Real Estate Q&A - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

Real Estate Q&A

Question:   Can you buy income properties, such as apartments and rentals for no money down? Are loans like this available?

Answer from Realtor Carol McClintock:  According to Valerie Howe at 5/3 Bank, properties with 4 or more units are not eligible for a "normal" mortgage loan but would be eligible for a commercial loan. 100% loans are not made on properties with more than 2 units. Please feel free to contact me again if I can be of any assistance to you or contact Valerie directly at Fifth Third for more loan information. Carol

Question: What fees and taxes have to be paid when buying or selling a house? Who would have to pay for an apprasal if the property was sold by owner? Can you price your property for any amount?

Answer from Realtor Carol McClintock:   There are various charges and fees which apply to the sale of real estate. These can vary in cost and number depending on the situation. However, normally a buyer who is purchasing real estate with a loan would have a loan origination fee, appraisal fee, flood certification, credit report, processing fee, underwriting fee, title insurance, recording fees, and sales disclosure. Sellers normally pay for a title search, document preparation fees and commission to the brokers involved in the sale. Any mortgage loan officer would be happy to give you specific information about your situation. As far as taxes are concerned, property taxes are paid in arrears in Indiana so normally the seller will pay for the next tax installment following the closing. Yes you can put any price you would like on your property. Obviously, if you are interested in actually selling it the price should reflect the value based on other sales of similar property in your neighborhood. I would be happy to provide a market analysis of your property if you would like. Thanks so much for your question. Please feel free to contact me again if I can assist in any way. Carol

Question:  Would there be an advantage in listing a house for sale with an Evansville Realtor if that home is in Boonville area? I am referring to being listed in the MLS. Or is that not important for the Boonville area? Thanks ]

Answer from Realtor Carol McClintock:   Thank you for your ask the expert question. There is always an advantage in listing a house in the Multiple List Service (MLS). The Evansville Area Association of Realtors includes realtors from the entire tri-state area including all of Warrick County. We often have inquiries for property in Boonville. If you are not listed in the MLS, we would not be able to access the information on your property and would therefore by-pass it when showing comparable properties in Boonville that are listed. I encourage you to talk with area Realtors and select one you feel can best suit your needs. Thanks again for your great question. Carol McClintock

Question:  We are currently buying a mobile home through Old National Bank.  We also are currently in a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. I want to purchase a house in four years when the chapter 13 payments are paid. It will be our first time buying a house. What do I need to do now in order to be able to buy a house? Would it be wiser to buy a house or to build a house? Do I need to start working with a financial company now and a realator? I would really apprieciate any help that you have for us. Thank You!

Answer from Realtor Carol McClintock:   Thank you for your question.  You are smart to begin planning for purchasing a home so far in advance.  The most important thing that you can do is pay your bills on time.  Good credit is the most important issue in getting a loan to purchase a home and the better your credit is, the lower your interest rate.  I would meet with a mortgage loan originator at your bank or I could recommend someone if you would like.  This individual can help you make some plans for the next four years.  When you are about 6 months away from actually purchasing your home, contact a competent realtor who can help you begin looking for a home.  If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to contact me.

Question: What is the best time to list our house?

Answer from Realtor Carol McClintock: There is never a better time to list than April and May in this area. Spring is in the air, flowers are blooming, trees are beginnning to leaf out-- your neighborhood and home will never look better! 

This is the time of year that people really get the itch to move and those with children may need
to move!

To make your property even more inviting, be sure to spruce up the outside --  trim bushes, pull weeds, plant flowers in pots and in beds, put out new mulch.  This clean, homey look helps to invite your potential buyers inside.

Once inside, they should be greeted by a home that is CLEAN and free of excess clutter, family photographs and near empty closets!!!  Touch up paint, clean carpets, do repairs and generally get your house ready to sell. It is better to wait a week or two to list a house that is really ready
to sell than to try to rush it onto the market!

Question: WHY IS IT SUCH A GOOD TIME TO BUY A HOME?

Answer from Realtor Carol McClintock:  There has never been a better time to purchase a home. Interest rates are still at a 30 year low, most banks and mortgage lenders are providing fixed 30 year mortgages with no points at 71/4%. A good selection of homes is available in the market in all price ranges which makes ours a "buyer's market". A home is always your best investment.

Question:  WHAT DOES PRE-APPROVED ACTUALLY MEAN?

Answer from Realtor Carol McClintock:  We always encourage our buyers to get "pre-approved" by their lending institution. This means that once you have selected a bank or mortgage company that you provide the preliminary information so that the lender can tell you if they will lend you the money. There is no initial charge for this service. Pre-approval is a tremendous help when you are shopping for a home because it allows you to shop with confidence& you will know exactly what you can afford and how much the monthly payments will be. It strengthens your offer because sellers will know that you can get the money to purchase their home.

Question: HOW DO I SELECT A LENDER?

Answer from Realtor Carol McClintock: There are many lenders from which to choose. I always encourage clients to talk with their bank first since they have an established relationship. I would then select two or three additional lenders and call them for interest rate and closing cost quotes. Shopping around can definitely save you $$$$. You should ask for a copy of all of the estimated closing costs so that you know you are making fair comparisons. Your realtor can provide you with lender names and telephone numbers.

Question: I WANT TO SELL MY HOME, HOW DO I KNOW WHAT MY PROPERTY IS WORTH?

Answer from Realtor Carol McClintock:   Most real estate agents will provide a FREE comparative market analysis to assist in the pricing of your home. Many home owners ask three realtors to tour their home and provide a written market analysis of their property. The realtors look at the condition of the home and neighborhood and use data from the multiple list service and assessor's office to compare your property to similar sales. Each realtor will then recommend a listing range for your home.

Question: I HAVE SUCH A GREAT HOUSE IN A WONDERFUL NEIGHBORHOOD, IT WILL BE SO EASY TO SELL, SO WHY DO I NEED A REALTOR?

Answer from Realtor Carol McClintock:  The saying "penny wise and pound foolish" has never been truer than when it comes to selling your home yourself. When you think about it, your real estate is the largest financial transaction that you will make. Thousands of dollars are at stake and your ability to purchase another home or save for your retirement. Realtors are professionally trained to assist in the buying and selling of real estate. A competent realtor helps you price your home properly, markets the home to over 600 real estate agents in our area and advertises in media outlets not available to the For Sale By Owner seller. Ask your realtor for a comprehensive list of all the services they provide to assist in the sale of your home. On average, a realtor will be able to sell your home for more than you would have netted on your own including the realtor fees. A large percentage 92% - of the individuals that start out for sale by owner end up listing with a realtor after valuable time and money has been wasted. Regardless of the condition or location of your home, this holds true. Buyers want to have an agent working with them to represent their interests and they are reluctant to bargain directly with a homeowner.

Question: MY HOUSE HAS BEEN LISTED FOR THREE MONTHS, WHAT CAN I DO TO GET IT SOLD?

Answer from Realtor Carol McClintock:   Three factors determine the sale of property PRICE, CONDITION AND LOCATION. Clearly, it is too late to worry about your location, so what can you do about your asking price and the condition of the home? Before we look at the pricing, we need to make certain the house is in tiptop condition. Buyers want to be able to "move in" and homes that show that way always sell better. I tell sellers to start with the curb and work their way through their home. Do the shrubs need trimming or is the paint peeling around the front door? Is the house as clean and litter free as possible? Since your goal is to move anyway, throw away all your excess "stuff". What cannot be thrown away, box up and move into the basement or garage area OR better yet, rent a storage area. Nearly empty closets and bare countertops make the home seem roomier and buyers can begin to see themselves in your home. Put away all personal photographs and memorabilia of any kind. Now that we have improved the condition, let's wait a week or two and see if the house sells. If it still is on the market, then it is time to get your home in another price range. For example, if your home is listed at $124,900 you might want to adjust to $119,900. Now a whole new group of buyers will be looking at your home and it should compare very well in the lower price range.

Question: I AM SHOPPING FOR A HOME, DO I HAVE TO CALL THE REALTOR WHOSE NAME IS ON THE SIGN IN FRONT OF THE HOUSE I WOULD LIKE TO SEE?

Answer from Realtor Carol McClintock:  No, if you are shopping for a home there are many reasons why you should select a realtor to represent you in this important transaction. Your realtor will start by listening to what you want in a home. They will then ask you to talk to a lender about getting pre-approved. Your realtor can then use the information on your home "wish list" to send you all of the available listings in your stated price range with the amenities you desire. After you have selected three to five listings from reviewing the data sheets and driving by to check out the neighborhood and the home, then you are ready to set an appointment with your realtor to look at the interiors of these homes. Your realtor looks at property every day, they will help you compare your choices. Once you have made your choice, your realtor will help you negotiate your deal and follow through on all of the inspection and closing details. Ask them to send you a list of all of the services they provide to their buyer customers.

Question: I HAVE BEEN WORKING WITH A REALTOR AND I HAVE SEEN A HOUSE THAT IS FOR SALE BY OWNER, WHAT SHOULD I DO?

Answer from Realtor Carol McClintock:  Call your realtor and tell them about the home. Most For Sale By Owners have already built a realtor commission into their sale price. Your realtor can set up a showing appointment and negotiate a contract for you just like a home listed by any realtor. This way your realtor can be involved in all the transactions. Purchasing a home without a realtor can cost you $$$$ in the long run.

Question: I WOULD LIKE TO BUILD A NEW HOME, HOW DO I SELECT A BUILDER?

Answer from Realtor Carol McClintock:  Your realtor can assist in this process by providing you with the names of two or three reputable builders. You should schedule an appointment with each builder and interview them. Like any other job interview, you should ask the builder for references, addresses of similar homes he/she has built and a general idea on dollar per square foot for the size and type of home you want to build. Once you have selected one builder, have your realtor set up an appointment to get down to specifics. Your builder will provide you with an estimate based upon your floor plan. Your realtor will help you get all the details spelled out in writing before the first shovel of dirt is turned for your new home.

Question: WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN INSPECTION AND A HOME BUYERS WARRANTY?

Answer from Realtor Carol McClintock:  A property inspection is done within a specific time period (usually 14 days) of the purchase of the property. You will work with your realtor to select and schedule a home inspection, termite inspection and any other applicable inspections (radon, lead paint, pool hot tub, mold, etc.). Once the inspections are complete and the Response to Inspections are sent to the seller, the seller has 7 days to determine which repairs they are willing to make on the home. These repairs are usually done before closing or a cash allowance is given at closing. A Home Buyers Warranty is often purchased by the sellers for the buyers. Once the property is closed and all repairs from the inspections are completed, the home buyers warranty takes effect. It is important to note that ANY PRE-EXISTING CONDITION either disclosed on the Indiana Real Estate Sellers Disclosure Form or that was found in inspections and not repaired, will NOT be covered under the home buyers warranty. In general, you should refer to your homebuyers warranty document for any repairs. Like any other insurance policy, you must call the warranty company before attempting repairs on your own or calling a repairman. Although the inspection process and home buyers warranty can take some of the questions out of purchasing a home, there will always be some surprises in the home owning process.

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