Home Showings 101

home buyer & seller education… www.traciedemars.com

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

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

Tuesday, February 11th, from 5pm – 8pm (ish)
        Marshall Community Center, Conference room
       1009 E McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College)

Saturday, February 22nd, from 12pm-3pm (ish)
​       Vancouver YMCA, conference room
      11324 NE 51st Circle, Vancouver WA (corner of SR500 & Gher Road/112th Ave).                                                                                     

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…look for link on top of website

Happy February!   

Finally….January is over…not that it was the longest month ever, or anything like that…  The beginning of the year is a good time to sell your home (if you’ve been thinking about it), and it’s a time where a lot of folks who have been thinking about buying a home start the pre-approval process.  This months blog is going to address something that is important for both sellers, and buyers….showing homes.  Let’s talk about this…the funnest, and the scariest part…

As we’ve talked about in the past, there’s a process to buying (and even selling) a home…. first,  you take a home buyer (or home seller) class, second, you move on to getting pre-approved.  Yes, even if you are selling a home, you want to get pre-approved before you go looking for your next home.  For a seller (who is going to be a homebuyer when their home sells) part of the information you will be giving to your lender is the guesstimated amount that you’ll receive from the sale of your current home…your Realtor will help with this.  When you are buying a home, your Realtor is here to help you with your home adventure, and while yes, this is kind of scary…it is a lot of fun.  Whether this is your first home, or your 3rd, or 5th, or whatever…with a pre-approval & your Realtor,  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, and yes, kind of scary too.  For the sellers though, it is very stressful because currently this 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.  Before you go on the market, talk to your Realtor about HOW the showings will work with your home.  Some folks are cool with a few hours notice, some need more time.  Most of my clients need a bit more time for showings.  If you have kids and/or pets, it’s ok to ask for 24 hour notice.  That way you have time to prepare your home to be seen in its best possible condition.  You are still living in your home, and the buyers and buyers Realtor will (or should) respect that.  A lockbox will be put on your home, and during a showing the buyers agent will access the box for the key.  An email and/or a text will be sent to the sellers Realtor to let them know that a Realtor with XYZ company has accessed the home, and for how long we were there.  Before a seller puts their home on the market there is preparation, and usually some ‘honey-do’s’ that need to be done.  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 (and lately it’s been VERY wet), 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, or use shoe booties.
    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 starting to pick up for spring, it’s important that if a home comes up that you like, you need to 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.
  Once you find THE home it’s time to talk about making an offer, and those pesky timelines that you need to know, and that we need to abide by.  So, let’s talk about that….next month!  

Thank you, as always, for reading this. 
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!   

Informationis 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:
How long is the home buying process… aka….when do I GET Keys?

Last Month:  New Year…New Home?  Maybe?  Where to Start?

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).

New Year…New Home…Maybe? Where/How to Start?

Upcoming Free (& non-promotional) Home Buyer Classes:    Saturday, January 11th, from 9am-12pm (ish)       Marshall Community Center, conference room       1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College)

Monday, January 13th, from 5pm – 8pm (ish)
        Marshall Community Center, Conference room
       1009 E McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College)

Saturday, January 25th, from 11am-2pm (ish)
​       Vancouver YMCA, conference room
       11324 NE 51st Circle, Vancouver WA (corner of SR500 & Gher Road/112th Ave).                                                                                           

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 New Year!
  First I want to thank everyone for attending the Client Appreciation events!  Frozen II, and Star Wars:  The Rise of Skywalker was pretty awesome, and we loving hosting these events for you.  Just our way of saying Thank You for allowing Chris Berg & I to be a part of your home adventure.  The Star Wars Promo we used is on my Facebook page at Tracie DeMars Real Estate. Go…Enjoy!

   Happy New Years!  🙂  2020  Is it just me, or was 2019 a bit bipolar?  It was a bit of a rough year, but now we move forward, and every day is a new start…thankfully!  You know, I remember being told that that time goes by faster as you get older…. I am here to tell you that it really is true.  I guess we all need to listen to Dr. Who, and to stop blinking!!!  ….sigh…  
   I hope you had a wonderful Christmas with friends, family, and food…. holiday food really is the best.  With the new year starting though, a lot of folks start thinking about new things, and resolutions.  I’m not a fan of resolutions… unless they are to eat more bacon, read more books, crochet more blankets, or help folks buy (or sell) a home…. those are about the only resolutions I can keep!  Do you have resolutions?  Do you keep yours?  

   The holidays are really about family & home, I think…..having friends & families over for the holidays, or going to someone else’s home for the holiday celebration…add that to the new year, and new beginnings and many people start thinking about the next big step.  Is it time for a new home?  Maybe your current home is too small for your family now, and it’s time for  a bigger home?  Maybe your family has become smaller and it’s time for a smaller home?  Or are you renting your current home, and want to be a homeowner? 
Purchasing a home, whether it’s your first home, or you’ve owned homes before, is one of the four BIG steps we take in life.  What most folks don’t know is where to start, and what questions do you need to ask yourself?  What questions do you ask a lender? A Realtor?  What about classes?  There are SO many right now (it’s because it IS the beginning of the year), but how do you KNOW which one is going to give you the best information?    There are definitely some questions you should ask….
Let’s start with questions to ask yourself…. 
Bonus Answer…. What if I have a home currently, but want to get a new home?I bought my first home in 2001.  It was an amazing time for my family, and while we made quite a few mistakes in the purchasing of the home (we went through a builders representative and didn’t have our own Realtor), it was still exciting.  I started working for a builder shortly after we moved into our new home, and boy…was that an education.  A few years later we thought about selling, and buying a new home, but were not sure how that would work.   I mean….how do you buy a new home if you are IN the old home?  How would that work?  So we didn’t…. we stayed, and that was ok as I was leaving the builder and working real estate outside of the builder by then…and it was best to stay put as the market was starting to slide…hello recession.  
I started teaching home buyer education classes because I remember how lost I was when I purchased my first home.  I mean…  believe it or not, but I did take a class before I bought…it was a very LONG class, and they used a booklet that made ZERO sense to me, so it was no help whatsoever.  I wanted to teach classes that made SENSE, and that used the paperwork that people would actually see when buying a home….that was 15 years ago.  About 7 years ago, as the market was heating up from the recession, I had a client call me asking this very question…  HOW do they buy a new home when they own a home already?  How do they sell their current home?  What about paperwork? Agents?  Fees?  Marketing? How do they set up, or handle showings?  How do they sell, and buy at the same time?  So….  we came up for a class for that too.  www.freesellerclasses.com, for upcoming classes, and YES, THE FOLLOWING ANSWERS STILL APPLY TO YOUR SITUATION TOO.  You can always call me with questions too…  I’m always here to help…
#1…  Do you have a steady income? When you decide it is time to try to buy a home, a lender is going to want to see a steady income.  Have you been on your job for at least 6 months?  Were you working before that?  Was it in the same industry?  If you weren’t working before your current job, were you in school?  Were you in school for the occupation you are in, or something similar?  Are you self employed?  Do you have at least 2 years of 1099’s and tax records to prove your income?  These are all questions a lender will ask, and need answers to.  Want more information on this part?  Contact Chris Berg at Cardinal Financial for answers.  He can be reached at Chris.Berg@cardinalfinancial.com, 503-320-0925.  Don’t let the 503 number fool you….he is local.  🙂
Owning a home is usually a bit more expensive than renting.  With the rising costs of monthly rent, your rent and mortgage payment may be about the same, but owning does have a few more expenses.  When you rent, and something breaks, or has an issue, you call your landlord, or rental management company, and eventually things get repaired.  When you own a home, YOU are the landlord, and so you need to budget for those home repair issues that will come up.  Take $20 from each check and have it automatically deposited in a credit union or financial institution of your choice.  Do not have a check book or card for this account.  This is your home maintenance fund.  You know I love the home warranty, and remember that you can continue it year after year.  Use this fund to pay for that next year of the home warranty.  However, remember that the home warranty does not cover roofing, windows, walls, flooring, or siding.  This account should also be used to maintain and take care of those items as well.  
#2…How much debt to you have?This is a big one.  We all have debt, and don’t get me wrong….I think Dave Ramsey is a good guy with many excellent ideas, but there is one area that he preaches that actually hurts you in the pursuit of buying a home.  The idea of a cash based living style is wonderful, but when it comes to buying a home this will actually hurt you.  Strange as it is, having NO credit is worse than having BAD credit!  Some debt is actually good….not a lot…but some.  A lender will base the amount of your pre-approval on how much income you have vs how much debt you have.  Your mortgage payment can only be a certain percentage of your disposable income which, in a nutshell, is your income minus your debt.  Some debt is good because it gives you a history of payments.  Are you credit worthy?  Do you pay your debts?  Do you pay those debts on time?  Are you reliable?  Too much debt is bad because the ratio of your debt to your income is too high.  When you are applying for a mortgage, that is (for some of us) the largest debt we will ever carry.  How do lenders know if you will pay back that debt?  They will look at your credit score…which is determined by how well you pay your current debt.  This kinds of leads me to our next question.#3…  What is your credit score?Ah yes…the dreaded credit score!  In the upcoming weeks we will spend some time talking about credit scores…the good, the bad, and the ugly.  For right now though, a credit score is based on your credit history.  It tells the lender a story about your reliability of repaying your debt.  Frankly, at some time, we all have credit issues…or at least most of us do.  Many moons ago, when my husband and I were in the early years of our marriage, we had ‘issues’.  We had 2 young children, and a ton of medical debt.  When our son was a baby, we declared chapter 7 bankruptcy.  At the time it was the only thing we could do.  My husbands wages were being garnished, and we couldn’t even afford diapers.  We were, in a word, BROKE…and only going broker.  So, we made the decision to go bankrupt.  It was, looking back at it, really the best decision we could have made.  After the discharge, we took it upon ourselves to learn about how ‘this’ all works.  I think they should teach budgeting, and credit in schools.  This lack of understanding gets a lot of young adults in trouble….of course….just like everything else here this is just my opinion  🙂  So, we learned, and we made better decisions, and choices.  We learned to live within our means.  We learned to stock up, and save.  We went back to school to better ourselves, and our situations so we could provide a better life for (at the time) two children.  Our oldest daughter, and our son in law had a baby this year, and like most young couples they are broke. I guess it is where most of us start. She *barely* remembers what it was like when she was very young.
So about that Credit Score….A credit score is based on what type of credit you have, if you make your payments on time (late payments ding your credit score), how much credit you are carrying, and if you pay off your credit in a timely fashion.  Do you have a car loan?  Do you make the minimum credit payment, or more?  Have you paid off a debt?  If you have paid off a credit card….don’t close the account because closing the account can hurt your credit score.  Cut up the card if you want, but keep the account open.  Do you have high credit balances?  Lenders don’t like to see this because if you have high credit balances it means you have less credit to draw on in case of emergency, and let’s face it, we all have emergencies sometimes.  In short, a credit score is based on your past credit history, and lenders use this number to determine how risky it is to loan to you.  With lending…it is all about risk.  They prefer to loan money to individuals with reliability.  They don’t want to loan money to individuals with a high risk…someone who most likely won’t pay back the money.  So what can you do if your credit score is somewhat, less than stellar?  Call your lender, or call Chris.  They can go over your credit report with you, and point out the areas that you need to address.  They can, and should, actually HELP you to understand your credit report, and should be able to give you some steps to take to better your credit score.  Is it hard work?  Yes…but the end result is absolutely worth it.  It may take some time, but if you do all the steps, we can….and will…help you find a home.  
What is ‘good’ credit?  Most loans will want to say a ‘mid-score’ of at least 620.  There are three credit scoring companies, Equifax, Transunion, and Experian.  The lender will use the middle score of the three.  The better the credit score, the lower your interest rate for some loans as they have determined you have less risk. With a few loans, you can go as low at 580 on your credit score, but there are some ‘hiccups’ with that.  The majority of loan programs, especially the loan programs that help home buyers with downpayment will require a 620 mid score to loan money to buy a home.     

#4… Do you have a down payment?  Do you need help with one?There are still a few 100% loan programs for those without a down payment, but there are a few strings for these…. mainly location, or being a member of the military.  Surprisingly, you don’t have to be a first time home buyer for these programs.  What if you are a first time home buyer thought?  Well, there is quite a few down payment grants & loans out there that can help with that.  Yes, there really is!  Many lenders, and classes will talk about one…maybe 2, of them…but there are some grants to help with your down payment too.  No lie…  There are also other ways to come up with a down payment….401k, ‘gifts’, tax refunds, etc.  All of these options (and the pros/cons of each) are discussed by Chris Berg at the free & non-promotional home buyer education classes. However, and this is VERY IMPORTANT, remember that you do need money for a earnest money deposit, the home inspection, and the appraisal though.  Anyone who tells you that you don’t need any money to buy a home is blowing smoke…. *and I’ll let you finish that*   
#5….  Have you taken a home buyer education class?Buying a home, whether you have a home already, or are a first time home buyer, is a tense, exciting, thrilling, fun, and yet scary time for everyone.  These classes are about 3 – 3 1/2 hours long and will go over the entire real estate process & what the papers all really mean to you.  The lender will go over the entire loan process including closing costs, down payment loans/grants, and the loans (including the 100% loans), the pros & cons of each (not just the good stuff, but the things you really do need to know too) , credit (and help to get you there), interest rates, and more.  The real estate portion will help you understand the steps, the questions to ask a Realtor, inspections, appraisals, earnest money, and what all those papers involved in an offer really mean.  The classes are free, non-promotional, and taught at community centers for your convenience.   Before you talk with a Realtor, or a lender, and definitely BEFORE you sign any papers with either a Realtor or a lender… TAKE A CLASS.  A home buyer education class should be your first step….not the last one.  When you call to rsvp for a class…. ask how long the Realtor and lender have been teaching classes.  Ask how long the Realtor has been licensed.  Ask where the classes are being held at….are you going to a lender office?  A real estate office?  What will they go over?  There’s nothing wrong with taking more than one class too..  Buying (and selling) a home are some of the biggest things that you will ever do.  The only thing that will cost you more money is having a child….and wouldn’t it have been nice to have a handbook for that?  😀                         Informationis 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….  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…. please remember that 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…  Next Week:   Interview Questions to hire a Realtor, or How long is the home buying process aka WHEN do I get keys?
      Last Week:   Winter time & buying (or not) 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 buying or selling classes?  Go to www.traciedemars.com or www.learningtobuyahome.com, for upcoming classes, or facebook: Tracie DeMars Real Estate for my home adventure education blog.  Classes are now available for home owners thinking about selling their home.  Links are on the left.”“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).

Winter Home Maintenance, and Things to Look For…

Monday, December 9th, from 5pm – 8pm (ish)
        Marshall Community Center, Conference room
       1009 E McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College)
Saturday, December 14th, from 12pm-3pm (ish)
​       Vancouver YMCA, conference room
       11324 NE 51st Circle, Vancouver WA (corner of SR500 & Gher Road/112th Ave).
Saturday, January 11th, from 9am-12pm (ish)
       
Marshall Community Center, conference room
       1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark
College)
Monday, January 13th, from 5pm – 8pm (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….   Due to the Christmas holiday, our next classes will be starting January 2019.                                                                               ….we also have home seller classes available too…link on left on website
                  Remember…with reservation…we will throw in lunch, or dinner!  :-D~~~~~~~~~
Happy Christmas Season!
  It’s my favorite time of year!  Yay!!!  ….and time for our LAST Client Appreciation of the year!  Star Wars:  The Rise of Starwalker!   We are TWO WEEKS from that event!  HAve you emailed for your reservation?  We are full in the 21+ area, but plenty of seats in the general area are available still. 
As always…  the Client Appreciation events are just one way that Chris Berg (Cardinal Financial, 503-320-0925), and I say, THANK YOU, to you… our clients, our friends, and family.  We appreciate your continued support, and referrals. 
  So, we are smack dab in winter now where it’s daylight until 2pm, and then BAM! it’s darlk.  Then there is the rain too… I actually don’t mind the rain so much, or winter.  For home buyers it is the best time to be looking for homes.  Yards may not look the prettiest right now, but winter is when home inspections shine.  If you are a home buyer, and you need help with closing costs, NOW is the time to be out looking at homes.  Right now is the time of year that we see the least amount of multiple offer bidding wars, and the time of  year that we see sellers most inclined to help buyers with those pesky closing costs. Yes, moving during the winter, the holidays, and the rain suck…but maybe getting help with closing costs, not having to compete with 4 other offers, and being able to see how a home actually lives during the wet weather… that is golden. 
  What should a home owner , and /or potential home buyer be looking at right now?  Well, water is the big one.  I showed a home a couple of weekends ago, during the rain, where you could see a 6 inch puddle of water sitting around the foundation of the entire West and southwest sides of the home.  I’m not kidding…. it was 6 inches deep, and pouring in the foundation vents.  Part of the repairs for this would be to move the gutter downspouts away from foundation, put in some window wells, and to re-grade the dirt away from the foundation so it all wasn’t just puddling there with no where else to go but under the home.  My client did take a look under the home in the crawlspace, and yes, there was water in the crawlspace, but was it all from the water around the foundation, or from a high water table under the home?  Having a home inspection during this time of year also means when the inspector is looking in the attic space she/he will actually be able to see if the roof is leaking.  He/she can also be checking for moisture in siding or in/around windows and window trim.  In our area, it rains…. and usually much more frequently than it has been.  Take advantage of the time of year. 

 Luckily I haven’t melted in the rain….yet… and while I don’t like to take chances that someday it could melt me there are certain things that I am looking at with clients at this time of year. I am looking at how the water sits around the foundation, if there are window wells around the foundation vents, and while looking at those foundation vents, I am looking to see if there are holes in the vent screens. It’s getting colder, and small animals are looking for warmth.  You know what is warm? Under your home.  If there is a torn foundation vent screen, these animals will go under your home.  What do they do there?  Well, like you would, they set up house.  They have an area of the visquean (or all of it) for their potty area, they will pull down insulation for a nice warm bed, and if  the home has forced air with duct work under the home?  Good grief…that’s like winning the small animal lottery!  I’ve seen (ok, the inspectors have seen because I don’t go under the home!) pictures of small animals that have actually torn INTO the ducts under the home and made a nice, cozy nest for themselves….complete with blowing warm air….nice… well, nice for them, but not nice for the homeowner. 
   We are looking at the furnace to see if it has been serviced within the last year.  Have the wall heaters been vacuumed out? Years, and years ago….1997, to be exact,my husband and I rented an older home in Vancouver.  It was a cold, wet winter, and we left to go do something… I don’t remember what, but I do remember coming home after dark to see a fire truck in front of our home….lights shining.  We pretty much freaked out.  My younger brother was staying with us and fell asleep on the couch.  He woke up to go to his room, opened the door, and the wall was on FIRE!  He ran to the kitchen, called 911 (no cell phones back then folks), and filled pans with water to try to put it out.  Long story short, his room was on fire!  That room had cedar walls which helped slow down how fast the fire could have gone, and his throwing water on the wall helped, and the fact that the fire station was very close was helpful.  That room was shot with smoke damage, but it could have been much worse.  The culprit of the fire?  Dust, and dander build up in the (very old) wall heater.  All heating sources have a danger, part of being a homeowner is maintaining your heating sources. If you have a fireplace, and are using it (even if it just occasionally), please have it cleaned by a chimney company.  I’ve had clients call me because of chimney fires…. Don’t burn paper products in your fireplace…no papers, no wrapping paper, no bills, no boxes, etc…  a fireplace is not an incinerator…it’s for wood only.  
  Other things that a Realtor will be looking for (and homeowners should be doing/checking out)… new batteries in the smoke detectors because well, christmas trees, making sure that the electrical panels aren’t recalled, making sure the home has carbon monoxide detectors (one on every level, and no higher than your knee), checking out the water heater for earthquake straps & overflow pipe, and don’t forget the roof!  Especially this time of year, we’ll be looking at the roof for any missing shingles too.

If you are a homeowner, and thinking about selling your home, now is a great time to go over your home with your favorite Realtor, or have an inspector come through your home.  If you need an inspector name/number, give me a holler…  I can give you a couple that are very good.  Any questions about anything you read here?  I’m hear to answer your questions!
If you are thinking about buying a home, now is the time to be out there looking for the best home for your family, and to be able to have that inspection during a time of year that you maybe hadn’t thought about.  Start the new year with your very own home adventure.  I am always happy, and excited, to help!  Now, if you don’t mind… Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is on and I have to sing (badly, and off-key) along…..  
Informationis power,  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.  If you have any questions, or comments please get a hold of me anytime.  You can call, text, email, or even facebook me.  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 as I would be honored 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:
What do I need to buy a home,
What if I don’t have a Down Payment? …..  &….What is closing costs?  
Debt to Income Ratios….What is this?

Last Week:  Winter time & buying (or not 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.learningtobuyahome.com or 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).

Winter Time, and Best Time to Buy a Home?

Upcoming Free (& non-promotional) Home Buyer Classes:
…we also have home seller classes available.  Link on left on website page

Saturday, November 16th, from 11am-2pm (ish)
​       Vancouver YMCA, conference room
       11324 NE 51st Circle, Vancouver WA (corner of SR500 & Gher Road/112th Ave).

Saturday, December 7th, from 9am-12pm (ish)
       
Marshall Community Center, conference room
       1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College)

Monday, December 9th, from 5pm – 8pm (ish)
        Marshall Community Center, Conference room
       1009 E McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College)

Saturday, December 14th, from 12pm-3pm (ish)
​       Vancouver YMCA, conference room
       11324 NE 51st Circle, Vancouver WA (corner of SR500 & Gher Road/112th Ave).

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….                                                        
Remember…with reservation…we will throw in lunch, or dinner!  😀 ~~~~~~~~~


Happy Veterans Day…
  I want to take a quick moment to thank our veterans… those who have served, and those who are serving.  I appreciate the sacrifices you have made, and are making.  I have many clients, friends, and family who’ve served, or are serving, and I’ve had many tell me that the hardest part is being so far from family & home.  Home..it’s a powerful word….and for many folks one of the reasons why they do serve.  So…thank you…
  Now, today is November 12th…and like many I am enjoying the new Disney+!  Oh my, so many movies that I a remember as a child, and when my older kids were much younger… Blackbeard’s Ghost, Pollyanna, Bedknobs & Broomsticks, and so much more.  It’s a glorious thing!    Don’t forget about the Client Appreciation Event coming up for 11/23 from 3pm-6pm (or thereabouts) for Frozen 2!  Chris Berg buy out the entire theater for these events a few times a year to say, Thank you, to our clients.  We appreciate you!  Now…Frozen 2 is sold out in the general area, but there are some seats available in the 21+ area, and we are going to start rsvp’ing for Star Wars IX in December!!  Thank you for your business and for your referrals…  
 So, this week, let’s talk about the current market for a quick moment…..I know that it’s gray and dreary, and everyone has the holidays on their mind, but honestly, if you are even ‘thinking’ about buying a home….NOW is the best time.  Yes, there are not a whole lot of homes on the market, but the market is not as competitive as it is during the spring time.  Remember that from offer to keys it will take about 6-7 weeks.  The market tends to pick up and start getting crazy again right about late February/early March-April when folks start getting their tax refunds.    

Now…please remember that my magic wand is broken, and the magic 8 ball exploded all over my house with the coming holidays… so no one really knows what is going to happen.   Typically in an election year we don’t see a whole lot of movement with interest rates, or any major changes that could disrupt the economy.  Seattle and the Portland Metro are still very solid markets, and we are still in a sellers market, but it isn’t as strong or fierce as it was a few years ago.  We are still seeing multiple offers on homes in certain price ranges, but for many other homes we are seeing sellers paying some closing costs for the buyers.  What will happen for the coming year though?  This is a lot like foretelling the weather right now… as it really depends on when things happen.  Most industry sources do say that home prices should start plateauing though.  This doesn’t mean that the home prices will not go up…they just shouldn’t go up like last year.  They should steady out. As people see the change in the market coming, more homeowners should put the home on the market so they can begin their move to their new home, and this will help all the price ranges see more homes on the market. So, yes, there aren’t as many homes on the market right now than there will be say around…spring break… the homes that are on the market though are solid sellers.   
  Yes, prices are still going up, but not as much as they were the past few years, so let’s talk about how all that works.  I bought my old home in late 2001, with a 6.875% interest rate….don’t feel bad, or shocked….in a ‘healthy’ market, a ‘normal’ interest rate would be about 7%.  We were THRILLED to be under 7%!   We sold that home in 2017, and it was harder than I thought it would be.  It was our first home, and we had lived there for 16 years.  It was the craziest thing, but did you know that when our buyers purchased our home for the $285,000 it was worth, with the 3.5% interest rate…. our mortgages were almost THE SAME!   Wait…I’m not (that) crazy…it’s economics.  Yes, they bought it for more than I owed, but with a much lower interest rate.   That equaled my lower owed amount, but higher interest rate. How crazy is that???  Now, here’s the crazy part… in 2016, my old house was only worth about $245,000, and right now, that same home is worth $330,000! NUTS!!!  My mother purchased a home in the 80’s for $70,000, but her interest rate was 18.375%!!!   ….now that is crazy!!    The point of this is that while yes, prices are going up, the interest rates are still really low, so you can purchase more home.   When this changes, and interest rates rise it doesn’t mean that home prices will immediately start dropping, they should start leveling off …it will take a bit of time to balance out though.  
   I have clients asking me if they should just settle then on a home, and frankly this is a tough question.   No, you shouldn’t ‘just settle’ on a home, but you may have to adjust either the type of home you want, the location, or be able to go up in purchase price to get what you want.  Please remember that this most likely is not your last home, but your home for the next 5-10 years….that’s the average.  Know what your top 3 things are that you need in a home.  Whether you are buying a home, or selling a home…it is exciting, scary, fun, and frustrating.  It’s a lot like a roller coaster, or driving down Mill Plain during rush hour,….or during that last month of pregnancy. I tell you….there’s a reason I don’t drink often…..I’m afraid once I start that I won’t stop!  ;-D  (just kidding)  Buying and/or selling a home always going to be a a roller coaster when you’re on the ride.  We’re here though to help…that’s what we do. 
  When you are looking for a home,  you need to consider more than just the house.  You are also buying the neighborhood, the schools, the property taxes, the local parks, the neighbors, and the local infrastructure.  The home needs to ‘fit’ you like your favorite pair of pj’s. For example….this last weekend I had a client look at a home that she liked.  On paper it was everything she said she wanted, and she couldn’t find anything against the house that would cause her to not want to write an offer. So why was she hesitant?  Because this home was that sweater or shirt that looks good on the rack, and so you try it on.  It fits ok, and it looks all right, but there is just ‘something’ that is ‘off’ with it…..you can’t figure it out either.  Sometimes you buy it, but never wear it, and sometimes you put it back.  Buying the ‘right’ home is a lot like that.  You can, and will, see homes you like, but they just don’t ‘fit’.  Put that home back.  Sometimes you see an item of clothing on the rack that you really don’t know about….but you try it on anyway and BAM!  you look AMAZING!  Some homes don’t look like much from the outside, but you get inside and they are amazing.  Remember that internet home photos are a lot like internet dating….you never know what you are going to see when you get there, and many agents hire professional photographers for a reason.  I can always tell which photos an agent did themselves, and who hired someone.   Finding the ‘right’ home is like sliding into your favorite jeans, or boots…..there is just something about it that ‘fits’.  I see homes I ‘like’ all the time, but just because I like it doesn’t mean it fits.  If you are obsessed with a home that you have seen though.   You really like the home, and you keep going back to the pictures, and driving by the house…..that’s the ‘right’ home….even if it was one of the first homes you saw, or it was something you didn’t think you wanted, or weren’t sure about.  That home is that sweater/shirt/shoes that you just weren’t sure about….until you tried it on.  Darling, you look AMAZING!   Trust your instincts….this is YOUR home, and YOUR mortgage.    With rents going up so much lately you can buy for about what your renting…or close to it. 
   What is the best time to buy, or sell?  Whenever YOU are ready.  Sometimes waiting makes sense, and sometimes it really doesn’t.  I am a firm believer that the right home will always be ready when you are, and that it will all fall into place.  Remember….your agent works for you.   YOUR agent isn’t a salesperson.  We shouldn’t be trying to ‘sell’ you on anything.  YOUR agent works for YOU….not the other way around.  When you hire an agent you are hiring a representative; someone who should be looking out for your best interests. Always ask questions. We do this all the time, and we love it, so use our knowledge to your advantage.  There really is NO stupid question in real estate. There is always learning opportunities, and that is goes for us as well.   If i can’t answer your question; I will help you find someone who can.  We’re in this together.  

Don’t forget though… that the first step in ANY adventure is education. Take a home buyer class, or a home seller class….that’s what they’re there for.  

Informationis power,  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.  If you have any questions, or comments please get a hold of me anytime.  You can call, text, email, or even facebook me.  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 as I would be honored 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:
Winter Home Maintenance & things to look for…

Last Week:  Delayed Possession…what is this madness?

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).

Delayed Possession…Home Buyer & Seller Education



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

Saturday, November 2nd, from 9am-12pm (ish)
       
Marshall Community Center, conference room
       1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College)
Tuesday, November 12th, from 5pm – 8pm (ish)
        Marshall Community Center, Conference room
       1009 E McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College)

Saturday, November 16th, from 11am-2pm (ish)
​       Vancouver YMCA, conference room
       11324 NE 51st Circle, Vancouver WA (corner of SR500 & Gher Road/112th Ave).


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 (almost) Halloween!  

Chris Berg (Cardinal Financial) & I have very EXCITING NEWS…  it is CLIENT APPRECIATION EVENT TIME!


  WooHoo! Chris & I are very excited to have TWO events this winter…


Saturday, November 23rd from 3pm-6pm for FROZEN 2
(short notice..I know, but we just got the contract from AMC)
&
Saturday, December 21, from 3pm-6pm for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
This is just one of our ways that we say, Thank You, for choosing Chris Berg & I to help you with your Home Buying, your Home Selling, and your Lending/Refinancing decisions & business. Your friendship, and Your Referrals mean everything to us. Thank you for referring us to your friends, family, & co-workers
THANK YOU!
….now… disclaimers… 21+ area fills up quickly. Please make sure that if you request those seats that you are, indeed, 21+. (wait…does AMC actually have 21+ over? oh well… that’s what we are going to continue to call it)
Please RSVP tickets to either Chris Berg or myself. You can message us here, tag us on Client Appreciation posts, or email us at chris.berg@cardinalfinancial.com & traciedemars@aol.com . 
 We will also be doing eventbrite for this…as soon as we figure out how to set that up.  LOL
*seating is first come, first served. This event is for clients… past, present, and yes, for future clients too.*


Now…for the less fun stuff, but still good information. We are going to jump right into this weeks topic though, because it is a LONG one this week.  I promise to keep it short, and sweet next time though.  🙂  


What is Delayed Possession?  Why is it important?  


  In our current market, many homeowners are selling their homes, and moving into new ones.  When a seller is living in their home, and selling it to buy a new one, they need the equity from their current home to buy the new home.  So far…so good… right?   
Step 1:
 Homeowner puts home on the market.
Step 2:
homeowner/seller gets offer, accepts, and goes pending
Step 3:
Now homeowner/seller has to find a new home, and goes out house-hunting
Step 4:
Homeowner/now buyer finds a home, makes offer, and gets accepted.  Yay!!


However…remember that homeowner-seller (now buyer) can’t buy new home until they sell old home, right?  They are using the equity from the ‘old’ home to buy the ‘new’ home.  Now, this part is all about timing…  follow me here…
Homeowner-seller (now buyer) has to close on old house first (as seller), and then close on the new home (as buyer) AFTER the ‘old’ home closes .  This is called a “simultaneous closing”…meaning homeowner-seller (now buyer ) closes on old house on Tuesday, and using the equity from their old home, closes on new home on Wednesday…or closes on both homes on the same day.  Of course, the homeowner-seller (now buyer) can not move into their new home until it closes, and they can’t close on their new home until they close on their old home…so what does the homeowner-seller (now buyer) do?  Why..they ask for Delayed Possession, of course. 
  The homeowner-seller (now buyer) requests that their buyers (for their old home) gives them time in their old home after closing so they can move into their new home.  At this point you might think that this all comes after the deal is accepted, but it’s not.  The delayed possession is agreed upon when the offer is written.  


  Ok…  so we’re out looking at homes… some are vacant, and many have homeowners in them.  We find the ‘perfect’ home, but the listing says that the seller needs time after closing to move into their new home. The seller is asking for Delayed Possession.  Maybe the seller counters your offer requesting delayed possession… either scenario is likely.   Sometimes delayed possession is only a few days, and sometimes it is a couple of weeks.  In the case of multiple offers, and it’s only a few days, the buyer might say, “go ahead and stay in our new home (your old home) for a couple of days after closing…rent free.  Sometimes, when there is no other offers, or the sellers is asking for more than just a couple of days, the buyer will request ‘rentback’.  This means that the seller will pay rent for the period of time that they’re still in the home after closing on it to the new buyers.   We can always ask for rentback when the seller is requesting delayed possession…again, this means that the seller will pay you rent for the period of time that the seller stays in the home after closing…usually at an amount equal to one day of your mortgage per every day they are there.  However, just a reminder, in a multiple offer situation you might not be asking for rent back to make your offer more ‘competitive’.  


  Now that you know what Delayed Possession is… let’s explain it a bit further.  Once you close on your new home your home owners insurance kicks in.  The homeowner-seller  switches over to a renters insurance.  Renters insurance, as you know, only covers the contents of the home…not the home itself… that’s yours since you are now the homeowner.    So what happens if ‘what if’ does happen?


 This next story happened a few  years ago now, but I had a client who put her home on the market, she received 5 offers on her home.  Three of the offers offered my client delayed possession, and the offer she accepted gave her 14 days after closing to close and move into her new home…rent free.  This was a good thing for her because it actually took us 6 days after closing her home to close on her new home because her seller had not done the requested repairs from the inspection, and we refused to close until we had those receipts showing those repairs had been done.  Sometimes…this happens too.  Always get your receipts for repairs prior to closing, and if you want a walk-through of the home…get that done before closing too.  Once it closes… it’s hard to go back.  Anyhow, we closed on her New home on a Monday, and keys were transferred the next day because HER seller needed 24 hours after closing to move.  
That Friday night my client, and her SO packed up her home, and left at 10pm.  Plan was to finish on Saturday afternoon after work, and clean the home Saturday evening/Sunday.  I received a call from her  Saturday afternoon, when she got there, that she thinks someone broke into their old home after they left on Friday because a window was ajar, the back door was unlocked, and they found folded cardboard on the basement floor, a couple of empty beer cans, and the unwrapped remains of the kid’s halloween candy that was left in the home.  They noticed the spare keys were missing, and a couple of other small items…but all in all…. nothing else seemed to be amiss.  It was weird…and kind of funny…  someone broke in, ate all the candy (touching nothing in a full fridge or freezer), drank a couple of beers…and took a nap.  She switched out the locks though, and braced the ajar window, to be on the safe side since the spare keys were now missing.  
  Then I got a frantic call Sunday night…  well, it wasn’t so harmless after all…  this halloween candy-napper had also cut the lines to the heat pump & furnace and stripped out the copper lines…about 10ft of it.   S/he also cut the the clutch out of my clients SO’s motorcycle.  Now…we have an issue…. who is responsible for this?  I called the buyer/new homeowners agent to let her know what was going on so she could let her clients, the new homeowners, know.  So what happens now?  Well, the buyer/new home owner’s insurance needs to be notified, and my client (the seller) is responsible for their co-pay/deductible.  Why does it shake out this way?  Because the rental agreement says that the new homeowners insurance is to take care of it because they own the home now…. but the original purchase/sale agreement says that the home will be received by the new homeowner in the same condition as it was when they made the offer, and did the home inspection.  All systems/appliances also need to be in working order, and my client had not transferred keys yet because she is not the renter and in possession of the home still.  


 I’ll be honest with you… this could have gotten very ugly…  in the end, my client was going to either pay for the deductible, or the damage…whatever is less, but she wasn’t happy about it.  It ended up being cheaper to pay the new homeowners deductible.  While the new home owners, and their insurance were liable, she was still in possession of the home so it’s a mixed bag.  She spent her last night in the old home to make sure that halloween candy napper didn’t come back…with her two big dogs, and a bat.  



  This is an extreme situation, and was the first time, and thankfully only time, in 15 years I have had something like this happen at this stage in the transaction.  Typically, with delayed possession we worry more about whether or not the home is left in a clean condition, or if the homeowner/seller is going to leave the home a mess, or trash still in the home.  I know plenty of agents, including myself, who have spent time cleaning a home after a seller left it messy.  When the home is vacant prior to closing (even if it is after signing), we can do a walk through of the vacant home…in fact, I am doing a walk through of a vacant home on Friday.  When the homeowner/seller isn’t moving out until after closing though…a walk through is more difficult since the sellers are still in possession of the home.  95% of the time, the homeowner/seller leaves the home empty and fairly clean…but sometimes we deal with that 5% of the time when they don’t.  During the home inspection period, you can request that the seller has the home professionally cleaned (and/or the carpets professionally cleaned) upon closing, and pre-paid.  Receipts are important.  Of course, if the home has bigger repair considerations during the inspection, you may want to concentrate on getting those repairs, and the receipts for those repairs.  

  This one is pretty fresh still…. I had a closing last month where the seller had 24 hours after closing to move into their new home, and was going to have the home professionally cleaned.  This was a hectic transaction to begin with, and the seller had been caught hiding things about the home.  Oy vay…, and he was texting threats to both his agent & me.  It was a crap-show.  However, it was also a very good deal for my buyers.  I showed up to the home to get keys, and to make certain that the sellers were gone.  They were!  Hallelujah!  …and then they were not.. oh no…  Yep, seller showed up and parked in the driveway.  I thought, “ok…he’s just going to pay for the housecleaner that was in the home”, but oh no…he got in a fight with the housecleaner, and then took off.  She started packing up, but wait!  The home wasn’t clean yet!  So, they got in an argument because the seller refused to pay her because she wouldn’t clean is crap out of the garage.  Housecleaners do not do that.  So, what do we do?  Well, part of real estate is that sometimes it falls on us to make it right….as much as we can.  I paid the housecleaner to finish the job, and I called my son in law and husband to help clean out the garage with my buyer.  My husband switched out all their locks, for safety.  Now…what you don’t know yet is that the seller took the mailbox, removed laundry room shelves, and …. get this… removed the laundry room cupboards.  He literally cut the molding, and unscrewed the cupboards from the wall.  Yeah.. that was an attached item and shouldn’t be removed.  So what happens with all of that?  Nothing….  Again, this was an extreme case. The seller was crazy, and even refused to sign for 3 days.  See… he didn’t actually want to sell…it was his wife who wanted to sell, so he made it difficult every step of the way.  Good times…..


When I am working with a seller as a sellers agent, I advise them to just have a housecleaner come in when they are moved out… it is a little bit of money, but relieves so much stress for them, and for their buyer.  Usually they do this, and it is nice for the new homeowners to take possession of a clean home. Per the contract, the home is to be left in a ‘broom clean’ condition…..swept, vacuumed, mopped, wiped down, etc.  However, one persons idea of clean is not the next persons idea of clean.  I also remind sellers to remove all garbage from the garage and around the home.  Many sellers leave extra paint, maybe extra flooring, or other such items for the new homeowners….in fact… I left those items for the new homeowners when I sold my old home.  This is pretty common, and usually appreciated.

When I am working with a buyer, I’m always hoping that the home is left clean, and usually it is.  Most sellers do leave the home clean….thankfully.  Sometimes though…… sometimes sellers leave other items.  Usually it isn’t too much, and usually just things they ‘forgot’.  Call your Realtor, and we will help you deal with it.  It’s what we do.  What you are reading here are two very extreme cases.   This doesn’t usually happen… it’s very rare, so you can start breathing again.  🙂  


Anyhow, this all being said… Delayed Possession is something we are dealing with right now, and fairly frequently as more and more homeowners are selling their current homes to move into their next home.  It’s important to understand how it works, and ways that we can try to protect you.  Remember…walk throughs (if we can), and receipts.  Those are 2 key things.  In short though… don’t be afraid of delayed possession as it is pretty likely you may be in this position.  We have delayed possessions quite frequently where nothing exciting happens.  I like it when nothing exciting happens.   I tell you…there’s a reason why I don’t drink much… I’m afraid if I start..that I won’t stop some days…. 




 
Upcoming Topics:

What happens AFTER the home inspection?
What do I need to buy a home,

What if I don’t have a Down Payment? 
Pre-Approvals…what, why… and the importance of getting one

Debt to Income Ratios….What is this?



Last Week:  Buyers Due Diligence


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 , or www.learningtobuyahome.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).

Buyers Due Diligence… Real Estate Education

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

Thursday, October 17th, from 5pm – 8pm (ish)
Marshall Community Center, Conference room
1009 E McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College)

Saturday, October 19th, from 12pm-3pm (ish)
​       Vancouver YMCA, conference room
11324 NE 51st Circle, Vancouver WA (corner of SR500 & Gher Road/112th Ave).

Saturday, November 2nd, 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 Autumn

FALL!!!    HappyHallowThanksMas!  The last 3 months of the year are my favorite.  I love the argument between Pumpkin Spice or Apple Cider (Apple Cider is the best by the way followed closely by all things peppermint). I love the colors, the smells, the holi-daze, the weather, and the coziness of it all.  I have a body made for winter clothes. Smile  I know.. it’s strange, but I love gray days that make you want to snuggle in with some hot tea, and a good book, and I love those clear fall days where the sky is so blue & the colors on the trees are so bright…  Ok… I’m waxing poetic here, so I better stop while I’m ahead.

  We do have an exciting event coming up though…2 of them actually….  Winter Client Appreciation Events!
In November we will be hosting Frozen 2 & in December… well, it’s STAR WARS time!!  Chris Berg and I will be limiting tickets to 6 tickets please unless you have talked to me or Chris Berg about it first. We are excited to see you soon!!  🙂 …and Thank YOU.. Thank you for your referrals!  Thank you for recommending us, or the classes to those you know (and on Facebook too), and THANK YOU for letting us to be part of your home adventures. We appreciate you so muchHeart
 
 
Now…on to our weekly home buyer education!  I know I said we are going to talk about what happens AFTER the home inspection, but first I thougt we should talk about about Buyers Due Diligence, and why this is so important for you.
   I saw a very interesting home this week that was right across the street from a cemetery.  Now, that wouldn’t bother me, but for some folks…that would be a BIG thing.  My clients liked the land but did not like the house…the house was …  interesting.  It was a 1925 home, that had been ‘worked’ on over the years, and probably not professionally.  When I am showing homes to clients, I get asked many questions about the home….some I can answer and some I can’t.   Some of the answers we can find out, and some…well, you never really ‘know’ a home until you are the one living in it.  So, what are some questions I can not answer… is the home haunted?  Um….I don’t know?  Has there been a violent crime in the home or in the area?  Um…I don’t know?  Believe it or not, that isn’t considered a relevant fact when listing the home as it doesn’t actually affect the home.  
   When selling a home, the seller (and sellers agent) is only obligated to disclose known material facts about the home on the sellers disclosure, and this is only  about the home during the current sellers ownership.  So what is a ‘material fact’?   A ‘material fact’ is considered to be something that structurally affects the home.  The sellers disclosure is about 6 pages long and the seller is ‘supposed to’ disclose all known facts about the home on it.  However, if anyone has teenagers you know how often ‘supposed to’ gets done.  Some sellers will disclose ALL facts about the homes….even those items that have been repaired, some sellers will only disclose those items that they haven’t gotten around to fixing, and some sellers just have no idea about anything in their home.  Of course, this is why we do a home inspection.  It isn’t that you can’t trust the sellers, but when it comes down to it, most sellers don’t know anything about their home.  This is called ‘Buyers Due Diligence’.  A buyer does have some responsibility for doing some research on the home, and area, that they are wanting, or trying to, buy in.  If your buyers agent knows anything about the home or area then we have to legal responsibility to disclose it.  In Washington, all sellers are required to fill out the 6 page sellers disclosure on their own.  Their Realtor can not do it for them, or help them fill it out.….however, if the seller is a bank, or it is an estate, or an investor then there won’t be any sellers disclosures, or if there is, most questions will be answered with “don’t know”. For every question on the sellers disclosures, the sellers have 4 choices to answer…  “yes, no, don’t know, or NA”, and every question must be answered….no empty boxes.  When you receive a copy of the sellers disclosure though …remember to take it with a grain of salt, and hire a good inspector.  Many sellers now will even just put a majority of ‘don’t know’ answers on the sellers disclosure so as to not have any liability.  The majority of sellers aren’t trying to ‘hide’ anything about the home, they just truly don’t know.  A realtor will hand the sellers disclosure to their client, the seller, and that is it.  We, real estate agents, can not help the seller fill out the sellers disclosure at all.  If you have any questions regarding anything on the sellers disclosure, your Realtor can request more information (if there is any) from the sellers through their sellers agent.  Make sure you also address any concern you have regarding the homes condition to the home inspector you hire.  He (or she) should be able to help you with that.  The inspector I usually refer out encourages the buyer to walk with him during the home inspection so that the buyer is part of that inspection.  I like to call it a ‘crash course in homeowning’.  Relaxed By the time he is done with the inspection, my client usually knows more about the home than the current owner does!  I can’t stress it enough….ask questions!  You are paying for the home inspection, so walk around with the home inspector, ask questions, learn about what the inspector is checking, and be a part of the home inspection. 
 
   Sometimes, but not often, we will see sellers purposely try to hide something. This sucks.  I had this happen recently with a client. The home in question had been on the market for about 5 months…with 3 different Realtors, and had been pending 2 times before with sale fails. Ok…red flags…3 different Realtors in such a short period of time? Two prior sale fails? hmmm… I asked the current Realtor why the sale fails, and he said there were financing issues.  Ok, sometimes that happens.  I have had that happen on listings of mine too.  Current Realtor was very eager for an offer,and called me about closing costs, etc. My clients liked the home, and the listed price was attractive.  It did need some cosmetic work, but that was ok, for the price and the closing costs. Fast forward to home inspection, and the home passed with flying colors.  Only things that came up was a recalled electric panel (common for the age of the home), and lack of insulation under the home.  Insulation under the home is not required for the age of the home, and was something my clients were willing to do later. The recalled panel would need replaced prior to appraisal as that is something that most likely would be called out.  Where the big issue came was during the sewer scope…  the sewer line from the home to the street had a 35 ft ‘bend’ in it.  Sewer lines need to go down 1 inch for every foot for optimum flow (yay…the things I know that are weird to know), and due to land settling, etc…this homes sewer line had a dip in it before it went to the street. Ok….it’s not like the seller could have known this right? Well, normally I’d agree with you, but in this case he DID KNOW!  Plumber asked us if we knew and we said no (because how would we?)  Plumber then goes on to say that,”well, that’s weird, because the seller knows. This home has had a recent sewer scope already done.  There’s some paint lines in the street that looks like they were scrubbed off.”   Uhhh….what?!  I send this information to the sellers agent (who has no idea),and he assures me that if they knew it would have been on the sellers disclosures (it wasn’t). Sellers agent calls his client and then calls me back. At this point both the sellers agent & I know the seller is full of it because the seller told his agent that there was nothing wrong with the sewer line….because he had the city come out and check it a couple of weeks ago and they hydro jetted it. That all of this was just the plumbing contractor and my clients trying to get more money out of him.  Honestly folks, that was our first indication that this deal was going to be hairy & scary…  We requested the recalled panel to be replaced and the sewer line repaired. The seller sent his agent a bid for the sewer line repair that was dated a full 3 weeks BEFORE my client made their offer. When the seller was with Agent #2, and during the 2nd sale fail.  Sale failed because of financing issues…my tush..
My clients loved many things about the home, and except for the sewer line (and that it needed paint and flooring), it was in excellent condition with a newer roof and new windows. It also had the yard & 2 living spaces that my clients wanted. So, we persisted. Seller did have the panel switched out (with much grumbling).  It cost the seller $700 more than it should have because he tried to go ‘cheap’ and had to have it redone. The sewer line failed the sewer scope. . at least twice.  The bid that the seller presented was for $10,000 to repair the line.  So now my client had a choice….  do we back out? Do we require the sewer line to be repaired? What do we do? At least one of the previous buyers had backed out because the seller refused to repair the line.  Discussion time…  many of the homes we were looking at with this price range were either smaller and in good condition, or needed a new roof soon (about $7,000 estimate), or new windows (about $5,000),or similar. The sewer line is currently working.  Does it need to be under surveillance? Yes. Will it need to be corrected at some point? Yes. Does it need to be done right now? No.  For my clients they decided to go with the evil you know vs the evil that they may find in another home.  This home was in excellent condition with many things already done (like the new roof, windows, & now a new electric panel)…the only thing that will need to be done will be the sewer line. One thing vs many possible things at a different home.  So I spoke with the sellers agent (who was very dismayed to find out his seller had been lying to him), and they offered a split of the repair cost. What this means is that we had a $10,000 sewer line repair bid. The sellers offered another $4000 in closing costs to offset that repair.  I called my clients lender to ask if my buyers could use all of those closing costs (whatever isn’t used is returned to the sellers), and they could!  My clients accepted that compromise as this freed up some money for my clients to do what they wanted to the home to move in… those cosmetic things that they didn’t have to put off now.  In the end it worked out.  Of course…that was until closing day….but that is a story for next week….

It’s not often that seller will blatantly lie on a sellers disclosure.  Most of the time it is something that the sellers don’t know about that shows up on a home inspection, or a sewer scope.  However, that is why we do inspections…  because of the things that people don’t know, don’t think about, and rarely…try to hide.  As I said in my last email… buying a home is a lot like buying a used car.  Most of the time it is all good, but occasionally…occasionally… you find those folks who are trying to get away with something.  

 
   Your realtor will help you find out as much about the home as possible.  Your agent should be present at your home inspection, and so should you.  However, whether or not the home is haunted or not, we really can’t help you with.  Whether or not there has been a violent crime in the home or area is another thing that we really can’t help you with, but we CAN help you by providing some places where you can do some research.  Has anyone died in the home?  Again….I don’t know…, but if it is an older home, and/or an estate?  Maybe you should leave out some milk and cookies occasionally?  Laughing
   What about that new building being built in the neighborhood?  Your Realtor probably doesn’t know what it is, and honestly we shouldn’t guess.  That is something that a buyer will want to do some research on.  Is that garage conversion permitted?  Call the city/county.  Your Realtor will help you find the information, but when it comes down to it, because of past legal problems, we are now limited on the extent that we can delve into everything….but we can help you get there still.  It is weird, but there it is.  There is a lot your Realtor can, and will do for you, and we will do all that we can to make sure that you are getting the best customer service possible.  Your Realtor should help you to make sure that you are performing your buyers due diligence to make sure that you won’t get any unexpected surprises later.  I am a huge fan of talking with neighbors….neighbors are a great source of information on a home.  🙂  Please remember that you are not just buying the home, you are buying the neighborhood.  One of the questions I always ask my clients is if they have thought about the area they want to move to?  Have they looked into schools, if that is important.  Have they considered locations regarding work, or family/friends?  I encourage my clients to drive around, and check out the neighborhoods they’re interested in.  Drive by the homes you are interested in seeing, look at the neighbors, yards, parks, cars, etc…  check out those things that are important to you.  Vancouver doesn’t really have a ‘good side’, or ‘bad side’…Clark county has a lot of ‘pocket neighborhoods’.  In a two mile radius you can have million dollar homes, new developments, ‘sketchy’ neighborhoods, and established ‘homey’ neighborhoods.  Clark County has something for everyone!   What are you looking for in a home/neighborhood?  What are your top 3 things you want (not counting price)?  As a realtor we can not ‘steer’ you towards, or away, from any neighborhood.  Our job is to help you find the best home we can, in your price range, that fits what you want.  As an agent, I will help you get all the information I can, or direct you to places that can help you get that information.  For example….census.gov is an excellent site to check out neighborhoods, and schools.  Check it out!  
   So…buyers due diligence….talk to neighbors, walk around the home, and neighborhood… and write down a list of questions.  Ask your inspector about these questions to check out.  Ask your real estate agent to help you find out some answers to these questions, or if they can’t find the answers, help you find some places where you can do some research or ask questions.  Your Realtor is here to help you!  Remember that your Realtor works FOR you.   Make sure you know what you are getting into….and any questions?  ASK!  …and keep asking until you get answers!   As always, if you have any questions, please call or email me…I am always here to help.  🙂  Remember…I am a real estate broker, and I look forward to helping you on your home buying adventure…and assisting you to get those keys.  😀  Whether you are buying, or selling your home, my goal is to be the real estate broker you think of.  I really want to help you with your first time, and every time.  I believe that real estate is about relationships…..and no…that is not a shameless plug!  LOL
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.  
 
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 the home inspection?
What do I need to buy a home,
What if I don’t have a Down Payment?
Pre-Approvals…what, why… and the importance of getting one
Debt to Income Ratios….What is this?
 
Last Week:  Home Inspections & seller disclosure
 
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.learningtobuyahome.com or 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).

 

 

       

Inspections & Seller Disclosures

Upcoming Free (& non-promotional) Home Buyer Classes:
Saturday, September 7th, from 9am-12pm (ish)
Marshall Community Center, conference room
1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College)

Monday, September 17th, from 5pm – 8pm (ish)
Marshall Community Center, Conference room
1009 E McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College)

Saturday, September 21st, from 11am-2pm (ish)
​       Vancouver YMCA, conference room
11324 NE 51st Circle, Vancouver WA (corner of SR500 & Gher Road/112th Ave).

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 new school year!

  It’s that time again.. another school year has started, and kids are back at it…. and let’s be honest…parents are back at it as well.  I hope you have gotten the morning routine down…because we have not.  Today, Harley couldn’t find her shoes because (surprise!) she didn’t put them away in her shoe cubby.  I know..shocking.  Even more shocking is that I bet you they’re under the couch, or that her dog took them to her black hole of a bedroom because he puts stuff away better than she does!  Today, Harley wore tennis shoes that fit last week, but are now too small so now she needs new ones…. of course.  I procrastinated school clothes shopping because I would rather crawl into the crawlspace with an inspector than deal with that madness! 

So this week I do want to talk about something that has come up a couple of times recently…  Inspections, Repairs, and what happens AFTER.. What do I mean about ‘after’ though? Well, first let’s talk about Inspections for just a bit…

It is my opinion that you shouldn’t waive the home inspection… it doesn’t matter if the home is brand new, or a 100 years old, you should ALWAYS have a home inspection done.  After mutual acceptance of the offer (where both buyer & seller have agreed to all terms), the home goes into ‘pending’ status, and this is where your timelines start.  In real estate we have a lot of timelines that we need to make sure we are meeting, and the inspection is a BIG one.  From mutual acceptance you have 10 CALENDAR days to have the home inspection done, and to request any repairs from the seller.  ‘Calendar Days’ being the key word words here.  A few things to remember about the home inspection… the home inspector does need to be licensed in the state of Washington, but he’s usually not a contractor.  What this means is that if you have something about the home that you have a concern about, we would want to request a licensed contractor to come look at it.   If you are buying a used car, you would take that car to a mechanic to take a look at it, right?  Is that mechanic going to find everything wrong with the car?  Most likely not, but that mechanic can usually tell you pretty quickly if there is anything seriously wrong with vehicle in the short period they’re checking it out.  As a potential buyer this will help you decide if you want to purchase that vehicle in its current condition, if you want to go back to the seller and re-negotiate, or if you maybe don’t want to buy that car at all.  This is a lot like a home inspection.  You are purchasing a ‘used’ home … nothing more, and nothing less. This is not ‘Holmes on Homes’, and the inspector can’t do anything invasive to the home.  During the home inspection you are having a ‘house mechanic’ take a quick look at the home to see what they can find about it that you can use to decide if you want to continue with the purchase of the home with the home in its current condition, if you want to go back to the seller and re-negotiate for some repairs, or if you want to back out of the purchase of the home inspection.  Just like a mechanic though there are good ones out there and some … well….some not so good.  You can always ask your Realtor if they have any inspectors they could refer you to, or ask family/friends.  I will give you a list of questions to ask too.
Just like a vehicle mechanic though, even with good ones…  sometimes they don’t catch things.  Most inspections are only a couple of hours and again, it’s visual.  You will find more things as you live in the home… just like you find things once you actually start driving the car regularly.  You are going to live in that home differently than the last home owner did…just like you are going to drive the car differently than the last owner did. The goal of BOTH inspections is to hopefully catch anything ‘major’…anything that could affect the health and/or safety of the home or the occupants, and anything that could require the assistance of a licensed contractor.   During the home inspection there is a very good chance the home inspector IS going to talk with you about things in the home that you should be aware of as a homeowner. Some of these items are going to be things to ‘keep an eye on’ for future repair, some of these items may just be things you ‘need to know’…informational things…, and some of these things may be items that need repair now.  YOU should be at the home inspection, and your AGENT should be at the home inspection as well. We can’t help you if we aren’t there… and we are here to help you.   You, and your agent, will talk about the home inspection and what (if any) repair requests you would like to send to the sellers for their consideration.  There are going to be things that you will be needing (or wanting) to do as a homeowner when you move in, so what we’re looking for at the home inspection is anything that (again) is going to affect the health/safety of the home, or the occupants… or that is going to need to be looked at/repaired by a licensed contractor. 


After the home inspection (I usually advise my clients to respond with the inspection repairs within 24 hours at the most), you need to decide if you are ok with the home in its current condition and what to continue forward to closing, if you just want to back out of the purchase based on the information from the home inspection,  or if you want to request any repairs from the seller.  In 99% of the cases, this is what happens….  you have talked to the inspector,you have seen the report, you have talked with your agent and you are ok with some things at the home inspection, but there are some items you want repaired.  Your agent then sends that form with the information of those items to the sellers agent to go over with the seller. The seller has 3 days to respond.  The seller may come back and say, ‘we will do no repairs…buy as-is, or back out’, or the seller may say, “we will do all the repairs and we move forward to closing’, or the seller (as usually happens) might say, ” we will repair items 1, 2, and 4, but not 3, 5, and 6…and we’ll do item #7, but changing it to this”.    The sellers agent will send this information back to your agent, and then You and your agent will discuss your response…. Are you ok with the sellers response? Are you not ok?  Do you want to continue forward to closing? Do you want to back out?  …or maybe you want to counter their response?  See…  re-negotiating….   However, if both parties can not come to an agreement then the deal does fall apart and dies. You will get your earnest money back as that is a legal reason to back out (as long as you didn’t waive your home inspection), but you will lose the money you paid to the home inspector for the inspection.
One thing you want to talk about with your agent before the home inspection is the sellers disclosures. The sellers disclosures are a 6 page form where the sellers are ‘supposed’ to disclose everything they know about the home during their home ownership.  Again… key words.. ‘during their home ownership’, and ‘supposed to’.  The sellers are supposed to disclose anything that has happened, and been repaired, and/or anything that they are aware of… during their ownership of the home.  I am going to post a ‘lovely’ story of something that one of my clients is going through RIGHT NOW!  Oh heavens… it’s a hot mess.
So, what if it is, or was, something that was prior to their ownership?  Well…  should they disclose?  Yes…if they are aware of it, but one thing to remember is that most sellers do not really know anything about their home.  The sellers disclosures are filled out by the sellers, and their agents can’t really help them fill them out.  Personally,  when I am listing a home, I explain what the sellers disclosures are, and what the questions mean.  Many sellers disclosures are just randomly filled out by the sellers who have no idea what they are doing.  So look at the sellers disclosures, ask questions about it.  Your buyers agent can ask the sellers for more information on anything, and as always, you can ask the home inspector to take a look at anything that you have concerns about.  Sellers disclosures are difficult because sometimes… a lot of times actually… they are not filled out correctly.  I have had  to send them back to the sellers agents a couple of times requesting they be filled out correctly, and/or asking for more information from the sellers. This is frustrating for the sellers, and for the buyers…and yes, for me as well.  As with ALL legal forms, and yes, Realtor forms used when buying and/or selling a home, ARE legal forms… don’t fill out, or sign anything without being certain what you are signing. Ask questions….ASK for clarification…ASK, ASK, ASK…  Your Realtor is here to help you. I am going to talk about sellers disclosures more next week because we have had some issues with them recently after closing….

So, home inspectors and home inspections…  remember that the wet and rainy weather is coming and that this is a GREAT time for home inspections!  We get a lot of rain here so that type of Washington weather is the best time to see if there are any water/moisture issues in, or UNDER the home.


When hiring a home inspector some good questions to ask them are:
How long have you been licensed?
    Licensing for home inspectors in the State of Washington has only has only been required since September of 2009. Many inspectors were in business, unlicensed, before that. Some inspectors took the initiative and were licensed way before that. Your inspector should be bonded, insured, and carry E&O (errors and omissions) insurance.
How long will the inspection take? How much is it?
    The average home inspection should take about 2-3 hours. The average cost is about $400-$450…now to be honest, you can get an inspection for cheaper, but sometimes you get what you pay for. Make sure your inspector is inspecting what is important to you. Remember, as a buyer, the inspector works for you…not the buyers agent, the sellers agent, or the sellers. YOU, the buyer, are hiring this contractor to perform a service for you. Ask the inspector what their inspection entails, and what is included…or not.
What does your home inspection entail? What will you do?
    A home inspector should be walking and checking the roof. A roof must have 2+ year certificate for state or government grants/loans, VA loans, and FHA loans. A home inspector should be walking around the exterior and checking the siding, and looking at the housing vents for broken/missing screens. The home inspector will also be looking at vegetation around the home, and look at the water meter on the curb for current activity.
Inside the home, the inspector will crawl the crawlspace looking for leaks, groundwater, evidence or signs of current, or past animal activity, etc. The inspector should also be checking the atticspace for signs of current or past leakage and/or mold.
    The inspector will also be looking at all water faucets and toilets for leakage, drainage, and more. The inspector should also be checking all windows, electrical outlets and the main electric box for safety hazards, vents and heating units, and more.
Do you (the inspector) have a water reader?
    Some inspectors have a water reader that reads moisture 1 inch into a surface, be it wall or floor. These are wonderful for finding such things as leaking wax seals in toilets (very common), moisture in a wall around a window that hasn’t had its’ weep seals cleaned, moisture in walls or flooring around such places as washer/dryers, fridges, dishwashers, showers, toilets, and bathtubs.
What paperwork will be included at this cost?
    Some inspectors will charge you extra for a FHA Dry Rot and Pest Report, or for a print out of your inspection. You will need a FHA Dry Rot Pest Report for the state loans, VA loans, and FHA loans. Make sure your cost includes a copy of this. Also, ask how the inspector will get you a copy of your inspection, in what form will it come to you, and how soon can you expect it. The average cost for a home inspection is around $400, but the cost can vary with the size of the home you are purchasing.

Some other inspections that you might want to consider is a sewer scope.  This is where a plumber comes out and puts a camera down the sewer/septic lines to make sure they are clear of obstructions.  It is an additional cost of usually about $150.   If the home is on septic, request a septic report/inspection that is one year or less of age.  The septic inspection just checks the tank, and it’s ability to do its job.  It doesn’t test/check to pipes going from the home to the tank itself.  A sewer scope can help a lot here.  Yes, it is another charge, but it’s a safe one.

Another inspection you may want to consider (especially in a home with a basement, or any part of the home under ground like a split level, or daylight basement) is a radon test.  Many people ask me why there aren’t more homes with basements….and there are 2 reasons why that is…. water/moisture and radon.  Most of Clark County has a high water table …not like New Orleans or anything… but we do have a lot of moisture in the ground and clay….which holds water.   There are many areas of Clark County where homes will have sump pumps, or extra drainage in the crawlspace to help with this, but if a home has a basement, or some form of it…that is an area you want the inspector to be checking out.  Then there is Radon… radon is a gas that comes from the ground that can make people very sick.  Some areas have high levels of radon and some areas…not so much.  I have a client buying a home right now with a very high level of radon read in the daylight basement.  There are contractors who come out for radon remediation, and they are having that done.   Lots of information this week… sorry!  Part 2 of this will be coming next week or so. 🙂

Information is power,  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.  
If you have any questions, or comments please get a hold of me anytime.  You can call, text, email, or even facebook me.  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 as I would be honored 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:
What happens AFTER the home inspection (are re-inspections important)?
What do I need to buy a home,
What if I don’t have a Down Payment?
Pre-Approvals…what, why… and the importance of getting one
Last Week:  Holy Price Reductions!  What’s up with that? 
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).

 

Holy Price Reductions! (home buyer/seller education)

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

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

Tuesday, August 20th, from 5pm – 8pm (ish)
Marshall Community Center, Conference room
1009 E McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College)

Saturday, August 24th, from 12pm-3pm (ish)
​       Vancouver YMCA, conference room
11324 NE 51st Circle, Vancouver WA (corner of SR500 & Gher Road/112th Ave).

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!
Sweet Summertime….  Sorry about the email/blog silence lately…  in June, Chris Berg and I started a radio ad on 102.3 & 620, and they needed some analytics from the running of that for awhile.  We didn’t want to mess it up with analytics from the email/blog.  It’s been so weird not sending this out for awhile though.  Always remember that if you ever have any questions you can always email, call, or text me anytime.  I am always here to help.  I also have all of these on the blog page at www.learningtobuyahome.com too.  You can also browse through those too.
Now… the Clark County Fair starts this Friday!   The fair runs from Friday, August 2 through Sunday, August 11th.  Chris Berg and I will be at the Clark County Fair again this year… because we are crazy.  Please, stop by and say, “hi!” to us… it is the one thing that keeps up sane while we are there.  It’s a long 10 days and we will be there EVERY day.  I will be at the booth (inside the cool big exhibit hall, second booth to the right of the main doors) from 10am-4pm, and Chris will be there from 4pm-10pm….  EVERY DAY.  So, please… stop by… talk to us… help us preserve what little sanity we have left…. AND … tell us you saw/read this post AND we have something pretty cool for you. Why? Because I went a little crazy on the promotional items, and I need to get them out of my garage so I can park in there again before the weather starts to turn.  Help a gal out…
  So this week let’s talk a bit about the market…  I’ve have a few people ask me if the market is starting to ‘turn’… and my answer is a mixed bag.  First things first….it’s summer, and weather has a LOT to do with real estate, which is kind of weird, but there is a reasoning behind it.  The BEST months of the year to be a buyer is always going to be the winter months of November, December, and January.  There are couple of reasons for this ….  weather (cold, crappy, rainy, and sometimes snowy), and the holidays…. not many folks want to be out looking or selling during the holidays.  Because of these reasons, home typically ‘sit’ on the market for a bit longer.  This is good for buyers because it gives people time to think before jumping on a home and making an offer, and because the market is a bit ‘softer’ during these months, there are less multiple offer situations and more sellers are willing to pay some closing costs.  The down side of these months is that there aren’t usually as many homes for sale on the market….this is an upside for the seller, as there is less competition for the seller.  The second BEST months of the year to be a buyer are JULY and AUGUST…  why?  because again….it’s HOT, and surprisingly the hotter it is the less people are out looking at homes.  People want to go the lakes, rivers, and beaches when it is hot….they don’t want to go look at homes.  Also, there is less buyer competition during these months because it is summer, and during that time of year there are additional childcare costs, getting ready for school costs, and vacations.  One of the pluses about the summer months over the winter months is that there is usually a lot more homes for sale during these months.  The craziest time of year to be a buyer is always during February through June as this is usually the busiest time as people have tax refunds to use for down payments (if you don’t have one though there are programs to help with this), and closing costs.  February and June can go either way….depending on the year, but during this time there tends to be less homes on the market and a LOT more buyer competition so more multiple offers, homes sell for more than listing price, and sellers are less likely to pay any closing costs.  
  So what if you have a home to sell, and need to buy one too?  The summer and winter months are your best friend too.  The spring might be easier to sell, but as a buyer you will have a more difficult time with that ‘sell my home first’ contingency (more about this on an upcoming blog). The summer and winter months will give you a more solid buyer, and availability to purchase your new home with being contingent on the sale of your current home.
  Does this explain the price drops you are seeing?  Yes… the market is always on steroids during the spring, and when people list during the summer they see this, but as the home sits on the market for a bit longer, the price drops start happening. For buyers this is good….  multiple offers are difficult for everyone, and many buyers need some closing costs assistance. If you are a buyer…. go look at homes when it is hot as hades out there…  it is a good thing!  
  The home market really follows interest rates  Interest rates went up for a bit, and the market softened a bit.  Interest rates dropped again recently, and that has helped some buyers with the amount they’re pre-approved for.  Remember that you are pre-approved for a monthly home payment (not a purchase price).  The monthly home payment is directly related to interest rates….so as rates go up, a buyer is pre-approved for less.  I’m talking to my buyers right now, and reminding them that the home they purchase is really a 7-10 year home.  The market has been going up for quite awhile, but it’s not skyrocketing like it was.
  We see many more homeowners following the interest rates, and seeing home prices start to soften, so we are seeing more home inventory hitting the market….again… this is a good thing as it will ease up the low supply/high demand that caused home prices to skyrocket.
   Please remember a couple of things….I might have been called a witch a time or two, but my powers of seeing the future are not very good. My magic wand is a hit and miss, and that silly 8 ball lies to me quite frequently.  All we can do is listen to the economists, watch and follow the trends, and rely of past economic predictions. 
  Good news is that YES, due to higher inventory and lower demand and this infernal heat, we ARE seeing price drops.  We are also seeing sellers assisting with buyers closing
  Is there a crash coming?  Not that anyone sees….no…  What the economists are talking about is a ‘market correction’  where rising interest rates control the skyrocketing home prices.  When that is coming is anyone’s guess though….   Please remember that your home is just that…your home.  While it is an investment…it’s an investment in your future.  Owning a home is a long term investment.
  Now for those of you who love this heat….  I am too fluffy, pale, and my hair is too frizzy for this kind of madness…. 🙂

   I hope that explains this a bit, but if you have any questions, or comments please call or email me anytime!  I am here to help…

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:
Rules to seeing homes (for Buyers & Sellers)
Contingencies, Rentback, and Pre-Possession (oh my!),
Buyers Due Diligence, 
&….
What happens after an offer is made?
 
Last Week:  What’s in a mortgage & ‘escrow’?


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.learningtobuyahome.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).

What’s in a mortgage payment, & what’s ‘escrow’?

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

Monday, June 17th, from 5pm – 8pm (ish)
Marshall Community Center, Conference room
1009 E McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College)

Saturday, June 22nd, from 12pm-3pm (ish)
​       Vancouver YMCA, conference room
11324 NE 51st Circle, Vancouver WA (corner of SR500 & Gher Road/112th Ave).

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….
…www.learningtobuyahome.com for seller class schedule….
Remember…with reservation…we will throw in lunch, or dinner!  😀
~~~~~~~~~
Happy Sunday~
It’s supposed to be in the 90’s this week?  Blech….  I know that some people love the heat, but I may be too fluffy for the heat.  Thank goodness for Air Conditioning this week.  So, Chris and I get asked about closing costs all the time.  What are they?  How much are they?  What are they for?  How can you plan for them?
 Buying a home will be the largest purchase you ever make.  The only thing that will cost your more than buying a home is having a child.  🙂  Like a child, you have to take care of your home though, and there is more to home ownership than most people realize.
   Every month you pay bills, and your mortgage payment will most likely be your largest monthly expenditure, but what is it?  We will talk about how a mortgage payment works soon, but this week, let’s talk about the five parts of a mortgage payment.
Now…what is all in your payment?
   There are four parts to your mortgage payment…it is called a PITI payment.  What that means is Principal, Interest, Taxes, and Insurance.  For example, if my payment was $2000, my principal/interest portion would be about  $1300 a month, and the other $700 a month would be put into an escrow account.  Out of this account comes the homeowners insurance payment once a year, and property taxes are also paid from this account twice a year.  All of these fees are wrapped into the monthly mortgage payment.  Anytime you are using a FHA, or any government type of loan like RD (USDA), or the downpayment assistance programs & grants (like Home Advantage), these fees must be wrapped into the mortgage payment.   If you don’t have a 20% down payment (like 99.9% people), then your mortgage payment will actually have FIVE PARTS with the fifth part being Mortgage Insurance. Another insurance that ‘could’ come out of the escrow payment is flood insurance.  If you live in a flood plain (I used to), then you will be required to carry flood insurance.  Flood insurance would be wrapped up into your mortgage payment, and be deposited into your escrow payment for a payment once a year.
So what’s an escrow account?
Your escrow account, as mentioned above is the account that holds the money taken from your mortgage payment every month to pay for those parts of your mortgage that are NOT principal and interest.  Every year your mortgage company will evaluate your escrow account to be certain that they’re collecting enough to pay for these items.  As property taxes go up (or down) based on home value, your home owners insurance should also change to cover your homes value.  If your values are going up, then the amount you need in your escrow account will also need to increase.  You will receive a letter from your escrow account every year to update you whether you have enough in your payment to cover escrow, or if you have too much in your escrow account.  If you have too much in your escrow account then you might receive a check, and new payment amount.  If you don’t have enough forecasted in your account, then they will ask you to mail in a check to cover the difference, or your mortgage payment will be adjusted to cover the difference.
Mortgage Insurance vs Homeowners Insurance
 Mortgage insurance is different than home owners (sometimes called, Hazard) insurance.  In a nutshell, mortgage Insurance protects the lender in case you default on your loan, and homeowners insurance protects you & the lender in case something happens to the home….ie.. a fire, a tree falling on your home, a car driving into your home, burst pipes, etc.
Homeowners Insurance
   Now, please remember, you do choose your insurance company!  One of the things I suggest to clients is to contact their insurance company after they make their offer and to do a couple of things…(1) Has there been any water of fire claims in the past 3-5 years on this home?, and (2) How much would the insurance be for this home?  Average homeowners insurance is about $500-$700 a year….again, it is wrapped up into your monthly mortgage payment so it is NOT another extra expense.  You do get to choose your company, and many companies will give you discounts for ‘bundling’ your policies…like, home, car, life, etc.  It doesn’t hurt to call around for quotes.  Once you choose a company, you will want to request that your insurance agent send over an ‘insurance binder’ over to your lender.
Property Taxes
  Taxes are decided by the county, and are usually paid twice a year. You may get a copy of the tax bill, but again, it is paid by your mortgage company out of your escrow account.  I always get phone calls when these bills come out.  😀  No worries…it is just for your records, and I encourage your phone calls!!  🙂  Please remember that ‘Tax Assessed Value’ is NOT market value.  Property taxes are assessed every year, but based off of sales from a year to two years prior.
Principal & Interest
   Now…your principal and interest portion of your mortgage payment.  As we know a portion of your mortgage payment every month goes toward the principal amount that your borrowed to purchase your home, and a portion goes toward the interest that the lender is charging you.  In the beginning of your loan the smaller amount goes toward principal, and the larger portion goes toward interest…this eventually switches.  We all know the wisdom of making an additional payment every year on your mortgage to reduce your loan time.  Some banks will offer to take your payment in two week portions, and make your additional payment for you.  Honestly I don’t advise this…..before you think I am crazy, this is the reason why….the bank actually holds your money and makes your additional payment at the end of the year.  This isn’t the best way for you, really….  I always pay between $25-$100 extra on my mortgage every month depending upon our finances that month, but apply it directly towards my principal borrowed amount.  At the end of the year I have made that extra payment directly towards my principal, which is less money I can be charged interest on!  This will shorten my loan length considerably.  In the end I actually pay MORE on the principal amount than I would have if I had just made one extra payment.  My suggestion to all my clients is to take that $20 from each paycheck and put it into that credit union far away (with no debit card or checkbook for) that is for your home repairs that are needed as a homeowner.  If you just put at least $25 per month extra toward your principal loan amount you will also be shortening your loan time.  This sounds like a lot…but really is it?  It is a trip to McD’s (for my family anyhow as we have 2 adults, a third grader, and either my adult son, and/or my adult daughter and her husband, and baby.), or a couple of Dutch Brothers trips a month…but it will help you in the long run immensely.   I won’t lie… I love my Dutch Bros though.  🙂
   So there are the 5 parts of your mortgage payment…Principal, Interest, Taxes, and Insurance…both Mortgage & Homeowners…..all tidily wrapped up into one payment every month..
  Yay!  I kept it shorter this week!  😀  It’s like going to the grocery store, and only coming out with the items you went in for….ok, who am I kidding…that never happens!
          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: 55 things not to do when buying a home.
                                  When is a pre-approval not a pre-approval?
Last Week:  Types of Realtors & Compensation…explained
 
 
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.learningtobuyahome.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)


Upcoming Free (& non-promotional) Home Buyer Classes:
…we also have home seller classes available. Link on left on website page

Saturday, March 16th, from 11am-2pm (ish)
​ Vancouver YMCA, conference room
11324 NE 51st Circle, Vancouver WA (corner of SR500 & Gher Road/112th Ave).

Monday, February 18th, from 5pm-8pm (ish)
Marshall Community Center, conference room
1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College)

Saturday, March 30th, from 10am-1pm (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 Daylight Savings time aka National Napping Day~

After the nastiest of the last couple of weeks… what a gorgeous day!!! …and did you hear? It’s supposed to hit 60 degrees this week? It’s like a heat wave! WooHoo! Is it? Could it be? Spring may finally be coming…and I know we are all excited, right? Spring also means that we have a Client Appreciation event coming up. We will be hosting Avengers: Endgame the first Saturday of May…yes, a week after it opens, but we are still excited, right? If there is a different movie that you think we should host….we still have time to change it! 😀 Let me, or Chris Berg (chris.berg@cardinalfinancial.com) know. We are always open to suggestions.

Ok, now to be honest with you, this is NOT the email I was going to send out this week. There was some craziness that has been going on with social media the last week or so, and I wanted to talk about it…and I might send it out next week, but I am not sure that right now is the best time for it. I mean…it is always a good time to talk about protecting yourself and to talk about agency, but I think I need to have that blog read by an outside source to make certain it is clear and not just venting. You know what I mean… You spend time typing something up, and then read what you typed, and think, “oh crap…do I sound crazier than what I am talking about?” Yeah… I better make sure first.

So, instead we are going to talk about something else that has been all over facebook recently…. surprise… we are going off topic *gasp*. Let’s talk about the elephant in the room…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 (principal) with interest. Your interest 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. Then there is the amount that goes into your ‘escrow’ account. From your escrow account is paid a couple of things… Insurances (mortgage, hazard, flood) and property taxes. Most folks have some mortgage insurance and this is the cost to secure the loan….it protects the lender. Your hazard insurance is another term for homeowners insurance. This is the insurance you carry to protect the property if something outside of your care, custody, and control were to happen to the home. It’s a lot like car insurance in that it is there to protect the asset from damage and to correct, or fix, that damage, and to bring the asset (in this case, the home) back to original (before the damage) condition. For example, if your home catches fire, you wouldn’t have the money to fix that damage, but with hazard/home insurance, you would be able to correct the fire damage with only the insurance deduction out of pocket. Flood insurance is only required if you are in a designated flood plain, and if you have it will be paid from the escrow account as well. Then there is 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. Every year you will get a statement from your escrow account letting you know if you are paying enough into that escrow account. In a market upswing, where your home is increasing in value, is going to usually mean you will have a deficit in that account and you will either A) have to send an additional check for $XX amount to deposit into your escrow account and your mortgage payment will now be $XXXX.xx, or B) you can spread that amount over the next 12 months of mortgage payments and your mortgage payment will now be $XXXX.xx. I receive calls on this every year, and that is ok. I am always here to help!

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.
Remember that every year your escrow company will assess your escrow account to make sure you have enough in there, or if you have enough projected to come in via your monthly payments, to pay your insurances 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. Yes, I know that I just repeated myself, but it bears repeating. Yes, your mortgage payment amount WILL change every year.

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, you might want to be prepared for that. This can also increase (or decrease) your monthly payment amount.

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. I get that. My property taxes went up a lot last year, and they will this year again as I added on to my home so now there is more to tax. It sucks… I get it. However, everyone hates it when they see their home values go down…but they like it when their taxes do. Taxes go down when home values go down, but we wouldn’t see that right away. Sigh…. can’t win for losing, right?

Be prepared though… as home values increased significantly again last year (2018), taxes will go up again next year. The higher values jump in a year… so do your property taxes. 2016 & 2017, we saw a sharp increase in home values. Home values did increase again in 2018, but not as much in percentage as they did the two previous years. As an industry we still expect to see an increase in home values this year, but again, not as much as a percentage as 2016/2017, and maybe not as much as last years either. As an industry, the thought is that the rising interest rates will help the market to ‘balance out’. Of course, as I’ve often said… my crystal ball is broken and the Magic 8 Ball often lies to me.

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

Remember that 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 more 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. After teaching these classes for 14 years, 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 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:
Delayed Possession… What is this & what does it mean to you
Interest Rates (information from Chris Berg,Cardinal Financial)
What do I need to buy a home,
Hiring a Realtor…questions to ask,
What if I don’t have a Down Payment? ….. &….
Debt to Income Ratios….What is this?

Last Week: Is Big Brother Watching? Well…maybe…

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).