Vancouver, WA Real Estate News

When you are buying a new home or refinancing your present one, it is wise to do some comparison shopping among lenders. A low interest rate isn't the only criterion by which to evaluate a loan. You should also consider the terms of the mortgage, what your closing costs will be and the reputation of the lender.Real estate agents are a good source of information about loans and lenders, whether you are buying a home or just refinancing your present home. We routinely assist buyers when they need a mortgage in order to purchase a home. We know what loan packages are available and the qualifying requirements. The companies with the lowest rates sometimes have very conservative underwriting guidelines, and may not be willing to make loans on certain types of property or to buyers who are ma...
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By Jason Vombaur
(Keller Williams)
Are you planning to build your dream home? Once you are pre-approved for a loan and have found a professional real estate agent you trust, you are ready to start looking for the perfect lot. Compare the qualities of several target neighborhoods by looking at schools, shopping, recreation and zoning. Make sure that the zoning regulations allow you to build the size and height of the home you want. Find out if there are use restrictions that would prevent you from developing your property as you intend. A visit to the local planning department will clarify your options for building. Consider what type of home would best suit your lifestyle. Create a checklist to itemize the "must-have" interior and exterior features of a house that you feel are absolute requirements. Make notations about ...
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When you consider what price you should accept when selling your home, there are two important factors that will influence your decision. The first factor is the basic sales price. The second, and more important, is the amount you will actually receive from the proceeds at the closing.Your real estate agent will prepare a seller's "net sheet" showing what your expenses will be. This will aid you in determining who pays what and when. It can help you to focus on the details of the sale.A seller's expenses will include brokerage fees, real estate settlement fees, title insurance fees and special assessments. In some cases the buyer may ask you to pay some of the loan fees. Local real estate taxes will be pro-rated for you and the buyer, and you may be asked to place funds in escrow for pa...
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When starting out as a real estate investor, you can choose either the conservative approach of holding a property until it increases in value or the riskier approach of "flipping" - reselling very soon after making some improvements that add value. If you plan on taking the safer approach, keep the following factors in mind when searching for the right investment property.Look for a house or apartment unit that is close to where you live, so inspecting the property and overseeing maintenance will be easier. Choose an area where there is clear potential for future development, and you will benefit from the inevitable increase in property values. If you have the choice of either buying a newly built or recently remodeled home or a less expensive house in the same neighborhood that needs ...
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By Jason Vombaur
(Keller Williams)
Sometimes a real estate agent will walk into a home that is basically attractive, yet communicates the feeling that something is lacking. Then the agent notices that all of the drapes are closed, interior lights are off and there is a lot of overgrown shrubbery blocking the sunlight that might otherwise pour through the windows.A dark house is not as appealing to most buyers as one that is flooded with light. As a part of your preparations to market your home, try to maximize the light in your home. Make sure that all the windows are clean and the drapes are open when the house is being shown. A fresh coat of light paint can do a lot to brighten up the interior. If your house has very dark paneling, and you do not wish to repaint the walls, you may want to consider adding additional lam...
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By Jason Vombaur
(Keller Williams)
Does it cost the homebuyer more to be represented by a buyer's agent who serves their interests exclusively? No, because the listing agent splits the sales commission, which is customarily paid by the seller of the home, with the buyer's agent. The sales commission split is usually 50-50, but the listing agent and buyer's agent will sometimes make another agreement and split the commission unequally. There is one very unusual circumstance in which the homebuyer might pay a commission to their buyer's agent. The real estate agent might show the buyer a local "for sale by owner" (FSBO) home which the client decides to purchase. In most cases, the FSBO seller who is presented with a qualified buyer is glad to pay the buyer's agent a reduced fee of about 3 percent, or half of a normal sales...
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There are two schools of thought about whether it is better to show a house empty or with the furnishings in it. An empty house is like a blank canvas, and prospective buyers can more easily imagine what their things would look like in it. But buyers could take the fact that the house is vacant as a sign that the sellers are very anxious to sell and, therefore, might entertain a low offer.Our recommendations are usually based on how the house would look. Personal taste is highly subjective. Unless your furniture looks really wonderful and is neutral in color and conservative in style, it could distract buyers from the most attractive qualities of your home. The fact that your home is vacant could give it a competitive edge when they make their final selection. Will it attract low offers...
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Real estate transactions can be tricky. The widespread myth that selling real estate is easy has lured many home sellers into making expensive mistakes by trying (and failing) to sell their own home.Many people assume that all you need is a sales contract, a classified ad and a "For Sale" sign. But even the most basic step -- setting the correct sale price -- depends on a number of factors. The location, size and condition of your home, the relationship between the local supply of homes and the number of qualified buyers, and the recent selling prices of comparable homes in your neighborhood all affect the market value of your property. Homeowners who sell without a professional realtor often misread the local market and overprice the home. Sellers might also mishandle contingencies, ho...
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Your real estate agent's job is to find you the perfect home, in the right location, with all the amenities you want--and at the right price. It is the home inspector's job to find any skeletons in the closet -- or in the plumbing, wiring, roof, basement and beams.The inspector won't pass or fail a home based on what he or she finds, but will go over the house thoroughly to help you understand the condition of the property you are buying. If there are any serious problems, your inspector can give you a realistic idea of how much the repairs will cost. If there are material defects that were not reflected in the asking price, you will have the opportunity to re-open negotiations with your sellers before you commit to the purchase. A good inspector will also explain the operation of the b...
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By Jason Vombaur
(Keller Williams)
Even with the changes in tax laws over recent years, you may be able to deduct some of the expenses of a move that is the result of a change in your job.You will probably be able to deduct the costs of your move if your new work location means more than an additional 50-mile commute, if you move within a year of taking the job at the new location, and if you work full-time for at least 39 weeks (the total is 78 weeks if you are self-employed). You should keep meticulous records of all of your expenses and consult a tax expert to make sure that you take all the lawful tax deductions allowed by the IRS criteria for expenses related to selling your old home or buying your new one. The IRS publication No. 521 entitled "Tax Information on Moving Expenses" makes good reading before you make a...
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After many months of searching, you have found your ideal house. You are a little older and a little wiser now, so you want to give the impression that you are serious without appearing to be too eager. What should you do? In the marketplace, "money talks."There is no absolute rule about how much "good-faith" deposit you should put down--but it is a tool to make your point with the seller. The typical $1,000 will hold many homes for you, except in larger-home markets where it may be critical for you to show that you are an especially serious and able buyer. You don't want to make a deposit that is too large in case there is a problem getting your money back, but if your offer is substantially below the asking price, a larger deposit--$5,000 or $10,000--might influence the seller. If you...
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By Jason Vombaur
(Keller Williams)
Nationwide surveys indicate that a large number of potential home buyers count themselves out of the market because of widely-held myths about home financing. Some of the most prevalent myths include: 1) home buyers need large down payments (more than is actually the case); 2) the loan process works against people under age 35; 3) owning a home is more expensive than renting; and 4) minorities have no chance of getting a mortgage.The surveys found that many people view the mortgage process as "difficult, stressful, and incomprehensible." Many qualified first-time buyers are unaware of special programs designed to make home ownership affordable to them. The home loan industry is always looking for new ways to dispel these myths because lenders want more business, not less. The alternativ...
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There are situations in which you as a homebuyer may be in need of protection: here is one example. You have finally found the home that is right for you, but you have some questions about the structure and condition of the home. A home inspection is the best place to get answers that will help protect your interests as a buyer. There are companies that specialize in inspecting new and used homes. Most sellers allow a reasonable amount of time to have the property inspected after the purchase agreement is agreed upon and prior to closing. It is wise to have a home inspection, even if the house is new or everything appears to be in perfect condition.The inspector can provide important information about the house. Where are the gas and water shut-off valves? How do the circuit breakers op...
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Most sellers make a profit when they sell their homes. They often have questions about how capital gains tax will impact them.If you are selling your primary residence, you do not have to worry about paying taxes on your profits if your gain does not exceed $250,000 as a single taxpayer (or $500,000 as a married couple filing jointly). This tax law comes from The Taxpayer Relief Act passed in August of 1997. Different rules apply when you sell income property. If you sell one property then purchase another, the taxes will be due for the year the sale occurred. On the other hand, if you arrange to exchange one investment property for another, you can defer the capital gains tax. To ensure complete tax deferment you must acquire a replacement property which is equal or greater in price th...
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Many states require the seller of a home to fill out a real estate disclosure statement when transferring the title. The disclosure is designed to reveal any material defects in the home to the new owner. When buying a home, take the time to read the fine print of the disclosure form. Look for a section that asks the seller to indicate the material defects that exist in the home's major systems. Most forms will specify interior and exterior walls, ceilings, roof, insulation, windows, fences, driveway, sidewalks, floors, doors, foundation, and the electrical and plumbing systems. As the buyer you will want to know of defects in any of these areas. Sellers are required to note the presence of environmental hazards or zoning violations. They must disclose if there are any encroachments or ...
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There is no doubt about the fact that it could be more difficult for you to get a mortgage loan if you are a free lance viola player than if you are a government accountant. Traditionally, lenders have been more cautious when evaluating loan applications from buyers who are self-employed than from those who work for a regular salary.If you are self-employed, there is no reason for you to shy away from applying for a home mortgage loan, especially if your earnings have been in the same field for at least two years. Before you begin your search for a house, it is a good idea to meet with an agent of your choice who will be happy to accompany you as you meet with one or more loan officers. They will probably want to analyze your tax returns for the past 2 or 3 years. Because people who are...
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By Jason Vombaur
(Keller Williams)
It is not unusual for home buyers to feel that the lender is being very critical during the loan approval process. The buyer is required to provide all kinds of financial information, and then the lender asks for more. If this is your experience, and the process seems discouraging, remember that none of this is personal! Some lenders have more stringent requirements than others, but every lender requires a substantial amount of documentation on a mortgage loan. They must verify employment, credit history, and recent financial transactions involving your liquid assets. If your Visa payment was late, they may ask for a letter explaining why. If you are self-employed, they will ask for tax returns from at least three years and probably a year-to-date profit and loss statement. Government r...
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By Jason Vombaur
(Keller Williams)
The kitchen is usually very important to prospective buyers. Your kitchen may not be new and state-of-the-art, but it should look its best.Your kitchen should be spotlessly clean and well organized while your home is on the market. The counter tops should be clean and free of clutter, and the floor should shine. Appliances should be clean and in good working order. You may want to add a few decorator touches or replace cabinets, flooring, and even appliances for a small investment. Dollars spent on kitchen improvements usually pay major dividends when you sell your home. If you are planning to sell your home and need some advice in this area, an agent will be happy to discuss your options with you.For more useful information or to find out about Vacouver, WA visit www.LiveInClarkCounty....
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By Jason Vombaur
(Keller Williams)
Most home purchase agreements have clauses that deal with termites. After the agreement is ratified, a termite inspection is arranged. Before the closing can occur, the sellers must be able to produce papers signed by a licensed exterminator stating that the house is free of infestation and that any termite damage has been repaired.Before you sign an agreement to buy or sell a home, you should read the termite clause and be sure that you understand it. Who selects the exterminator and pays for the inspection? If bugs are found, who pays for the treatment? Are the sellers obligated to repair any damage and have they placed a limit of the dollar amount they will spend on those repairs? If treatment is required, the buyers may want a chance to discuss the options with the pest control comp...
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By Jason Vombaur
(Keller Williams)
When building a home, you should have the soil on the construction site tested for plasticity to determine how it will change under different moisture conditions. This is important because some soil is so "plastic" that (if the condition is not corrected) it can actually break concrete floors, crack the walls and destroy the foundation of your home. Highly plastic soil is sometimes referred to as "fat clay" that swells excessively and loses stability when it becomes wet. Fine-grained soils that contain a high percentage of clay are greatly affected by water, turning to mud when it rains and undergoing large volume changes-sometimes up to 40 or 50 percent, as the soil dries. Not only do clays swell and lose stability when they become wet, but they also retard the drainage of water. If pl...
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