info@oneflatfee.ca 604-725-1000 Value of properties sold as of Jan 23, 2021: $707,245,050

Category: Real estate

WHEN SHOULD YOU SELL YOUR HOME IF YOU ARE PLANNING TO MOVE?

As a home seller, you might be unsure as to the best time to sell your home if you are planning a move. Deciding when to put your home on the market in advance, can help you to plan your move more easily and can enable you to be successful in the sale of your old home.

If you are planning to move in order to rent or buy a new home and sell the old one, you have to be prepared to deal with a complicated situation that could take months to resolve. Working with a qualified real estate agent can help ease the burden of the process. However, it is also up to you to do the research in advance so that you know what you’ll be getting into.

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There is no one perfect time to sell your home when you are planning to move. When you sell your home will depend on your own unique circumstances and financial situation. However, taking the time to consider selling your home in advance can help you to discover when the right time is to sell.

While you may think that you don’t need to contact a real estate agent until you are ready to make the move, contacting an agent at least several months before you make a decision to move is your best bet. A real estate agent can help you to work through the process of making your move possible. The first step is to start with research.

Start With Research

The first step of the process should be to research the local market conditions and gather as much data as possible on your own. By involving an agent, you can obtain guidance on whether the current market will allow you to sell at the true market value. In addition, an agent will also be able to guide you on creating a successful marketing plan for your home that is designed to help your home sell quickly.

Unless, there is a major factor that impacts the timing of the sale, such as debt, you should opt to sell your home at a time when favorable market conditions are available for the sale. Your real estate agent may actually recommend that you wait on the sale and rent out home instead in order to get the best possible returns on the sale of your home.

Consider Your Expenses

Determining how the money from the sale will be spent will play a major decision in when you should sell. As a person with significant debts or one that is looking for better options in another city, the timing of your sale can have a big impact on your future.

If you plan to buy a new home in a new area, work with a real estate agent in order to determine just how much money will be needed for a downpayment on a new property. As a homeowner you should really think carefully as to whether buying a new home is in your best interest. For retirees, this picture may depend significantly on your expenses and if you can afford to meet your obligations.

Jane Bryant Quinn of AARP suggests several options for retirees. “You can use part or all of it to buy another house or condo, with or without a mortgage. That pot of money is now tied up. You could tap it at some point in the future, by taking a home equity loan or reverse mortgage, but that probably isn’t your plan.” says Quinn. “Alternatively, you can put the proceeds into a mix of bank accounts and mutual funds and tap those savings and investments for rent.”

As advice for all home sellers, you should also plan for temporary housing in the event that your home sells quickly so that you have a place to go. If the selling market in your area is quite competitive, you may want to have your Realtor negotiate with the buyer in order to obtain a longer escrow. This option will give you more time to find a place to move to.

Rising Rents

If you are selling your home in order to rent, it is important to keep in mind that rental prices may be on the rise in your new desired location. If you want ensure that you are not priced out of the market before you can sell your home and free up funds for rent, you should discuss your situation with a real estate agent.

Rising rents can also have the reverse impact and actually make it easier for you to sell your property. High rents mean that buyers may reconsider renting and instead want to move in home ownership. “Every time there’s an increase, it triggers the decision processes on whether [renters] should go into the market and buy. Getting more buyers into the market, especially first-timers, can help sellers feel more comfortable about their prospects. “It allows others to move up the chain in the market.” said Budge Huskey, president and CEO of Coldwell Banker Real Estate.

Plan Carefully

Regardless of the manner in which you do it, selling a home when you are planning to move is stressful. However, working with a real estate agent to develop a solid plan that gives you months to prepare for the sale is the best way to ensure that you are not scrambling to get things in order when the time comes.

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WHY THE REAL ESTATE AGENT IS THE NEXT PROFESSION TO FALL TO THE INTERNET’S AX

he advent of the Internet has not been kind to people who made a living filling out forms and booking services for others. Think back to the last time you used a travel agent; for most of us, that was a long time ago, if ever. When you can just hop online and book your hotel and your flights yourself, there’s really no point in hiring someone to do it for you. The Internet is cutting down jobs from telephone operator and directory assistance positions all the way to travel agent, and now real estate agent has fallen by the wayside. Here’s why the real estate agent as we know it is about to fall.

The Internet Has Ruined the Exclusivity of a Real Estate Agent’s Contacts

Once upon a time there was no way for the average person to really get their home out there for sale. While real estate agents still hold the key to MSL (Multi Service Listing) lists which can be a big deal, the average home seller will do as much work listing their house for sale online than a real estate agent will.

Before the Internet, getting your home to run in all the local papers involved physically going to their offices and handing them a notice to print—or calling it in over the phone. Today you don’t have to submit to papers at all. There are dozens of sites where you can list your property for free from the comfort of your own home. It doesn’t take a lot of time and it doesn’t take a lot of effort. You used to pay a real estate agent’s commission because they were the ones doing all the work to get your home to sell. Now, you can handle it yourself.

A dedicated seller can also manage an open house by themselves. They can schedule property viewings and find out what they have to do legally to sell a home. The real estate agent is no longer the exclusive fount of knowledge.
The Internet Has Made It Easier to Learn about Real Estate

To learn about real estate before the advent of the Internet, you had to read a lot of books or take a lot of classes. You might as well become a real estate agent just to sell your own home. Today, not only is it easier than ever to access information it’s easier to figure out what you really need to know and what you don’t. Your real estate agent probably knows what you’d need to sell a home in a flood plain, but if your home isn’t in one there’s no need for you to know it. If it is, there are plenty of online articles that will bring you up to speed on how to inform potential buyers and what you have to disclose.

People who pay for a real estate agent are basically just paying for convenience at this point; people who are too busy to put in the time to read up on selling their home or organizing viewings themselves pay a lot of money to turn these chores over to someone else. There’s actually just one thing that a real estate agent has that most people these days need to sell their home.
MSL Flat Fee Services Are the Best Deal in Real Estate Services Left

Most homes sell because of a listing in the Multi Listing Service, or MSL. These agents only lists inform not only potential buyers but other real estate agents that something is one the market. With 77% of home buyers still using an agent to help them find a place, getting your home under the nose of other real estate agents even if you don’t use one yourself is essential.

Flat fee MSL listing pricing can vary, but typically costs a few hundred dollars—much less than the thousands in commission that hiring a real estate agent would cost. Until the Internet opens up MSL lists, flat fee MSL services are the best option for home sellers.

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HOW TO SELECT THE RIGHT NEIGHBORHOOD FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY

As a potential home buyer, you want to make sure that you are not only getting the best value for your money. You also want to ensure that you will be satisfied with your location as the resident of a new community.

When you decide to purchase a home, you have to make a decision as to where you want to live. Several factors may play into your decision, including both practical and emotional reasons. Selecting the right neighborhood for you and your family should be done with care. Here are tips to help to pick the right neighborhood for your next home.

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As you explore various locations to buy a home, you may have a lot of ideas in mind. Maybe you want to pick your dream location for your home. You may actually prefer just to find a safe neighborhood that has great schools and a decent commute time to work. Whatever your reasons for deciding on a particular location, you must sort out your priorities as you search for a neighborhood to live in.

As you ponder your situation, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you have teens or young children living in your home?
  • Do you have preferences as to the noise level of the area?
  • Do you want a lot of land or parks and other green spaces to enjoy?
  • Are you concerned about having a short commute to work?
  • Will the neighborhood have your preferred amenities (shopping, daycare, groceries, dining, etc)?
  • What style of home do you want?
  • What is your budget?

As you write down the answers to these questions, a clearer picture will emerge of your must-have elements for your new neighborhood. Some of the items may end up on your list only as features that you would like to have but are not deal-breakers.

Families

If you have teens or young children living at home, a primary concern when selecting the right neighborhood for your family should be the quality of the local school system. If you are planning to enroll your children in a private institution, you must also consider the distance between the new neighborhood and the school in order to shuttle back and forth between after-school activities and other events.

Make sure that you research local public and private schools. You should also research daycare programs in the area. Crime statistics are also important to look at for the safety of your family. The majority of real estate websites will be able to break down crime statistics by zip code in order to give you an idea as to how safe the area is in comparison to national statistics. If you would like more in-depth details on a particular area, you can ask your Realtor for assistance.

Setting

As you select a neighborhood for your home, you should envision what it would be like to live in that neighborhood. You may wish to select a neighborhood based on the style of homes offered. You should also consider whether you prefer an urban or more rural setting for your home. The proximity of the neighborhood to an urban area may have a large impact on the average square footage of a home. Also some areas may have mostly single family homes available, as compared to other neighborhoods that may have a larger percentage of multi-family homes.

You must also consider whether or not you want to live in a historic neighborhood or housing development. Both types of communities often come along with regulations that are put in place by local community associations that must be adhered to. In addition, this may also mean that you are required to do repair work on your home, as homes in historic neighborhoods may be of older stock.

Daily Routine

As you select your new neighborhood, you also want to think about your daily routine. Do you want to be able to walk places? Do you want a short commute to work? Ask your real estate agent about the public transportation options that will be available in your neighborhood, as well as, access to major roads and highways.

“Diversity, population and neighborhood characteristics are all important aspects that make a big difference on a neighborhood.” says AJ Smith of Credit.com. “Investigate how the neighborhood has grown in recent years, who lives there, and how many people to do determine if it is somewhere you would fit in or stand out.”

By talking to people that have lived in the area, you can get a more accurate idea of what it will be like to live there as a resident. This is vital insight that can not be obtained simply by looking at neighborhood descriptions online. You can also use these experiences to determine if the neighborhood meets your expectations in terms of taste. Some home buyers may require more luxurious accommodations in order to be satisfied. Others may find the restrictions of planned communities not to be their preferences.

Budget

Budget will likely play a huge role in determining your final decision on the right neighborhood for your new home. However, working with a real estate agent can really help to illuminate the differences between two neighborhoods of relativity equal value. There is always a risk that when you select a neighborhood, you won’t get everything on your wishlist. But when it comes to making sure that you stay within your budget, compromise is important.

Opt for the features of the neighborhood that will guarantee a safe and enjoyable stay in your community while skipping out on those neighborhoods that are so pricy you will spend more time worrying about your finances than enjoying your new lifestyle. Plus, as you get to know the neighborhood, you may find that there are hidden amenities that you may have not been aware of.

Buying a property in the right neighborhood is a process that must be done with care. Talk with your real estate for more tips on how to select the right neighborhood so that you can be happy with your decision.

The post How to Select the Right Neighborhood for You and Your Family appeared first on One Flat fee.

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HOW FLAT-FEE MSL BEATS TRADITIONAL REALTOR SERVICES

Selling a home is often a fraught process. There are more memories in a place you live than anywhere else. Even when you’re ready to pick up and move on to something that better suits your life, leaving a home behind carries enough emotional baggage without having to deal with the complexities of actually selling it. Many people just turn their home over to a realtor and let them work their magic. In an economy where every penny earned from the sale of the house counts, however, more and more people are realizing that the magic realtor’s work can be done by anyone willing to put in the hours. These people are turning to Flat-fee MSL (Multiple Listing Service) agents to get what they need from a realtor cheaply.

The Same Listing Places

One of the biggest perks to Flat-fee MSL is that you’re not compromising the most important thing: where your home is listed for sale. Real estate agents and savvy buyers go to computerized listings of for sale homes in order to find the properties that they need. If you can get your home listed in these services the selling process has officially begun. This is one of the services that a realtor offers; when you go with a flat-fee MSL you get listed in the same places. You just don’t have to get everything else that a realtor traditionally does.

More Control over What Services Your Home Receives

A traditional realtor is supposed to pull out the stops to get your home sold. However, in this day and age not everyone is up to that task. In fact, 15-20% of realtors don’t do any online marketing whatsoever. They also tend to host private viewings and open house events, both of which are things that someone can do on their own. Depending on the realtor, they might insist on professional photography or packing up all your belongings before you’re ready just to give your home the model house treatment. This isn’t something that works for everyone; when you use a flat-fee MSL you get to pick and choose the services that you want to pay for.

Only Pay for What You Can’t Do Yourself

If you can organize an open house, get your home in shape to sell, and make sure that it’s up on every online real estate market in your area there’s no reason for you to pay for those services with a commission from your sale. You’re going to be doing a lot of that work yourself anyway; even if you get a realtor you’re going to want to be sure that there’s no real estate site without a picture of your home on it, and so forth. In fact, more and more realtors are banking on the owner’s taking on more responsibility for advertising their home. If you’re already going to putting in the effort, why pay someone else to do it?
Drastically Lower Costs

The biggest difference, of course, isn’t even how much control you have over your home’s treatments or how much effort you’re going to put into making it sell. The major difference is the bottom line. No matter how you sell your home you can basically bank on paying at least a 5% commission; sometimes more. If your home sells for $400k, that’s $20,000 for a realtor to list your property and show people around. Instead, you can pay prices ranging from under a hundred to a few hundred dollars (depending on the service and what else you’ve decided you’d like a realtor to do for you)—the kind of savings that make any marketing you undertake yourself more than worth it.

The post How Flat-fee MSL Beats Traditional Realtor Services appeared first on One Flat fee.

Source: New feed

The post How Flat-fee MSL Beats Traditional Realtor Services appeared first on One Flat fee.

Source: New feed

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CAN A MINOR BUY A HOUSE? WHAT IF I DIE WITHOUT A WILL? PROPER NAMES ON CONTRACTS

CAN A MINOR BUY A HOUSE? WHAT IF I DIE WITHOUT A WILL? PROPER NAMES ON CONTRACTS

This blog post deals with 3 different things, minors holding title, dying without a will and proper names of parties on contracts.

Recently I had some questions from real estate agents about minors buying property. The legal age of majority in B.C. is 19. That means until they reach that age, they cannot enter into contracts. The exceptions are contracts for necessaries of life such as food, clothes, etc. Buying a house would not be considered a necessary if the person is under 19. The minor could not enter into the real estate contract and it would not be enforceable against him/her if there was a problem. And if there is a mortgage the bank will require the parents be on title or guarantee it. But all the people on title have to sign the mortgage and the Bank won’t be getting an enforceable mortgage against the minor if the minor accepts it.

The second item is the “myth” I have heard many times that if you die without a will, everything goes to the government. This is not true as the relevant legislation sets out who your beneficiaries are if you die without a will. It is only if the deceased had no relatives, even distant ones that the estate goes to the government. However it is better to have a will for other reasons as it is easier to administer the estate with one, plus if there are minor beneficiaries, the Public Guardian does not have to get involved.

The third item is names. Make sure that you have the person’s full proper name on the contract and not just an initial. In the case of a company ask to see the certificate of incorporation so you can put down the correct name of the company. I have a situation now where the company name was wrong, the deal didn’t close and the vendor is suing the shareholder personally because there is no actual company under the name the contract was signed.

David Simon

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US VS. CANADA REAL ESTATE TERMINOLOGY: ESCROW, SHORT SALE, TITLE INSURANCE

US VS. CANADA REAL ESTATE TERMINOLOGY: ESCROW, SHORT SALE, TITLE INSURANCE

Real estate differs from country to country, and comparing Canada to the US is no exception. Despite the close proximity between the two countries, the real estate industry operates somewhat differently.

Let’s take a look at the terminology that encompasses some of the differences between the two countries, as we examine the following real estate terms: escrow, short sale, and title insurance – all terms used commonly within the real estate industry in the United States, but not as common to Canada.

Escrow

The term “escrow”, used in US real estate, refers to the process of the title company facilitating the real estate transaction. After the buyer and seller provide the title company with the contract, written instructions, documents, and funds, escrow is opened.

The title company typically acts like a neutral third party, verifying the property is clear and everything in the contract and instructions has been appropriately fulfilled. Once completed, the title company transfers the ownership. Escrow opens when the contract is completed, the seller has accepted the offer, and the deposit and contract are given to the title company.

Short Sale

The term “short sale” is not commonly used in Canada, and refers to pre-foreclosure situations, where the property owner may be about to be foreclosed upon, and in a last-ditch effort to avoid a foreclosure and the resulting unpleasantness on their credit history, the homeowner is attempting to sell the property.

In a short sale, the home is worth less than what is owed on the home, and the homeowner has to receive the okay from their bank to sell it for less than the mortgage amount, asking the bank to forgive the balance. In addition, all liens must be cleared or approve the price of the home, which can induce a very complication scenario in which the home rarely sells. In fact, up to 80% of short sales do not close, primarily due to the economic climate in the US. It can take three months to receive a response from a bank for an offer, and in the end, most banks won’t go for it, unwilling to accept an offer below market price.

Title Insurance

While title insurance does exist in Canada, it has existed in the US for years, referring to an insurance policy offered to a buyer by his or her lawyer to protect against a variety of situations. In short, title insurance insures against financial loss from defects in title to real property and from issues resulting from liens.

Title insurance has grown in the US partially because of poor land registration systems in certain states, in addition to the rise of the secondary mortgage market that involves the sale of title and equitable mortgages in the marketplace. Title insurance is meant to simplify real estate transactions, potentially eliminating the need for services such as surveys, providing savings to the homebuyer and avoiding delays.

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Home Security Systems: How to Select the Right Company

As a homeowner, you want to make sure that your home and its occupants are protected in the event of an incident or emergency.

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A home security system is a necessary upgrade for maintaining the safety of your family and to protect your home. As a homeowner, you want the features that you need at the best price. However, with so many options available, it can be difficult to decide which offer is best. Here are some things to consider as you shop for a home security system.

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As you search for a home security company, you may find that there are many options available. It can be difficult to decide which company is the best option unless you do your research first.

Start by talking with family and friends to find out which home security providers offer excellent service. You should also read up on the various types of home security systems that are available on the market so that you know the options that are available to you.

Here are some tips that can help you ensure that you select the right home security system for your needs.

Home Security System Options

There are many options for home security systems. The type of home security system that you install in your home should depend on your specific needs, the ease of installation and the costs. Here are a few questions to ask before deciding on a security system for your home.

  • Do you have young children or elderly family members living in your home?
  • Do you need other services such as fire detection, video surveillance, carbon monoxide detection or emergency medical assistance?
  • If you have an older home, will you be able to install a hardwired system at a reasonable cost?

After you have decided on the answers to these questions, take a look at the areas of your home that need to be secured. Start by reviewing doors and windows, as these are the entry points that will be secured by the home security system.

You should also decide whether you would like a hardwired system or wireless system installed. Each type of system comes with its own vulnerabilities. If the cables that power your telephone or Internet service are cut, this could disable the home security system. For wireless systems, an outage of cell phone or Internet services in your area can render the system useless as well. Therefore, you should be aware that home security systems can fail and are not foolproof.

High-tech home security options are also available for wealthy homeowners. These people have unique security needs that may go beyond the basics of a hardwired home security system. However, regardless of the security system that you select, “even the best systems and safeguards can become vulnerable, warns Paul Viollis Sr., chief executive of Risk Control Strategies. He recommends that, “all contractors and household staff should sign nondisclosure agreements and undergo background checks.”

Check Local Regulations

Some cities and local governments require alarm system permits. Before hooking up your new system, contact your local government offices to inquire about the specifics. If you don’t, you could find yourself facing a stiff fine and a hassle with the authorities.” says Karie Fay of realestate.com.

If you are unsure about the regulations in your area, you can also ask the home security company if there are any permits required. These permits are more likely to be required for hardwired security system since they involve modification of the structural and electrical components of your home.

Check the Fine Print

Once you have narrowed down the features that you would like in a home security system, the next step should be to read the fine print before you sign any contracts. Some items to review and discuss with the home security system provider include:

  • installation and repair costs
  • monitoring fees
  • contract terms
  • warranties
  • cancellation

You should be aware of the fact that the setup and maintenance of the system aren’t the only costs that are involved with a home security system. By discussing these other factors upfront with the home security company, you can uncover the real costs of a home security system to determine if the plan being offered is actually a good deal.

Watch Out for Scams

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warns that some home security systems in America could actually be scams. In Canada, CARP warns the same. Therefore, it is important that you know what to watch out for. During the warm seasons, home security system companies often send out door-to-door sales agents that are looking to find homeowners that are interested in installing home security systems. If you are worried that the home security system is actually a scam, ask the person for identification before you let anyone in your home.

You should also be aware that many of these scams use high-pressure sales tactics in order to guilt you into making a purchase. The sales agent may also try to scare you by saying that there have been burglaries recently in your area. Before you do business with a company, make sure that thoroughly investigate the company via the appropriate regulatory agencies. If you are unsure about a sales person that has come to your home, the best solution is to tell the person that you are not interested or avoid opening the door altogether.

Talk With a Realtor

Having a home security system can increase the value of your home. A hardwired security system also stays in your home if you ever decide that you want to move. If you are planning on investing in a home security system for this purpose, you should speak with a Realtor first.

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Major Home Defects to Watch Out For

Sellers are required to disclose major defects on a home. But as a buyer, how can you be sure that the home that you are purchasing doesn’t have serious problems?

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When you decide to buy a home, getting a home inspection done is a crucial step that can help you to uncover defects with the home. However, there are certain types of defects that occur in homes at much higher rates than others. What should you do if the seller has not disclosed the defects?

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As a homebuyer, you know that every home that is for sale isn’t in perfect condition. However, it is your job to uncover whether there are serious defects or not. While laws do require that both real estate agents and sellers disclose serious defects with a property, sometimes this doesn’t happen.

Unfortunately, a homebuyer may not be notified of a serious defect. Matthew Izzi, LegalMatch Legal Writer and Attorney at Law recommends that homeowners be proactive in order to protect themselves. “In order to protect yourself, you may consider having the home separately appraised and thoroughly examined for defects before purchasing the home.” says Izzi. “If you will have the home inspected, be sure to hire an independent professional who is not working in tandem with the seller or their real estate agent.”

Here are some of the most common major defects to watch out for so that you can be proactive in getting estimates on repairs to decide if you still want to go ahead with the purchase.

Roof Defects

Resurfacing a roof can be a costly expenditure. The potential repair costs will be increased even more if a roofing contractor discovers that the surface of the roof needs to be removed before the resurfacing. As a sign of potential roof problems, the home inspector should look for wear that is readily apparent, as well as, subtle defects. If a home has roof problems, you’ll want to get an estimate on the costs of repairing the issues before you consider buying the home.

Flooding and Leaks

If the home floods or leaks on a regular basis, there is a likely a structural problem that needs to be addressed. Moisture that enters a home is a major contributor to serious problems such as toxic mold, dry rot, and water damage. These problems can be very costly to repair and may render the home unlivable due to mold and mildew issues.

Toxic Exposure

Some homes are filled with toxins that can lead to serious health problems. As a home buyer, the seller must disclose issues such as lead, mold, radon or asbestos. All four of these conditions require specialists to examine the problem. If you suspect that there is a toxin-related issue, ask your home inspector for recommendations on the right person to call to investigate these problems.

Earthquake Fault Lines

If the home sits on an earthquake fault line, that puts the home at a substantially higher risk of suffering serious damage if an earthquake hits. The easiest way to determine if your home sits on an earthquake fault line is to look at maps that are issued by the United States Geological Survey. The board responsible for earthquake hazard monitoring in your state may also publish its own maps with individual addresses lists.

Electrical Wiring

While some electrical problems may not require disclosure, home sellers must disclose if there are problems with the electrical wiring. Faulty electrical wiring is a serious fire hazard. Problems with the electrical wiring could also indicate that the homeowner or another party did illegal electrical work on the home.

Pest Control Problems

Pest control problems, if severe, can render a home unlivable. If the pest control problem is not brought under control, structural damage may result, as in the case of a termite infestation. You should also watch out for the presence of insects or rodents. Consider calling a pest control service to determine how much it will cost to resolve the problem.

Mechanical Problems

As you research a home, you should also look out for mechanical problems that involve major appliances. The most common systems that may be affected are heating, air conditioners, HVAC systems and kitchen appliances.

Reporting Defects

All of the defects listed in this article are serious defects that a Realtor or home seller is likely required to report.

The seller must disclose all defects that could affect whether or not the buyer decides to purchase the home. As a real estate agent, the agent is held to even higher standards and is obligated to disclose the defects, even if the seller is not required to do so.

Even if you believe that you have found major defects in a home, it is important to determine if the disclosures are required by law in your area. If you want to find out the exact seller disclosure rules in your state, province, or county, you should look on the Web for the disclosure form. Certain defects, such as disclosing a death on a property, are not covered under the law in certain areas.

In most states, sellers are required to disclose only what they already know. They are not held responsible if they answer “no” or “unknown” to one or more disclosure questions.” says Sandy Gadow, licensed real estate agent and freelance writer for The Washington Post. “The disclosure paperwork defines the scope of liability for the seller, who “is not liable for any error, inaccuracy, or omission for information that is not within the scope of [his or her] actual knowledge.”

If you have found defects within a home that you’ve purchased or are planning to buy, you may be eligible for damages. Talking with a qualified real estate attorney if you believe that there have been omissions in the information disclosed by the home seller.

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4 Energy-Efficient Upgrades to Consider for Your New Home

An energy-efficient home can help you save money on your utility bills each month. It can also add to the value of your home.

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As a new homeowner, upgrading your home is not only environmentally conservative, it will also help your wallet by lowering the costs of your monthly utility bills. Making your home energy-efficient can include upgrades to the heating and cooling systems, using renewable energy sources to generate electricity, and installing energy-efficient appliances.

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If you are considering updating your new home, you should be aware of the home upgrades that will bring in the most value. Your focus should be on those upgrades that will lower your utility bills.

Many have fond memories of the sky-high rebates offered a few years ago during energy crises. However, the most current appliances don’t pay out all that quickly, according to the yearly Cost vs. Value Report done by REMODELING. Therefore, it is important that you think about longer-term savings when it comes to making upgrades to your home.

Making your home energy-efficient could be as simple as installing new appliances to get rid of old and inefficient ones. However, the biggest savings can result from making structural changes to your home. Here are four major energy upgrades to consider for your new home.

Install New Insulation

Green insulation options are now trending because they are non-toxic, unlike synthetic insulation. It is important to understand what kind of insulation your home needs. If you plan on installing insulation in your home, hire a professional. Higher R-value insulation is typically required for homes in cooler areas. If your home is in a warmer area, lower R-value insulation may suffice. A professional can help you to decide what kind of insulation is right for your home in terms of thickness and density.

Invest in Renewable Energy

Many homeowners choose to invest in renewable energy sources for their homes with solar panels, geothermal heating systems and windmills. In general buyers may be willing to pay more for homes that offer sustainable features. If you are considering making an upgrade to your home with solar panels, it is a good idea to do plenty of research so that you can get an accurate idea of the upfront costs that are involved, as well as long-term maintenance costs.

However, it is important that you research the costs of leased systems so that you don’t end up with an upgrade that does not add value to your home. In certain instances, these systems may not appeal to buyers as a cost-effective green energy solution due to the leasing terms. Homeowners should discuss such upgrades with a real estate agent before pursuing the upgrades in order to determine what an appraiser might give as a estimate for an increase in value to the home.

Replace Your Windows

Windows that offer poor insulation are a major source of wasted energy for homes. “Newer windows slash energy use in the home by 12.2%,” according to a 2013 study by the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. But, “[It] would take anywhere from 23 to 55 years for the reduced energy cost to make up for the increased expense.” There are several options for replacement windows that include wood, vinyl and aluminum fiberglass. These options can vary greatly in terms of installation costs and the level of insulation that they offer.

If you are fed up with the loss of cold or hot air due to poorly insulated windows, then this might be an option that you want to consider. However, in some cases upgrading your windows may not only be about saving energy. In fact, you may want to consider upgrading because other homes in your area have new windows. This can help your home to successfully compete with other homes for potential buyers, if you decide to put your home on the market.

Upgrade Your Heating or Cooling Systems

Heating systems that are more than about 20 years old and cooling systems that are more than about 10 years old are inefficient by today’s standards.” says Josh Garskof of Money Magazine. “Installing even middle-of-the-road equipment sold today can yield 10 to 20 percent savings—far more if you select high efficiency units, if you can downsize the equipment thanks to the sealing and insulating you’ve already done, or if you’re switching from oil to natural gas.”

As a part of the upgrade, you should make sure that you seal up any ducts with duct sealant. The EPA estimates that leaks and poorly sealed connections account for roughly 20 percent of lost air, which will drive up the costs of your home energy bills. You should also make sure to that you focus on installing the heating and cooling systems only in the part of the house that you use in order to conserve energy. However, there can be some negative effects to strategy. Speak with a HVAC expert before you decide what to do so that you don’t end up causing an imbalance in the system that will actually drive up your energy costs by causing the system to run inefficiently.

You should also take advantage of the natural ventilation that your home offers. On a day when temperatures are favorable, opening the windows can actually provide all the heating or cooling that you need so that you don’t have to run the system and waste energy unnecessarily.

Tax Deductions

Many areas will permit residents to deduct energy-efficient upgrades from their taxes. These incentives are designed to help make communities greener. If you are considering an energy-efficient upgrade for your home, talk with real estate agent to determine how it will affect your home’s value.

Once you have determined which upgrades will positively affect your home, you will be ready to get started on improving your home’s energy efficiency.

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4 Ways to Get More for Your House

Moving is always stressful. If you’re trying to move from a slower real estate market to one with more demand, getting every cent for your house is key to affording your new one. Even if you’re moving to a less expensive area it’s nice to get the full price for your home. it doesn’t even have to be an uphill battle; there are 4 simple things you can do to get a better home for you.

 

  1. Cut down Broker Costs

 

The first thing that you can do is lower the broker costs of your home. You don’t have to go to a full real estate agent and pay them a hefty commission to sell a home. If you have the time and dedication you can market your home in person and online just as well as a real estate agent would. The only thing that they have that you don’t is access to the multi-listing services that get your for sale home on the local real estate map. Look for a MSL (multi-listing service) agent in your area. For a flat-fee you can have your home listed. That’s it; no commission, no paying thousands of dollars for someone who just smiles at potential buyers, and a lot more money in your pocket. You can turn a much higher profit without even raising your selling price.

  1. Focus on Curb Appeal

 

These days, pretty much everyone knows that curb appeal is the best thing that your house can have. You should repaint the numbers on the walk, have someone trim the bushes, and make sure that your yard says “Hello, and welcome home.”

 

What people forget about curb appeal is that it works because it’s the first thing that the potential buyers see. If you’re putting your home up online, you have to worry about online curb appeal. Are the pictures that you put up showing your home in its best light? Does it look spacious, inviting, and warm? Spend some time making sure that your home’s online presence has the same curb appeal that it has in person.

  1. Get the Cutesy Clutter Out

 

Home staging is very important. Though some markets favor staging more clearly than others, it never hurts to have some fresh cut flowers out. If possible, pack up any personal belongings that you don’t need and move them out of the house or out of the way. You want potential buyers to be able to fully picture themselves in this space.

 

Staging is excellent, but you want to go light on the seasonal decorations. It might seem like a good idea to go all out for the Christmas decorations, but you don’t know the religious or other affiliations of potential buyers. Some people love tinsel, and it’s fine if you do, but if someone who hates it comes to visit they’re going to have to a hard time seeing your house as beautiful when it’s covered in something they hate.

  1. Freshen up Dated Looks

 

With that in mind, you should go around your home and invest your renovation money wisely. A few hundred dollars invested now could net you a couple thousand in increased sales price. While you should obviously replace any permanently stained paint or carpet, you should also try to freshen up a dated look. That carpet may have been popular in the 80’s, but today it looks old and unappealing.

 

Remember that today’s modern looks are simple: keep things about light neutrals, like beige on the walls and darker brown accents in the kitchens. You can avoid pure, blinding white on the walls but keep things simple. It’s better to remove extra furniture if you can; keep things open, airy, and light for the best results.

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