Vancouver, WA Real Estate News

By Jason Vombaur
(Keller Williams)
If you are in the process of buying a home, you have probably figured out how much you will need for the down payment, but don't forget about the closing costs associated with the purchase of any property. These additional costs can add up to a significant amount.Closing costs will vary, depending upon the costs of financing your home loan and the time of the month that you close. Your real estate agent will be able to give you an estimate of all these costs, including the points on your loan, private mortgage insurance (if required), the title search, title insurance, attorneys' fees, and any transfer taxes or recording fees changed by local government agencies. There may also be property taxes, homeowners' association fees and insurance that must be prepaid. For more useful informatio...
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By Jason Vombaur
(Keller Williams)
Are you looking for a home and becoming tired of house-hunting? If so, you may be tempted to buy a bargain-priced home "as is" and forego the home inspection. But without the inspection report, do you know what the "as it" refers to? Wouldn't it be better to know what condition the home is in before you buy it? The inspection contingency allows the buyer to enlist the services of a licensed home inspector within three to seven days after the purchase agreement is signed. The inspector will go over the property from top to bottom, evaluating the condition of all the basic systems and structures of the home in order to identify conditions that may be considered material defects and thus may affect the market value or the safety of the home. The inspector's report is the only documented pr...
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By Jason Vombaur
(Keller Williams)
Interest rates fluctuate as changes occur in the general economy. If you purchased your home when interest rates were higher, you may want to consider re-financing your loan at a lower rate.You will have to apply for the new mortgage and have your current income eligibility assessed. Depending on how long you have had your present loan, a current appraisal may be required. There are closing costs, such as attorney, title fees, recording and notary fees, and appraisal charges. The biggest factor in your decision should be the length of time you plan to remain in your home. If you will be there for only a year or two more, it might not pay to re-finance. If you will be in your home longer, re-financing could provide you with lower mortgage payments. Your real estate agent can help you wor...
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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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When a home owner tries to sell "By Owner", they commonly use two basic marketing techniques to advertise the property. They place a "For Sale" sign in the front yard and a classified ad in the local newspaper. When a seller lists their home with a professional real estate agent, however, a very sophisticated process is set in motion in order to facilitate the home sales transaction.Real estate agents have a backlog of prospective buyers for the homes in their market. Through the Multiple Listing Service, the agent cooperates with other brokers in the area who will show your home to their prospective buyers. Professional real estate agents also combine direct mail, telephone calls, and specialized advertising techniques incorporating media such as the Internet, to reach the sales market...
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Technical terms can be confusing to people who do not work in a profession, and real estate agents use language that may be confusing to many home buyers and sellers.If you find your eyes glazing over when your real estate agent starts talking about escrow, clear title, easements, encroachments, contingencies, financing, appraisals and the closing process, don't hesitate to ask for a translation. Buying or selling a home is a major step, and professional real estate agents are totally committed to helping you understand the process thoroughly so that you can make informed decisions. The simple transaction of trading the sellers' house for the buyers' money has become complicated by several hundred years of custom, common law, and state and local government requirements. Consumer demands...
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By Jason Vombaur
(Keller Williams)
It is not unusual for first-time buyers to be free of debt. They have been saving for their first home for many months or even years. But after they move into their new home, the new homeowners are often deluged with pre-approved credit card applications from banks and stores offering credit lines. Before they realize what is happening, they can be overwhelmed with debt.The consumer credit agencies know that mortgage companies do thorough checks before approving a loan, and those who have passed through that process are considered good credit risks. They also know that new homeowners often need to make major purchases of furniture and appliances at a time when they have depleted most of their savings accounts. After years of disciplined savings, new owners may be faced with a tremendous...
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By Jason Vombaur
(Keller Williams)
The large, stately house that you drive by every morning on the way to work has had a "For Sale" sign sitting in the front yard for months. When you finally call for an appointment and see the house--you love it! And the price is lower than prices for similar houses on quieter side streets.Houses located on busy streets may represent excellent buys in terms of space and amenities for the price. Some buyers who are very sensitive to noise or concerned about small children or pets may automatically rule out houses that are located on busy residential streets. If you don't share these same concerns, you won't consider a busy location to be a deterrent to buying the property. If the sellers have made pricing concessions on the property based on its location, this could provide an opportunit...
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By Jason Vombaur
(Keller Williams)
What is "H.O."? You can probably guess--it means "home odors".Be careful of odors in your home. If your family room smells stuffy and stale, or if your cat or dog has left a distinctive odor in the hallway, take action by eliminating the source of the odor rather than merely treating the effects. Smells have a powerful effect on the way people react to a house, and no amount of room freshener or vanilla on the light bulbs can mask a serious odor problem. In fact, such remedies may draw attention to the problem. We have seen homes with an odor problem languish unsold on the market for months or sell for significantly less than comparable homes in the neighborhood.If you think that you may have a problem, talk candidly with your real estate agent. Your agent should be able to offer some c...
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By Jason Vombaur
(Keller Williams)
You have received some extra money! You want to remodel! If you are planning a major renovation, take a few sensible precautions before having plans drawn up and signing on the contractor's dotted line.Any time you do any significant remodeling, you run the risk of over-improving your home. Call or send an email if you are interested in a market analysis of what your home is currently worth. We can talk about neighborhood trends and discuss the recent sales of homes in your area.If your neighborhood is experiencing healthy appreciation, making major changes to your home might make sense. However, if there is not much difference between the prices of remodeled homes and those which have not been renovated, expensive changes may be hard to recover if you sell your home soon.For other usef...
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By Jason Vombaur
(Keller Williams)
When you buy a house or refinance your present home, your lender will ask you to pay for an appraisal to help ensure that the sales price and mortgage amount is consistent with the property's market value. The appraiser will look for "three caballeros" or three "comparables" -- homes that are very similar to the one you are buying -- and will make adjustments to reflect the differences between the properties.Housing patterns tend to be homogenous, meaning that homes worth $300,000 are usually located in $300,000 neighborhoods. It is important for properties to be within the general pricing patterns of their neighborhoods because over-valued homes, even if they are exceptional, are sometimes difficult to sell at full market price.This is not the only factor considered in determining the ...
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By Jason Vombaur
(Keller Williams)
In loan terminology a "balloon" is the unpaid loan balance that must be paid in full on a specified due date. Federal savings and loan associations are permitted to make balloon mortgages with as little as five percent down and monthly payments that are smaller than the amount needed to fully amortize the debt. On the due date, which may be only a few years after the loan was made, the balance must be paid off or the loan must be renegotiated. Balloon borrowers must be cautious and plan carefully to avoid overlooking balloon payment obligations. It is easy to be lulled into complacency by the easy monthly payment terms.Today's complex economics have produced a wide variety of options for potential borrowers, who are often surprised by how much house they can afford to buy. Loan approval...
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By Jason Vombaur
(Keller Williams)
Most real estate offers require an inspection by a licensed exterminator to determine that the house doesn't have termites or other wood boring insects. The inspector will look for two signs in deciding whether or not to pass a house--an active termite infestation and evidence of a past infestation. If your house does not pass the termite inspection, get a list of qualified exterminators from your real estate agent. Find out what treatment options they offer and what they charge for the service. Exterminators are usually quite competitive. If your home was treated for a past infestation, the company which performed the extermination may be willing to re-certify your home without a second treatment. Arrange for the termite inspection as early as possible, so you will have time to determi...
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By Jason Vombaur
(Keller Williams)
Before you list your home for sale, take a careful look around. Are there some items you will want to take with you? There may be a dining room chandelier that has been in your family for three generations, a ceiling fan in the master bedroom, or the bookcases in the den that look built-in but are not.Normally all fixtures are conveyed to the new owners when a house is sold. This includes anything that is attached to walls or ceilings and, in some areas, all major appliances that are installed in the house. If you have fixtures that you don't want to convey, tell your agent what you want excluded from the agreement at the time you list your property for sale. If it is convenient, it is best to remove any light fixtures or ceiling fans you plan to take with you and replace them before th...
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By Jason Vombaur
(Keller Williams)
You have just found a new home that you love and are planning to place your current home on the market. When the day arrives for your first open house, you begin to think of all of the things that could break down or go wrong. The air conditioner may stop working or your trusty old dishwasher might "bite the dust" the morning that the structural inspection is scheduled. Purchasing home warranty protection is one way to reduce these worries for you and your buyer.The most popular warranty plans cover the home from the time it is listed until one year after the closing date. Although the details of these policies vary, there is usually a standard deductible of $35 to $100 (this amount differs from state to state). Many sellers purchase these warranties to make their property more attracti...
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By Jason Vombaur
(Keller Williams)
Unforeseen problems can arise during escrow, and closing dates are never set in stone! Lenders, appraisers, title attorneys, credit check services, or anyone who is involved in the transaction could potentially delay a closing. Stay in close touch with your real estate agent, who will notify you of deadlines and help you deal with delays.Well-written sales contracts are the key to avoiding problems during escrow. For example, provisions can be included in the agreement that require the buyer to provide evidence of sufficient funds for down payment and closing costs, or to present proof of the ability to obtain homeowner's insurance. Because of new restrictions on insurance policies, the mortgage lender may require insurance before funding the loan. There is also a section in the sales c...
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By Jason Vombaur
(Keller Williams)
Real estate transactions are very complex, and difficulties can arise. One common form of interference can come in the innocent guise of helpful advice from family and friends. When you buy your first home, you want the best advice you can get. You want to show the house to friends and relatives before you commit. They will probably tell you about all of the things that went wrong during their own transactions so you can avoid the same mistakes. These people all have good intentions, but too much advice can put you into a state of high anxiety.If you are buying your home with the help of a professional real estate agent, your agent will know how to make sure that any minor upsets do not turn into major problems. A real estate agent's expertise is based on formal training and experience ...
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By Jason Vombaur
(Keller Williams)
As you prepare your home for the market, keep in mind that some of the people who will look at your home may bring along small children. Families with children may be looking for a larger home with more bedrooms and a bigger yard.Prospective buyers will be accompanied by a real estate agent while touring your home, but that doesn't guarantee that the children will be supervised the entire time they are in your home. Every real estate agent has a story of a little person grabbing a Steuben apple from a low shelf, or of a toddler running full speed to the edge of a high deck. Preparing your home to show involves common sense, such as removing sharp or breakable objects from low shelves and making sure that electric appliances don't have dangling cords that little hands can reach. If there...
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By Jason Vombaur
(Keller Williams)
Many home buyers are concerned about whether they have an insurable interest in the property before the actual closing. The answer is an unqualified "yes". Although the buyer is not yet the recorded owner of the property, he or she has an insurable interest in the property as soon as the agreement of sale is executed by both the buyer and seller.Should you get hazard insurance before the closing? It depends. Buyers do not usually insure a property until the title passes to them from the seller. However, it's wise to know what the agreement between you and the seller stipulates with regard to insurance.Most agreements state that the property will be insured for a specific amount. This is very important to both parties. From the buyer's point of view, it is also critical that an adequate ...
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By Jason Vombaur
(Keller Williams)
Finding an experienced, reliable real estate agent whom you like and trust is the first step in locating your new home. Here is an approach to finding the right agent. Call or stop by a real estate office and ask to speak with the manager. Describe the type of home you are looking for. The manager can refer you to an agent who knows that market very well. You might also use weekend "open houses" as opportunities to look for a real estate agent, as well as a new home. It is really a matter of chemistry! If you meet someone who is knowledgeable and with whom you feel comfortable, call that person!Once you establish a strong working relationship with a real estate agent, your agent can show you a number of homes for sale, even if they are listed with other companies. Often the agent can sh...
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