Category Archives: Buying a home

Buying New Construction? Get An Agent to Represent You.

Dual Agency is having the same real estate agent represent the buyer that represents the seller.

There are only 8 states that BAN dual agency. Mississippi is NOT one of them. Mississippi allows for it. So, when you are looking for a house with an agent, this might be an issue only if the agent shows you a house that his or her broker has listed AND you like it enough to purchase. Then that agent is working for both you and the seller.

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Before you start looking at houses with an agent you should be handed a disclosure of agency form. This will explain to you the fiduciary duties in both a single agency and dual agency situation. Know your rights. Know what that agent can and cannot do for you.

If you are a buyer and really do not like this dual agency situation, talk to your agent about it.  There are solutions for everything. For example, I have an agreement with an agent outside of my broker’s office who will help any of my buyers in this situation.   If she shows the house and the buyer doesn’t like it, I continue to help the buyer. If they do like it, than that agent can work to get the house sold.  So, please don’t assume that you have to deal with dual agency if it is against your convictions. Talk to your agent.  You may also find that it works o.k.

Likewise, in a situation where you go to a neighborhood to look at the new construction and sit down with an agent representative, you have just entered into a dual agency situation. You want to buy into the neighborhood and the agent is now helping both you and the builder/contractor.

I want you to be aware of this before searching for a new home in a new development.

Your own agent will have your best interest in mind.   Your agent will:

  • help you negotiate
  • know the law and will work it in your favor
  • make sure custom orders and upgrades are delivered as ordered
  • inform you of warranties
  • handle documentation of everything
  • identify issues you might not be aware of
  • keep confidential information
  • advise you on what personal information not to disclose to the listing agent
  • encourage inspections

These are just a few things your own agent can do for you.  Shop around for an agent; there is plenty of information on the internet these days so that you don’t have to sit for hours interviewing each agent until you find one you like. Trust your instincts and enjoy the company of an agent you has your best interest in mind. If you do find a personality conflict or find that the agent you hired is not helping you as you wish, providing you haven’t signed a Buyers Agency Contract, simply fire your agent in writing and move on. This rarely happens but can.

The best thing you can do as a buyer is know your rights, have an agent working for YOU and communicate fully with him or her.

Eileen Saunders, SRES, REALTOR with Tommy Morgan Realtors  2092 Old Taylor Road, Oxford MS 38655  662-404-0816 / 662-234-5344   eileen@tmhomes.com  Equal Housing

Home Sellers’ & Home Buyers’ Guides Are Now Available

buyingahomewinter2017-coversellingyourhousewinter2017-coverFour times a year I have a new and current Home Seller’s Guide and Home Buyer’s Guide available free. They’re here; just click the picture for a downloadable version.

Now is a great time for both Buyers and Sellers and here’s why:

Buyers

Interest rates are still relatively low. The rates are projected to go up and are higher than they were this time last year so now is the time to lock in a rate you can be happy with.  Still, rates are a lot lower than they have been in the past and have been the lowest since 1971. Before you start looking, meet with your banker or mortgage company to get pre-qualified for a loan. Then you will know exactly how much you can afford and you won’t be wasting your time or spinning your wheels in the wrong price range. You may be surprised at how much you can afford. Then, call your REALTOR and start looking. I would love to be your REALTOR so check out my profile online and on Facebook.

Sellers

Why Wait???? Typically, inventory builds in March and if you wait until then you’ll have a lot more competition. Right now we have both an inventory shortage and a sudden uptick of buyers in Oxford and surrounding areas. The political season is over, the Dow is at a record high and there is market confidence. Wouldn’t it be great to get it sold quicker?  Make sure your house and yard are in great condition because curb appeal sells and so does a house that is move-in-ready. It is proven that sellers who utilize real estate professionals get their houses sold faster and for more money.. If this is something you want, schedule an appointment with me for more information.

I hope these guides can help you. Enjoy! And, best wishes.

Eileen Saunders, SRES, REALTOR Tommy Morgan Realtors 2092 Old Taylor Road Oxford MS 38655  662-404-0816 | 662-234-5344 Equal Housing

Homestead Exemptions

When purchasing a house one of the main questions a buyer will ask is “how much are the taxes?”

Good question and the answer is usually included in the information provided on the listing. A seller will gather this information from their past tax bills or can call the tax office. A seller’s real estate agent can also look up the information to verify it.

But, buyer beware: the taxes listed may not be what you will pay. Here’s why: there are several different kinds of exemptions that can be filed for by the homeowner. In certain cases, there may not have been an exemption filed or the homeowner doesn’t qualify.

For no homestead exemption, the taxes are generally higher. If this is the case for the house or condo you are purchasing, once you are able to file for homestead exemption, you’ll notice a reduction in your payments and your tax bill.

A regular homestead exemption is the usual amount. If that is how the current owner filed and you are purchasing the home to be your main residence, you too will get the regular homestead exemption.

If you are 65 or older you will qualify for a discount on your taxes. This discount will show on your tax bill the year that you file for the discount. But let’s say you are not 65 and you buy a house with a 65 homestead exemption. When  you file for your exemption, your tax bill will correct itself to apply to your current situation.

If your purchase is not your main residence (if it is a rental investment, a football home, vacation home) then you will not qualify for homestead exemptions. That will be something you can file (if not already filed) in your home town for your full-time residence property.

Eileen Saunders, REALTOR with Tommy Morgan Realtors, 2092 Old Taylor Road, Oxford, MS 38655, 662-404-0816 or 662-234-5344 Equal Housing

 

Home Buying: 8 Possible Deal Breakers

You found your dream home, or so you think. The offer you made to the homeowner was accepted and now you have to hire an inspector to make sure it checks out A-OK.

Hopefully there won’t be any major flaws to make you think twice about your offer.  A satisfactory inspection is a contingency to the contract and if there is something major, you can ask for it to be fixed, decided to fix it yourself or walk away from the house completely.

Here are 8 possible deal breakers you should be aware of:

  1. Water Damage. With every water mark and rusty pipe, ask for an explanation.  A water ring on the ceiling the size of the toilet pipe on the floor above it could mean a constant dripping problem. OR, it could simply mean there was an overflow a few years ago and the water mark is just now showing up as a stain.  Rusty pipes, dampness by the A/C unit in the attic or hallway closet could be a bigger issue.
  2. Asbestos. This hazardous material was used in many homes that were built before July 1989.  Removal must be done by a professional and could be costly.

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    Courtesy of Creative Commons
  3. Lead paint. Lead paint was used in older homes and could be a hazard. Removal may be expensive so have a professional give you a quote on removal.
  4. Pests. Termites, roaches, rats, mice and more can cause extensive and expensive damage to a home.  Sometimes the repair can be expensive but not all of the time. Have a termite or pest control professional quote you a price to take care of the problem.
  5. Mold. Some molds can be easily remedied, but long-term invasive damage from a pipe, roof leak or irrigation can cause a bigger problem.
  6. Electrical or plumbing problems. Always have these taken care of by a professional.
  7. Foundation issues. Foundations tend to crack from settling. Some cracks are minor, some can be a major problem. Why are the cracks there? What caused them? If you really don’t feel good about the cracks, seek the advice of a foundation specialist. It will cost more than the initial inspection but the peace of mind will be worth it
  8. Old roof. A homes inspector can assess roofing issues from missing shingles, wood or structural issues. An old roof will need to be replaced and can be expensive. In addition to the inspector’s report, a roofer can assess the remaining life of the roof.

While there are a few other issues that can make you walk away, these eight are the most common, so be prepared to consider any of them.

Each of these things can be worked out if you really want the house and not all houses have more than one or two of these issues to consider. Meet with your real estate agent. Together, construct a list of things you have to have repaired and what you can live with or fix on your own. If the cost of items to fix yourself is high, renegotiate a credit at closing. Until you sign off stating the inspection contingency is clear of issues so you can move toward closing, you, the buyer, are still in the decision-making seat.

Know that the seller may think your request is too extensive. The listing and the property condition disclosure may state the issues that need repair but the owner will not be responsible for. If that is the case, you and your agent should have known this from the time you started considering the house. The seller could also state that he will only pay a particular amount on repairs. Be prepared for negotiating, but also be prepared that the seller could walk away, too, if you ask for too much.

So, do you want the house or not?

Thanks to Kaye Ladd, Broker at Tommy Morgan Realtors branch office for contributing to this article.

photo credit: Cracked Red Brick Wall via photopin (license)

Eileen Saunders, REALTOR with Tommy Morgan Realtors, 2092 Old Taylor Road, Oxford, MS 38655 662-404-0816/662-234-5344  Equal Housing

New Real Estate Related Law

The Mississippi Legislature recently enacted a new law requiring real estate agents, licensed in the state, to have background checks and have fingerprints on file with law enforcement.law-1063249_960_720

This is great news for the home seller and is a move fully supported by the Mississippi Association of REALTORS.  Sellers can have peace of mind about who enters their house to view it. Real estate agents have always been required to take a Code of Ethics class, but now sellers are protected further by knowing their agent and those agents that bring buyers into their  houses, are law abiding citizens as well.

Starting July 1, 2016, new agents and those renewing their license (an annual event)  will have to have a state FBI background check and fingerprints taken.

If you have any questions about this, please contact me or your real estate agent for  more information.

Eileen Saunders, REALTOR with Tommy Morgan Realtors, 2092 Old Taylor Road, Oxford, MS 38655. 662-404-0816 or 662-234-5344 Equal Housing

Photo source: Creative Commons/pixabay.com free stock photo

What is 203K?

Want to buy a fixer-upper but don’t think you’ll have the money for the remodel after you buy the house?

Ask your mortgage professional about a 203K loan.

A 203K loan is backed by FHA and combines the price of the house and the price of construction into one loan with one closing cost. The FHA 203K loan is great for helping you pay for a remodel of your current home, too.

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This might be too far gone for a 203K but you get the picture. It’s a loan for a fixer-upper.

There are a few fixer-uppers on the market in Oxford and Lafayette County. Some might need a lot of work, some just need a little updating.  If you’d like to see any for possible purchase, please let me know…I’ll be happy to show them to you. But first, talk to your mortgage company or mortgage department in your local bank for more information and to get pre-approved.  Sellers will take offers more seriously if you have been pre-approved for a loan when you place your offer.

Eileen Saunders, Realtor with Tommy Morgan Realtors, 2092 Old Taylor Road Suite 101, Oxford MS 38655, 662-404-0816/662-234-5344 Equal housing

photo credit: Broken House via photopin (license)