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June
30

Are There Advantages To An All Cash Offer When Buying or Selling Real Estate?

Part Two of our Three-Part Series On Making an Offer When Buying A Home

When it comes to buying a home, an all-cash offer can be a pretty powerful tactic, especially if there are multiple bids on a piece of property. However, making (or accepting) an all-cash offer is not always a no-brainer, either for the buyer... or the seller.

One big difference between an all-cash offer and a financed offer is that the cash offer can close quicker. As a general rule, while an all-cash offer might seem suspicious, if it's from a valid buyer, it is usually easier, with a lot less red tape.

In this post, we'll look at the pros and cons of the all-cash offer from the perspective of the buyer and the seller.

Defining the All Cash Offer

Recent data from the National Association of Realtors for 2019 found that 12% of all buyers purchased their homes with cash. As the name implies, an all-cash offer means that you have the ability and liquid cash available to purchase the house outright. You don't literally pay with a briefcase full of hundreds, but you'll need access to all of the funds in a liquid account that allows immediate withdrawals or transfers. For most people, that means a checking, savings, or money market account.

An all-cash offer means that you will not be getting a mortgage loan for any portion of the sale. This is important to the seller because it eliminates the financing contingency of the purchase agreement. A seller makes their decisions based on the terms of your offer, including contingencies. An all-cash offer also makes several other contingencies optional. That can be a powerful tool when engaged in a bidding war with multiple buyers. These can include:

• The Appraisal Contingency

Lenders require an appraisal, cash buyers do not. If you're confident you're getting a good price, you can waive the appraisal contingency. 

• The Inspection Contingency

As a cash buyer, an inspection contingency is also optional. However, this is one contingency you might want to keep in your agreement.

• The Sales Contingency

A sales contingency means that your current house must sell before you close on the new property. This is pretty much the opposite of liquidity. While you can include this contingency, it diminishes the attractiveness of an all-cash offer.

The bottom line? An all-cash offer means you have liquid funds available, so you will not need a mortgage loan. You may also waive certain contingencies to make your offer even more attractive to the seller.

The Pros and Cons of an All Cash Offer: For The Buyer

An all-cash offer offers homebuyers some significant advantages. Here are some of the pros and cons of an all-cash offer:

The Pros: 

• Limited Contingences

As previously mentioned, one key benefit of making an all-cash offer is the ability to pick and choose which contingencies to include. Not only will this save money, but in a competitive market, this is very desirable to most sellers.

• Less Hassle, Lower Fees

All cash offers are also good for the homebuyer because you do not have the hassle of dealing with a lender. That means no need to gather paperwork like tax returns, income statements, proof of employment, credit scores, or asset lists. You will also save on closing costs associated with getting a mortgage loan.

• Streamlined Closing

As a buyer, an all-cash offer gives you more control over the closing timeline. This means you can close faster because you are not waiting for bank approvals. This can be significant for sellers who need to move quickly.

• Possible Pricing Benefits

As mentioned, sellers are often attracted to an all-cash offer because of fewer contingencies, fewer hassles, and a faster timeline. As a result, you may be able to make a lower offer and have it accepted, even in a multi-offer situation. An all-cash offer can give you leverage to negotiate a better price that can mean savings and increased equity right from closing!

The Cons:

There are some drawbacks to making an all-cash offer. You need to consider all of the positives and negatives before you commit to any deal. Here are some negatives to be aware of.

• Loss of Liquidity

This should be a top consideration before making an all-cash offer. Real estate is a non-liquid asset which means it can be challenging to get cash out when you need it. 

• Loss of Diversification

If you place much of your liquidity into a home purchase, you may lose out on potentially larger gains that could be realized elsewhere. Real estate typically earns around 2 or 3% annually. 

• Tax Implications

If you itemize deductions, mortgage loan interest is tax-deductible on your federal income taxes. Without a mortgage loan, you lose that deduction.

• Less Free Cash for Homeownership

Owning a home requires more money than the purchase price. You still need to budget for closing costs, any renovations, and general maintenance and upkeep. Make sure you have enough money to cover taxes, repairs, and other items.

The Pros and Cons of an All Cash Offer: The Seller

As with buyers, there are pros and cons for sellers when an all-cash offer is made for your property. Several situations encourage an all-cash offer. In recent years a new phenomenon has emerged: direct homebuying online. Companies like Open Door, Redfin, and most recently Zillow are buying homes directly from sellers.

Let's take a look at the pros and cons of an all-cash offer as the seller.

The Pros:

  • It's FAST

The traditional route of using an agent and listing on the MLS, or going "FSBO" offers no guarantee your home will sell. Assuming you've priced it right, it should sell, but it can take months to get the deal you're looking for. Realtor.com data suggests that it takes about 65 days to sell (which can vary widely by location). Once under contract, escrow can last 30 to 60 days, or longer. That being said, if you need money fast, going the traditional route has drawbacks. Online direct homebuying, for example, can get you an offer in a fraction of the time.

• No Repairs

If you're in a hurry or don't have cash on hand, the idea of repairs that might be needed to maximize your home's value may not be doable. Cash sales are typical "as-is." You'll still need to disclose defects, but if your home needs repairs, and you're not in a position to do them, an all-cash offer may be the way to go.

• Fewer Contingencies

This was also a pro for the buyer. A traditional sale often comes with a list of contingencies. If it's a buyer's market (not applicable right now!) your buyer might even request a home sale contingency which can drag out your sale for months.

The Cons:

While it seems like there are a few great benefits of receiving and accepting an all-cash offer, there are a couple of drawbacks to be aware of:

• Less Money / Lower Offers

This is the big one! If you're looking for top dollar for your home, then an all-cash offer will often disappoint. In a seller's market, like today, an all-cash offer is a good tactic for a buyer to win a bidding war if you're selling to an individual who is looking to live in the home. However, investors are buying homes to resell them. They will offer less if they are coming to you with an all-cash offer. If you're selling to a company like Zillow they may offer less and give you great terms like a 10-day close and no contingencies. It depends on your situation as to whether it's a good deal.

• Make Sure The Money is "Real"

If you're dealing with a reputable company like Zillow or Redfin, or a REALTOR® or agent who has vetted their client this isn't a concern. However, if you received a "We Pay Cash" postcard in the mail, make sure they have the cash they're offering. Ask to see a bank statement or "proof of funds" letter. In these types of deals, since all-cash offers often have a short escrow (sometimes as short as 7 to 10 days) you may want to negotiate a lease-back so you don't have to rush into a move. This is a smart tactic. In the event the deal falls apart, you'll have fewer worries.

The Bottom Line On An All Cash Offer

The all-cash offer brings with it both benefits and drawbacks for both buyers making the offer and sellers who accept it. The bottom line is that for buyers, the all-cash offer is an interesting tactic in a hot market that can help make them stand out from among the crowd in the event of multiple offers on a property. There are some considerations including contingencies and closing dates you'll need to think through.

For the seller, the all-cash offer can mean a quick close and fewer hassles, but unless it's a seller's market, it's likely to be below the market value of your home. But it is fast and convenient. In the end, whether you're the buyer or the seller, you need to consider all of your options including which factors are most important to you in your unique situation.

If you missed part one of this three part series on Making an Offer when Buying a Home, here is the link to part one: https://www.masiello.com/news-and-updates/2021/06/16/the-logistics-of-a-seller-backing-out-of-a-purchase-and-sale

June
29

Build or Buy a Home

To build or to buy? It's one of the first and most important questions that you'll need to answer when considering your next home. The right answer for your family depends on a variety of factors, including your budget, where you would like to live, your preferences for the home, and your future plans. Our real estate agents are here to help you make an informed decision, with a closer look at whether building or buying a home might be the right choice for your family.

Click Here to Read More...

June
25

Our REALTORS® at The Masiello Group know the decision to move from renting to owning a home is not always an easy one to make. First-time buyers often feel challenged by the complexity of the process. There are also many financial angles to consider when you buy a home.

However, a changing lifestyle can mean it is time for a new perspective on homeownership. Let's look at some of the biggest reasons you might go from renting to buying a home.

First Sign of Knowing It's Time to Buy a Home

Your Family Needs More Space

Many millennials are putting off certain life milestones, like homeownership and starting a family. However, needing more space does not always mean you have a baby on the way. Many people decide to house hunt to provide more space for dogs! Cities are seeing more households made up of friends who may need sufficient space to themselves, too. Extra room also means more space for yourself, you could considering creating an office, art studio, gym, or music room.

The Second Sign

You Can't Imagine Renting Again

Yes, getting a mortgage loan can be a time-consuming process. When all is said and done, though, it's not that much harder than getting into an apartment. After all, you need all of the same documentation. You'll also have to go through all of the usual steps of moving. When you buy a home, you'll get it all done in one fell swoop for many years to come. It will be more fulfilling to do all the same work it took to rent a home, and then actually be able to say, I bought a home.

The Third Sign

The Financial Side Isn't Working for You

In some areas, it makes better financial sense to buy a house than to rent. This is most common in large cities and areas where rapid growth puts pressure on the housing stock. As landlords try to squeeze every penny from potential tenants, you could find your mortgage will be less expensive. Just remember to consider the annual cost of home maintenance, too. It is also important to consider mortgage pre-approval before you buy a home because it will save you and your REALTOR® valuable time. Take a look at our blog on the importance ofmortgage pre-approval to learn more.

The Fourth Sign

You Have Other Long-Term Plans to Buying a Home

Just because you are buying a home, it does not necessarily mean you'll live there. If you're in an area people are eager to move to you could use it as an income opportunity. Many people buy homes to refurbish and "flip" them. The average investor makes $30,000 net profit on a house flip if all factors align.For long-term income, you might decide to rent out your new property instead. As an owner, the choice is always up to you.

The Fifth Sign

You Are Moving On Up Financially

A new job, a promotion or even a one-time windfall can signal that it's time to re-evaluate your housing situation. If your credit is strong, you may qualify for attractive mortgage loans even if you do not have a lot of cash on hand. With money to spend, you can further reduce interest rates with a down payment or paying off your closing costs without financing.

 

If you are thinking about buying a home, it's time to find out more – even if you can't quite put your finger on why. You can check out The Ultimate Home Buyers Guide to learn more about all the steps it takes to buy a home. An expert real estate agent who specializes in first-time homebuyers can also give you personalized advice to help you decide on your next move.

Contact us to find out more today. We look forward to helping you soon.

 

https://newsilver.com/the-lender/what-is-the-average-net-profit-for-flipping-a-house/

June
23

The Brokerage Disclosure: Meet the Players in a Real Estate Transaction

It's often said that homes are sold by emotion. A buyer falls in love with a home, and the dance between buyer and seller begins. While the process is often driven by emotion, the bottom line is that a real estate transaction is at its heart a legal transaction.

As a legal transaction, numerous players, forms, and contracts are presented and signed in the average real estate transaction. One of these forms is the brokerage disclosure. The brokerage disclosure is a written explanation signed by the prospective buyer or seller of real estate, which clearly explains the broker's role in the transaction.

In this post, we're going to take a closer look at the roles of the various players in the process of selling a home, including the buyer's agent, seller's agent, facilitators, and broker. We'll also define the brokerage disclosure form and explain its role in the process.

Defining the Brokerage Disclosure Form

The brokerage disclosure form is just one of the many forms you'll see when buying or selling a home. While it is not legally binding, it is an ethically valuable piece of paper that defines the major players and their roles in the typical real estate transaction. 

When you work with a real estate agent or REALTOR® whether buying or selling a property, the National Association of Realtors requires that you be informed as to whom the agent is representing in the transaction. The brokerage disclosure form outlines each agent's role in the transaction.

While the brokerage disclosure document is a form and not a contract, each is geared to the brokerage's role in the transaction (seller's broker, buyer's broker, etc.), and each state's agreement is slightly different.

The Seller's Agent

As a prospective buyer or seller, you need to understand that unless the buyer chooses to establish a written Buyer's Agency Agreement:

  • Both the listing agent and the sub or selling agent are agents for the seller.
  • Their loyalty is always to the seller, and they must inform the seller of all important information that might affect the seller's decision regarding the sale of the property.
  • While neither the listing nor sub-agent is the buyer's agent, they can provide the buyer with information about available properties, sources of financing and aid the buyer in comparing the features of various properties as well as showing them and making an offer to purchase.

As a buyer, it's important to understand that the seller's agent is loyal to the seller and is bound to act in the seller's best interest. However, a selling agent must treat any buyer honestly and fairly. A good seller's agent will;

  • Educate the buyer on the buying process.
  • Locate properties that meet your needs via MLS listings.
  • Arrange property showings.
  • Provide you with market information, financial guidance, and disclose know facts about the property.
  • Provide information on services needed to move the transaction alone, like home inspection, appraisal, legal, and other services.
  • Coordinate all of the details to ensure a smooth transaction. The agent's duties do not end until you are in the home.

The Buyer's Agent

If you want agent representation when buying a home, you'll need to sign a written Buyer Agency agreement. The agent is then responsible to you and your best interests, not the sellers.

The buyer's agent is typically paid a commission via a split with the seller's agency, or their fee may be included in the mortgage. It should not cost the buyer any additional funds and often cost less under a Buyer's agency agreement than under a sub-agency.

With a Buyers Agency Agreement, you can expect fiduciary duties beyond the services that can be legally offered to you by the selling agent. This should be clearly disclosed in the brokerage disclosure form.

A Buyer's Agent's duties include:

Loyalty to the Buyer: The buyer's agent has a duty to act in the buyer's best interest at all times. Including negotiating the best price and terms for the buyer.

Obedience: As long as a request is legal and within the scope of the exercise of agency, a buyer's agent is obligated to do whatever the buyer requests. 

Disclosure: If a buyer gets swept away emotionally by a property, it is their agent's job to remind them that it may not be suitable based on pre-established factors. Seller's agents must disclose only material defects like structural problems or zoning issues but otherwise will stress the benefits of the property. A buyer's agent must disclose everything!

Confidentiality: The buyer's agent may not reveal by word or deed that the buyer is willing or able to pay more than the offered price. The buyer's agent must not disclose any discussions, including that they can not find a comparable property or any fact that may affect the buyer's negotiating position.

Reasonable Care and Due Diligence: The buyer's agent is obligated to be competent, make appropriate recommendations, and must call upon their full range of skills and knowledge on the buyer's behalf. 

Accounting: Not only does this include accounting for deposit money, it means seeing that everything the buyer expects is included in the contract to purchase. If the agent is being paid by any source other than the buyer, they must disclose it.

Unlike the listing and selling agent, the buyer's agent's role is not as a salesman but as an agent for the buyer. They must always act in the best interest of their client, not the seller or their agent. The brokerage disclosure form clearly outlines their role and responsibilities.

Real Estate Broker

An easy way to understand the role of a real estate broker is to understand that the relationship between the broker and agent is similar to the role between a principal and a teacher. A principal is not an entry-level job – you need a level of teaching experience before you can apply. While both can teach, the principal has more authority in the school.

In the US, a real estate agent needs to work under a broker for their license to be active. You don't just pass the test, walk out and start selling homes unless you're a broker; you must work under one. 

Real Estate Facilitators

This role is a little confusing. While the role of both the buyer's agent and the seller's agent are clearly defined, a facilitator is a little more complex. A facilitator is the role of an agent before the client elects the agent as either a buyer or seller's representative. 

In Massachusetts, MA law requires an agent to disclose their role at the first meeting. The law states:

" When a real estate licensee works as a facilitator, that licensee assists the seller and/or buyer in reaching an agreement but does not represent either the buyer or the seller in the transaction. The facilitator and the broker with whom the facilitator is affiliated owe the seller and buyer a duty to present all real property honestly and accurately by disclosing known material defects and owe a duty to account for funds. Unless specifically agreed upon beforehand, the facilitator has no duty to keep information received from a seller or buyer confidential."

The Bottom Line...

The brokerage disclosure form is a vital component of a real estate transaction. It is important to disclose and define each person's role in the process when buying or selling a home. However, at the end of the day, choosing an agent should be about more than a recognizable brokerage office, designation, affiliation, or years in the industry, although these factors are important.

The core of every real estate transaction is trust.While you need to understand the role of the players in every transaction and who they represent, the bottom line is that you need to do your due diligence and ultimately trust the professionals you choose to work with when buying or selling a home. 

 

 

Explain the role the buyer's agent, the seller's agent, facilitators, Transaction, Broker, etc., and others all play in the process of selling you a home.

It is a form, not a contract

Nuances by state

June
21

When the weather gets warm, sweet summer breezes carry amazing fragrances that beckon us to head outdoors and fire up our grills. Our real estate agents are thrilled to show you beautiful New England properties that boast patios and spacious gardens that make perfect spaces for summer grilling. If this sounds like your ideal way to spend a lazy weekend, check out these tips to make your summer grilling extra delicious this year. 

Click Here to Read More...

June
17


Pet Move

The Pet Move

Moving with our fur babies can be tricky. Lots of unexpected activity and getting adjusted to a new place is hard on our pets. To make the pet move easier, here are some helpful tips that will create a successful and stress-free move. 

Plan Ahead for your Pet Move

A big part of any move is careful planning and preparation. When there's a pet in the mix, making sure you're ready before moving day becomes even more important. Be sure to take care of these details well in advance to ensure a smooth transition.

  • Research a new vet if you're moving far enough that your old one will be out of reach
  • Find out if your pet will need any new vaccinations upon relocation.
  • Get new collars and ID tags that reflect your new address, making certain that your cell phone number is on the collar. Micro-chipping isn't for everyone, but it's a good backup in case your pet loses its collar. 
  • Look into tags with tracking software in them such as the new Apple AirTag that can be attached to a collar, or there are many other options to pet tracking tags.
  • Check the local laws near your new home. Find out what the leash requirements are, whether you'll need to get a new license, and if there are any dog breed bans in place.
  • If you are moving somewhere that driving with your pet would be too far, there are pet relocation services that will move your pet for you in a safe and stress-free way. You could also consider taking your pet on an airplane if your pet meets the airline's guidelines.

Prepare Your Pet

In the days and weeks leading up to your move, there are lots of things you can do to get your pet ready and reduce stress. Pets are like children, we want to ensure they are well taken care of and they are kept happy during this stressful time.

  • If your new home isn't too far away, introduce your pet to it ahead of time. Even if it's just taking a walk to your new neighborhood, a little familiarity can be beneficial. 
  • Crate training your pet can help ease anxiety and it allows your pet to be more comfortable in the car when moving day arrives. To do this, it is best to gradually acclimate your pet to the crate well in advance to the move.
  • If your dog will need to learn new rules for your new location, start training in advance. Your dog may have to learn not to bark if you have close neighbors, could have to learn to be around other new animals, or may have to adapt to a smaller or larger home.  
  • Bring out a few boxes and suitcases weeks before the move, so your pet doesn't get too anxious during the packing process. 

Pet Move Day

  • The day you move to your new home can be a stress-filled roller coaster for everybody. Having a trusted pet with you can reduce your anxiety, so do everything you can to reduce their anxiety as well.
  • Prepare an "overnight kit" and keep it easily accessible, including enough supplies your pet may need to stay comfortable during the first few days of unpacking—dog food, kitty litter, toys, etc.
  • Depending on your pet's particular personality, it might be a good idea to send her to a trusted pet sitter's house for a day or two during the hustle and bustle of the move. 
  • When moving your pet, bring your pet in the car with you if possible, and make the trip as comfortable if you can. Put a blanket over the crate or pet carrier if that's what your pet needs, and keep food and toys handy. Don't let your pet out until you get to the new house unless it's a long trip that requires a bathroom break. 
  • During your pet move, positive reinforcement is key. Make sure your pet is receiving treats and love for all positive behavior to keep anxiety to a low.
  • Have a room set up for your pet with lots of familiar objects (and smells) that will remind her of your old house. 

Helping your pet adjust to their new home before the move, during the move, and after the move can exponentially help the move be more successful. The last thing anyone wants is themselves, along with their pets to put any strain when moving to a new home. If you follow these steps you should be well on your way to success.

Contact us today to learn more about finding your dream home and planning your move. We are committed to helping you, your family, and your furry friends. 

June
16

Can A Seller Back Out Of A Purchase and Sale Contract?

It doesn't happen often, but like buyers, sellers can get cold feet. Between the work of personalizing your home and the memories you've created there, sometimes it's hard to let go. Even if you don't get cold feet, there are plenty of other reasons to change your mind about selling.

Buyer's who back out of a deal forfeit their earnest deposit money (typically 1-3% of the offer price). As a seller, if you decide to cancel after the home is under contract, you can either be legally forced to close, or sued for financial damages. Of course, the specifics depend on the terms of your sales contract.

So, Can a Seller Back Out of a Contract?

While technically the answer to this question is no, it's actually not uncommon, especially in a hot market. Selling a house is complex, time-consuming, and can be expensive. When a deal is struck and closed, there's usually a sigh of relief. 

That being said, even when the seller doesn't have a clear legal right to back out, it can happen. This is generally tough for the seller. While a buyer has the benefit of contingencies that can make it easier to walk away, it's hard for a seller to do so without a penalty.

As a seller, if you're selling your home, you should not enter into any purchase and sale agreement if there is any doubt on your part. There is really little wiggle room for doubt, second thoughts, or cold feet. Buyers have ways out, the seller, not so much!

Why Would A Seller Renege on a Purchase and Sale?

Sellers may have many reasons for trying to back out of a purchase and sale agreement. While some may hold up in court, others are actionable and can result in penalties. 

Among the reasons a seller may give for backing out of an agreement include:

  • They get a higher offer from another buyer.
  • The seller has unable to find a suitable replacement home.
  • Their situation has changed, for example, a family member dies making it financially difficult to move.
  • The seller has emotional ties to their home and gets cold feet.
  • There is a disagreement within the seller's family about leaving the house.
  • The property appraises for significantly more than the buyer's accepted offer.

Both sellers and buyers should understand that any offers, counteroffers, and acceptances should be in writing and signed by both parties agreeing to the contract. 

Typically, when a seller accepts the buyer's signed offer, or counteroffer and communicates that acceptance to the buyer, or the buyer's representative it is considered a binding agreement. Until that time, there is no obligation on behalf of the owner to sell. An oral agreement is typically not binding. A contract for selling real property must be in writing and signed by both parties.

There are some instances when a seller can back out of an agreement without consequence. Here are a few examples:

  • If you only have a verbal agreement. Based on the statute of frauds, any contract to purchase real property must be in writing. This statute is enforceable in most states.
  • If the contract is not signed by BOTH parties.
  • If you have included a new home contingency into the purchase and sale. This contingency allows the seller to back out if they can not find a new home to meet their needs. This would be written into the original contract with the buyer.
  • During the attorney review period. In most states, there is a 3 to 5-day period during which a seller can cancel based on their attorney's review of the signed contract. In some states, this review period is mandatory.
  • If the buyer agrees to the cancellation. If the buyer is sympathetic to your reason (for example, the death of a family member) they can let you out of the agreement without suing.
  • By capitalizing on the buyer's contingencies. Buyers often put multiple contingencies into their offers like a home inspection or appraisal contingency. Refusing to negotiate after the findings of these reports can derail the deal.

The Potential Costs of Backing Out of a Purchase and Sale

A home seller that backs out of a purchase and sale can be sued for breach of contract. A judge could find the seller at fault and may order the seller to sign over the deed and complete the sale. A seller that loses in court is often ordered to pay the buyer's legal fees along with their own and there could be a harsh penalty. 

broken bank

The seller may also be ordered to:

  • Return the buyer's good faith deposit with interest.
  • Pay the buyer back for all inspections and appraisal fees
  • Pay for lost equity the buyer may have realized
  • Pay any other reasonable expenses
  • Reimburse the listing agent for the lost commission and all marketing costs.

A seller that wants to walk away and avoid a court fight could offer to pay the buyer enough to make them whole and hope they agree to cancel the contract.

Generally, a seller can not cancel without cause. Your attorney should look at any purchase and sale agreement and make sure that there are protective measures included to protect the seller in the event of a change of heart. 

The bottom line in this instance is to think through the purchase and sale before taking any action. If there is a potential for a change of heart, do not sign any agreement unless and until you are sure. Think about your initial reasons for selling your home. Chances are these reasons will hold up and perhaps is just a temporary bought of remorse that will fade with time, or when the check clears!

June
14

Upcycle Furniture

There are countless reasons to start upcycling furniture and no real downside. It saves you money, it keeps old furniture out of the landfill, and it also happens to be a lot of fun. That's what our real estate agents call a win-win. 

Of course, it can also be hard to know where and how to get started when you're a newcomer to the whole idea of upcycling. How do you go about transforming old, worn-out furnishings into something new and exciting? For that matter, where does one even find this stuff? 

Getting Started with Upcycling

For a lot of upcycle newbies, one of the biggest challenges is finding furniture and decor to start working on. Sure, you can always keep an eye out for thrown-out furniture on the curb, but that's not very consistent. And of course, if you have an attic or garage full of old decor, you don't have to look very far at all. For the rest of us, one of the best places to find furniture to upcycle is the internet. Platforms like Freecycle, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace offer endless opportunities to get your hands on free (or extremely cheap) goods that are ripe for revamping. Once you have an item you wish to upcycle, follow these steps.

Furniture Tips

  • Do Your Prep Work
    One of the most important steps to upcycling any piece of old furniture or decor is preparation. Make sure you have all the tools and materials you need in advance and don't rush the job. Sanding off the old layer of paint or stain on an item is always a good idea. Perhaps most important of all, make sure you give the item a good, thorough cleaning before you start repainting. You don't want your paintbrushes getting clogged up with dirt and cobwebs. 

  • Be Imaginative 
    In a lot of cases, upcycling means looking beyond an object's original use. Got an old wooden ladder lying around? Think about turning it into a trellis for your climbing vines. How about an old dresser? The drawers can be transformed into anything from hanging shelves to planter boxes. If you're in need of inspiration, there are some fantastic Pinterest boards out there that are chock full of upcycling ideas. If you have some old wood pallets or mason jars, there are endless projects you can use them for.

  • Be Respectful of Furniture's Origins
    While it's always great to let creativity run wild, sometimes it's also important to respect the original style of a piece and the era it comes from. This is especially true with furniture. For example, an antique American Colonial-style desk is simply not going to look good with a funky coating of chalk paint. Try to be conscious of upcycling furniture in a way that complements its original style. 

Furniture Paint

  • Invest in Quality Tools
    Whatever tools, materials, and accessories you use for revamping old decor and furniture make sure they're good quality. Use high-end paint, and shell out a few extra bucks for the good brushes. After all, the actual items you're painting were probably free, so you can budget a little extra on other materials to ensure a better end product.

  • Choose Well-Made Furniture
    It's also a good idea to make sure the items you're attempting to upcycle are of good quality, even if they need a little love and attention to get them back in good working condition. Older furniture tends to be better made, as a general rule. Avoid newer, mass-produced pieces that are made from chipboard or composite board. That stuff is basically glorified cardboard, and it just doesn't hold up in the long run.

    Furniture Painting 
  • Experiment with Styles, Materials, and Techniques
    There are endless options when it comes to paints, stains, and other materials you can use. Give yourself permission to be bold, use your imagination, and mix materials and styles. Chalk paint is good for beginners. Try combining fabric with a painted surface to see what you can achieve. Experiment with sanding paint after it dries is good for a distressed look, and have fun creating patterns with stencils. Nobody gets it right 100% of the time. Sometimes, you have a vision for how you think a piece of upcycled furniture will look, and it just doesn't pan out. That's okay! There's always next time. Try to practice on some low-stakes pieces, so you're free to make mistakes before tackling big projects you're really invested in. 

Planning for a Move?

Upcycling isn't just a good way to get new furniture, it's also a great way to get rid of your own unwanted furniture. If, for example, you're planning on moving in the near future, letting some of your old furniture go to others for upcycling is a great way to give it a second life while eliminating clutter in your home. 

Contact us today to learn more about upcycling and how it's a great way to either pare down your belongings before selling a home or fill your living space with creativity when you've just bought a new home. 

June
9

The Pros & Cons Of Waving A Residential Home Inspection

The real estate market is on fire right now! If you're a seller, the good news is houses are coming on the market and receiving multiple cash offers within days of listing. If you're a buyer, chances are you're going to be vying with several other buyers for any home you are interested in.

After months of house hunting, you might not want to let this one getaway. You need an edge. One way to sweeten your offer is to waive the home inspection to expedite the buying process and stand out from the competition. While this tactic could end up with you winning the home, it could also end up costing you big time down the road!

A home is probably the biggest and most important investment you'll make in your lifetime. So it's absolutely crucial to your sanity and your bank account that you do your due diligence and have all of the facts and figures in place before you commit and sign a purchase agreement. Otherwise, instead of your dream home, you could be investing in a money pit!

Of course, some homeowners are ok with taking the risk to get the house they want. In this post, we will take a closer look at what a home inspection is and offer the pros and cons of waiving a home inspection.

What is a Home Inspection?

If you've ever gone through the home buying process, you're probably familiar with a home inspection. Typically, once you've signed a purchase agreement and the home is under contract, you bring in professional, certified home inspectors to perform a visual, in-person inspection. 

This process is done to protect the buyer from any hidden problems. The inspector will walk through the home, inside and outside, and check its condition, the issue a report outlining what they have found. Inspection reports typically include any roof and termite damage, as well as structural issues and systems checks, including electrical, plumbing, and HVAC. In addition, the inspector will also document the home's general interior and exterior features and condition, appliances, sprinkler system, pool, windows, doors, etc.

When the inspection is complete, the inspector sends his findings to the buyer. The buyer uses this information to first decide how to proceed. Depending on the information in the report, the buyer may use it as a negotiating tool to request that the seller pays for certain repairs before closing or reduce the sale price. If the damage is extensive, it provides a legal way to back out of the deal.

For this reason, sellers want the inspection to go as smoothly as possible. If they want to sell quickly, they are often willing to negotiate to make it happen.

Why Buyers Are Willing to Waive the Home Inspection

Right now in New England, we're in the hottest real estate market in DECADES! According to NerdWallet's 2021 Home Buyer Report, nationally, an estimated 28 million Americans are planning on buying a home in the coming year. At the end of 2020, the supply of homes available in the US was just 1.04 million units. According to the National Association of Realtors, this is the lowest number of available units since data collection began in 1982!

With multiple buyers vying for properties and bidding wars becoming the norm, waiving the home inspection can become a compelling offer for a seller. The National Association of Home Builders Housing Trend Report found that being outbid was the most common reason buyers cited for not yet purchasing a home. So it makes sense that an eager buyer would be willing to waive the home inspection contingency.

rusty water heater

The Risks of Waiving a Home Inspection

A home inspection is an important element of the home buying process for protecting a buyer's financial interests. For example, learning that a home you're interested in may need a new septic system costing $10,000 can change your mind about buying it or the amount you're willing to spend. Without a home inspection, you might not find out about the problem until after you take possession, and you will lose any negotiating leverage you might have.

Another consideration is the health and safety of your family. Home inspections can uncover potential hazards in a home, like bad wiring, unsafe heating, or asbestos that the average person would not find during a pre-closing walkthrough.

So Should You Waive The Inspection?

As a general rule, the answer is no unless you're willing and financially able to assume all potential risks. Waiving the inspection is especially problematic in an older house. That being said, there are a couple of instances when waiving the inspection is more of a calculated risk.

If, for instance, you are buying new construction and the home is under the builder warranty, or if the seller of a home or condo has had existing conditional reports compiled within the past year, it is "potentially" ok to waive the right to an inspection, IF it's the only way to ensure your offer is accepted.

Again, it all comes down to the amount of risk you're willing to take. Remember, even new construction can have problems that an inspection could uncover. The bottom line, spending a few hundred dollars on an inspection is almost always a good investment. However, in a market that is hot, taking a calculated risk may be necessary to ensure your bid is accepted. 

Making A Strong Offer Without Waiving the Inspection 

While any seller will prefer receiving an offer that waives the home inspection, there are ways and tactics allowing you to present a strong offer that will appeal to a seller and keep the inspection on the table. 

  • Be fully preapproved!

Having a preapproval letter from a lender in hand when presenting your offer carries weight. It not only shows the seller you're serious but that you have financing available to close the deal.

  • Ask for an "informational inspection" contingency.

This language tells the seller that you will be getting a full, professional inspection but only for informational purposes. Any information it uncovers will be for you. You won't be asking them to pay for any issues it uncovers.

  • Make a larger downpayment.

It might mean saving for a little longer, but seeing more upfront cash might tempt a seller. It feels like more money in their pockets right away. This can signal that your financing is solid and the deal will close. 

  • Add an Escalation Clause.

This is another tactic that is attractive to sellers. An escalation clause eliminates the need for a back-and-forth negotiation between two buyers. For example, say you're interested in a home that is listed for $175,000. You can offer to automatically bid $1000 over any other offer with a cap of $200,000.

While these tactics can help you look more attractive to a seller and leave the home inspection clause intact, you might still lose out to a buyer willing to take the risk and waive the inspection, especially in a tough market like today. Regardless, if you lose out, brush yourself off, and keep looking! Eventually, you'll find your home and do it in a way that is comfortable for you!

Can a Home Warranty Help?

Ultimately, if you opt to waive the home inspection, consider purchasing a home warranty. Whichever path you choose, a home warranty provides you with a safety net should unexpected expenses present themselves. Click here to learn more about Home Warranty programs, benefits, and pricing. 

June
7

New England Garden

When people ask our real estate agents for home improvement tips, gardening and landscaping are usually at the top of their list. 

Colorful flowers and lush greenery can always put a smile on your face. In addition to the visual delights, there are other great reasons to take up gardening.

Click Here to Read More...

June
2

Closing

Selling Your Home: The Closing

When selling your home, a REALTOR® completes dozens of steps and tasks to get you to the point at which the closing occurs. Some of these steps include;

  • Researching your market
  • Accurately pricing your home
  • Listing it in the Multiple Listing Service database
  • Marketing

Your REALTOR® has been there every step of the way, keeping your best interests front and center. They fielded offers, negotiated terms, and kept you abreast of every development regarding your home. From arranging the septic inspection to monitoring your buyer's financing to arranging the inspections to keep you compliant with the Contract to Purchase terms, your REALTOR® has made the process of selling your home a smooth one and has brought you to the final step... the closing!

This is the stage where your REALTOR® will "dot the i's and cross the t's." It's the stage where all of their hard work, compiling documents and preparing all of the forms needed to complete the closing comes to fruition. Even after the closing is complete and the new owners have the keys, your REALTOR® is still there working on your behalf.

In this post, in our selling your home series, we will examine the final steps your REALTOR® will take to prepare you for closing, close on your home, and follow up post-closing to answer any questions or resolve any issues that may arise.

Selling Your Home: Closing Preparations and Duties

You've arrived at the closing. Your REALTOR® has arranged inspections, worked with your buyer to secure financing, and completed a few dozen other tasks since the buyer signed the Contract to Purchase. Any repairs or issues have been addressed, the bank approved the financing, and now it's time for your REALTOR® to put together all of the paperwork and schedule your closing. As the seller, your REALTOR® will typically act as your representative at the closing. 

These are the steps they will take before closing day.

  • They will make sure that all parties sign the contract.
  • Once the contract is signed, they will coordinate the closing process with the buyer's agent and lender and update all of the closing forms and files.
  • Your REALTOR® will ensure that all parties have all of the forms and information needed to legally close the sale.
  • They will select the location where the closing will be held, confirm the closing date and time, and notify all parties.
  • They will assist in solving any title problems (boundary disputes, easements, etc.) or obtain Death Certificates if required.
  • They will work with the buyer's agent in scheduling and conducting the buyer's Final Walk-Thru before the closing.
  • A member of your REALTORS® team will research all tax, HOA, utility, and other applicable prorations.

At this point, your REALTOR® will begin the final processes, starting with a request for the final closing figures from the closing agent (attorney or title company).

They will receive and carefully review closing figures to ensure that they are accurate.

  • Forward the verified closing figures to the buyer's agent.
  • Request a copy of the closing documents from the closing agent.
  • Confirm that the buyer and buyer's agent have received the title insurance commitment.
  • They will provide the "Home Owners Warranty" for availability at closing and carefully review all of the closing documents for errors with the closing agent.
  • At the closing, your REALTOR® will provide the earnest money deposit check from the escrow account to the closing agent.
  • Coordinate this closing with the seller's next purchase and resolve any timing problems.
  • Have a "no surprises" closing so that the seller receives a net proceeds check at the closing.

Upon closing, your REALTOR® will forward all of the closing documents to you as the seller, as requested. If applicable, they will refer you to one of the best agents at your new destination if needed.

The last step is changing the MLS status to sold, entering the date, price, selling broker, and Agent ID numbers, etc. Finally, they will close out the listing in their transaction management program.

fireworks

Selling Your Home: Follow Up After Closing

Even though your home is sold, and your listing is closed out both internally, and on the MLS, your REALTOR® remains ready to answer questions and provide support even after the sale. They are available to the new buyer to answer questions about filing claims with the Home Warranty Company if requested. 

They will also remain available to clarify and resolve any issues or conflicts about repairs if the buyer is not satisfied. Your REALTOR is on call to respond to any follow-on calls and provide any additional information required from their office files.

Working with a REALTOR® to sell your home is a smart business decision. They are pledged to uphold the stringent, enforceable tenets of the REALTOR® code of Ethics in all of their professional dealings with the public. A REALTOR® has the level of skill, knowledge, and attention to detail that's required in today's complex real estate transactions. Not every real estate licensee holds REALTOR® membership. If you want a smooth transaction, make sure yours does!

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