How NOT to Buy a Haunted House

Halloween is a holiday we tend to associate with the undead, so what better way to get in the “spirit” of things than to talk about ghosts. While you hear a lot about ghosts in October, they’re actually a year-round phenomenon (and they’re not all as friendly as Casper). So, if you’re in the market for a home right now, you might want to consider your threshold for the paranormal. Here are some ways to identify – and avoid – ending up with a haunted house.

Something doesn’t feel right. When it comes to finding a home, we talk a lot about how a home feels. People generally feel it in their gut when they have found “the one”.  Same goes for ghosts. If you feel like something is off, but you just can’t put your finger on it, you probably want to investigate a little further. This is the perfect time to break out the Ouija board and grab a bottle of something strong for your nerves (caution: seeing ghosts may or may not be due to alcohol consumption).

Follow the history of the home. Hit the interwebs and do a little online investigation to find out if the home has any skeletons in its closets (literally). Did anyone die in the house? Was it built on an ancient burial gravesite? Both of these could be DEAD giveaways for paranormal activity. Public records can be helpful for basic information, or you can check out this handy website: www.diedinhouse.com. If you don’t mind the house’s sordid past, use it as leverage to knock some zeros off the asking price. What’s a house filled with dead people if you can get it for a steal?

Meet the neighbors. It’s always a good idea to get to know the neighborhood before moving in. Learn about the schools, check out the local shops and amenities, and take a good look at who your neighbors will be.  If you walk next door and the equivalent of the Adams family is staring you in the face, it might be a good time to look at other options. And if you have no other options, it’s never too early to invest in a respectable tombstone. Hey, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

Follow the paper work. When selling a home, homeowners are required to fill out a “Self Disclosure Form” to reveal any known issues. In some states, this includes revealing if the home has any paranormal activity. In fact, if a home is known to be haunted, it can be deemed a “stigmatized home” which can impact the sale. But keep in mind, self-disclosure of paranormal activity is hard to qualify and prove, so buyers beware.

Look for more overt signs. Did you feel a tap on your shoulder, but nobody was there? Is there blood oozing through the walls or furniture moving by itself? Or maybe a spirit physically manifested itself in front of you. Well, this might be a ghost trying to get your attention. If you have an experience like this, it’s probably a good idea to find the nearest exit as quickly as possible and move onto the next home.

Let logic be your guide. So you’ve fallen in love with a home, but you suspect that it’s haunted. There could be a totally plausible explanation. Start by trying to explain the phenomena you are feeling. Could the creaks and bangs come from pests or plumbing issues? Perhaps the chills you feel are caused by a draft? Are you watching too many horror movies? Do you need to make an appointment with your shrink? What you think are signs of a haunting could all be in your head.  

 

Do you have any ghost stories to share? We’d love to hear about your own experiences of dealing with the undead. 

What does the future of luxury real estate look like? We travelled to Beverly Hills to find out.

Last week, Windermere Real Estate sent 25 agents to Beverly Hills, CA for Luxury Connect, an exclusive, invitation-only event that focused on the tools and trends that are shaping the future of luxury real estate. Held at a $135 million dollar estate, the impressive line-up of speakers were the who’s who of luxury real estate and reality TV, including Josh Altman and Madison Hildebrand from the Bravo TV show, “Million Dollar Listing”, and Mauricio Umansky, CEO of The Agency and a regular on the “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills”. Among the topics discussed were the latest cutting-edge technology trends, like 3-D photography, and how they will enable agents to deliver the ultimate luxury real estate experience. Attendees also listened to discussions about international real estate with particular emphasis on the growing number of Asian home buyers in West Coast markets like Seattle, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

Windermere agents Erica Clibborn, Wendy Paisley, and Tere Foster with Madison Hildebrand

The Luxury Connect event was held at the legendary “Beverly House” which was once lived in by William Randolph Hearst and served as the location for John and Jacqueline Kennedy’s honeymoon. The Beverly House was also featured in the films, “The Godfather” and “The Bodyguard”, and is currently on the market for $135,000,000.

 

Beverly House

The keynote speaker was Huffington Post founder, author, and syndicated columnist, Arianna Huffington who spoke about the habits of high performers and the importance of achieving balance (and eight hours of sleep a night) in a fast-paced, multi-tasking, high-tech society. She also discussed the need to incorporate spaces into our homes that combat stress, promote peace and balance, and allow us to unplug from the world. She challenged everyone to remove their phones and other electronic devices from their bedrooms at night. The consensus among the attendees was that this is probably easier said than done for real estate agents who are almost always on call, but great advice, nonetheless.

Million Dollar Listing star, Josh Altman, Arianna Huffington, and Josh’s brother/business partner, Matt Altman

Trick or Treat: Dress up Your Porch With No-Carve Pumpkins

For those of you out there who have older kids or just want to do something different than the typical Halloween jack-o-lantern this year, try a more sophisticated pumpkin. Instead of carving one, paint one. Here are some ideas:

Flower Power – Use a drill or nail wide enough to poke holes through for stems of flowers and cover pumpkin in them. Use flowers with your favorite fall colors: yellows, oranges, and reds.

Watercolor pumpkins with glitter stems - Paint with traditional acrylic paint and allow it to dry overnight, then put glue all over the stem and sprinkle glitter on it. Sparkles and gold accents will add glam to your fall décor and make you wish pumpkins were always in season.    

Halloween meets Day of the Dead – Begin by painting the whole pumpkin white, then allow it to dry overnight. Next draw a skull face with a pencil, and then go over it in paint.

Monogram – Add your initial to your pumpkin with glitter or thumbtacks. If you are putting it outside, another idea is to put your house number on it.  

Different types of paint - Use chalk paint for vintage looking pumpkins with muted tones or glow in the dark paint for extra spookiness.

Accessorize – Add rhinestones, confetti (which sticks right to the paint), or a bow on top to add a little something extra.

Not only is it quick and easy, it’s super chic too. Spray paint your pumpkins gold, silver, black, and red, add stripes or polka dots. This year, it would appear that the no-carve trend is the way to go.

Check out our favorite pumpkins on Pinterest!

Windermere Foundation Charity Challenge Follow-up

Earlier this year, Windermere Real Estate hosted the “Windermere Foundation Charity Challenge” to celebrate the Foundation’s 25th anniversary. Twenty-one non-profit organizations throughout the Western United States were nominated by Windermere offices to compete via Facebook for $25,000. The five non-profits that received the most votes were Hand in Hand, Friends of the Children of Portland, Family Promise of Spokane, Boys and Girls Club of El Sobrante, and Yavapai CASA for Kids, Inc. Each organization received $25,000, for a total donation of $125,000 from the Windermere Foundation. Here’s what they’ve been up to since receiving their winnings.

Hand in Hand (Western Washington)

“The gift of $25,000 went to our Safe Place program,” said Todd McNeal, Executive Director and Founder of Hand in Hand. Safe Place provides medical care, food, clothing and shelter to kids who are removed from their homes in emergency situations. Each child that comes in receives an initial health screen, has access to a forensic nurse when needed, and receives three to five new outfits, shoes, school supplies, and a backpack or roller suitcase for their new stuff. For babies, formula, bottles, diapers, and any other needed items are sent as well. On average the children stay two-and-a-half days while the social workers look for a home for them. Volunteers provide most of the direct child care and they use donations of goods to keep costs low. The Windermere donation has allowed Hand in Hand to hire staff and purchase food and clothing to serve an additional 50 to 60 children this year.

Friends of the Children of Portland (Oregon)

“Thank you so much for your support!” said Megan Lewis, Director of Development and Marketing for Friend of the Children. “We are incredibly grateful for the Windermere Foundation’s generous commitment to our East County Impact Capital Campaign.  The $25,000 donation will go towards our building project, which is to construct a facility to provide a safe and nurturing environment for the youth we serve.” This donation, in addition to other generous donations, has helped to bring them up to 72 percent of their five-million-dollar goal.

Family Promise of Spokane (Eastern Washington)

“Thank you to the Windermere Foundation. Not only do you provide money each year to help pay for permits, work clothes, shoes, kitchen items, and hundreds of other necessities for our homeless families, you also provide boots, shoes, socks, and underwear each year at the beginning of school, and at the beginning of the winter for the children of these families.” said Steve Allen, Executive Director of Family Promise of Spokane. “And then, to top it off, you selected us to participate in this $25,000 competition.”

Mr. Allen said that the $25,000 donation turned their books from red to black in an instant, and provided them with the opportunity to consider, over the ensuing months, how to reduce the number of homeless kids in the Spokane Valley. It also opened the door to them being able to move into a new building that will double the number of families they are able to serve.

Boys & Girls Club of El Sobrante (California)

The donation they received helped with their summer program, which serves between 80 and 100 children each week. “Thanks to Windermere's support, the Club is able to provide ten hours of care every day, weekly field trips to places such as the Lawrence Hall of Science, the Oakland Zoo, and the Aquarium of the Bay, and a variety of programs including Arts & Crafts, Athletics, and Brain Gain, a pilot program aimed to prevent summer learning loss,” said Alexa Garratt, Development Director at Boys & Girls Club.

“These are just a few examples of how Windermere has helped the Boys & Girls Club of El Sobrante positively impact the youth and families they serve. Ultimately, Windermere's support has helped guarantee the Club's ability to provide a safe and nurturing environment for youth to learn and grow year round."

Yavapai CASA for Kids, Inc. (Arizona)

“CASA for Kids strives to provide many items and services, not covered by state funding, to children in foster care living in the quad-city area of Prescott, Prescott Valley, Dewey-Humboldt, and Chino Valley (Arizona). With the ever-increasing numbers of children being removed from unsafe homes, our operating budget was stretched beyond its limits,” said Diana Dalsass, a Board of Directors member for Yavapai CASA for Kids, Inc. “The $25,000 award from the Windermere Foundation will permit us to fully conduct two of our most critical programs, with additional funds remaining for others.”

The two primary programs funded by the Windermere award are: The Annual Clothing Card Supplement, which allows foster parents to purchase additional clothing not covered by the state’s clothing budget for the children in their care. The other provides Emergency Clothing Cards, which helps foster parents purchase basic necessity items for children while they wait to receive funds from the state. Many of these children are removed from extreme living situations and come with just the “rags on their backs.” CASA for Kids makes emergency clothing gift cards available to the case managers at the Department of Child Safety, to be used under these circumstances.

Congratulations to all the winners of the Windermere Foundation Charity Challenge and to our Windermere owners and agents for their passionate support of these non-profit organizations. For more information about the Windermere Foundation, please visit http://www.windermere.com/foundation.

 

Windermere Foundation Charity Challenge follow-up

Earlier this year, Windermere Real Estate hosted the “Windermere Foundation Charity Challenge” to celebrate the Foundation’s 25th anniversary. Twenty-one non-profit organizations throughout the Western United States were nominated by Windermere offices to compete via Facebook for $25,000. The five non-profits that received the most votes were Hand in Hand, Friends of the Children of Portland, Family Promise of Spokane, Boys and Girls Club of El Sobrante, and Yavapai CASA for Kids, Inc. Each organization received $25,000, for a total donation of $125,000 from the Windermere Foundation. Here’s what they’ve been up to since receiving their winnings.

 

Hand in Hand (Western Washington)

“The gift of $25,000 went to our Safe Place program,” said Todd McNeal, Executive Director and Founder of Hand in Hand. Safe Place provides medical care, food, clothing and shelter to kids who are removed from their homes in emergency situations. Each child that comes in receives an initial health screen, has access to a forensic nurse when needed, and receives three to five new outfits, shoes, school supplies, and a backpack or roller suitcase for their new stuff. For babies, formula, bottles, diapers, and any other needed items are sent as well. On average the children stay two-and-a-half days while the social workers look for a home for them. Volunteers provide most of the direct child care and they use donations of goods to keep costs low. The Windermere donation has allowed Hand in Hand to hire staff and purchase food and clothing to serve an additional 50 to 60 children this year.

Friends of the Children of Portland (Oregon)

“Thank you so much for your support!” said Megan Lewis, Director of Development and Marketing for Friend of the Children. “We are incredibly grateful for the Windermere Foundation’s generous commitment to our East County Impact Capital Campaign.  The $25,000 donation will go towards our building project, which is to construct a facility to provide a safe and nurturing environment for the youth we serve.” This donation, in addition to other generous donations, has helped to bring them up to 72 percent of their five-million-dollar goal.

 

 

Family Promise of Spokane (Eastern Washington)

“Thank you to the Windermere Foundation. Not only do you provide money each year to help pay for permits, work clothes, shoes, kitchen items, and hundreds of other necessities for our homeless families, you also provide boots, shoes, socks, and underwear each year at the beginning of school, and at the beginning of the winter for the children of these families.” said Steve Allen, Executive Director of Family Promise of Spokane. “And then, to top it off, you selected us to participate in this $25,000 competition.”

Mr. Allen said that the $25,000 donation turned their books from red to black in an instant, and provided them with the opportunity to consider, over the ensuing months, how to reduce the number of homeless kids in the Spokane Valley. It also opened the door to them being able to move into a new building that will double the number of families they are able to serve.

Boys & Girls Club of El Sobrante (California)

The donation they received helped with their summer program, which serves between 80 and 100 children each week. “Thanks to Windermere's support, the Club is able to provide ten hours of care every day, weekly field trips to places such as the Lawrence Hall of Science, the Oakland Zoo, and the Aquarium of the Bay, and a variety of programs including Arts & Crafts, Athletics, and Brain Gain, a pilot program aimed to prevent summer learning loss,” said Alexa Garratt, Development Director at Boys & Girls Club.

“These are just a few examples of how Windermere has helped the Boys & Girls Club of El Sobrante positively impact the youth and families they serve. Ultimately, Windermere's support has helped guarantee the Club's ability to provide a safe and nurturing environment for youth to learn and grow year round."

Yavapai CASA for Kids, Inc. (Arizona)

“CASA for Kids strives to provide many items and services, not covered by state funding, to children in foster care living in the quad-city area of Prescott, Prescott Valley, Dewey-Humboldt, and Chino Valley (Arizona). With the ever-increasing numbers of children being removed from unsafe homes, our operating budget was stretched beyond its limits,” said Diana Dalsass, a Board of Directors member for Yavapai CASA for Kids, Inc. “The $25,000 award from the Windermere Foundation will permit us to fully conduct two of our most critical programs, with additional funds remaining for others.”

The two primary programs funded by the Windermere award are: The Annual Clothing Card Supplement, which allows foster parents to purchase additional clothing not covered by the state’s clothing budget for the children in their care. The other provides Emergency Clothing Cards, which helps foster parents purchase basic necessity items for children while they wait to receive funds from the state. Many of these children are removed from extreme living situations and come with just the “rags on their backs.” CASA for Kids makes emergency clothing gift cards available to the case managers at the Department of Child Safety, to be used under these circumstances.

Congratulations to all the winners of the Windermere Foundation Charity Challenge and to our Windermere owners and agents for their passionate support of these non-profit organizations. For more information about the Windermere Foundation, please visit http://www.windermere.com/foundation.

 

 

Thriving Economy, Clean Air, and Chinese Film Draw Homebuyers to Seattle

Earlier this week, I attended the Pacific Rim Summit which was hosted by Seattle’s local chapter of the Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA). While the overarching discussion was about international home buyers, the main focus was on wealthy Chinese families seeking out cities that can offer their children better educational opportunities and cleaner air.

I learned that China is home to some of the most polluted cities in the world which has a huge impact on their quality of life and life expectancy rates.  So those with means are seeking refuge in cleaner Western cities, like Seattle and Vancouver B.C. The difference between these two cities, however, is that Chinese migration to Vancouver B.C. is nothing new, but for Seattle, the rapid growth of this demographic really only started a couple of years ago. In fact, real estate agents estimate that Chinese buyers now represent upwards of 40-50 percent of all real estate activity in the neighborhoods to the east of Seattle, like Bellevue, Medina, and Kirkland. Areas that are also home to some of Seattle’s most expensive real estate.

The keynote speaker at the Pacific Rim Summit was Mauricio Umansky, the CEO of The Agency, and the number three real estate agent in the nation. Mauricio is also a regular on several reality TV shows and cable news networks, and really seems to know his stuff when it comes to Chinese home buyers. He quoted some interesting figures, including one that states that there are 30,000 new millionaires in China every year, and 40 percent are expected to immigrate to Western countries like the U.S. Apparently in 2013, China had 2,378,000 millionaire households, a rise of 82% from the previous year, and the most of any country in the world.

Speaking alongside Mauricio was Windermere agent, Tere Foster, who has been in real estate for more than 30 years and says that the percentage of Asian Pacific buyers in her business has grown by over 90 percent during the past two years. Because of this, Tere made the decision to hire a mandarin-speaking agent-assistant to help with this clientele. Other speakers talked about similar efforts, including hiring translators, partnering with Chinese agents, and taking Mandarin lessons.

According to AREAA, Seattle is currently the sixth most popular destination for Chinese immigrants in the world, behind cities like Los Angeles, which is number one. Seattle is the closest mainland U.S. city to travel to from Beijing and offers things that really appeal to the Chinese, like clean air, quality education, and employment opportunities with several Fortune 500 companies.

One of the most curious things I learned is that an uber-popular Chinese film called "Beijing Meets Seattle” has been another big draw for the Chinese, some of whom are looking to realize the movie’s portrayal of Seattle. I wouldn’t have believed if I hadn’t been surrounded by several Chinese business professionals all nodding their heads in agreement. Ironically enough, the film was actually shot in Vancouver B.C. (here’s a trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFRIFJg_Bzg).  

Other interesting facts according to Pacific Rim Summit speakers:

  • Over the past year, international home buyers have spent more than $92 billion on buying homes in the U.S. – and 60 percent of them have purchased homes with cash.
  • At least 75 percent of home purchases by Chinese buyers in the Seattle area are cash.
  • Chinese homebuyers care most about three things: their children’s education, the air quality, and food safety.
  • Eleven percent of all incoming freshman at the University of Washington are foreign-born Chinese students.
  • The University of Washington is currently ranked #15 on Shang Hai’s academic ranking of world universities – just behind schools like Cornell and Oxford. 
  • Many Chinese families with means are purchasing homes for their children so that they may attend local schools like the University of Washington. Sometimes well before those children are of college age.
  • East/West Bank reported that 73% of their mortgages to Chinese buyers were on property located in neighborhood’s on Seattle’s eastside.

All in all, the Pacific Rim Summit was fascinating. I learned so much about this incredibly fast growing demographic that’s buying up homes left and right in Seattle and other West Coast cities. Now I have a better understanding of why they’re choosing to leave China for places like Seattle, and a keen appreciation for their driving desire to find a better quality of life for themselves and their children.  

Windermere Gives Back with 30th Annual Community Service Day

On Friday, October 17, Windermere offices in Arizona, California, Colorado, and Nevada will be closed for a very special reason. For the past 30 years, Windermere has dedicated the third Friday of October to our annual Community Service Day*. On that day, you will find our teams doing a variety of projects, like cleaning, landscaping, and painting at local community centers and schools, collecting coats for low-income and homeless families, and working with local nonprofit organizations to ensure that kids in our communities are getting the resources they need.

This year we want to do even more, and you can help. For each office that posts their Community Service Day photos and videos on the Windermere Real Estate Facebook page (www.facebook.com/WindermereRealEstate), the Windermere Foundation will donate $100 to that office’s Foundation fund, to benefit low-income and homeless families in their community. We encourage you to “like” your local office’s Facebook page, as well as your favorite Community Service Day photos. The office with the most photo/video “likes” and comments will receive a $1,000 donation for the local Windermere Foundation charity of their choice. The contest will end next Thursday, October 30th.

*Windermere’s Northwest offices hold their Community Service Day in June

Windermere Office Projects for October 2014:

 

Arizona

 

Prescott

"Warm for Winter Coat Drive"

Prescott Valley

"Warm for Winter Coat Drive"

Scottsdale

"Warm for Winter Coat Drive"

 

 

California

 

Brentwood

Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano

Clayton

Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano

El Sobrante

The El Sobrante Boys & Girls Club

Morgan Hill

Can Tree Food Bank

Redding

Make a Wish Foundation and Wings of Angels Fundraiser

Walnut Creek

Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano

 

 

Colorado

 

Ft. Colins

United Way

 

 

Nevada

 

Henderson- Anthem Hills

Communities in Schools of Nevada

Lake Las Vegas

Communities in Schools of Nevada

Las Vegas- Henderson

Communities in Schools of Nevada

Perspectives – Standards of Practice

As you’ve probably heard, the housing market is a little crazy right now. Every day we hear stories from our agents about the competition among buyers and what it takes to secure the winning offer. Escalation clauses, love letters, waived contingencies, non-refundable earnest money. The list goes on and on. Navigating this type of market requires an agent with moxy. An agent who is highly trained. And an agent who is ethical and respected by other agents (you’d be surprised how important respect between agents is in these situations).

Windermere agents hold themselves to a very high standard. That’s why 30 years ago we decided to establish an internal code of conduct known as the Windermere Standards of Practice. Within these standards is an outline of how we believe our clients deserve and expect to be treated. They are intended to provide total transparency about how we do business, while letting our clients know that our agents practice the highest level of competence and accountability.

Call us old-fashioned, but we still believe that notions like integrity and respect should be taken seriously and practiced rigorously. So much so that from the first day an agent joins Windermere, he or she is asked to subscribe to the Windermere Standards of Practice. In turn, we hope this commitment to ethical conduct lets our clients – and our community – know that doing right by them is our highest priority.

Why should this matter to you? Because when you’re competing for a home with six other buyers and everyone is upping the ante in a highly charged, time-sensitive situation, it’s important to know that your agent is a full-time professional who takes the business of real estate very seriously. With this comes a deeper understanding of the market and a commitment to professionalism that other agents recognize and respect. We call it the winning formula, and when competition is fierce, it’s good to know that the cards are stacked in your favor.

 

In the market to buy a home? Make a list and check it twice.

Are you thinking of buying a home, and you aren’t sure exactly where to start? Here is a checklist to help you get ready to make your home dreams come true:

Decide where you want to live! Are you where you want to be? Generally, you will want to plan on staying in your home for at least 5-7 years in order for you investment to pay off, so it’s important to look at homes in an area that will meet your needs over the long term. 

Explore the market. Once you know where you will be looking for homes, you can start to explore. Get to know the neighborhoods, the school districts, the local businesses, and community amenities.

Make a list of what you need and want. Create a list of the things in a home that are most important to you. Like the number of bedrooms/bathrooms, home features, commute times, etc. Then make a list of things that you would like to have, but aren’t as important, such as a fireplace, a large back yard, or a pool. It may help you to create a Pinterest board with your favorite home features that you can share with your agent when you’re ready to start looking.

Search for comparable houses in your market. Once you know where you’d like to buy and what type of house you’re looking for, you can start to realistically assess how much it will cost. Use an online search tool like windermere.com to see what’s for sale in your preferred neighborhood(s) and the value of the homes.

Take a good look at your finances. Once you have an idea of what homes cost, you can start figuring out how much money you need for a down payment, monthly mortgage payments, property taxes, etc. Make sure to check your credit score to ensure that everything is in order before applying for a home loan.

Develop your financial plan. Determine how much you need to save for your down payment and create a plan and timeline to achieve this goal. Outstanding debt can drag down your credit score, so make sure that paying down debt is a part of your plan.  

Find a real estate agent! Once you’ve met your financial goals, it’s time to find a real estate agent. The best place to start is by asking friends and family for a referral. You can also search on real estate websites, like windermere.com, to find an agent that specializes in the area you are looking to live.

Get pre-approved for your home loan. Your agent should be able to refer you to a mortgage representative who can assist with the financing of your new home. The first step is to get pre-approved so that you know exactly how much home you can afford. Not only does this allow you to refine your home search, but it can also give you a competitive advantage when there are multiple buyers bidding on the same property.  

Start shopping! This process involves everything from searching for homes online to visiting open houses on the weekends. But perhaps the most important part of this process is going on a good-old-fashioned home tour with your real estate agent. Looking for homes online lets you search more efficiently, but there’s nothing like seeing the home – and its surroundings – first hand.

The bidding process. The bidding process differs from region to region and season to season, but ultimately you should look to your agent to help you develop a plan based on your priorities and financial abilities. Depending on the market where you’re buying, there could be multiple buyers bidding for the same home, so it’s a good idea to have a well thought out strategy ahead of time.

Offer acceptance & earnest money. Once a seller accepts your offer you are required to put down an earnest money deposit to show that you are committed to purchasing the house. This money is held jointly by the seller and the buyer in a trust or escrow account. The earnest money goes towards your down payment and closing costs upon the closing of the home sale.

Home inspection. Most home sales are pending until a home inspection is completed. This is when a home inspector checks the condition of a home, such as the foundation, roof, windows, insulation, electrical, and heating components. If a home inspection turns up the need for repairs, it can end up being a tool for re-negotiations with the seller.  

Home appraisal. This is an all-important step to getting the financing you need for your new home. An appraisal is performed to assess the true value of a home, which in turn, determines how much a lender is willing to give you to buy it. Appraisals protect banks from getting stuck with property that's worth less than they've invested. And it protects you from paying too much for a house simply because it was love at first sight.

Purchase your home insurance. A standard homeowner’s insurance policy typically covers your home, your belongings, injury or property damage to others, and living expenses if you are unable to live in your home temporarily because of an insured disaster.

Closing! The closing marks the final step of the home purchase process. This is when the deed to a property is legally transferred from the seller to the buyer who then takes possession of the home. In simple terms, this is when you get the keys to your new home and you can officially move in.

If you have any additional questions about the home buying process, contact a local real estate agent

Selling Your Home? Go Through This Safety Checklist With Your Real Estate Agent

 

 

Selling your home can be stressful for many reasons. Not only are you trying to get the best financial return on your investment, but you might also be working on a tight deadline. There’s also the pressure to keep your home clean and organized at all times for prospective buyers.  One thing you can be sure of when selling your home is that there will be strangers entering your space, so it’s important for you and your agent to take certain safety precautions.

 

  • Go through your medicine cabinets and remove all prescription medications.
  • Remove or lock up precious belongings and personal information. You will want to store your jewelry, family air looms, and personal/financial information in a secure location to keep them from getting displaced or stolen.
  • Remove family photos. We recommend removing your family photos during the staging process so potential buyers can see themselves living in the home. It’s also a good way to protect your privacy.  
  • Check your windows and doors for secure closings before and after showings. If someone is looking to get back into your home following a showing or an open house, they will look for weak locks or they might unlock a window or door.
  • Consider extra security measures such as an alarm system or other monitoring tools like cameras.
  • Don’t show your own home! If someone you don’t know walks up to your home asking for a showing, don’t let them in. You want to have an agent present to show your home at all times. Agents should have screening precautions to keep you and them safe from potential danger.

Talk to your agent about the following safety precautions: 

  • Do a walk-through with your agent to make sure you have identified everything that needs to be removed or secured, such as medications, belongings, and photos.
  • Go over your agent’s screening process:
    • Phone screening prior to showing the home
    • Process for identifying and qualifying buyers for showings
    • Their personal safety during showings and open houses
  • Lock boxes to secure your keys for showings should be up to date. Electronic lockboxes actually track who has had access to your home.
  • Work with your agent on an open house checklist:
    • Do they collect contact information of everyone entering the home?
    • Do they work with a partner to ensure their personal safety?
  • Go through your home’s entrances and exits and share important household information so your agent can advise how to secure your property while it’s on the market.

Your safety, as well as that of your agent and your home, is of paramount importance when selling a property. For more information, visit:

http://www.mercurynews.com/los-gatos/ci_26509084/realtors-issue-safety-tips-folks-who-are-selling

http://realtormag.realtor.org/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2014/09/safety-talk-you-need-have-clients