How to get the Edge in a Bidding War

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As the housing market begins its recovery, buyers are quickly discovering that where they had no competition before, they are now running into other enthusiastic buyers who are interested in the same property as you. When you’re in real estate multiple offers can be a blessing or curse, depending on which side of the transaction you find yourself on.

As a homeowner, multiple bids mean you’re doing something right! The supply of good condition homes is limited and demand is strong. No need to do anything here except wait for your closing.

For buyers, a multiple bid situation can be a nightmare. The good news is that just by knowing a few tricks of the trade; it can make the difference between walking away and getting the home of your dreams at a fair price.

Make your offer as attractive as possible to the Seller

As with most things in life, you get what you want when you’re more prepared than the other guy. Get preapproved for your loan, not just prequalified. Attach a copy of the preapproval letter to your offer. Make as large of a down payment as you can and provide documentation of the source of the down payment and be prepared to provide the proof of those funds.

Don’t wave your inspection or financing contingency. It may make your offer slightly more attractive, but isn’t worth the risks that come along with those things. You can however shorten the time period for them giving confidence to the seller you can act quickly and are serious.

If the equity in your current home is the source of your down payment, make your offer contingent on obtaining financing but not the sale of your home. If your home doesn’t sell, you won’t have to be on the hook for the down payment and you’ll be able to get out of the contract under the financial contingency. However, if you want the home, this strategy may not meet your goal unless you are also in a strong seller’s market and can actually sell your home.

Why was my offer rejected?

Sellers, nor agents, are required to tell you why your offer was rejected. As a courtesy, some agents will give you an indication as to why the offer was rejected (for example not enough money, questions on financing) but without giving specific details on why they accepted another offer. Until a transaction is closed, it’s important that the seller and their agent protect this information in case it comes back on the market.

Can I submit an offer on a house that’s under contract?

You can, but you’re much better off moving onto another home that you find interesting – especially if there are already backup offers on the table. Even if your offer is better than the one that’s already been accepted, the sellers may have a difficult time getting out of escrow. A lot of this has to do with how savvy their agent is in negotiation & understanding of contracts.

How do I know my offer was even considered?

It is the law in Georgia that, the agent must present all written offers to the seller. Failure to do so is a severe ethics violation and can cost an agent their real estate license. So you can feel fairly confident that the seller has had the offer presented. If, however, you suspect that your offer has not being presented to the seller, you are allowed to request a written statement acknowledging your offer.

Can I introduce myself to the seller and make an offer in person?

It is generally advised to avoid knocking on the seller’s door to make your own offer. Intrusive buyers will often do more damage than good. There is a reason that real estate agents are involved in a real estate transaction. We are here to protect all parties and act as the intermediaries in the interest of our clients.

Unlike buyers & sellers that typically are involved in a real estate transaction once every 6 years, we do 60-75 transactions a year. So we know the laws, the best ways to protect our clients’ interests and we are expert negotiators. We can help you win that bidding war in no time!

Buying a Home – Tips & Tricks

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The very best and most enjoyable reason to purchase real estate by far is in buying a property in which your family will live and grow together. There is a lot of fun involved in finding the perfect place for you and your family to call home. There is also a great deal of stress involved as well and that should not be overlooked.

Some things to keep in mind when searching for the perfect property for your family are the following:

1) Make your first step the step of finding a REALTOR or buyer’s agent that you are confident has your needs, desires, and best interests at heart. Your REALTOR can prove to be a lifesaver when you’ve reached the final hours before closing and the sky looks as though it’s going to fall. Far more than that though, your REALTOR can help you find the home that you simply cannot see your family living without.

2) Once you’ve found a real estate agent that you trust to help you find a home for your family, it is time to identify the things that are absolute necessities in your search and those things you can live without. The most important thing to decide upon is a budget that you are comfortable living with.

3) Once you’ve established a budget you need to decide the features that are important to meet the needs of your family. The number of bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage, and yard space. Do you need a fenced in yard or a basement? These things are important as they do affect the comfort and in some cases safety of your family.

4) Another important thing that must be considered when purchasing a home for your family is the neighborhood. This is more important than many people may realize. It is well worth having a smaller home in a neighborhood that is poised for growth rather than a larger home in a neighborhood that is in the state of decline or on the verge of the state of decline. Crime rates in the neighborhood and the school district are other things that need to be considered as well before deciding to view a potential home.

5) You should also take the time to look at several properties before deciding on one property over another. The more properties you see, the better the chances are that you will actually find the one perfect property for the needs of your family home. The more homes you see the more you will learn about your likes and dislikes. You will also get ideas about possibilities and things that can be added on to the home you eventually select. Regardless, the more homes you see, the more choices you have when the time comes to make a decision.

6) Trust your agent to help you determine the best asking price and leave some room for negotiation. Even if you are willing to pay the full asking price, offer something a little lower and allow some negotiating room. Be sure, if you truly want the house in question then make your offer strong with minimal contingencies. Some things you may want to consider when you make your offer is how quickly you are likely to need a new roof, new flooring, new heating or air conditioning, and countless other improvements that may need to be made on the property. Each of these things costs money and they add up over time. If everything is fairly recent and in good working order you may want to consider that when making your offer as well.

You will find many houses along the way but few will reach out and impress themselves upon you as home. Those are the ones you should consider long and hard. Weigh the options, the prices, and your likes and dislikes. If you do all of this you should be well on your way to the home of your dreams.

Tips for First Time Home Buyers

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So you have earned enough money to buy a house but the problem is you do not have any idea where to start. That’s perfectly fine.  In fact, 90% of first time home buyers have experienced the same thing. And based from my personal experience, people tend to buy the house that fits their budget without further considering the countless factors when buying a house.  It is crucial for first time home buyers to be sensitive with the different elements involve in the process.

Before buying a house, one must carefully design a course of action. Doing this will reduce the amount of stress, regrets and ultimately prevent bad decisions along the way. Remember that buying a house can be one of the major investments you will ever make so understanding what you want and how you want it will be the fundamental questions you need to answer before buying the property.

Now, let us break down useful tips and pointers for first time home buyers.

  • List down your reasons and goals why you want to buy a home. Knowing your goals will help you identify the type of home suitable for your needs, budget, and mortgage. There are numerous options for home buyers when it comes to residential properties like a condo or a townhouse. Factors like the size, style, interior layout, neighbourhood, and location must be considered. From this point, you might get mystified because it seems that every option is ideal. This is where knowing your goals are important because it will aid you in deciding which type of home helps in reaching your goals.
  • Next is to determine your own budget and the amount of mortgage you are capable of.  The amount of mortgage that will be given will usually depend on the homebuyer’s income, job stability or existing debt.
  • Get the best help in town. Once you got your goals and amount of mortgage ready, get a good real estate agent in your area or someone you know or was referred by a trusted source to help you in buying your first ever home.  A real estate agent can help you in finding properties that might be suitable with your needs.  They usually keep an updated list of available homes in the area which makes it easier for the home hunting process. As a homebuyer, you can also look for available lists in various resources such as the web and papers and have it checked with your real estate agent. They can also help you in the negotiating and buying processes such as making offers with the seller, getting loans and insurance, paperwork, and inspections.
  • Calculate the total monthly housing cost including the taxes and insurance and closing costs. This will help you get a bigger picture on how much you will spend and see if it is viable.
  • Choose the most secured loan available.  First time home buyers are usually offered a wide variety of financing options by their own state.
  • Hire your own professional inspector.  The home you are eying to buy might appear faultless, don’t get too overconfident. Have it inspect carefully to ensure safety, security and overall quality. 

When closing the deal, brace yourself and get ready for tons of paperwork. Have your real estate agent keep close by your side so they could help you understand and secure everything you are signing on.

Josh writes for Scott Maizlish’s Park City Realtor Blog. Visit their website for Park City Real Estate news and updates. Or check them out at Scott Maizlish Park City Realtor’s Google + Page.

Top Tips To Save On Your First Home

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Couple With A KeyWhether you’re just out of school and looking for ways to prepare for your future, planning a family or have decided you’re sick of being a renter, buying a house is one of the biggest endeavours you’ll embark on in your life.

No doubt you’ve already thought about the sort of mortgage you can afford and what kind of deposit you will need in this financial climate. Perhaps you’ve already set up some kind of high interest savings account or online basic bank account to keep your deposit money separate to your daily expenses. Or maybe you’ve only just decided to start saving. Either way, chances are you’re looking for more ways to save or ramp up your savings plans and here are some great tips that can help get you on the road to home ownership.

Move in with parent or take a boarder

If you’re lucky enough to have the option, why not consider moving back with your parents? However, to avoid the pitfalls and problems that often come with this scenario, approach your parents with a plan and definite length of stay. Tell them how much you can save by moving back in to their home and explain that you’ll pay for your own food and utilities. By setting up some solid ground rules, you should be able to convince them that it’s a good idea and avoid any resentment building.

If moving back home is not an option and you’ve got a spare room that’s become more like a storage facility why not consider getting a boarder to rent your room out for a short while. Often you will find students and travellers who will jump at the chance for a short term board opportunity. Keeping it to the short term will prevent any troublesome boarders becoming a long term issue.

Lifestyle changes

While you might think that you’re living close to the bone, chances are there are lots of ways that you can make changes to your current lifestyle that will help you to put away more pounds. Not only that, once you’ve got your very own mortgage, you’ll probably have to make adjustments to your lifestyle anyway. So see this as a good training ground to prepare for the financial constraints of home ownership.

Cancel any subscriptions, you don’t need the latest glossy every month and you probably don’t need streamed television or music on tap either. Instead, treat your self to the odd magazine now and then, or a second hand CD online.

If you love going out to dinner and seeing movies regularly, these are two very easy ways to save your money. But there’s no need to miss out on good food and films. Have friends over for dinner and rent a dvd instead. You could go out once a month instead and make it a really special occasion. Not only can you save money by cutting back on going out, if you set yourself a new cuisine to learn every month, you’ll be a gourmet cook by the end of the year.

Create a budget

Changes in lifestyle go hand in hand with creating a budget. And just like cutting back will help you to prepare for life with a mortgage, having a budget will also help to prepare you for paying off a mortgage. Unlike rent, you can’t miss a mortgage repayment unless you want to put a serious dent in your credit score, so having enough money for monthly repayments is crucial.

Creating a budget will not only help you get a realistic idea of what your income and expenses are, it will help you to recognise where you can make further cuts which will lead to further savings.

Take another job

While taking second job might sound like a big step, it doesn’t have to come in the form of working at your local shop. Perhaps you’ve got a skill or talent that you can put to good use. Do you play an instrument? Can you build websites? Are you a wiz on the computer, a keen ironer or a dab hand in the garden? All these skills can be traded for money, in form of services like ironing, lawn services, tutoring, music lessons or web design. These days it’s very easy cost effective to set up a small website to describe the services you provide. You could print up a few pamphlets and home deliver them in your local area and be well on your way to earning a few extra pounds a week.

Reporting from London, William Masters has established himself as an in-demand finance journalist for topics that range from international to personal finance, savings and loans to budgets and investments. Masters recommends to anyone looking for an online basic bank account.

The Crucial Steps You Need to Know to Minimize the Risk of Owning a Home

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Once upon a time, owning a home was considered to be one of the safest investments someone could make. These days with thousands of people underwater with the mortgages, and many others have walked away, owning a home has become a lot scarier, and out of reach for many. While it may be scary to purchase your first home (especially after all the bad press about the recent real estate bubble), it’s still one of the best investments anyone can make for your future. Owning a home doesn’t have to be scary. The easiest way to minimize that risk is by following these crucial steps.

Avoid Subprime, “Special” or “Adjustable” mortgage rates and find a fixed rate mortgage

One of the biggest problems people faced when they were having trouble with their homes was that they took out an adjustable rate mortgage. The appeal of an initially low interest rate got a lot of people into homes. Unfortunately, many were not prepared when the interest rate increased and the monthly mortgage went up, squeezing the homeowner out of their home.

While adjustable rate mortgages are appealing because of their promises of a low interest rate, a fixed rate mortgage allows the homeowner to plan much further in advance. This predictability for your finances is invaluable for many, and the peace of mind is worth much more than what you might otherwise initially save by using a special or adjustable rate mortgage.

Put a Home Warranty in Place

One of the most common things potential homeowners talk about as a deterrent to buying a home is the fact that when they buy it, that’s it, they’re the ones responsible for whatever may go wrong. That’s why to help alleviate that risk, when buying your home, you should put a home warranty in place. A home warranty will help cover any major costs associated with the general upkeep and maintenance of your new home. This is mostly limited to things like fixing a leaky roof, a broken hot water heater, or wiring that may have gone wrong at some point.

Your home warranty will begin once you close on your home kicks in. Depending on the coverage you selected, this warranty will help cover your home against whatever may break, wear out or need replacing. Some companies even offer you coverage for major home appliances like your dishwasher or specialty fixtures that may come with the home. In Atlanta, the seller is usually willing to pay for it for the first year.

Inspect & Price Potential Repairs

Your dream home may be in the perfect neighborhood, close to the best schools and right next to work, but you don’t want to move into a place that all sorts of problems that you’d be responsible for after purchasing. Generally, pest and roof inspectors will provide you with an estimate if they encounter any problems. A more general inspection report of the home could reveal many problems that will need to be repaired before you move in. Work with your agent, you should be able to schedule actual repair contractors to come and evaluate the home before you buy and help put together a few bids to give you a better idea of how much work will be needed after your purchase. Going into buying the home with all the knowledge you can get is the best way to negotiate more favorable terms.

Buy with the Next Ten Years in Mind

Purchasing a home comes with certain expectations. Many people who got in trouble over the last few years were trying to play the market and “flip” those properties quickly for a profit. When buying a home now, you should buy with the expectation that you will be living there for at least the next five to ten years. This can give you a better peace of mind knowing that you will have a place that you can come home to while supporting your investment for a long time to come. Things happen in life obviously, so you can’t predict everything that will happen in the next ten years (new job, larger family, etc), but when buying the home, look for one that you can imagine seeing yourself in for the next ten years.

There are no guarantees when you are buying a home. That’s why the more you prepare and think long term, the better off you will be.

Buying a Home in Gwinnett – How Much Can You Spend?

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When you’re looking to purchase a home in Gwinnett or any other North Metro Atlanta area, the smart thing to do is review your budget. This is a great time to see where you are in accomplishing your financial goals and retaining your financial freedom. There’s nothing worse than making a major change in your life’s situation and then six months later, finding out that you can’t afford your new life after all. That’s why before moving into a new home or making any major new purchase, you should work out (or review) your basic budget before pulling the trigger on any major life decision.

When working out your basic budget, the first thing you need to do is calculate how much money is actually coming in. Ideally, when buying a home, your maximize amount should be 33% of your total household income. This allows you some savings in addition to not being stressed about your mortgage when unexpected costs come up. a simple way to calculate your net income would be to take your gross monthly take home income and subtract the taxes, health care costs deductions, payroll deductions, savings auto transfers, and whatever money you place in your 401k. The amount you have left over is your net monthly income before your bills are paid. This is your total monthly “spendable income.”

Spendable income is a deceptive name for it though as there are still many monthly bills you still need to pay. Take your spendable income money and subtract all the knowable and reliable bills you see every month. Rent, cable bill, cell phone bill, utilities, insurance payments, car payments, budget for upkeep and repairs, add it all together and subtract that amount from your spendable income. If you don’t know, or can’t track some bills or utilities reliably, use the average from the last three months to give you a good idea of how much you spend on those items.

After you’ve taken out all the money that you spend on the bills you know about, this will be your disposable income. You can set more of this money aside for other priorities that aren’t normally thought of for bills. This can include money for your monthly food budget, daily coffee stand runs, or prescription medication you may need. Whatever is left over will be your surplus money. This surplus money is beyond your disposable income. This is money that has no purpose! And that’s a good thing!

At the end of each month, you should find yourself with a surplus of money. If you’re smart with your surplus, then you will put it in savings or in an account that isn’t easy for you to access and is specifically designed for purchases that are beyond the scope of what you normally buy during the course of the year or month. This money can be good to set aside for a down payment on a house, unexpected bills or debts that you’d like to clear from your credit report earlier than your original budget called for. There’s nothing more satisfying then reaching your financial goals earlier than you expected. Using this surplus money as a way to pay down those debts earlier than you expected can give your budget and financial plans a boost far ahead of where you thought you’d be.

Saving money doesn’t have to be a hassle. It should be the goal of everyone out there who has financial goals they want to achieve. Money is the lifeblood of how you make it in the world. Having a surplus or amount of money that allows you to weather bad luck, or an accident you didn’t see coming can mean the difference between living on the streets and being secure. Working out your basic budget before moving into your new home should be the number one priority of every homeowner after they buy a house. Prepare for the worst, but expect the best! That’s how good financial planners look at their finances, and you should too!

Checklist For Moving Your Home To A New Location

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When it is time to move, it is time for decisions. The choices you make when planning a move will determine how your family handles the stress of moving. Properly planned your move can be an exciting adventure or it can be a depressing disaster.

The first thing you do is to make contact with a removals company for their ideas and suggestions for help in preparing for your move. They may want to come do a survey, which you should gratefully welcome. This allows their moving professionals to see what is involved and what will be needed. The things needed for preparation are considerably different if you are moving to another country or just down the lane to the next village. You can search for removals companies in your area online. For example if you lived in Cambridge you can search for Cambridge Removals.

Make sure you involve everyone in the family in the process of preparation for the move. Let the children inventory their things and identify things they would like to give away to charity. Things are worn out and used, may not be wanted anymore by your family but they may be wonderful things for a family in need. The bottom line is that what you move should only be items you expect to need at your new home.

Before any packing is done, make sure you take a written inventory of everything in the house. The best way to start is to make a video or take photographs of everything that will come on the move. This provides you with proof of items involved in the relocation. This type of data is necessary and probably required by your insurance company if a claim needs to be filed.

Check several times to be sure dangerous items are not transported with your personal items. No chemical agents, fuels or batteries should be packed away with any of your goods. Your removals agent can give you a list of dangerous or banned substances that cannot accompany your household goods.

Make sure that items you take with you personally are safely put away. Somehow it seems that something always gets packed that you needed to take with you. Avoid this problem by selecting things to take, for each person in the family, and storing them safely away.

Any items you plan to put in storage should be moved to storage before the main day of moving. Making multiple moves to different locations in the same day is not an experience you should want to endure.

The more you plan the better your move will proceed. Have the children research about the new place you will live, and plan the trip to get there. Keeping everyone involved is the key, along with good planning, to a fantastic moving experience.

Ursula Jones writes on a number of subjects including moving home and using removals companies. For Cambridge removals please see

Is your Mortgage Loan Officer Mortgage Professional certified?

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In July 2008 there was an Act that was passed called the SAFE Act. SAFE stands for the Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage License Act. While it passed in 2008, it did not take effect until 2010. This Act was put into place to provide consistency and uniformity in the mortgage industry in an effort to increase the integrity of the profession and reduce fraud. So what does that mean for you?

By March 31, 2010, mortgage professionals must complete 20 hours of education and pass a National Exam to be certified Mortgage Loan Officers .(MLO for short.) The state of Georgia also requires a state exam & additional credit hours. Not all banking mortgage consultants are licensed, however – so you need to ask if they are or not as a MLO has additional education and is licensed typically can provide you with more loan options than a bank professional. Because a MLO is not tied to one bank, they are also able to provide you with more options to ensure that you can get the best type of loan for your particular circumstance.

For more details – listen in…

Generation Y Missing out on Buying a Home

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The volatility of the housing market over the last few years has made a huge impact on many buyers, but, none more so than Generation Y. Many of these buyers (most of whom were born between the mid-1970’s to the early 2000’s making them anywhere between 18 and 34 years old) want to buy a home, but, have taken a huge monetary beating from the recent recession, financial and housing crisis.

Some recent research from the John Burns Real Estate Consulting firm has shown that the number of adults who are living with their parents dramatically increased over the last eight years. While many of these men and women believe that the American Dream includes owning a home, many believe that they won’t be able to purchase one until much later in life. Many things have contributed to this phenomenon, the three major things include:

Debt overhang

Many of the people graduating from college are coming out of college with huge student loans on their record. Some people owe upwards of $100,000 to various lending institutions. This high cost of higher education has made it more difficult for those who do not take high paying jobs (i.e. teachers, nurses and others), but still owe a high amount of debt. These obligations make it more difficult for Millennial to save up the necessary amount of money to make a down payment.

Lack of good employment options

Persistently high unemployment has been the tragedy of the recession that began in late 2007. Historically, this is the slowest recovery of the economy since World War II. Many problems with Millennial home ownership stem from the fact that the unemployment rate among 18-34 year olds is a staggering 22%. Even a college or graduate degree doesn’t guarantee you a job if you are freshly graduated. This forces these college graduates to take a lower paying job while searching for a better one further delaying when they are able to afford purchasing a home.

High pressure on wages because of financial crisis

Unfortunately, even if they are able to find a decent job, the high unemployment has created a high pressure on worker’s wages – especially over the last five years. Downward pressure on wages make it difficult for Millennial to save up the necessary amount of money they need for a good down payment along with other debt obligations like credit cards or student loans they may have.

Credit Crunch

Credit is also not as easy to get as it used to. Before, many people were not required to demonstrate proof of income or security when buying a house. After the housing crisis, that all changed. It takes a lot more documentation and proof to get a lender to consider loaning you the money to own your own home. Credit companies want to see a good credit history along with a good credit score.

Millennial living at home

After college, many people move back in with their parents in order to save money and make it easier to find their own place. However, because of the combined factors, many of the Millennial generation find themselves stuck at their parent’s house and aren’t able to save enough to get out on their own.

Generation Y homeowners are in the sweet spot of home buying, but they are having a tougher time than any other generation that came before it to buy. This has also contributed to the very slow housing recovery we’ve seen over the last few years. A new generation who are all delaying their first home purchases have prevented the economy from helping the housing market recover as quickly as it has in the past. Until high unemployment and student loans are dealt with, Generation Y may have to deal with a delayed onset of their adult lives and responsibilities.

Buying Your Dream Home

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Even though it’s not easy for everyone to buy a home, it is in fact easier than ever to get a home these days with most lending agencies and banks being more liberal than ever with providing home loans and mortgages. Even if you don’t have a lot of capital or a lot of money to put down, you can still get the home of your dreams at a very affordable price.

A lot of us think that buying a home is a tough process, needing a large down payment, although this isn’t always the case. Buying a home largely depends on your budget. If you put a down payment on your home purchase, it will go towards your overall purchase. The more money you put down on a home when you purchase, the lower your monthly payments will be.

Those of us who don’t own a home live in rental houses and apartments. This can be a worthwhile solution, although your still paying money towards your housing that you could instead be putting towards a home of your own. Owning a home is a dream for many of us, especially when it comes to that dream home that we all hope to own one day. Apartments and homes are great to rent – although most these days will cost you just as much as a mortgage payment – which doesn’t make any sense at all.

Instead, you can easily convert your rental payments into monthly installments towards your own home. All across the United States, you can find of lot of banks and lenders that offer easy to get loans for purchasing your own home or real estate property at low interest rates. With a lot interest rate, you can get the home of your dreams and enjoy low monthly payments.

Keep in mind, you need to choose a loan plan that’s best for you. You can go through bank, through a lender, or use a service online. There are many different ways that you can go, although real estate agents seem to be the most common now days. Good real estate agents will be more than willing to help you get a great deal on the home, at prices that are right for you. Anytime you buy a house, you should always plan ahead, get yourself a real estate agent, and then pursue your dream home.

If you plan your budget and take things one step at a time, you’ll be closer than you think to the home of your dreams. If you choose to keep renting and pay money toward something you don’t own – the home of your dreams will continue to slip away. Take action now and stop renting – find the home of your dreams and put your money towards owning it instead.