Seeing homes… what buyers & sellers should know

Upcoming Free (& non-promotional) Home Buyer Classes: real estate not hgtv

Saturday, June 16th , from 9m-12pm (ish)
Vancouver YMCA, conference room
11324 NE 51st Circle, Vancouver WA (corner of SR500 & Gher Road/112th Ave)
Tuesday, June 19th, from 5m-8pm (ish)
Marshall Community Ceneter, conference room
1009 E McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College)

If these class dates and/or times don’t work for you, please let us know.  We understand that you have lives, and families, and work.  We will work something out that works better with your schedule.  Just let us know….                                                                                  
….we also have home seller classes available too…link on left on website
                  
Remember…with reservation…we will throw in lunch, or dinner!  😀
                                ~~~~~~~~~
Happy sunny weather!! 
  It’s that time again (and again!)…  CLIENT APPRECIATION EVENT time… Yay!!  😀
Saturday, June 16 from 3pm-6pm.
Chris Berg & I would like to invite our clients to come watch a movie with us.  Didn’t we just have one?  Well, yes…yes, we did and we had so much fun that we want to do it again!
Which one now? Well, it involves some Disney, NO CAPES, a family, and a very long wait!  
 Come join us for The Incredibles 2!!
This is just our small way of saying, “THANK YOU” for your continued support, friendship, and oh yes, referrals. We appreciate YOU so much. Come watch a movie with us!  There’s always room for
friends and family too.  🙂
We do need rsvp’s, and those can be made via Facebook or email to either Chris Berg (cberg@pcmloan.com) or Tracie DeMars (traciedemars@aol.com) for right now.  
We are always excited for the client appreciation events, and it’s almost as exciting for us as getting someone’s offer accepted on their dream home… or getting an offer signed around on the home they’re selling.  I know people think that Real Estate is about houses, and while, yes…that is partly correct, it isn’t completely correct.  😀  Real Estate is more about the relationships we form with our clients, and assisting them with their goals. 
  As we’ve talked about, once you hire a Realtor to help you with your home adventure, you are ready for the ‘fun’ part…..LOOKING AT HOMES!  🙂  This is always an exciting time for buyers, and it should be!  Every home you pull up to has the possibility to be ‘the one’….The one you make an offer on, the one that you buy, the ONE that becomes YOUR HOME…and it is very exciting.  For the sellers though, it is very stressful because currently it is THEIR home, and they’re leaving so that strangers can come in.  As a Realtor, we are trying to make this as easy as possible for both the buyer and seller, but we need help…

From the homeowners (sellers), we are asking that the home be available to show, that the home be clean, nothing of value is being left out, all medicines are put away and out of sight (not left in bathrooms or kitchen cabinets), anything that a seller wants excluded from the sale is noted, that sweet pups are either removed or kenneled, that sweet kitties are noted as inside only or inside/outside ok, and that please, please… homeowners (sellers) be gone for showings.  As always, there is more to it than this, but that is a different class….and email.  You can always call me for more information when you are selling your home. 
 
From the buyers….it gets a bit more complicated…  before we go house shopping, we are asking that you have a pre-approval letter with a solid lender, we are asking that you do not look at homes above your price range, we are asking that you have thought about the Top Three things you want in a home (so we can show you homes that have those items you value most), and that you help us help you….  
    When a Realtor opens the lockbox to show you the home, we are taking responsibility for everything that happens from that moment on….until we lock up the house and put the key back into the lockbox.  As I say all the time…  Real Estate is NOT like HGTV…  you don’t just get to wander the home while your Realtor sits outside…  we must be with you at all times when touring your potential new home.  Sometimes this can be like herding cats, but we understand your excitement…  just please, please as you are touring the home, and we know you have your family with you, please…we must all stay together.  Don’t make me sing to you here…..
    As cool as those toys look, I’m sorry but the kiddos can’t play with them, and sorry…but you can’t jump on the beds either.  It’s ok to open cupboards, and closets, but we can’t open dressers, or go through someone else’s personal items.  Touring a home is a VISUAL thing….sorry.  Yes, you can use the bathroom. 
    When it’s wet out (which it hasn’t been lately), it’s always a good take off our shoes before we enter someone else’s home so be sure to wear easy on & off shoes.
    When we are looking at homes, often we have more than one home to look at, and many homes are owner occupied so your Realtor makes appointments.  We do the best we can to make sure we have enough time to look at the homes, but we need to stay within our timeframes as the sellers are waiting to come home after we leave, or there are other Realtors waiting to show the home.  I promise we are not trying to ‘rush’ you through the home…we are just trying to stay within the timeframes so that you can see the other homes on your list. 
    With the real estate market being so crazy right now, it’s important that if a home comes up that you like, that you let your Realtor know as soon as possible so we can make an appointment for you to see it.  Your Realtor should be sending you a list of homes as they come on the market for you to check….drive by the homes…check out those neighborhoods….and let’s make an appointment to go see the inside of the home.
    Do not trust Internet photos!  Realtors hire professional photographers for our listings for a reason.  🙂  Internet photos are a lot like internet dating…you don’t know what you’re going to get when you get there  
 
   Like the neighborhood, but not sure about the house?  Let’s at least go check out the inside!  You never know as you can’t judge a book (or a house) by its cover. 
    ASK QUESTIONS!!  For heavens sake…this is a home you are thinking about buying…  ask questions!  As your Realtor, we are here to help!  If we can’t answer your questions, we can at least set up in the right direction to get those answers. 
Buying a home is a very emotional experience.  Your Realtor is here to point out pros/cons, and to help you…. Trust your heart, but use your head…  or your Realtor.  🙂  Remember that we work FOR you.
Thank you, as always, for reading this. Now, Memorial Day just passed, and as nice as it was to spend the day with our family….let’s take a moment to remember WHY we have this holiday….to remember our brave men and women who fought, and died, so that we can enjoy our time with our families.  Memorial Day isn’t just about BBQ’s, fun, and family…  it’s about those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.  We Remember….

I hope this helps you this week!  Please, if you have any questions, please feel free to call, email, text, or even facebook me anytime.  I am always here to help!   
Information is power, and I hope that I am help you!  Good luck, and as always…May the odds be ever in your favor out there….  If you are looking for a real estate agent, I would love to be able to help you.
 
I hope that explains this a bit, but if you have any questions, or comments please call or email me anytime!  Please remember that while I mean these emails/blogs to be helpful, and educational, I am still hoping that you will call, or email me.  I would love to help you with your home buying, or home selling adventure!  🙂

    As always….this is just a quick overview…. again…and I can’t say this enough…please remember that your agent is NOT a salesperson, and should not be acting like one.  Real Estate is not really about houses, it is about relationships.  Your agent, and your lender work for YOU.  You drive the bus…we are merely GPS to help you get to your goals.  Like the classes, this weekly blog email is to help you with your home adventure.  The goal is to be informative and non-promotional.  🙂  We are, however, hoping you will call and want us to help with your adventure.  
 
Thank you again for your business and your referrals!!  …and thank you for referring these classes to your friends, family, and co-workers. 
 
 .…disclaimer…if you have already purchased a home, or would no longer like to receive these emails, please let me know and I will be happy to remove you from any further mailings…
 
Upcoming Topics:
Credit 101…. part 2 (with information about credit class)
Hiring a Realtor…questions to ask,
Buyers Due Diligence …what you need to know  &….
What does an Agent do for me?


Last Week:  Loans & Down Payment Information

Have a great day, and I will talk to you soon,
;-D
Tracie DeMars
Real Estate broker 
Re/Max – Van Mall
360/ 903-3504 cell
360/ 882-3600 fax
www.traciedemars.com
traciedemars@aol.com

“Interested in free and non promotional home education classes?  Go to www.freehomebuyerclasses.com for local upcoming home buyer and home SELLER classes, or facebook: Tracie DeMars Real Estate for my home buyer education blog.”

“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
– Shel Silverstein, American poet, cartoonist and composer, (1930 – 1999).

 

Loan Descriptions & Down Payment Assistance Programs

normalUpcoming Free (& non-promotional) Home Buyer Classes:

Saturday, May 12th, from 9am-12pm (ish)
Marshall Community Center, conference room
1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College) 


Saturday, May 19th, from 12pm-3pm (ish)
Vancouver YMCA
11324 NE 51st Circle, Vancouver WA (corner of SR 503 & 112th Ave/Gher Road)
If these class dates and/or times don’t work for you, please let us know.  We understand that you have lives, and families, and work.  We will work something out that works better with your schedule.  Just let us know….                                                                                  
….we also have home seller classes available too…link on left on website                  
Remember…with reservation…we will throw in lunch, or dinner


Hiya~
 

Good news!!  Chris Berg is putting together a class on credit.  I am going to email out the 2nd part of the credit 101 email blog after I have a date for his class.  A lot of questions were emailed because of that email.  We appreciate your questions, and truly want to help with those.  We think the class will be very helpful.

Thank you to everyone who came to the Client Appreciation Event this past Saturday for the Avengers:  Infinity War.  Wow!  That was CRAZY!  I have a ton of theories on what is going to happen for part 2 next year…  I’d love to hear yours too 😀
Please don’t forget that our NEXT Client Appreciation is on Saturday, 6/16, for the Incredibles 2.  We’ve all been waiting a long time for this sequel.  I’m crossing my fingers that it is worth the wait.  My oldest daughter is pregnant and hormonal…so if it isn’t….  well, let’s just home that the sequel is awesome.

So, this week we’re going to spend some time talking about down payment.  Like Closing Costs, or money that folks need to buy a home….there seems to be a lot of misinformation regarding this. Many banks, or lenders, will tell you different things…or different down payment dollar amounts that you will need because that is what THEIR lending institution will allow, but there’s always more options.  Please remember that I am NOT a lender.  Please call or email Chris Berg at Pinnacle Mortgage for more information on any of these, or feel free to come to one of the classes.  We are here to help.  Chris’s information is:  503-320-0925  & cberg@pcmloan.com…  or you can Facebook him as well.

FHA:

FHA is the king loan as most folks will use this when buying a home.  Chris says that, with FHA, you can buy a home with as low as a 580 credit score, but it’s rough…  620, or higher,  and you will love him.  FHA requires the lowest down payment, and that is 3.5% of the purchase price.  If you have your down payment, the lender can help with your closing costs.  We will talk about Closing costs next week.

Conventional:

You can get a conventional loan with a down payment of 3% of the purchase price if you or the home meet certain criteria or 5% down if you make too much money for the program, but interest rates tend to be higher with this loan, and the best rates go to those folks with 720 or higher credit scores.

USDA or Rural:

This is a zero down payment loan….(remember that you do still have to have some money to buy a home…see last weeks email).  USDA is location specific though as you have to buy in their approved areas….and they don’t like barns, or acreage.
 
VA:
Have to be a veteran, or spouse of a deceased veteran who died in service.  No down payment required.  This really is the best loan program there is, and frankly our military vets & folks deserve it.  
 
Those are the 4 basic loans and, in some form or another, most lenders work with them or offer variations of them.  However, what if you don’t have money for a down payment?  You have your earnest money, your inspection fee, and your appraisal fee (unless you’re VA which includes the appraisal fee)…but you really want to buy your OWN home?  ….and you don’t want to live in a USDA approved area?  You want to live in Vancouver?  Well, there’s programs for that too!
 
From Chris:
 
Here is the information on a couple of loans that the big banks and credit unions don’t offer that may help you get into a home now:
 
WSHFC Home Advantage: This is for Washington residents buying a home that they are going to use as their primary residence.  They offer a 2nd mortgage to cover your down payment with 0% interest and no payments on that 2nd mortgage for 30 years.  Also only need a 620 credit score to qualify.  Those are the pros.  Cons include higher interest rate on the 1st mortgage, more closing costs, 3rd party underwriting, and there is a max income (for all living in the home) that you have to be under.
 
Chenoa Down Payment Assistance:  This is a cool option.  Works for multiple states (including WA and OR).  First mortgage is FHA and the 2nd mortgage (if you are under the max income threshold) that covers your down payment is forgiven after you have made your on time payments for 36 months.  Good news is that if you make more than the max income for the program you can still do it, you just have to pay the 2nd mortgage back.  Cons are mostly in the fact that the rate for the 1st mortgage is higher than if you had a down payment.
 
Long story short, there are several low/zero down payment options for you to consider.  You will always get a better deal if you have a down payment but if you don’t I have got you covered.  There are also options and avenues for a down payment too.
 
 ….and don’t forget gifts.  If you have a family member who wants to help you (and can they adopt me?), gifts can be used to help with your down payment, or earnest money.  This is actually quite common.  Another way to get a down payment is to use your 401k.  If you have a 401k, or retirement account, most of those have special options that you can use to get money out for your down payment.  So…whether you have your down payment, or you need help with a down payment… there are options, and help available.  We are always here to answer any questions you might have.  It’s what we do…  🙂 
 
            Information is power, and I hope that I am able to help you.  Good luck, and as always…May the odds be ever in your favor out there….  AND If you are looking for a real estate agent, I would love to be able to help you.                                                                       
 
    As always….this is just a quick overview…. again…and I can’t say this enough…please remember that your agent is NOT a salesperson, and should not be acting like one.  Real Estate is not really about houses, it is about relationships.  Your agent, and your lender work for YOU.  You drive the bus…we are merely GPS to help you get to your goals.  Like the classes, this weekly blog email is to help you with your home adventure.  The goal is to be informative and non-promotional.  🙂  We are, however, hoping you will call and want us to help with your adventure.  
 
If you have any questions about this, or something you have heard…or if you would like me to help you with your home adventure, please call, email,  text, or facebook me anytime.  I am, as always, happy to help!
 
Thank you again for your business and your referrals!!  …and thank you for referring these classes to your friends, family, and co-workers. 
 
 .   ..disclaimer…if you have already purchased a home, or would no longer like to receive these emails, please let me know and I will be happy to remove you from any further mailings… 
 
 
Upcoming Topics: 
Credit 101… part 2….  with information for the credit class
Flash vs Bones…what should a buyer be looking for in homes? 
What happens after an offer is made?  and
Water?  What water?  oh… the water under the house…..
 
Last Week:  Credit 101… part one 
 
Have a great day, and I will talk to you soon,
;-D
Tracie DeMars
Real Estate broker 
Re/Max – Van Mall
360/ 903-3504 cell
360/ 882-3600 fax
www.traciedemars.com

traciedemars@aol.com
“Interested in free and non promotional home education classes?  Go to www.freehomebuyerclasses.com for local upcoming home buyer and home SELLER classes, or facebook: Tracie DeMars Real Estate for my home buyer education blog.”

“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.” 
– Shel Silverstein, American poet, cartoonist and composer, (1930 – 1999).

Credit 101… Part One (and great movie trailer!)

Upcoming Free (& non-promotional) Home Buyer Classes:

Tuesday, April 17th, from 5pm-8pm (ish)
Marshall Community Center, conference room
1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College)
Saturday, April 28th, from 9am-12pm (ish)
    Vancouver YMCA
11324 NE 51st Circle, Vancouver WA (corner of SR 503 & 112th Ave/Gher Road)
If these class dates and/or times don’t work for you, please let us know.  We understand that you have lives, and families, and work.  We will work something out that works better with your schedule.  Just let us know….                                                                                  
….we also have home seller classes available too…link on left on website
 Remember…with reservation…we will throw in lunch, or dinner

Happy Weekend!

….  talking about Client Appreciation…we were talking about Client Appreciation…weren’t we?   We have two coming up.  Avengers: the infinity war will be on Saturday, May 5 from 3pm-6pm.  Yes, we are aware that Disney moved the premier up to the 28th, but they’re Disney so they can do whatever they want.  We, however, are NOT Disney, and we will be at the Clark County PUD Home & Garden show the last weekend of April.  Stop by and see us if you are going.  🙂  Our next Client Appreciation after that will be for The Incredibles: 2 on Saturday, June 16, from 3pm-6pm.  We do have limited tickets to both, and of course, limited 21+ tickets.  Please email either Chris Berg (cberg@pcmloan.com), or myself to reserve tickets….yes, even if you have already stated you want to go.  Due to limited tickets we are going to limit tickets to 6 right now.  If we have open tickets towards to the end (and we usually do), we will open tickets up to those who want more.  Thank you for your continued business, and for your referrals!  We appreciate you….  check out the trailer!  😀  More informational Blogs are available at www.learningtobuyahome.com.

This week some credit issues came up with some clients, and I have been getting quite a few inquiries from people regarding credit…so….let’s spend a couple of weeks going over credit.  
I know that ‘sometimes’ I can go a bit long (sorry!) so I am trying to keep it shorter for you by breaking this up into 2 parts….   
 
   Credit Basics…
Your credit score is a 3 digit number that lenders and institutions use to predict how you will pay your bills, or debts.  The score ranges from 300-850, and the average US citizen score is in the mid 600’s.  This score is calculated using your credit payment history from those companies that report to a credit agency and go on your report.
There are several versions of the credit score, and each entity may look at something different, but most entities in your life will look at your credit score….your insurance company, a prospective employer, your bank, a car lender, a mortgage lender, etc.  The most commonly used version for your credit score is the FICO score (Fair Isaac Company).  Lenders and creditors look at this score to decide if you are a safe risk, or not. 
How is it calculated?
Some parts of your bill paying history are more important than others, and are given different weights when calculating your score.  Now, please remember that while Fair Isaac owns all the details of the exact information on how a score is calculated, we do know what information is used.
Paying Your Bills ON TIME = 35%
Remember that, with banks and creditors, it is all about risk so they are most concerned about whether or not you pay your bills.  The best indicator of this is how you’ve paid your bills in the past.  Late payments and collections will affect your credit score and the more recent the delinquencies, the more they hurt the credit score.  If they are older, and you can show that you haven’t had any recently (at least a year), this is better.
How Much Debt You Have = 30%
Credit utilization is the amount of debt you have in comparison to your credit limits.  The creditors and lenders use this to see how you manage your debt…..the closer you are to your limits equals the lower your credit score will be.  Lenders and creditors want to see you about 30% or less because it shows 1) you can manage your debt and your income
2) you aren’t using credit to live on
3) in case something does happen you do have some credit to fall back on until you get on your feet.
Length of Credit History = 15%
How long have you had your loans?  Your credit card(s)?  The longer your credit history goes back, the better your score because you have something that creditors and lenders can track.  It gives them more information on your spending habits, and your potential for risk.  Don’t close a long standing account for a new one with a lower interest rate….it will hurt your credit score more than keeping that old card open.
Inquiries = 10%
To a creditor/lender, too many applications for credit can mean that you are taking on a lot of debt, or that you could be in some kind of financial trouble….and that you are a ‘high risk’.  Any inquiry made on your credit (yes, even those “would you like to apply for our credit card to receive 25% off of your purchase”), can remain on your credit report for 2 years.  Of course, your credit score calculation only considers applications made within the last year, but creditors and lenders can see everything….
Every inquiry is a ‘ding’ on your credit score, but if you are searching for a large loan, such as a car loan, or a home loan, you can make so many inquiries within a specified time and it will only count as one ding.  The credit bureaus do understand that you aren’t trying to buy 3 homes, but shopping around.  You only have a short window for this though…and remember, if a lender sees that you have been shopping for a car loan previous to searching for home loan that this could be a red flag.
What Kind of Credit Do You Have? = 10%
You need to have a good mix of credit on your account…some long term debt, like a car loan, and some short term debt, like a credit card.  This shows you have experience managing a mix of credit.   Most car, student, and home loans are known as installment debt as these are fixed payments.  Credit cards are revolving debt as the payments are in direct relation to how you have used it.  High debt is an issue in relation to how much income you have….but that is a different blog…
Having different types of debt is only 10%, so it isn’t a real big deal….unless you have no other information.
No Credit?
I understand the dream is to live debt free, and with no credit, but the problem with this is that if you have NO credit then creditors/lenders, etc., have nothing to base your history, and your credit worthiness (aka: risk) on.  Most folks have to get credit, or a loan at some time….whether you want a home, or a car, but without credit this is very difficult.  At this point, your lender may have you open some credit lines for 6 months or more to grow your credit history before they can give you a loan.  It is harder to get a loan with NO credit than it is with BAD credit.  Bad credit can be fixed, but no credit has to be earned.  I know…bizarre, but there you are.
Should you pay off all your debt first…before talking with a lender?
Not necessarily. Why?  For example, one of my recent clients had 3 old debts from a divorce, and a bad split up.  He had 2, and she had one.  My clients wanted to pay them off, but the lender told them to wait as they had a mid-score of 630 already which is fine to purchase a home.  Now, at closing, the underwriters made it a condition of the financing to have those 3 bills paid off by bringing in a check at signing for those.  My clients asked why they couldn’t have just paid it off at beginning like they wanted to.  Their lender told them that had they paid those off first it would have been a ‘hit’ on their credit that would have taken them under the 620 needed to buy a home, but by waiting it wasn’t an issue.
I know, I know…crazy!  There is it though.  Answer is to wait!  Sit down and talk with a lender like Chris Berg at Pinnacle Home Mortgage and talk about your credit report FIRST….before you do anything.  Get a game plan and then go from there educated on your options, choices, and your next steps.  We are, as always…here to help YOU!
Please remember in this crazy market that you do not get T-Bone steaks for the price of hamburger…Look ONLY at homes within your budget.  ALWAYS ask questions, and expect answers without a lot of lingo.  I was always told that if you can’t explain something in a way that the other person can understand clearly, it is because you don’t understand it yourself.  🙂

I’m always available to answer your questions, so feel free to reach out to me anytime.  🙂
 

     Information is power, and I hope that I am able to help you.  Good luck, and as always…May the odds be ever in your favor out there….  AND If you are looking for a real estate agent, I would love to be able to help you.                                                                       

 
    As always….this is just a quick overview…. again…and I can’t say this enough…please remember that your agent is NOT a salesperson, and should not be acting like one.  Real Estate is not really about houses, it is about relationships.  Your agent, and your lender work for YOU.  You drive the bus…we are merely GPS to help you get to your goals.  Like the classes, this weekly blog email is to help you with your home adventure.  The goal is to be informative and non-promotional.  🙂  All home buying adventures should START with the Home Buyer Education Classes. Don’t talk to lenders/agents until after the classes so you know the questions to ask, what all the paperwork means, and fully understand the process.  As always…the classes are Free and Non-Promotional.  We are not there to promote ourselves, or any ‘special’ agenda like some classes, and while we certainly hope you will call Chris or I, or both of us, to help with your home buying adventure, that certainly isn’t the main focus of the classes.  If you have any questions about this, or something you have heard… or if you would like me to assist you with your home adventure… please call, email, or text.  We are here to help.
Thank you again for your business and your referrals!!  …and thank you for referring these classes to your friends, family, and co-workers.
 .   ..disclaimer…if you have already purchased a home, or would no longer like to receive these emails, please let me know and I will be happy to remove you from any further mailings…
Upcoming Topics: What happens after an offer is made?  and
Water?  What water?  oh… the water under the house…..
Last Week:  Property Taxes… the elephant in the room
 
Have a great day, and I will talk to you soon,
;-D
Tracie DeMars
Real Estate broker 
Re/Max – Van Mall
360/ 903-3504 cell
360/ 882-3600 fax
www.traciedemars.com
traciedemars@aol.com
 

“Interested in free and non promotional home education classes?  Go to www.freehomebuyerclasses.com for local upcoming home buyer and home SELLER classes, or facebook: Tracie DeMars Real Estate for my home buyer education blog.”

“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
– Shel Silverstein, American poet, cartoonist and composer, (1930 – 1999).

Hiring a Realtor? Questions to ask….

she's crazyUpcoming Free (& non-promotional) Home Buyer Classes:

Saturday, April 14th, from 9am-12pm (ish)
Marshall Community Center, conference room
1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College)
Tuesday, April 17th, from 5pm-8pm (ish)
Marshall Community Center, conference room
1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College)

Saturday, April 28th, from 9am-12pm (ish)
    Vancouver YMCA
11324 NE 51st Circle, Vancouver WA (corner of SR 503 & 112th Ave/Gher Road)

If these class dates and/or times don’t work for you, please let us know.  We understand that you have lives, and families, and work.  We will work something out that works better with your schedule.  Just let us know….                                                                                  
….we also have home seller classes available too…link on left on website                  
Remember…with reservation…we will throw in lunch, or dinner
Happy Spring!  ….or 3rd winter.. whatever…

Anyone else feel like Mother Nature missed the memo this year?  Winter hit late, and now that it is spring.. she just doesn’t seem ready to let go.  I do know that feeling myself though… it’s hard to stop when you are on a roll.  🙂

  So, before we jump into this weeks topic, I want to remind you to send me your best pictures for the 2019 calendar that we will be giving away at this winters Client Appreciation…..and talking about Client Appreciation…  We have two coming up.  Avengers: the infinity war will be on Saturday, May 5 from 3pm-6pm.  Yes, we are aware that Disney moved the premier up to the 28th, but they’re Disney so they can do whatever they want.  We, however, are NOT Disney, and we will be at the Clark County PUD Home & Garden show the last weekend of April.  Stop by and see us if you are going.  🙂  Our next Client Appreciation after that will be for The Incredibles: 2 on Saturday, June 16, from 3pm-6pm.  We do have limited tickets to both, and of course, limited 21+ tickets.  Please email either Chris Berg (cberg@pcmloan.com), or myself to reserve tickets….yes, even if you have already stated you want to go.  Due to limited tickets we are going to limit tickets to 6 right now.  If we have open tickets towards to the end (and we usually do), we will open tickets up to those who want more.  Thank you for your continued business, and for your referrals!  We appreciate you


So let’s talk a bit about agency and hiring an agent this week…
So why is Agency so important?  Because Agency is what we DO…and you need to be aware of what to expect from your agent.  The biggest thing I can tell you is that a Realtor is NOT A SALESPERSON!  The only thing a Realtor is selling is themselves…their education, their experience, their talents, their level of customer/client service, their personality, their ethics….who ‘they’ are, and how that Realtor can help you with your home adventure.  Really, all Realtors essentially do the same thing, but it’s HOW we do it, who we are as a person, and what each individual agent brings to the table, that makes a difference. Once your Realtor is hired to help you buy (or sell) a home, they’re not (or shouldn’t be) selling anything.  Once hired, that Realtor works FOR you…that Realtor should be using all those things that made you want to hire her (or him) to your benefit as they represent you.  Agency is how we do it, and how we represent you.  Agency is the relationship between you, and your realtor.
  Again…so WHY is Agency so important for you to know and understand?  Agency is the relationship between you, and your realtor, right?  So, when you hire a Realtor to help you buy (or sell) a home, you are trusting that Realtor to put your interests first, to represent YOUR best interests, to be truthful (even if that stings a bit), to be honest, to be act as your representative.  You’re trusting this Realtors experience, knowledge, care, education, etc…and trusting that this Realtor is going to provide you with client customer service for this, the biggest transaction, of your life.  This all sounds correct, right?  That Realtor should not be trying to ‘sell’ you on anything.  This is YOUR home adventure, and our main job is to help you get keys on ‘the’ home you want.
  Please….LIKE your agent!  Too many times I talk to people who do NOT like their Realtor, and folks… I’m just saying that that’s not right!  The average home sale in Clark County is over $330,000…that is a over a QUARTER OF A MILLION DOLLARS…why are you going to trust that kind of money to someone you don’t even like?
  The National Association of Realtors has a Code of Ethics that every agent is legally bound by…or at least…is supposed to be…  The first article is the duty to clients, and it states, “When representing a buyer, seller, landlord, tenant, or other client as an agent, REALTORS® pledge themselves to protect and promote the interests of their client. This obligation to the client is primary, but it does not relieve REALTORS® of their obligation to treat all parties honestly. When serving a buyer, seller, landlord, tenant or other party in a non-agency capacity, REALTORS® remain obligated to treat all parties honestly.”
 
BAM!!!  If I had a mic, I’d drop it.  😀  
  Some things I want you to know…whether you are buying or selling a home, everyone is legally entitled to their own realtor representation…and yes, this has come up recently.  Sadly, a realtor recently told someone that they could not have their own representation…that this particular realtor refused to work with another agent(s) on that home that the buyer wanted to buy.  Legally, EVERYONE is entitled to representation of their own when buying or selling their home.  If something sounds, ‘off’ to you…ask.  
  What many people fail to realize is that, as a home buyer, or a home seller, YOU are the boss.  You are hiring someone to help you with one of the most important stages of your life.  YOU ARE HIRING SOMEONE…. this is an interview.  What questions should you be asking?
 
HOW long have you been in the real estate business?  
   Do they have experience, a network of people that they can contact to help?  Nothing wrong with a newbie, but do you know everything about a job when you first start out?  How do you learn?  In real estate, we are always learning, but do you want to be the transaction that an agent ‘cuts their teeth’ on?
HOW long have you been licensed?  
   This ties into the last question.  Sometimes an agent worked with another licensed agent as an unlicensed assistant so they could have a couple of years in the real estate industry, but very few (or none) as a licensed agent.  Again, nothing wrong with a ‘newbie’ agent….often times they have more time to help you vs an experienced agent who has other clients we are working with as well.  An experienced agent usually has a pipeline of clients and closings so we’re not as concerned with ‘pushing’ a sale because we don’t need to.  Newer agents usually don’t have that pipeline so may be more concerned about getting you into (or out of) a home as fast as possible.
WHAT did you do prior to real estate?  What was your other careers?
   Why is this important?  Buying, or selling a home is one of the largest financial decisions you will ever make.  You are hiring someone to assist you with this decision.  What qualifications does this person have to help you do so?  Did they work in marketing?  Office management?  Accounting?  Did they wait tables?  Work in a factory?  Were they a car salesperson?  What skills and life experience does that agent bring to the table, and how can it help you?  
DO you have any college education or degrees?
   Again, see above…this is your largest financial decision….how is this person qualified to help you with that?  What background do they have that will assist you?
WILL I be working with you, or an assistant?
   Sometimes you hire an agent to help you, but then you never see them….you’ve been handed off to an assistant who may not have the qualifications you had asked about to that other agent that you ‘thought’ you had hired.  Sometimes you hired the assistant because they had the qualities and the qualifications you were looking for, and you are surprised that they are actually part of a team.
 
WHAT days/times are you available?
   This is pretty important as you need to know if the times you are available are going to work with the times that your agent is available.  Are they there for you when you need them?  Or can you never get a hold of him/her?
 
HOW many homes to you sell (on average) per year?
   Why does this matter?  Most people think that a ‘full time’ agent sells about 12 homes a year…but really that is a part time agent.  It’s a ‘gross’ check vs ‘net’ check kind of thing…and in real estate there are a lot of expenses, dues, fees, and taxes.  Being self employed has some great things, but they come with expensive costs and overheads.  For example, in my family my husband works for health insurance only… I am the main source of income, and to ‘break even’ I have to sell, at least, 2 homes a month.  Of course, a lot of that depends on the types/values of the homes an agent sells.  I work mainly with first time and move up buyers/sellers vs some agent friends of mine who sell luxury homes.  They don’t help as many people as I do, but make more.  You know… like that supervisor at work who makes more than you, but does less work?  LOL
WHAT is the average price of the homes you help people buy/sell?
   This does tie into the last question….  If someone works mainly with luxury homes, do they understand the market for the type of home you are buying or selling?  Not too long ago, I had a call from someone who wanted to sell their 4000 sq ft home in a very swanky Portland neighborhood.  I actually referred them to a different agent for 2 reasons…one reason being that I don’t work in the Portland area and I believe that agents should stick to the areas they know.  Not all markets are the same, and I am not helping someone if I am taking on an unfamiliar market, am I?  …and that’s also kind of the second reason…they have a luxury home and that is a different selling, and buying market.  Honestly, they are better serviced by the agent I referred them to as that agent specializes in Portland, and in that high price range.  I’m always too busy wondering how long it would take to clean it!!
DO you have another job besides real estate?  
   This kind of ties into the question about how many homes does an agent sell per year as many part time agents have other jobs to supplement their income.  This also ties into when that agent is going to be available to help you.  Real estate isn’t just about showing homes…there is SO much more to it.  Phone calls, marketing, searching for homes on the internet, calling about that home, calling other agents, other vendors, paperwork, more paperwork, talking, phone calls, texting, emails, title companies, inspections, appraisals, lenders, etc… it’s an 80 hour a week job some weeks.  There are no ‘real’ vacations as you are always ‘on duty’.
 
HOW do you feel about Dual Agency?
  This is an interesting question as you don’t know what I’m talking about…so let me explain as quickly as I can…  When a seller hires an agent that ‘sellers agent’ should be working for THAT seller.  They will be marketing the home, and ‘selling’ that home to buyers, and buyer agents…in a nut shell the sellers agent is selling that home for the seller for the highest possible price and lowest amount of money out of the sellers pocket book (ie buyer closing costs and repairs).  A buyer hires an agent to help them find that ‘perfect’ home.  To work with them with the lender, to negotiate the offer trying to get that home for them in a multiple offer situation (and maybe for less?), to negotiate closing costs, repairs, to be with the buyers for the home inspection, to help understand appraisal, paperwork, the process…and to support the buyers from contract to keys…and beyond.  Real estate is a relationship business, and we LIVE for referrals.  You should always feel comfortable talking to, and contacting your agent ANYTIME with ANY questions…before, during, and even years after you get keys.  
As you can see, the sellers agent and the buyers agent kind of have two different agendas.  So, if you call the sellers agent to help you buy the home, and that agent works for the sellers, and the buyers on the SAME home…that is a dual agent.  Who is that agent really representing?  Dual agency isn’t illegal in the state of Washington, it’s just my opinion that each side should always have their own representation.  
Builders agents are dual agents which is why you should always bring your buyers agent with you when looking at have a new home built.  Teams are dual agents.  
Who is representing YOU?  Who is working for, and looking out for you?
 
For sellers:  ask about marketing, and ask that the agent go over the comps with you so that you can ‘see’ how the agent came up with their suggested sales price.  We have a class for seller education as well….and yes, they are free and non-promotional.  You can find those class dates on the website (type in my name), or you can email me.
DO I have to sign a contract to work with you?
   If you are selling a home, there is a sellers contract that you will need to sign.  This contract gives your agent the right to represent you for marketing, offers, and negotiations.  But what about if you are buying a home?  There is a form called a Buyers Agency Form, that is a contract between the buyer and the buyers agent.  As a buyer you do not have to sign this form.  As a buyer, I probably wouldn’t sign this paper, no matter how good an agent makes it sound.  Real estate and lending is all about verbiage and there are a ton of ‘scripts’ that can make any form sound reasonable….and good for you, when it may not actually be so.  In real estate, the buyers agency form is a pretty hotly contested piece of paper…there are agents who won’t work with you if you don’t sign it, and there are others (like me) who think it’s awful.  Customer loyalty is built with good customer service…not a piece of paper…but this is only MY opinion.  🙂  If you, as a buyer, choose to sign a buyers agency form, you are now legally in contract with that agent to buy a home with them.  Technically you always have the right to fire someone, but that is a legal contract for a period of time for a specific purpose.  The first question that, as an agent, I always ask a potential client is if they have signed a contract with a previous agent.  This protects everyone involved….it protects the other agent as I don’t want to step on another agents toes, it protects the potentials clients since if they are in a contract with a previous agent then they need to either let that contract expire, or deal with it in another way before hand, and it protects me because getting that call from another agent that they have a contract with one of your clients is not a good one.  So what happens if one of my clients then talks to another agent and signs a contract with that other agent?  Well, then they’re not my client anymore….they’re now they other agents client.  No matter what an agents says, or which ‘script’ they’re following…. you do NOT have to sign a Buyers Agency agreement to hire a Realtor.  
I’m not going to lie to you…. I know that this blog is going to ruffle some feathers, and while I debated actually sending it out…  I decided to do it anyway.  I want to say that I am not knocking anyone in my industry here.  Everyone has to choose to work the way that their ethics and morals dictate.  As a buyer, or seller, YOU need to ask the questions that mean most to you when hiring an agent.  What questions, and qualifications mean most to you?  Are you looking for someone professional looking, or someone more laid back?  Someone with a warped sense of humor, or someone more ‘traditional’?  There are a LOT of great agents out there, and some…well…  like any industry we have our share of crappy.  Sometimes you just have to go with your gut when talking with an agent, and hire the person that you are most comfortable with.  Always ask questions!  This is your adventure, and you are driving the bus…. we are just gps.  🙂


I’m always available to answer your questions, so feel free to reach out to me anytime.  🙂

     Information is power, and I hope that I am able to help you.  Good luck, and as always…May the odds be ever in your favor out there….  AND If you are looking for a real estate agent, I would love to be able to help you.                                                                       

 
    As always….this is just a quick overview…. again…and I can’t say this enough…please remember that your agent is NOT a salesperson, and should not be acting like one.  Real Estate is not really about houses, it is about relationships.  Your agent, and your lender work for YOU.  You drive the bus…we are merely GPS to help you get to your goals.  Like the classes, this weekly blog email is to help you with your home adventure.  The goal is to be informative and non-promotional.  🙂  All home buying adventures should START with the Home Buyer Education Classes. Don’t talk to lenders/agents until after the classes so you know the questions to ask, what all the paperwork means, and fully understand the process.  As always…the classes are Free and Non-Promotional.  We are not there to promote ourselves, or any ‘special’ agenda like some classes, and while we certainly hope you will call Chris or I, or both of us, to help with your home buying adventure, that certainly isn’t the main focus of the classes.  If you have any questions about this, or something you have heard… or if you would like me to assist you with your home adventure… please call, email, or text.  We are here to help.   
Thank you again for your business and your referrals!!  …and thank you for referring these classes to your friends, family, and co-workers. 
 
 .   ..disclaimer…if you have already purchased a home, or would no longer like to receive these emails, please let me know and I will be happy to remove you from any further mailings… 
 
 
Upcoming Topics: What happens after an offer is made?  and
Water?  What water?  oh… the water under the house…..
Last Week:  Property Taxes… the elephant in the room
 
Have a great day, and I will talk to you soon,
;-D
Tracie DeMars
Real Estate broker 
Re/Max – Van Mall
360/ 903-3504 cell
360/ 882-3600 fax
www.traciedemars.com
traciedemars@aol.com

“Interested in free and non promotional home education classes?  Go to www.freehomebuyerclasses.com for local upcoming home buyer and home SELLER classes, or facebook: Tracie DeMars Real Estate for my home buyer education blog.”

“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
– Shel Silverstein, American poet, cartoonist and composer, (1930 – 1999).


Property Taxes… the elephant in the room

taxesProperty Taxes…the elephant in the room
Home Buyer & Seller education & classes
 
Upcoming Free (& non-promotional) Home Buyer Classes:
 
Saturday, March 17th, from 12pm-3pm (ish)
Vancouver YMCA
11324 NE 51st Circle, Vancouver WA (corner of SR 503 & 112th Ave/Gher Road)
 
Monday, March 26th, from 5pm-8pm (ish)
Marshall Community Center, conference room
1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College)
 
Saturday, April 14th, from 9am-12pm (ish)
Marshall Community Center, conference room
1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College)
 
 
 
If these class dates and/or times don’t work for you, please let us know. We understand that you have lives, and families, and work. We will work something out that works better with your schedule. Just let us know….
….we also have Home SELLER classes available too…link on left on website
Remember…with reservation…we will throw in lunch, or dinner
 
 
Happy Monday after Daylight Savings time… aka… National Napping Day (never mind.. it is Tuesday. I took a nap instead yesterday)
 
Ok… surprise… we are going off topic *gasp*, but I am going to take a moment to talk about the one thing that has people up in arms right now… at least, all over Facebook… Property Taxes (insert scare music here). As you know from previous posts, a mortgage payment is one payment for you, but then it is broke down into payments within that payment. There’s your actual loan amount with interest. Your interest rate doesn’t change (unless you refinance), so this amount is always the same, but over the course of your home ownership you pay less on interest and more towards principal. You pay the most in interest upfront. Most folks also have some mortgage insurance and this is the cost to secure the loan….it protects the lender. Then there is the amount that goes into your ‘escrow’ account. From your escrow account is paid your homeowners/hazard insurance (flood insurance if you have it will be paid from here too), and the amount that goes toward paying your property taxes. The amount needed in your escrow account to pay these items can change, and as it does, your monthly mortgage payment will change too.
 
Property tax payment dates are weird…. they’re due on April 1 (pay period from January 1 thru June 30), and again on October 1 (pay period from July 1 thru December 31). They can be paid in full on April 1, or split with 1/2 due on April 1, and half due on October 1. I’ve seen escrow statements with either option paid by the bank.
Every year your escrow company will assess your escrow account to make sure you have enough in there, or that you have enough projected to come in via your monthly payments, to pay your insurance and taxes. If you have too much (in a declining market), you will receive a check with the option to mail it back and your payments become XX amount, or to keep the check and your payments will be XX amount….or… (and this is the case for the past couple of years now), it is projected by your escrow company that you will NOT have enough and you have one of two options … you can send a check to the escrow company and your payment will be XX, or you can increase your monthly payments to XXX to cover the difference.
 
Every year the Clark County Assessors assess the value of the home for taxes. As your home value increases, so do your property taxes. One thing to note is that they will use information that is available based on sales average from a year or so ago for that area. This is not current information. Tax assessed value is not market value… I will repeat… TAX ASSESSED VALUE IS NOT MARKET VALUE. We are in an escalating market… (aka sellers market), and home values are still going up. This is why tax assessed value is not market value because the market is always moving and changing…ebbing and flowing… and your taxes are the same for that period.
 
“For every pro…there is a con, and for every con…there is a pro” (I will give a gift card to the person who can tell me what song that line is from) ….while this is a fun song from one of my favorite Disney movies (hint, hint) it is true nonetheless. As your market value increases, so do your property taxes, and as the market declines and values go down, so will your taxes. As your market value increases, so does the amount you need to insure your home against catastrophe and calamity, so you might want to be prepared for that.
 
It really is a case of, ‘you can’t have your cake and eat it too’…. everyone loves it when their home values go up, but no one likes it when their property taxes do. Everyone hates it when they see their home values go down…but they like it when their taxes do. Sigh…. can’t win for losing, right?
 
Be prepared though… as home values increased significantly again last year (2017), taxes will go up again next year. The higher values jump in a year… so do your property taxes.
 
I’m always available to answer your questions, so feel free to reach out to me anytime. 🙂
 
 
……and don’t forget to email me your photos for the Client Appreciation 2018 Calendar!
 
Information is power, and I hope that I am able to help you. Good luck, and as always…May the odds be ever in your favor out there…. AND If you are looking for a real estate agent, I would love to be able to help you.
 
As always….this is just a quick overview…. again…and I can’t say this enough…please remember that your agent is NOT a salesperson, and should not be acting like one. Real Estate is not really about houses, it is about relationships. Your agent, and your lender work for YOU. You drive the bus…we are merely GPS to help you get to your goals. Like the classes, this weekly blog email is to help you with your home adventure. The goal is to be informative and non-promotional. 🙂 All home buying adventures should START with the Home Buyer Education Classes. Don’t talk to lenders/agents until after the classes so you know the questions to ask, what all the paperwork means, and fully understand the process. As always…the classes are Free and Non-Promotional. We are not there to promote ourselves, or any ‘special’ agenda like some classes, and while we certainly hope you will call Chris or I, or both of us, to help with your home buying adventure, that certainly isn’t the main focus of the classes. If you have any questions about this, or something you have heard… or if you would like me to assist you with your home adventure… please call, email, or text. We are here to help.
 
 
Thank you again for your business and your referrals!! …and thank you for referring these classes to your friends, family, and co-workers.
. ..disclaimer…if you have already purchased a home, or would no longer like to receive these emails, please let me know and I will be happy to remove you from any further mailings…
Upcoming Topics: What happens after an offer is made?
Last Week: ‘hidden’ costs & fees of buying a home….
 
Have a great day, and I will talk to you soon,
;-D
Tracie DeMars
Real Estate broker
Re/Max – Van Mall
360/ 903-3504 cell
360/ 882-3600 fax
www.traciedemars.com
traciedemars@aol.com
“Interested in free and non promotional home education classes? Go to www.freehomebuyerclasses.com for local upcoming home buyer and home SELLER classes, or facebook: Tracie DeMars Real Estate for my home buyer education blog.”
 
“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
– Shel Silverstein, American poet, cartoonist and composer, (1930 – 1999).

Fees & costs of buying a home… and some you might not think of…

flying money

Upcoming Free (& non-promotional) Home Buyer Classes:
Saturday, March 3rd, from 9am-12pm (ish)
Marshall Community Center, conference room
1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College) 
Thursday, March 8th, from 5pm-8pm (ish)
Marshall Community Center, conference room
1009 E. McLoughline Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College)

Saturday, March 17th, from 12pm-3pm (ish)
Vancouver YMCA
11324 NE 51st Circle, Vancouver WA (corner of SR 503 & 112th Ave/Gher Road)

If these class dates and/or times don’t work for you, please let us know.  We understand that you have lives, and families, and work.  We will work something out that works better with your schedule.  Just let us know….                                                                                  
….we also have home seller classes available too…link on left on website                  
Remember…with reservation…we will throw in lunch, or dinner
Happy Sunday evening….or Monday Morning…depending on when you see this.  🙂

Just a reminder that I am looking for your pictures for a 2019 calendar.  At the Client Appreciation event this December, we are going to offer a calendar for this next
year, but we don’t want to just put together the boring, standard calendar with the pictures that everyone has…. we want our calendar to be yours… with your pictures.  So, email me your pictures… going hiking?  Send the picture.  This past week of snow?  Where’s the picture?  Going to a fun local event?… send us a picture.  See a beautiful sunrise?  a stunning sunset?  something that just takes your breath away?  Email me those photos to traciedemars@aol.com.  I will put them on the ‘Tracie DeMars Real Estate’ facebook page, and those pictures with the most ‘likes’ will get put into the calendar, and the sender of the winning photo gets a gift card out of my ‘gift card stash’.
 
Talking about that Snow this past week… how weird was that?  It’s like Mother Nature was ‘late’ this winter and was like, “oh, we’re good now… here’s winter”.  I, for one, am glad to see rain now….weird, sideways waving rain like I have had today at my house…maybe not so much.  😀  So, what to talk about this week?  I know that I am ‘supposed’ to talk about what happens after the offer, but … I am not really that good at doing what I am ‘supposed’ to do…  😉
 
Well, the best laid plans of mice and men are always waylaid…right?   I seem to be running behind but I am determined to get this out to you!  As I’m sure you have read….the real estate market is a bit crazy right now, and most of that is because of rising interest rates, and the low inventory of homes.  I, as well as other agents, do see some change coming…  many agents I talk to have homes that will be coming on the market soon, as do I.  With homes selling so quickly, many people wanted to wait until closer to the end of the school year to put their homes on the market. So, hang in there! 
  While showing homes, we go over lots of ‘little’ things that otherwise people don’t think about.  Some of these items are the ‘hidden’ costs of buying a home….those things that you weren’t planning on, but probably should be.    Not too long ago, I was on one of the facebook swap/free/sale sites, and I was reading how some people were upset with the home buying process and the ‘hidden’ fees they weren’t told about.  It is true that there are a LOT of fees and other expenses involved with buying a home.  The point of these blogs, and of course, the home buyer classes is to give folks this information.  There shouldn’t be anything ‘hidden’ about the home buying process.  As you know, I am a big fan of not sugarcoating anything….I believe that an ugly truth is better than a pretty lie every day of the week.  You might not always like what I have to say (and that is ok), but I am not going to hold anything back from you on the off chance you might not ask me to help you buy, or sell, your home.  Personally I don’t just want to hear about the ‘good’ things about a loan, or process….I want to hear it all…the good, the bad, and the ugly, so that I can make the best decision for me and my family based on the pros and the cons….not just the good.  So….yes, I am not going to just agree with what you read on the internet, saw on HGTV, or heard from your direct and personal circle….I am going to give you the pros and cons because this is YOUR home buying (or selling) adventure, and YOU need to make the decisions.  My job is to help you find, and have, all the information I can get you so that you can make those choices based on a full picture….not just half of one.  

   That all being said, let’s talk about the fees you can expect and some ones you might not.  I am not including down payment, or closing costs as part of this.  That will be an email in the upcoming week(s).  These are mainly fees associated with buying a home.  If you are thinking about selling a home, or know someone who is, there are some fees you need to be aware of as well.  I will post that on my facebook page at:  Tracie DeMars Real Estate, or you can contact me.  I am, as always, happy to help!
So what fees can you  expect?  There are three fees that will be needed upfront.  
Earnest Money
….earnest money is typically about $1000- $2000, but the more expensive the home means the more earnest money you will need.   Some banks (& builders) can request 1%-3% of the purchase price for earnest money.  With a bank owned property the bank will want a cashiers check.  With a regular sale, a personal check is fine.  The earnest money is deliverable upon acceptance of the offer, and not when the offer is written.  The earnest money is always made out to the title company and is refundable based upon the 4 legal reasons to back out.
 
Inspection
…the inspection is ordered after the offer is accepted.  Remember that the inspection cost is approximately $350, and is non-refundable. You, as the buyer, will hire the inspector and they work for you.  You have 10 calendar days to have the inspection done, and respond to the seller.  Don’t wait until the last minute!  Both you, as the buyer, and your buyers agent should be at the home inspection.  A typical appraisal is about 2-3 hours long.  Make sure the fee includes the dry rot and pest report….
 
 Appraisal
…the appraisal is ordered by the lender, and the lender will put in the order for the appraisal.  An appraiser comes out to the home to verify the homes value for the bank.  The bank will only lend the dollar amount that the appraiser says the home is worth.  An average appraisal costs about $600 -/+ dollars, and is paid for by the buyer.  This is another non-refundable fee.  Neither you, nor your agent, will be present at the appraisal.  With the new laws that took effect a couple years ago, neither agent, nor anyone involved in the sale are supposed to have contact with the appraiser for fear we might ‘taint’ the appraisal, or affect the numbers. 
 
If you are buying a home with a well then there may an additional fee for the well testing.  You don’t have to do that, but as a real estate agent, I would definitely advise you to do it.  Some other inspections that a buyer can have done (at their cost) are a sewer scope & a radon test.  A sewer scope is where they send a camera down the toilet to make sure the sewer lines are open, and a radon test is a company checks for radon levels in the home.  This is always a good idea if you are considering a home with a basement.  The radon test can take 3-5 days.  Again, these inspections are at a buyers expense.
These are the only fees a buyer should see before closing.  Being told another fee?  Call, text, or email me… 
Other fees?
Changing out locks
…I always advise my clients to change out the locks of their new homes.  Why?  Well, even if the sellers give you all the keys they have…there is not guarantee that there isn’t more keys running around somewhere.  I used to change out my house locks every couple of years because my kids were always losing keys.  Finally….last year… I went and purchased the the house locks that have the key pad.  It is awesome!!  I don’t worry about lost keys anymore.  Every family member has a code, and what is the best is that I can add and delete codes as needed.  So…go away for a couple of days, and have a house sitter?  Give them a code,and when you get back you simply delete the code. I tell you….worth it!  
Mailbox key
…yes, legally you are not supposed to copy the mailbox key, but a lot of people do.  Mail is not something you want to mess with.  Take your HUD form down to the post office, and have them re-key the box, and get a new key.  Cost is about $75, but for peace of mind…that isn’t much.  
Paint
…you will probably want to paint some, or all, the rooms of your new home.  Each gallon of paint runs about $25.
Minor repairs
…during the home inspection the inspector will probably point out some minor cosmetic repairs that will need to be done with your new home.  Remember that, at the home inspection, we are looking for any repairs that will affect the safety of the home, or occupants…or anything that may need a contractor to repair.  All homes have some repairs that will need to be done by the (new) homeowner….it is part of being a homeowner.  Don’t forget that the worst thing a homeowner can do is to defer maintenance.
Lawn supplies
…did you come from an apartment?  Well, most likely now you have a yard.  You will need a lawnmower to start with.  There will be other lawn equipment that will follow…weed eaters, trimmers, wheel barrels, shovels, and a myriad other things that come with having a yard.  
Appliances
…don’t forget that washer, dryer, and fridges don’t come with the home.  If you don’t already have these appliances then you may also be purchasing a washer, dryer, and/or a fridge.
Curtains/Blinds
…if your new home doesn’t already have some then this may be on your ‘to buy’ list.  Sometimes even if your home does have some, you may want new ones.  
House Cleaner/Carpet Cleaner
…when a home is vacant you know exactly what you’re going to be walking into when your buyers agent (hopefully me LOL) gives you keys, but… when the home is owner occupied, you don’t.  Yes, you can and will do a walk thru of the home before closing, but it will still be occupied.  In many cases, when the home is owner occupied the (soon to be) previous owner doesn’t vacate the property until day of closing, or sometimes even a couple of days after closing.  With cases like this, you really don’t know what condition the home will be upon closing.  We have to have faith that the (soon to be) previous owner will leave the home in a clean condition, but sometimes…well, sometimes, they don’t.  Also, one persons idea of clean is not another persons idea of ‘clean’.  🙂  Many times, whether the home is vacant or owner occupied, a buyer will book a professional carpet cleaning, or house cleaning after closing….simply for peace of mind.  
Insurance
…wait..you already have insurance, don’t you?  Well…yes, you have mortgage insurance, title insurance, and homeowners insurance, but what about earthquake insurance?  You don’t…  
When I purchased my home my homeowners insurance included earthquake insurance.  About 10 years ago though we received a letter that no longer would homeowners insurance include earthquake insurance….why?  Because we live in the #1 high danger area for earthquakes.  Because of that earthquake insurance must now be purchased separately.  So, AFTER you buy your home, call your insurance company and add on earthquake insurance.  Cost isn’t too much, but it is important….just in case.  
Toilet Seats
  Yeah, I know you probably didn’t think of that, but really….if it were me, I would change out the toilet seats when you buy your new home.  Why? Well, since now you are thinking about it….I’m sure you can see why.  LOL  Toilet seats are not expensive, and really…having new seats just makes you feel better!  😀 
  

Information is power, and I hope that I am able to help you.  Good luck, and as always…May the odds be ever in your favor out there….  AND If you are looking for a real estate agent, I would love to be able to help you.                                                                       
 
    As always….this is just a quick overview…. again…and I can’t say this enough…please remember that your agent is NOT a salesperson, and should not be acting like one.  Real Estate is not really about houses, it is about relationships.  Your agent, and your lender work for YOU.  You drive the bus…we are merely GPS to help you get to your goals.  Like the classes, this weekly blog email is to help you with your home adventure.  The goal is to be informative and non-promotional.  🙂  All home buying adventures should START with the Home Buyer Education Classes. Don’t talk to lenders/agents until after the classes so you know the questions to ask, what all the paperwork means, and fully understand the process.  As always…the classes are Free and Non-Promotional.  We are not there to promote ourselves, or any ‘special’ agenda like some classes, and while we certainly hope you will call Chris or I, or both of us, to help with your home buying adventure, that certainly isn’t the main focus of the classes.  If you have any questions about this, or something you have heard… or if you would like me to assist you with your home adventure… please call, email, or text.  We are here to help.   
Thank you again for your business and your referrals!!  …and thank you for referring these classes to your friends, family, and co-workers. 
 
 .   ..disclaimer…if you have already purchased a home, or would no longer like to receive these emails, please let me know and I will be happy to remove you from any further mailings… 
 
 
Upcoming Topics: What happens after an offer is made?
Last Week:  When is a pre-approval a pre-approval, and when isn’t it?
 
Have a great day, and I will talk to you soon,
;-D
Tracie DeMars
Real Estate broker 
Re/Max – Van Mall
360/ 903-3504 cell
360/ 882-3600 fax
www.traciedemars.com
traciedemars@aol.com

“Interested in free and non promotional home education classes?  Go to www.freehomebuyerclasses.com for local upcoming home buyer and home SELLER classes, or facebook: Tracie DeMars Real Estate for my home buyer education blog.”

“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
– Shel Silverstein, American poet, cartoonist and composer, (1930 – 1999).

When is a pre-approval a pre-approval…and when isn’t it?

Upcoming Free (& non-promotional) Home Buyer Classes:
Saturday February 24th , from 11am – 2pm (ish)
        Vancouver YMCA, conference room
       11324 NE 51st Cir, Vancouver WA (off SR500 at 112th St & Gher Road)

Saturday, March 3rd, from 9am-12pm (ish)
Marshall Community Center, conference room
1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College)

If these class dates and/or times don’t work for you, please let us know.  We understand that you have lives, and families, and work.  We will work something out that works better with your schedule.  Just let us know….
….we also have home seller classes available too…link on left on website
Remember…with reservation…we will throw in lunch, or dinner


Happy Sunday evening….or Monday Morning…depending on when you see this.  🙂

I want to start this week asking for YOUR pictures for a 2019 calendar.  At the Client Appreciation event this December, we are going to offer a calendar for this next
year, but we don’t want to just put together the boring, standard calendar with the pictures that everyone has…. we want our calendar to be yours… with your pictures.  So, email me your pictures… going hiking?  Send the picture.  Going to a fun local event?… send us a picture.  See a beautiful sunrise?  a stunning sunset?  something that just takes your breath away?  Email me those photos to traciedemars@aol.com.  I will put them on the ‘Tracie DeMars Real Estate’ facebook page, and those pictures with the most ‘likes’ will get put into the calendar, and the sender of the winning photo gets a gift card out of my ‘gift card stash’.

So, what to talk about this week?  How about the current market pretty quick?  

  The market is pretty crazy pretty early this year.  The mild winter seems to have brought on the ‘homebuying season’ earlier this year.  Last year, the market didn’t get crazy until mid-April, and we had a pretty hard winter.  What we also seem to have this year (as early as it is) is some volatility with the interest rates, and they have gone up quite a bit.  This is something that we have been talking about and hopefully preparing for though.  Spring season always seems to bring this up as the market heats up… just seems to have happened earlier this year.  
 
  What this means for you is that when you get pre-approved to make sure that your lender is taking into account that interest rates are pretty volatile currently.  Please remember that your lender can not lock in your interest rate until you are about 30 days from closing.  Interest rate fluctuations could affect your pre-approval, so if you have any questions…please talk to your lender.  

  A pre-approval is a snapshot of your current financial situation…as we have talked about in the past.  An actual pre-approval is where you have sat down with a lender and provided concrete evidence of your finances…  your last couple of paycheck stubs, your last couple of bank statements, your social security numbers to the lender for approval to pull your credit score, verification of employment, and of course, your last couple of years of W2’s/tax information.  

  A pre-approval only means that, based on the information you have provided to your lender, that you ‘could’ buy a home if you find a home and get a signed around, agreed upon, purchase sale agreement.  It does NOT mean that you are guaranteed to buy a home… because sometimes people change their financial situation… and don’t get a home.  DON’T change your financial situation!  Do not cut your work hours, and on the flip side… do not start working a whole bunch of overtime if you are using a loan program that has an income cap. Do NOT go buy appliances, or furniture. Do NOT go buy a new car, or a boat…or get any new loans.  NO new credit cards.  Do NOT quit your job.  Do NOT spend the money you need to buy a home….and yes, even if you are using a program that will help with your down payment, or closing costs… you still need money to buy a home…
Some things you Do want to do.. Please…by all that is holy… PLEASE continue to pay your bills…ON TIME!  I can stress this enough.  Paying your bills on time is 33% of your credit score.  Any questions on what you can/can not or should/should not do while in the process of buying a home?  Contact your lender…
PLEASE use a local lender, someone you, and your agent, can contact…this is very important. 

  So, when isn’t a pre-approval a pre-approval?  A pre-approval is like the golden ticket in American Idol…it means you are on to the next step…which is meeting with your Realtor and going out to find a home.  A pre-approval does not mean that you have won American Idol and that it’s time to get groupies… it’s just the second step in the process.  A pre-approval is never concrete… you still have to do your part in keeping it up, and keeping your financial situation the same, or better.  Until you receive keys from your Realtor…anything can happen.  There’s a reason I don’t drink much, my friend…it’s because sometimes I think that if I start…I won’t stop!  
  A non-approval is one that hasn’t been verified by concrete evidence (those papers I mentioned above).  For some, a non-approval is one that hasn’t been looked at by underwriters.  A non-approval is one that has been expired.  A pre-approval is consistently updated throughout the home buying process.  You get pre-approved… you meet with your Realtor….you find a home.  You make an offer (hopefully the offer gets accepted), but once the offer has been accepted, your Realtor sends the purchase/sale agreement to your lender.  At this point your lender will contact you to congratulate you on finding a home…and ask you to come in to sign loan disclosures.  Now that you have a signed around agreement to buy a home, your lender can actually start your loan.  This is awesome, and where your fabulous lender takes over to help you get that home.  
  If it has been some time since you got pre-approved, and you haven’t found a home yet…or decided to wait …now would be a good time to re-connect with your lender to check on your pre-approval, and update it.  Times…they are a-changing… as always.
 
**as a quick reminder…all home buying adventures should START with the Home Buyer Education Classes.    Don’t talk with lenders, and agents until after the classes so you know the questions to ask, what the paperwork means, and fully understand the process.  As always though…the classes are Free and Non-Promotional.  We are not there to promote ourselves or any ‘special’ agenda like some classes, and while we certainly hope you will call Chris or I, or both of us, to help with your home buying adventure, that certainly isn’t the main focus of the classes.  🙂  We are, both of us, as always, here to help!
 
            Information is power, and I hope that I am able to help you.  Good luck, and as always…May the odds be ever in your favor out there….  AND If you are looking for a real estate agent, I would love to be able to help you.                                                                       
 
    As always….this is just a quick overview…. again…and I can’t say this enough…please remember that your agent is NOT a salesperson, and should not be acting like one.  Real Estate is not really about houses, it is about relationships.  Your agent, and your lender work for YOU.  You drive the bus…we are merely GPS to help you get to your goals.  Like the classes, this weekly blog email is to help you with your home adventure.  The goal is to be informative and non-promotional.  🙂  We are, however, hoping you will call and want us to help with your adventure.  
If you have any questions about this, or something you have heard…or if you would like me to help you with your home adventure, please call, email,  text, or facebook me anytime.  I am, as always, happy to help!
 
Thank you again for your business and your referrals!!  …and thank you for referring these classes to your friends, family, and co-workers. 
 
 .   ..disclaimer…if you have already purchased a home, or would no longer like to receive these emails, please let me know and I will be happy to remove you from any further mailings… 
 
 
Upcoming Topics: What happens after an offer is made? or
When is the pre-approval, not a pre-approval?
Last Week:  Escrow Accounts?

pre approvalHave a great day, and I will talk to you soon,
;-D
Tracie DeMars
Real Estate broker 
Re/Max – Van Mall
360/ 903-3504 cell
360/ 882-3600 fax
www.traciedemars.com
traciedemars@aol.com

“Interested in free and non promotional home education classes?  Go to www.freehomebuyerclasses.com for local upcoming home buyer and home SELLER classes, or facebook: Tracie DeMars Real Estate for my home buyer education blog.”

“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
– Shel Silverstein, American poet, cartoonist and composer, (1930 – 1999).