unnamed1Which should you do first, buy a new home or sell the old one? Your personal finances and the current market conditions will help to make your decision.

Consider selling your house first but make the deal contingent on you being able to find a suitable replacement home. In a strong seller’s market where there are many more buyers than homes available for sale then you may get away with it – the current reality of most markets, however, is that they are buyer’s market. So, be sure to get the contingency clause into the sales contract before you sign your acceptance.

If you are in the situation where you need to buy before you sell your current home, you face a very real possibility of having to pay mortgages on both homes for a while… so make sure that you have room in your monthly budget that can pull it off.

If you would like more information or have any questions feel free to contact us.

sacramento home loansIt is a great way to get to know your dwelling in an up-close-and-personal manner, that is on-site with the home inspector when he scours your new home. If you are there while the inspection is going on then the professional home inspector can explain in person and answer any questions you may have instead of having to call him up later and get explanations via phone.

Ed Frank, president of Inspect America Engineering, P.C. in White Plains, New York is a nationally know licensed professional engineer (PE) who has thirty years of experience conducting engineering inspections for home buyers. He’s been through a lot of inspections and has worked with a lot of buyers, some of whom went on to become happy home owners and others who used his inspections when asking for repair concessions from sellers or walking away from deals completely. Frank advises home buyers to take these steps before and during the home inspecting process.

  • Select a home-inspection company with top credentials. You have a goal, you want to be well informed, and you want to make a wise investment. Choose a home-inspection company that understands your needs and will work with you to help you meet your goals Choosing a home-inspection company that is licensed to practice engineering is a wise choice. If you want your home inspection conducted by a licensed PE, be sure that your home inspection report will be stamped with the home inspector’s silenced PE seal. The practice of engineering is state regulated and licensed; the PE seal on the home inspection report is the key to your protection. The practice of engineering is regulated in all states, whereas the business of home inspection is unregulated in about half of the states.
  • Don’t pay twice for a home inspection. Consumers who retain the services of a home inspector who is not a PE may be faced with paying a second home inspection fee of the home inspector uncovers the problem, such as a structural defect, that requires the opinion of a licensed professional engineer.
  • Obtain a written home inspection report. Be sure that your home inspection report will be a detailed written report, not a handwritten checklist that is given to you at the conclusion of the home inspection. A checklist may be void of details and may not provide all of the information and engineering advice you need.
  • Inquire about important professional affiliations. Make sure that the home inspection company you retain has professional affiliations, such as NABIE (National Association of Building Inspection Engineers) and NSPE (National Society of Professional Engineers). Unlike home inspection trade societies, NABIE and NSPE accept only licensed PE’s as members. Members of NABIE need to meet tough entrance requirements, are highly qualified in the home inspection professions, and adhere to the strict code of ethics.
  • Don’t be confused by home inspector “certifications,” These certifications are offered by, or sold by, trade societies or companies, or obtained via home inspection home-study courses. Such certifications are available to anybody-a high school diploma is not a requirement and certifications can be readily purchased.
  • Attend the home inspection. Expect to spend about two hours with the inspector. One picture is worth a thousand words, and you’ll gain a unique perspective on the home and its systems.
  • Make sure the home inspector is well-equipped. The home inspection engineer should be fully equipped with necessary engineering tools including electrical testers, a fuel gas, a carbon monoxide detector, a moisture meter, a ladder, an inspection mirror, a flashlight, a level, and other home inspection tools.
  • Follow the inspector around and ask questions: No questions are foolish. Learn as much as you can from the home inspector during the home inspection.
  • Consider optional tests. Where applicable, they can include testing underground storage tanks, testing paint for lead, testing drinking water for lead, testing well-supplied drinking water for bacteria, testing for radon gas in the air, and testing for urea formaldehyde foam insulation.
  • Obtain a full oral report from the home inspector at the time of the home inspection. The home inspection engineering report should be available the next working day after the home inspection but a full oral report should be obtained at the conclusion of the home inspection.

sacramento homes for saleLet’s just say that if the fun hasn’t begun already, it will start now. For the next thirty to sixty days, or whatever time frame you put between contract signing and closing, the gears will be in motion, getting everything ready for the big day when you take possession of your new home. There will be appraisals and surveys to order, title searches and inspections to conduct and lenders to meet with. At the same time, you’ll be making arrangements for your own move, informing your landlord about your expected departure, or putting your current home at the market to sell.

This will be a time of excitement as well as stress, so just take it in stride and try not to get overwhelmed. In just a few months you’ll have your feet up on the coffee table in your new abode, and you’ll be happy that you decided to embark on this journey.

The most important task that you’ll need to tackle right now is finalizing your mortgage, and while the financial aspect of your purchased transaction is very important, so are the various additional steps that must be taken to ensure a smooth closing. If you and/or the home seller are working with a real estate agent, it will make a big difference in the amount of work you’ll be doing over the next one to two months. I’ve done it both ways, and both strategies have their pluses and minuses. The good news for buyers is that you probably won’t be affected by the downside (namely, the commission that must be paid to the agent at the closing table) anyway. However, in today’s changing real estate industry, there are a number of different business models that brokers are using, some of which do demand funds from the buyer’s side of the transaction. (Inquire about any such fees before getting into a relationship with the agent.)

Since it’s the agent’s best interest to be sure a deal makes it to the closing table, she will predictably handle-or orchestrate-much of what goes on behind the scenes between contract signing and closing. During this time, you may be asked to produce documents, review home inspection reports, or take other important steps, but for the most part your agent will handle the myriad tasks that must be checked off prior to closing. You’ll be in close contact with your agent (or attorney) during this time as all parties anticipate the scheduled closing date. During the interim, several key tasks will be completed. Here are the major steps, but remember that every sale is different and yours may require a different approach.

  • You will apply for financing.
  • The lender will order an appraisal and termite inspection.
  • The lender will also order a property survey to be completed.
  • You or your agent will arrange for a home inspection, and, based on the report, will decide if you are indeed going to purchase the home (if you included a home inspection contingency in the contract).
  • By this time, you will find out if you have been approved for financing, thus fulfilling the “mortgage contingency” clause in the contract and locking your interest rate.
  • You will learn whether the home you purchasing has a “clear title” or if any liens or debts need to be cleared up prior to closing.
  • you and/or your lender will conduct any further tests required, such as radon gas and lead paint testing.

california real estate blogA residential property appraisal helps establish a home’s market value, or the likely sales price that the property would fetch if offered in a competitive real estate market. Whenever someone uses a home or other type of real estate as security for a loan, the lender will order an appraisal to be conducted by a licensed appraisal professional. This step is critical from the lender’s prospective because it reflects the likelihood the property will sell for at least the amount of their investment on it.

It’s also important for you, the  buyer or seller…

If on the buying side, it shows you in black and white that the price you’re paying is indeed in line with what the banks consider a fair market value; if on the selling side, it shows you how much you can realistically ask for your house.

The appraised value should not be confused with the asking price, offer price, or sales price. Asking price is what a seller indicates as a fair and reasonable offer for his/her home. A seller is free to set whatever asking price he/she chooses. An offer price on the other hand, is a number that the buyer feels he/she is willing to pay. This may be an accurate reflection of the true market value of a home or an attempt by the buyer to purchase the property at a considerable discount. The sales price is what the buyer and seller actually agree upon through negotiations; it generally lies somewhere  between the asking price and the offer price.

Appraisers are licensed by their respective states after completing course work and/or a job internship that helps them become familiar with their local real estate markets. The appraisal process itself begins with a thorough inspection of the property being appraised to determine the true status of the property. The appraiser will look at features like number of bedrooms and bathrooms to ensure that they really exist and are in good condition.  Most important, the appraisal looks for any obvious features-or defects-that would affect the value of the house.