Monday, April 13, 2015

Who do you want to work with? - By Real Estate agent Matthew Trudel

Thinking of buying or selling soon? Here are a few tips to think about before selecting which realtor you want to work both with and for you. 

Tip 1: Talk with a few of the agents clients, both past and current. As a buyer you should talk with buyers he or she has worked with or is working with. Ask about what they enjoyed and didn't enjoy in the transaction. Sellers should ask previous clients what the asking price was compared to the selling price, how long was it on the market, and is the property similar to yours. Both buyers and sellers should be asking if it was a smooth process and did the agent keep them well informed throughout the process.
Tip 2: How long has the agent and agency been in business? Someone who has been in the business a long time probably has experience, many contacts that can assist in the transaction, and the respect of other agents in the area. Not that you need to have all the experience, because as realtors we are always there to assist other realtors. However, an agent who is relatively new might be learning on you and that's not a good thing.

Tip 3: Talk to more than one agent, preferably three. Sellers should get an opinion from each of them as to what they think the property is worth. All three values should be fairly similar. If one is considerably higher than the other two, beware of that one because it might be an attempt to attract your business. Buyers should ask the agents about the different types of financing programs they have used recently, what programs would they recommend for you, and why. Some of the common programs are FHA, VA, RD, MESHA, Conventional Insured, Conventional, and there is even a Doctor Loan offered through Bank of America. 

Tip 4: How many clients are they working with right now and how will that effect the time they have to devote to working for you? You don't want an agent that has too many clients and time is stretched too thin. This can also be true if the agent is working a different full-time job other than real estate. You want an agent who is not only capable, they need to be available as well.

Tip 5: What is the agents success and satisfaction rate? How many clients did they successfully help and how many did they not help? An agent can list 60 plus homes, but if he only sells 20, you might want to think about the agent that listed 21 homes and sold all of them.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

What are the costs involved before you actually purchase a home? - By Lisa DiBiase

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, home inspector fees typically range from $300 to $500. Your cost will vary depending on location and the size of your property, and whether you order any special evaluations in addition to the standard inspection. Your real estate agent can advise on the fee range for your area.

Additional inspection costs may include one (or all) of the following depending on the property and your personal preference.

Septic Inspection range from $225 to $275 – The septic system should be inspected once a year, including as soon as the house is put on the market for sale. This will enhance the home’s value and avoid any liability issues that might result from a malfunctioning system. If the seller has not has the septic inspected, it is in the interest of a prospective buyer to have the septic system be inspected before they purchase the home.

Radon Air and Water tests range from $150 to $200 - Radon is an odorless, tasteless, radioactive, cancer causing gas that leaks into your home from the soil surrounding it. Pressure differences in your house can cause your home to act like a vacuum, drawing in the radon gas from the soil. Radon can also be present in your water supply. Typically it is only an issue if your water supply comes from a well or ground water, as opposed to surface water like in a reservoir or other open air sources. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set guidelines for the State of Maine. I recommend talking with your real estate professional for more information.

Water Quality test range from $120 to $140 - If you have a private source of water (drilled or dug well or spring), it is up to you, as the homeowner, to test the water. Dug wells and springs are more likely to be contaminated than drilled wells. The main reason is that they may not be well built. Dug wells may collect water that has not moved through enough soil to naturally filter out the bacteria. However, drilled wells can be contaminated, too. A drilled well may not be sealed into the bedrock, or have water flowing down the side of the well casing. Well water should be tested for bacteria and nitrates every year, while it should be tested for arsenic, radon, and uranium every three to five years.

Oil Proration: This exchange is handled outside of the closings in Maine. When the buyer performs their final walk-through prior to closing, they get a reading of the oil that is remaining in the tank. The buyer then pays for the remaining amount of oil in the tank as of the day of closing by personal check. 

Down payment, including the Earnest Money Deposit (EMD):
An earnest money deposit, submitted with the offer, is normally 1 to 3 percent of the offer price. When the offer is accepted, this deposit becomes part of your down payment.

Down payment requirements are calculated as a percentage of the purchase price and vary by loan program and lender. Expect your mortgage lender to ask for anywhere from 3.5 to 20 percent down. Higher down payments often result in preferable loan terms and more options for the borrower, which is why so many people aim for the 20 percent mark. There are loan programs that offer 100 percent financing at competitive rates. I recommend talking to a mortgage professional to understand what rate and terms are best for your own situation. Everyone is different!

As I have said before, please call a local REALTOR for all your real estate needs no matter how big or small. We are trained professionals here to make your life easier. It's best to surround yourself with the right team of professionals that can continuously give you the right advice for all your circumstances.