|Making An Offer
* Is a low offer a good idea ?
While your low offer in a normal market might be rejected immediately, in a buyer's market a motivated seller will either
accept or make a counteroffer. Full-price offers or above are more likely to be accepted by the seller. But there are other
* Is the offer contingent upon anything, such as the sale of the buyer's current house? If so, a low offer, even at full price, may
not be as attractive as an offer without that condition.
* Is the offer made on the house as is, or does the buyer want the seller to make some repairs or to lower the price instead?
* Is the offer all cash, meaning the buyer has waived the financing contingency? If so, then an offer at less than the asking
price may be more attractive to the seller than a full-price offer with a financing contingency.
* What contingencies should be put in an offer?
Most offers include two standard contingencies: a financing contingency, which makes the sale dependent on the buyers'
ability to obtain a loan commitment from a lender, and an inspection contingency, which allows buyers to have professionals
inspect the property to their satisfaction.
A buyer could forfeit his or her deposit under certain circumstances, such as backing out of the deal for a reason not
stipulated in the contract. The purchase contract must include the seller’s responsibilities, such things as passing clear title,
maintaining the property in its present condition until closing and making any agreed-upon repairs to the property.
* What's a home inspection?
A home inspection is when a paid professional inspector -- often a contractor or an engineer -- inspects the home, searching
for defects or other problems that might plague the owner later on. They usually represent the buyer and or paid by the buyer.
The inspection usually takes place after a purchase contract between buyer and seller has been signed.
* Do I need a home inspection?
Yes. Buying a home "as is" is a risky proposition. Major repairs on homes can amount to thousands of dollars. Plumbing,
electrical and roof problems represent significant and complex systems that are expensive to fix.
* How do I find a home inspector?
In order to find a home inspector advise looking for someone with demonstrable qualifications. Ideally, the general inspector
you select should be either an engineer, an architect, or a contractor. When possible, hire an inspector who belongs to one of
the home inspection trade organizations.
The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) has developed formal inspection guidelines and a professional code of
ethics for its members. Membership to ASHI is not automatic; proven field experience and technical knowledge of structures
and their various systems and appliances are a prerequisite.
One can usually find an inspector by looking in the phone book or by inquiring at a real estate office or sometimes at an area
Realtor association. Rates for the service vary greatly. The costs go up with the scope of the inspection.
* What is the difference between market value and appraised value?
The appraised value of a house is a certified appraiser's opinion of the worth of a home at a given point in time. Lenders
require appraisals as part of the loan application process.
Market value is what price the house will bring at a given point in time. A comparative market analysis is an informal estimate
of market value, based on sales of comparable properties, performed by a real estate agent or broker. Either an appraisal or
a comparative market analysis is the most accurate way to determine what your home is worth.
* What standards do appraisers use to estimate value?
Appraisers use several factors when estimating a home's value, including the home's size and square footage, the condition
of the home and neighborhood, comparable local sales, any pertinent historical information, sales performance and indices
that forecast future value. For detailed information on appraisal standards, visit the Appraisal Institute website,
www.appraisalinstitute.org, or contact the organization at 550 W. Van Buren St., Suite 1000, Chicago, IL 60607; (312)
* Why do I need a title report?
As much as you as a buyer may want to believe that the home you have found is perfect, a clear title report ensures there are
no liens placed against the prior owners or any documents that will restrict your use of the property.
A preliminary title report provides you with an opportunity to review any impediment that would prevent clear title from passing
When reading a preliminary report, it is important to check the extent of your ownership rights or interest. The most common
form of interest is "fee simple" or "fee," which is the highest type of interest an owner can have in land.
Liens, restrictions and interests of others excluded from title coverage will be listed numerically as exceptions in the report.
You also may have to consider interests of any third parties, such as easements granted by prior owners that limit use of the
property. Some buyers attempt to clear these unwanted items prior to purchase.
A list of standard exceptions and exclusions not covered by the title insurance policy may be attached. This section includes
items the buyer may want to investigate further, such as any laws governing building and zoning.
* What kind of home insurance should I get?
A standard homeowners policy protects against fire, lightning, wind, storms, hail, explosions, riots, aircraft wrecks, vehicle
crashes, smoke, vandalism, theft, breaking glass, falling objects, weight of snow or sleet, collapsing buildings, freezing of
plumbing fixtures, electrical damage and water damage from plumbing, heating or air conditioning systems, according to the
Insurance Information Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit group for the insurance industry.
Such policies are "all-risk" policies, which cover everything except earthquakes, floods, war and nuclear accidents. A basic
policy can be expanded to include additional coverage, such as for floods and earthquakes and even workers' compensation
for servants or contractors. Home-based business-coverage, an increasingly popular rider, does not cover liability
associated with the business.
Insurance experts recommend that homeowners obtain insurance equal to the full replacement value of the home. On a
2,000-square-foot home, for example, if the replacement cost is $80 per square foot, the house should be insured for at least
For personal items, homeowners can increase their coverage beyond the depreciated value of items such as televisions or
furniture by purchasing a "replacement-cost endorsement" on personal property. Some experts recommend an inflation
rider, which increases coverage as the home increases in value.
|What do all of those real estate acronyms in the ads mean
If you find yourself stumbling over weird acronyms in a real estate listing, don't be alarmed. There is method
to the madness of this shorthand (which is mostly adopted by sellers to save money in advertising charges).
Here are some abbreviations and the meaning of each, taken from a recent newspaper classified section:
• assum. fin. -- assumable financing
• dk -- deck
• gar -- garage
• gard -- garden
• frplc, fplc, FP -- fireplace
• grmet kit -- gourmet kitchen
• HDW, HWF, Hdwd -- hardwood floors
• hi ceils -- high ceilings
• pvt -- private
• pwdr rm -- powder room, or half-bath
• upr -- upper floor
• vw, vu, vws, vus -- view(s)
• FDR -- formal dining room
• nr bst schls -- near the best schools
• expansion pot'l -- may be extra space on the lot, or possibly vertical potential for a top floor or room addition. Verify actual
potential by checking local zoning restrictions prior to purchase.
• fab pentrm -- fabulous pentroom, a room on top, underneath the roof, that sometimes has views
• In-law potential -- potential for a separate apartment. Sometimes, local zoning codes restrict rentals of such units so be
sure the conversion is legal first.
• large E-2 plan -- this is one of several floor plans available in a specific building
• lsd pkg. -- leased parking area, may come with an additional cost
• lo dues -- find out just how low these homeowner's dues are, and in comparison to what?