. They may however have the production or output but you might need the well tester to test the production with his pump rather than the well pump.
Final Thoughts on Buying a Home with a Well
Wells on rural properties are a proven way for getting potable drinking water to the house. It shouldn’t be a deal breaker if you take your time and get the time to understand how water is supplied to the property and the home(s). Its critical to also inquire about how the property is irrigated since in South Placer and Placer County we have irrigation water available from the Placer County Water Agency and Nevada Irrigation District which may be already at the property or there is availability of irrigation water being brought to the property (this isn’t simple and might be expensive, but in general it’s a good thing if irrigation water is available).
Water is one of the biggest issues t understand when buying rural property in South Placer. I recommend you make sure to get all the information you need about how water is deliver to the property, how much, and if to you house is it safe to drink. Again I can’t recommend this enough, about working with an experienced real estate agent who buys rural or off-grid properties to help you decide if a home with a well is not an issue for purchase.
Buyers are facing an uphill battle to buy a home in this current market. Having a plan to succeed is critical and knowing what to do to create an offer that makes you the early favorite in the current multiple offer market.
Its really important to understand that the best offer is a combination of things and not necessarily the highest price. Also your offer can be amended after its is sent to make it more appealing as you understand more about what the seller needs to sell are.
How To Make A Winning Offer:
Here are steps that help.
Learn the market. It’s important to understand the inventory of the homes you want to buy. What are the recent sales? How many offers were made? Did the sales price over the list price?. Your agent should be able to guide you about the local sales.
Find out the seller’s motivations. This is key and really important. If you’re working with an agent, you can request that they try to find out why the seller is looking to move from the seller’s agent. If the seller’s agent is facing a lot of time pressure and needs to get the place sold ASAP, that puts you in a much better position to push for a better price. Don;t be afraid to pick up the phone and call if you don’t know.
Make a good, strong offer. Even when you’re making a winning offer, you want your offer as appealing and reasonable as it can be. The information you found out from the seller or seller’s agent can help. Use that information in your offer to make your offer better. For example, you might waive certain repairs, or shorten the contingency period. Quick Tip for a Seller’s Market: A quick close (21 days) and a seller can remain in possession for a period of time at no cost can often save you money or get a favorable counter offer.
Don’t count on a “Multiple Buyer” counter offer. Your first offer is highly unlikely to be accepted by the seller in a Seller’s market but may be accepted by modifying the terms of your initial offer or more importantly trying to convince the seller’s agent to make an acceptable offer work with your offer. Make sure you work closely with your agent to again understand the issue with your offer when you receive a counter offer from the seller. From my experience little things that are not necessarily related to the offer price can be worked out when time is taken to understand the counter offer or addendum. Time isn’t your friend when negotiating so you should try to complete any negotiation within 24 hours if possible.
The Listing Agent is the Key. If you have hired the right agent, he should be able to understand the seller’s motivations, get the information on the pricing the selling agent recommended for the house Bottomline, the listing agent is the gateway for your offer to be accepted. In the end selling your offer to the listing agent. Do your homework on the Listing agent for success.
Making an Winning Offer: What is effective and works
Having a pre-approval letter that is 10% more than your offer price. If the home comes down to negotiating a higher price and your approval letter can;t support the higher price, you won’t win the house.
Buying the home as-is, and not requesting repairs. If the seller knows that their bottomline isn;t going to change after they are in contract that is helpful for them to decide to choose your offer..
“Clean Offer” Making the deal more complicated isn;t helpful. Stick within the current time periods for getting things done. Unless you have information that the seller wants inspection times shortened or, keep the offer “clean.”
One Last Thought
A winning offer is more than the price. More importantly make sure you have an agent who will aggressively sell you as the best buyer and is equally focused on helping buyers as well as sellers.
You’ve found the right home at the right price. You submitted an offer, and it has been accepted. Now you are “under contract.” What happens next? Your agent that helped you win the home will manage the timeframe for performing the inspections and contingencies to help complete the purchase or advise you the cancel the purchase offer shpi;d there be any deal breakers. Here are the major items in the process from “contract to close” for a successful purchase.
1. Follow up with your lender if purchasing with a loan
Hopefully your lender already knows the offer has been accepted. However, you need to sync up with your lender and make sure the loan contingencies can be completed by the contract timeframe (typically 21 days after an accepted offer for the loan contingency in California). A conversation with your lender should get the ball rolling and make sure any documentation needed for approving your loan is being worked on. The home appraisal is one of the pieces the bank will need for the loan approval. A home appraisal helps determine how much your home is worth. The appraiser is typically chosen by your lender and scheduled by the lender.
2. Get the earnest money to the escrow company, review disclosures/reports
Your agent should be making sure the “earnest money” or deposit is given to the escrow company within 3 days in California after the offer is accepted. Your agent should also be working with the listing agent to get all the disclosures and reports available for the property. The disclosures and reports are key to helping you determine the condition of the home you are buying and useful for helping you further investigate any issues with your future home.
3. Schedule the home inspection
Inspections are highly recommended to help find any underlying issues that may affect the value of your home and how much work it needs. Even if you have a pre sales inspections including the home inspection, you should make time to review the report on the property with your agent.
4. Get Quotes and purchase home insurance
You are required by law to get home insurance when you purchase a home. Escrow will need to have proof of insurance prior to the close of escrow. Don’t let this be a last minute item, if you do it now you will be able to shop around to find the best deals.
Pro Tip: Bundling your home, auto, and other insurance can save you money.
5. Follow up/purchase a home warranty
Home warranties help protect you if large ticket items—like appliances—fail after you have bought the home. If you purchase a home warranty plan before closing, it will be included in your closing costs. Sometimes, the seller will purchase a home warranty plan for the buyer.
6. Completing the purchase
At this point, you will be roughly 14-21 days since you accepted the offer. You should have: be approved for you loan, have a home appraisal, completed any inspections, reviewed disclosures and reports, requested any repairs, and should be ready to either complete the purchase or cancel the contract. Let’s assume everything is a go and you are ready to complete the purchase. You should be working on your move to the new home. In parallel to your actual move, the real estate professionals will be working hard to get the purchase closed. You typically will see the following happening: The seller will usually ask for a release of all contingencies, and your lender will get the loan documents into escrow for signing. The seller will be signing documents to transfer the home to you. You will be signing all documents you need to transfer and purchase the home to you, bring the rest of funds and depositing into escrow that are needed to close. Once everything is done, correct and reviewed by the Escrow company for seller and buyer, the house will released for recording and transferred to you as the new owner by the escrow and title company
7. After closing
You should be transferring utilities as soon as possible into your name for the new home. Security is a big concern so you should be rekeying the home and looking ar home security and automation options as well. This is also a good time to find contractors for any work you may need or want. Hiring a maid service, pool service, and lawn service is also done after you move.
Pro Tip: Ask the Seller who they use to work on the house while they owned it. It’s often a good idea to retain the home pros that worked on the home and learn more about how and what maintenance is being done. The listing agent is often a good resource to ask if you are looking for recommendations as well.
You searched and found your dream home, negotiated the price, and got all of your financing in order. But before you turn the key on your new home, you need to protect your investment—and everything inside of it. That means buying a home insurance policy.
Even if you have never shopped for home insurance—or if you just haven’t purchased a new policy in a while—there are a few things to keep top of mind as you navigate the task.
How much is this going to cost?
We get it—you already plunked down a gut-wrenching amount of money for the house and the fees and the closing costs. Now you have to shell out more cash for insurance? No, it isn’t fun. And it isn’t sexy. But you gotta do it. And it all starts with the premiums. In California, this has become a large expense because of the wildfires over the last few years and insurance companies raising premiums and even cancelling policies.
Pro Tip: Take the time to talk to an insurance broker and see what the policy premiums for owning a home in the neighborhood/area you are looking to move to.
Your annual premium is the amount an insurance company will charge you every year to cover your home and its contents in the event of fire, theft, etc. Every insurance company has its own way of determining annual premiums.
A few factors set your rate: the value of your home and its contents, as well as your deductible, which is the out-of-pocket amount you’ll have to pay in the event of a claim. But home insurance premiums also vary by region and company. Two home insurance policies with identical coverage and limits in two different parts of the country, or even a town, could have very different annual premiums, Bank says.
Filing a home insurance claim within the past five years also increases the amount you’ll pay.
“To an insurer, that increases the likelihood you’ll file a claim,” Bank says.
And, of course, Mother Nature plays a role. If you live in an area with a history of wildfires, earthquakes and/or live in a flood zone, you can expect to pay more.
How you’ll pay
The initial premium is typically due when you purchase the policy and when you buy payed out of escrow or your insurance agent will provide an insurance binder which provides the coverage of the home. That will cover your home and property for the first year.
Subsequent premiums can also be paid directly by you (your insurer will bill you), or you can opt to escrow the premium and have a portion of it built into your mortgage payment. Even though that bumps up your monthly costs, you might find this the best way to ensure you have enough money to cover the premium when it’s due.
Timing is everything
It’s never too early to start shopping for home insurance. Gathering quotes as soon as the contract is signed will help you understand how the annual premium will factor into your budget. You need to know all of your monthly costs.
You’ll want to choose a policy and have it paid in full at least two weeks before closing—otherwise you might face delays for closing the home and/or be insured.
Know whom you’re working with
It’s a fine idea and makes sense to shop around. An independent insurance agency or broker deals with several companies, versus captive agents who represent just one insurer. Obtain a mix of three to four quotes from both types of agents to compare premiums (even from the same companies) and coverages available.
As you’re packing and/or unpacking, take videos or photos using your smartphone of your belongings and store them in the cloud (iCloud, Google Drive, Dropbox, etc) as a digital home inventory. That will help speed up a claim and ensure the maximum possible reimbursement in the event of a fire, theft, or other covered disaster. Knowing what you own and creating an inventory will also help you decide which insurance policy will give you adequate coverage for your belongings, including furniture, electronics, and collectibles.
Ask about add-ons especially for jewelry and collectibles
If you own jewelry, artwork, wine, coin or stamp collections, or other keepsakes, ask about coverage and coverage limits. You probably are under insured for jewelry and collectibles with a standard homeowners policy.
Get your docs in a row
You’ll need a copy of the “insurance binder,” which details the coverage values, premiums, and restrictions. But you shouldn’t have to track down that information. Your agent should work directly with the mortgage lender to provide proof of coverage required at closing.
Understanding terms used for home insurance
Insurance and risk management terms, click the link.