Real Estate

What happens when you inherit a home?

testament-1183175_960_720Have you inherited a home or is there a chance you will inherit one in the future?  Are you prepared to make the decisions will need to be made?

Hopefully the person you inherited the home from left a will explaining what their wishes were.  Not everyone takes this step though.  A recent example of dying without a will happened over the summer when Aretha Franklin died.

If there is no will or trust set up for the estate, an executor is usually appointed to make most of these decisions along with members of the family.

These decisions include-

  1. Will you keep the property, rent it out, or sell it?
  2. If you decide to keep the property, can you care for it properly?  If it becomes an investment property, can you manage the estate if it is rented out?
  3. What is the fair market value of the home?  This important information will be needed if one or more of the heirs wish to sell the home and the other heirs want to keep it.  The person who wants to keep the home will have to purchase the interest of the other party.
  4. Is the home in good condition, or does it need to be renovated or repaired before selling?  Often if the original homeowner was elderly or ill they may have not been able to maintain the home.
  5. What happens to the furniture inside the home?  Will it be divided up among the heirs or should it be sold?
  6. What if there is a mortgage on the home?  Can you maintain the mortgage or do you need to sell the home to pay the mortgage?

As you can see there are a lot of decisions that need to be made when you inherit a home.  Hopefully there is a will in place to help guide your decisions.

Kelly Harden, Realtor®

Mihara & Associates, Inc.

813-244-9688

 

 

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Real Estate

Should I buy a home through the sellers agent?

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When you are ready to buy a home should you buy it directly through the seller’s agent?

Maybe you’ve fallen in love with a home while touring an open house, or maybe you called the agent whose name is on the sign in front of a home for sale.

It seems so easy, however buying a home through the seller’s agent may not be the best idea for you.

A seller’s agent works for the seller.  The seller hired him to sell their home and represent them during the sales process.

A buyer’s agent will work for you, not the sellers.  You should have your own representation during the sales process.

A buyer’s agent will negotiate on your behalf.  They will work hard to get you the best deal, negotiate any repair requests and handle any problems that come up.  They will look out for your best interests during the transaction.

There is nothing wrong with using the seller’s agent when buying a home if your state permits, it just may not be the best idea for you.

Kelly Harden, Realtor®

Mihara & Associates, Inc.

813-244-9688

 

 

 

 

Real Estate

Advantages to Owning a Home

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What are the advantages to owning a home vs renting a home?

With loan programs available for as little as 3% down, often the initial down payment is the same to buy a home as it is to rent a home.  Rentals typically ask for the first and last month’s rent to be paid up front along with a security deposit which adds up to about three months’ worth of rent.

When you buy a home your monthly mortgage payment builds equity allowing you to make a profit when you sell the home in a few years.

Your rental payment is used by your landlord to pay their mortgage and build equity for them.

When you own your home, you can customize the interior to suit your taste.  If you want to paint the walls purple, you can.

Your landlord may not let you paint the walls at all.  If they do allow you to paint the interior, you will typically have to repaint the walls the original color or pay to have them repainted when you move out.

When you own your home, you can have a pet of your choice.

Many rental homes do not accept pets.  If the rental does accept pets there is usually an additional deposit collected and sometimes an additional charge is added to the monthly rent payment.

If you have additional questions on the benefits of owning a home please reach out to me, I am happy to help!

Kelly Harden, Realtor®

Mihara & Associates, Inc.

813-244-9688

Real Estate

Tips to Make Moving Easier

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Moving has been shown to be one of the most stressful times in a person’s life.

Stress comes from more than just the physical act of packing and unpacking.  Moving requires you to leave behind the current security of your home and create a new environment for yourself.

Here are some things you can do to minimize the stress and make moving a breeze:

  1.  Start Early- You’ve heard the expression the early bird gets the worm, haven’t you?  This is true in packing as well.  As soon as you decide to move you can begin packing seasonal items, extra sets of dishes and all those items you don’t use regularly.  Waiting until the last minute will only add to your stress level
  2. Have a Plan- Whether you decide to pack one room at a time or a little bit from each room make a plan and stick to it.  Labeling and numbering each box will let you know where it belongs when it is time to unpack.  If you keep a list of how many boxes each room has you can be sure everything arrived at your new home.
  3. Pack Essentials Separately– Your toiletries, a set of clothes, clean sheets and anything else you may need when you first arrive at your new home should be packed separately in your suitcase.  This will eliminate having to search through every box for them when you arrive at your destination.
  4. Set up a”TRASH” and a “DONATIONS” Box- As you are packing, you are going to find items you no longer want or need.  If they are in good condition you can donate them to a local charity, if not go ahead and throw them away now instead of moving them to your new home.
  5. Set Up a Reward System- To make packing seem like less of a chore be sure to reward yourself with a special treat after every 10 boxes and when complete.

Following these tips should make your next move easier.

Kelly Harden, Realtor®

Mihara & Associates, Inc.

813-244-9688

Real Estate

Hire a Licensed Contractor for Home Repairs

electrician-3531670_960_720If your home has storm damage or is in need of repair you may be tempted to hire an unlicensed contractor to take care of the repairs.

If the damage will be covered by your homeowner’s insurance your first step is to contact your insurance agent.  They will verify the repairs are covered and may even provide contractors to perform the repairs.  Whatever you do, do not sign a contract with anyone until you speak to your insurance agent.

When you are ready to hire a contractor make sure they are state-licensed.  This will ensure your contractor has the proper education, experience, insurance and they are qualified to perform the work you need.

You can verify a contractor’s license by checking the “verify a license” link on myforidalicense.com

You may be tempted to hire an unlicensed person to do the work for you.  Many people think they will save money doing so because an unlicensed person will often charge a much lower amount, but it can wind up costing you much more in the long run.

Why?

  1.  If the work is substandard you will have to pay to have it re-done by a professional
  2.  Your insurance may refuse to pay for the repairs
  3.  Unlicensed individuals don’t have the proper insurance which puts you at a liability risk if they get injured
  4. What if they accidentally damage your neighbor’s property?  Who is going to pay for that damage?
  5. A licensed professional will pull any permits needed and ensure the permits are closed when the repairs are complete

Here are some services that require a state license-

  • Roof repair
  • New or replacement roof
  • Installing new windows
  • Plumbing repairs
  • Electrical repairs

Protect yourself and your home by hiring a state licensed contractor.

Kelly Harden, Realtor

Mihara & Associates, Inc.

813-244-9688

 

 

 

 

 

Real Estate

5 Common Contingencies in Real Estate Offers

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As a home seller, when deciding to accept an offer on your home from a buyer make sure you understand the different contingencies the offer may have.

Contingencies are contractual items that must be met before the sale can be successfully completed.  Most offers have at least one contingency.

Here are 5 typical contingencies you will find in a Florida sales contract:

  • Home inspection contingency. This gives the buyer the right to have the home professionally inspected and request repairs by a certain date — typically within 10 to 15 days of the contract being signed. Most repair requests are negotiable, though, so you have the option to negotiate with the buyer which fixes you’re willing to make.
  • Appraisal contingency. For a lender to approve the buyer’s mortgage, the home must pass an appraisal — a process during which the property’s value is assessed by a neutral third party. The appraisal verifies that the home is worth at least enough money to cover the price of the mortgage.
  • Financing contingency. A financing contingency protects the buyer in the event their lender doesn’t approve their mortgage. The Florida As-Is contract has a 30-day financing contingency.
  • Sale of current home contingency. Depending on the buyer’s financial situation, their offer may be contingent on the sale of their current home.  This could delay your moving plans because the closing is dependent upon the closing of the buyers home.
  • Title contingency. The lender will require a “clear title” — a process in which the title company reviews any potential easements or agreements that are on public record. This ensures the buyer is becoming the rightful owner of the property and the lender is protected from ownership claims over liens, fraudulent claims from previous owners, clerical problems in courthouse documents, or forged signatures.

Your agent should be able to guide you on any contingencies the offer you are considering has.  If you have specific or technical questions you should consult a good real estate attorney.

Kelly Harden, Realtor

Mihara & Associates, Inc.

813-244-9688

Real Estate

Why is pricing my home right so important?

MoveRealtor.comPricingPyramidWhen selling their home all home owners have the same goal- to sell their home for the most money in the shortest amount of time possible.

The best way to do that is to price your home correctly to begin with.

Proper pricing ensures plenty of buyers will look at your house.  If a home is priced even 10% above market rate half of the available buyers will not look at it, while a properly priced home may generate multiple offers.

Buyers and their agents are smart enough to know when a home is overpriced and if they decide to submit an offer it will be lower than your asking price, reflecting their knowledge of the market.

If your buyer is financing their purchase, their lender will require an appraisal to determine the current market value of the home.  If the appraisal does not come in at the contract value the buyer will have to come up with the difference or the seller will have to lower the price of the home to meet the appraised value.

If your overpriced home does not get enough buyer interest you will wind up lowering the price to where it should have been priced to begin with.  The problem is now your listing is considered stale by most buyers and they will try to negotiate an even lower price if they make an offer.

A good real estate agent will suggest a proper sales price based on the current market conditions to help you sell your home in the fastest time possible for the most money possible.

Kelly Harden, Realtor®

Mihara & Associates, Inc.

813-244-9688

 

Design, Real Estate

Twilight Photography can make your home stand out from the crowd

DSC_0273Twilight photos use lighting to create a mood that enhances listing photos.  It is a great way to showcase your home and help it stand out from the crowd.

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If you have decorative outdoor lighting evening shots can look fantastic.

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Start with a professional photographer.  Then turn on every light inside the home and all outdoor lights as well.

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If you are getting pool photos turn on the pool lights too.

When done well twilight photography will help show the beauty of your home to potential buyers, and it’s a lot of fun too!

Kelly Harden, Realtor

Mihara & Associates, Inc.

813-244-9688

Real Estate

Initial Expenses When Buying a Home

LRE+Social+StockClients always ask what initial expenses they need to cover when buying a home.

This list of deposits, fees and closing costs will answer some of those questions.  Your Realtor and loan office will be able to provide much more specific information to you based on the home you want to buy and the type of loan you are using, but this list is a great guideline to get started.

Initial escrow deposit–  Buyers using the As-Is contract in Florida need to place an initial deposit of about 1% of the cost of the home into an escrow account within 3 days or less.  This money will be held in an escrow account and go toward the buyer’s portion of closing costs.  It’s important to note this money could be forfeited to the sellers if the buyers do not adhere to the terms of the contract.

Inspection fees–  Buyers should always have a home inspection performed by a state licensed and certified home inspector along with a Wood Destroying Organism (WDO) inspection.  Pricing will vary depending upon the size and age of the home.

Appraisal fee–  If you are getting a mortgage your lender will want to get an appraisal of the property to ensure the home’s value is at least the amount of the sales contract price.

Closing costs and prepaid expenses–  Buyers are responsible for a portion of the closing costs which include things such as title fees, taxes, recording fees, insurance premiums and more.  If they are getting a mortgage they will most likely have to prepay a few months of insurance premiums and taxes.  Your lender will provide a more accurate description and estimate of the fees involved when you apply for a mortgage.

Kelly Harden, Realtor®

Mihara & Associates, Inc.

813-244-9688

 

Design, Real Estate

What is the difference between staging and decorating?

LRE+Social+Stock+InteriorWhen it’s time to list your home for sale I always suggest a consultation with my favorite stager.

This is when most clients ask why do I need a professional stager?  My home is beautifully designed, in fact it took a couple of years to get it perfect just the way it is today.

A stager and an interior designer both utilize the same design principles but they have completely different goals.  A designer wants your home to reflect you and your tastes while a stager is trying to make sure your home appeals to a large audience of potential buyers.

Stagers will show buyers how uses for various rooms in the home.  The will make sure each room has a single purpose.  Instead of having an office that doubles as a guest bedroom and tv viewing area they will design the room serve one function.  Buyers can get confused with too many options.

A good stager will make sure home looks it’s best when photographed.  Buyers shop for homes online before deciding what properties they want to view in person.  Stagers ensure the home will photograph well.

Investing in a good stager and following their guidance will help your home stand out amongst the competition and help your home sell faster and for more money.

Kelly Harden, Realtor®

Mihara & Associates, Inc.

813-244-9688