Vancouver, WA Real Estate News

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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By Jason Vombaur
(Keller Williams)
A colorful history can add significantly to the value of a home. Researching the provenance of a property you are interested in buying can be both interesting and ultimately profitable. The market value of a home will be greater if it was designed by a notable architect, built by a company with a reputation for the finest construction, or lived in by a celebrity who hosted famous guests. Ask your real estate agent if there is any historical data of significance associated with the home, or if previous owners were VIPs. Note the names associated with the deed and title to the home, and look them up with the help of the local historical society. Consult the microfiche in newspaper archives for references to colorful details of the home's past. The county assessor's office may have records...
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By Jason Vombaur
(Keller Williams)
One of the most important factors that affect the value of property is obviously location. Wise investment philosophy suggests that you invest in a sound property in a more modest area that will increase in value in the future. Buying into an area that is being gentrified, or that is otherwise coming back, is one way to do this.Timing is everything, however! Most investors don't want to risk too much by being a pioneer, but want to get involved early enough so that there is still considerable room for appreciation in value. Being a pioneer is fine if you are a risk-taker with a lot of patience and cash is not the primary issue. Otherwise, it is safer to buy into an area after the restoration trend is unmistakably established.Neighborhoods that are ripe for restoration have some common c...
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By Jason Vombaur
(Keller Williams)
Buying a second home as rental property makes a great centerpiece to your retirement plan. It forces you to make regular savings in the form of mortgage payments that become your equity.You only need cash for the down payment, and you should make sure that your monthly rental payments will cover the mortgage and any additional expenses. This is a real possibility if you buy the right house at the right price because a good single-family house should always stay rented. Your investment money is subject to less income tax, and the interest and property taxes may be deductible.Housing has appreciated in value all over the country in recent years, making a second home an important hedge against inflation. Most experts predict that interest rates for fixed-rate and adjustable mortgages shoul...
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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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