Buyers FAQs | Chantel Ray Real Estate

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Buyers FAQs

Buyers FAQs


Does the seller have to disclose defects to the property?

Under Virginia law Sellers are under no obligation to disclose defects to potential buyers, which is why it is critical that every buyer have a professional home inspection, pest inspection, and title search done during the due diligence/feasibility period of the contract. Buyers must ensure the contract allows a way out of the purchase of the home should there be any significant defects. In addition, just prior to closing, the Buyer should do a final walk through inspection to verify that there are no new defects, to confirm that the Seller left all personal property items (e.g. window treatments; appliances) that were included in the sale, and to see if all agreed repairs have been performed.

What is title insurance?

Title insurance protects against the risk of the buyer’s ownership being subject to the claims of another.  A few examples of such claims are: outstanding liens against the property; delinquent property taxes from prior to closing; forged deed or release instruments; incorrect property description in the deed.   If a claim is brought against an owner over an insured risk, the owner must immediately notify the title insurance company.  The title company will step in and defend against the claim, and/or if the claim is legitimate and the owner suffers an insured loss, the title company must indemnify the owner against the loss.
Should I buy title insurance?

Buyers should always purchase title insurance. Although percentage chances of having title issue are slim, the costs of dealing with such an issue far outweigh the one-time premium charged for title insurance.

Should I have a survey done?

Attorneys will usually recommend having a survey as it is useful to know exactly where the property lines are. A survey will also reveal if there are any encroachments over the boundary lines. A survey of a standard residential lot currently costs $250.00 – $350.00, though large properties or acreage cost significantly more. Oftentimes the charges for a survey can be covered by a seller’s closing cost assistance to buyers. In some instances (such as with an inside unit in a townhome complex) the need for a survey is mitigated.

When will I get my deed showing proof of ownership?

Typically the deed is recorded by the settlement attorney the business day following closing. The clerk of court records it in the land records of the city and then returns it to the settlement attorney. This usually takes from three to six weeks. The settlement attorney mails it to the buyer, along with the title insurance policy. Beware! There are companies that solicit homeowners with an offer to sell them an “official copy” of the recorded deed shortly after closing, at a charge of around $85.00. It is totally unnecessary to pay for this service, as the settlement attorney will send the original deed to you as soon as it is available. If you ever lose the original, a certified copy can be obtained from the Clerk’s Office for around $3.00.

When I go to settlement, what will I need to bring?

Under the Patriot Act, it is required that you bring a government issued photo ID – usually a driver’s license. You will also need to bring the funds the settlement attorney’s office has told you that you need to bring. The funds must be wired to the settlement attorney’s office in advance of closing, or you may bring a cashier’s check from a local bank. If anyone is signing by a power of attorney, the original will also be required. That document will be kept by the settlement attorney in order to be recorded in the record books at the courthouse. It will be returned to you after it has been recorded.

When should I get insurance?

As soon as a contract is signed by all parties, the buyer should begin shopping for homeowner’s insurance, which will cover general hazards, such as fire, theft, and vandalism. The first year’s insurance premium will be collected at closing, so you typically do not have to pay the insurance premium prior to closing. If the property is in a flood zone that requires flood insurance, you will need an elevation certificate prepared by a land surveyor in order for the insurance company to establish a price for the flood insurance policy.

My spouse is military. Can I still go to closing if he/she is on deployment?

Yes. Buyers can have the loan documents signed for them by giving someone a specific power of attorney. The buyer’s lender should be consulted to determine if they require a specific form and to approve the power of attorney before it is signed. Sellers can likewise close by power of attorney. The settlement attorney can prepare the power of attorney if needed. The original power of attorney MUST be brought to closing.

How much time should I allow for my signing appointment?

Loan closings for a buyer usually take an hour to complete. That is the time required to sign all of the lender’s documentation and have closing attorney explain the import of each one, including, in particular, the settlement statement. The purchase of real estate is a major transaction, and settlement is the last chance to raise questions; rushing through is ill-advised. The seller may or may not be at the buyer’s settlement. In any event, the signing of the seller’s documents should not take longer than 30 minutes.

When do I get the keys to the property? I am buying a condo. How do I get the key to my mailbox?

The seller should deliver all keys and garage door openers to the settlement agent at the time a signed deed to the property is delivered. The buyer gets the keys at the end of the closing, after all documents are signed and all monies have been paid.

Usually condos do not have individual door delivery by the Post Office, but have a cluster of mailboxes set up for the neighborhood. The seller’s mailbox key is turned back to the nearest Post Office (not to the buyer), and the buyer’s mailbox key is obtained at the same Post Office, after closing. The Post Office will re-key the box so that the seller’s key no longer works. To get the key from the Post Office you will need to have a copy of your settlement statement and money for a deposit to get the key.

How soon do I know how much money I will need to pay at closing and can I use a personal check for my closing costs?

If you are getting a loan, federal guidelines require your lender to give you an estimate within three days of your loan application. The exact final figure can usually be given the day before settlement by your closing attorney, though in some instances it might not be available until the actual day of settlement. If you are not getting a loan, the figure should be available a few days before settlement (or “closing”).

All funds at closing must be paid with certified funds or by wire transfer. Occasionally, such as when a last minute change is made to settlement statement, an exception will be made for amounts less than $100.00.

Who sets the date for settlement?

Usually the settlement date and time is set by mutual agreement once the loan documents are made available by the lender to the closing attorney. The date cannot be before the buyer has made a final walk through of the property. Usually the buyer’s real estate agent initiates the scheduling discussion to see that all parties agree.

How Important Is The Contract To Sell Or Purchase Real Estate?

No document is more important than the contract. It governs the whole transaction. Anything not stated in the contract is, for practical purposes, not part of the deal. Under law you are entitled to the benefit of your bargain (as written in the contract). If you want something more, you have to get the other party to agree. If you want something deleted, you need to get the other party to agree. You should assume that no contract obligation survives settlement unless explicitly stated so in the contract.

Top 5 things that can go wrong with closing?

Here we will count down the top 5 things than can go wrong with closing.
5. Walkthrough – you go to do your walkthrough before closing to make sure that everything is as it was when you signed the purchase agreement and any items that you asked to be repaired have been repaired. You get there and find out the stove doesn’t work, the seller took the refrigerator that they agreed to sell and none of the repairs we done. This will definitely hold up closing trying to get all of this sorted out. Money will need to be placed in escrow to cover any issues that still need to be fixed and deadlines will have to be extended.
4. Title Search – make sure that the title search has been completed with plenty of time to fix any issues that may arise. This is where your closing attorney has someone go through and make sure there are no defects on the title that would hold up the property from being sold. If the title search was done at the last minute and there are issues, these sometimes take a while to fix and will hold up closing.
3. Wire – the wire needs to arrive within a certain window of time for closing. If for some reason your lender has an issue with the wire, this can hold up closing or cause both parties to re-close. Double check with your lender and closing attorney to make sure all parties have the correct wire information and timelines.
2. Fees – make sure you get a copy of your HUD in advance so you can look over all fees and ask questions before closing. Your lender and closing attorney will have fees that will be charged on the HUD. Also, there will be charges from the city, insurance, surveys, and transaction fees, among other things that are charged on the HUD. You don’t want to go to the closing table and have a surprise fee on there that may hold up closing.
1. Lender Package not ready – one of the most common things that can bump a closing is the lender package not being ready. When the loan process comes to an end, there are a lot of loose ends that have to be met and this can sometimes cause delay. You may be scheduled to close at 11am, but your package isn’t ready until 3pm from the lender and the closing attorney already has closings booked for the rest of the day. This may bump you to the next day.

Our agents can help point you in the right direction to make sure that you have a lender and closing attorney that are working for you!

Good to know: Email Correspondence Could Be Binding!

 

In today’s modern and busy world it is safe to say that most of the correspondence between Client and Realtor is through email.  For example, your client has placed an offer on a house, negotiated the financing options and emailed you as the agent for a status update.  You reply back “We’re almost there.”  However in the meantime the seller receives another offer and decides to accept the second offer instead which of course upsets your client.
Be careful.  Email correspondence could be considered enough evidence to enforce the deal.  This was the case in a ruling in Massachusetts last year.
Feldberg, et al v Coxall attorneys representing the buyer and seller exchanged multiple emails about the deal including the above referenced email with an unsigned offer to purchase.  When the seller backed out of the deal, the buyer sued claiming the deal had been sealed in the last email.
The seller argued that the nothing had been signed as required under the Statute of Frauds.  This law varies form state to state but generally requires certain agreements to be signed.  Using this argument the seller sought dismissal of the claim.
The judge ruled against this dismissal.  Under a state law called the Massachusetts Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (and similar laws exist in other states) and email signature block or even the from portion of the email may constitute a valid electronic signature in cases where the parties are conducting the transaction electronically.
The judge denied the seller’s motion to dismiss the case opening the door for the court to look at whether the emails can constitute as a binding agreement.
The buyer and seller settled out of court so the question was never brought before a judge.  But this something to consider.
Agents, here are steps you can take to protect yourself against inadvertently binding your client to a deal.
Here are two suggestions:
  • Watch what you say in e-mails. If you’re representing the seller, always say that the terms of the deal must be approved by the seller and that negotiations are preliminary until an offer or contract is signed. Conversely, if you are representing the buyer, it’s prudent to push for confirmation that a deal has been reached, to avoid a situation, like the Massachusetts case, in which the seller jumps at a higher offer at the last minute.
  • Use a disclaimer. You can insert a disclaimer in your e-mail signature that looks something like this: “E-mails sent or received shall neither constitute acceptance of conducting transactions via electronic means nor create a binding contract until and unless a written contract is signed by the parties.”
Watch what you say and remember that emails could become an exhibit in court!

I’m ready to buy my first investment property…what should I be looking for?

First you have to remember that real estate is similar to the stock market (although I believe a much safer investment than stocks) – you cannot predict what the market will do. But you can try to buy the best house in the neighborhood – so that when it is time to sell, no matter what the market is, your home is most desirable!

Location, location, location! This is what is most important. Look for homes in good school districts that will be a desirable neighborhood. Avoid homes that back up to major roads and loud nuisances (shopping centers, railroad tracks, highways- just to name a few). Try to get homes that are on the interior of the neighborhood and located in cul de sacs.

You will also want to buy it for about 60% of its value. This helps cover the costs of repairs that will be needed, keeping utilities on while it is vacant, fees for flipping the house, commissions to pay when selling it, among other fees that may come up. Depending on the condition of the home, you will have to adjust your margin based on the repairs you will need to do.

We decided to buy a new construction home, what should we spend our upgrades on?

We’ve decided to buy a new construction home. Now we need to decide what upgrades will be the best value for us? Upgrades tend to be money makers for builders. They are not made to give the home any extra value, but to make you love the home more than you already do! When deciding on upgrades, you need to decide what your long term goal for the home is.

If you are looking at the home as an investment, then don’t spend much on upgrades. Pick small to medium upgrades and stay pretty standard with the customization. Pick items that the general population would enjoy – a gold column in the living room may not be appealing to the new buyer or renter.

If you are looking at the home as a forever home for your family, then go for the upgrades. Customize the home for quality for living. Make it something that you will enjoy for years to come!

I’m trying to decide on buying an older home in an established neighborhood or new construction…what do you suggest?

This question really depends on what values the neighborhood holds. Does the older home have everything you are looking for? Are you overpaying for new construction? These are all questions that you need to ask yourself.

When looking at an older home, you are able to do more research on the neighborhood and see how the homes have held their value. If you plan to resell the house one day, this will be important to you. If the house hasn’t been updated or doesn’t have everything you are quite looking for, will this be an investment in the end? Are you getting a good deal on the house? Will putting $20,000 worth of work in it gain you $80,000 in equity?

Looking at the new construction, you get you lay everything out exactly how you would like. You get to pick colors that you prefer, material that you would want, and the home will be move in ready. There is no question the home will have everything you are looking for. But are you buying at the height of the market for that neighborhood? Once homes start to resell, will they lose their value? Have there been any resales in the neighborhood yet and if so, how did they fare? These are questions you need to look at for new construction.

The answer to this question will all depend on what you are looking for in the long run. If you plan to live in the home for many years, new constriction may be the way to go. If you are not sure how long you may stay, your best bet may be to go with the older home where you can see the market trend of the neighborhood.

I drove by a house I LOVE and I want to see it now – why do I have to be pre-approved to look at it?

Did you find a house you just had to see right this minute, called our office only to be told that you need to be pre-approved to see the house? Why? Most sellers only allow us to bring qualified buyers in their homes. We advise our sellers to only allow preapproved buyers to see their home. It takes a lot of work on the seller’s part for a home to be shown. They have to straighten up the house, turn all of the lights on, remove pets and kids, and get the house perfect for you to see. Because of this, they ask only for pre-approved buyers to be shown the house. This prevents nosey neighbors and buyers that cannot purchase their house from trapping through their house.

Also, if you look at a house that is well outside of your budget, you are heartbroken when you cannot afford it. Every house that you look at from that point forward will never measure up to that house. Plus, if you do love the house, you won’t be able to put an offer on the home right away. Sellers require a preapproval letter with the offer. You will have to get preapproved and then write the offer. We don’t want our buyers to miss out on a home they love – that’s why we make sure they are preapproved first!

Should I get a home inspection?

Many buyers ask, why should I get a home inspection? The home was recently painted, has all new appliances, all new carpet and flooring…it even has fresh flowers on the foyer table. It looks like a beautiful place to live…what could be wrong? This is the age old question that our buyer’s agents get asked every day. Why should you spend the extra money to have someone come and inspect the house? Virginia is a buyer beware state and the burden is placed upon the buyer to make sure that the house is in good condition. Those freshly painted walls may be covering an old leak or that new carpet may have been put over rotten floor boards.

We at Chantel Ray Real Estate, always recommend our buyers get a home inspection on a home they are purchasing. The home inspector will spend hours pouring over every detail of the house. Were fire rated doors put up? Are smoke detectors in the proper places? Is there any settling in the house that we should be aware of? At the end of the home inspection, each buyer is given a written report that shows everything that was tested and examined and any suggestions for further repairs or evaluations. The buyer can then decide how they would like to proceed with the home purchase.

I found a house…now what???

You’ve found the house of your dreams and your contract has been accepted! Once the excitement starts to wear off, questions start running through your mind. What happens next? Are we missing anything? Chantel Ray Real Estate will help walk you through the steps from contract to closing!
Once you have a ratified contract, your agent will sit down with you and go over all of the deadlines that will be coming up. If you elected to have inspections done on the house, these will need to be done in accordance to the timelines on the contract. Make sure all of your inspections are schedule early enough so you will have time to review them and request any repairs you may need.

After your inspections have been completed, the appraisal will be order by the lender. This will insure that the home is worth what you are agreeing to pay for it and that is also conforms to that loans guidelines. Sometimes, depending on the type of loan, there will be lender required repairs. These will need to be scheduled to be completed and re-inspected before the property is cleared to close.

Throughout the closing process, your lender will ask you for documents needed to satisfy loan requirements. Make sure that you get them to them as soon as possible so you don’t hold up the closing process. Once you get close to the closing date, you will set your appointment with your settlement agent and get ready for closing. Right before the closing, you will do a Final Walk Thru with your agent to ensure the property is in the same condition as when you wrote the contract, any requested repairs were completed and all systems are working properly. Then the day has come…Closing Day!!! Make sure you take your certified funds and driver’s license to the closing. Get the movers ready – you now own a house!

I drove by a house I LOVE and I want to see it now – Why do I have to be pre-approved to look at it?

Did you find a house you just had to see right this minute, called our office only to be told that you need to be preapproved to see the house? Why? Most sellers only allow us to bring qualified buyers in their homes. We advise our sellers to only allow preapproved buyers to see their home. It takes a lot of work on the seller’s part for a home to be shown. They have to straighten up the house, turn all of the lights on, remove pets and kids, and get the house perfect for you to see. Because of this, they ask only for preapproved buyers to be shown the house. This prevents nosey neighbors and buyers that cannot purchase their house from trapping through their house.

Also, if you look at a house that is well outside of your budget, you are heartbroken when you cannot afford it. Every house that you look at from that point forward will never measure up to that house. Plus, if you do love the house, you won’t be able to put an offer on the home right away. Sellers require a preapproval letter with the offer. You will have to get preapproved and then write the offer. We don’t want our buyers to miss out on a home they love – that’s why we make sure they are preapproved first!

I’m trying to decide on buying an older home in an established neighborhood or new construction. What do you suggest?

This question really depends on what values the neighborhood holds. Does the older home have everything you are looking for? Are you overpaying for new construction? These are all questions that you need to ask yourself.

When looking at an older home, you are able to do more research on the neighborhood and see how the homes have held their value. If you plan to resell the house one day, this will be important to you. If the house hasn’t been updated or doesn’t have everything you are quite looking for, will this be an investment in the end? Are you getting a good deal on the house? Will putting $20,000 worth of work in it gain you $80,000 in equity?

Looking at the new construction, you get you lay everything out exactly how you would like. You get to pick colors that you prefer, material that you would want, and the home will be move in ready. There is no question the home will have everything you are looking for. But are you buying at the height of the market for that neighborhood? Once homes start to resell, will they lose their value? Have there been any resales in the neighborhood yet and if so, how did they fare? These are questions you need to look at for new construction.

The answer to this question will all depend on what you are looking for in the long run. If you plan to live in the home for many years, new constriction may be the way to go. If you are not sure how long you may stay, your best bet may be to go with the older home where you can see the market trend of the neighborhood.

We’ve decided to buy a new construction home, what should we spend our upgrades on?

We’ve decided to buy a new construction home. Now we need to decide what upgrades will be the best value for us? Upgrades tend to be money makers for builders. They are not made to give the home any extra value, but to make you love the home more than you already do! When deciding on upgrades, you need to decide what your long term goal for the home is.

If you are looking at the home as an investment, then don’t spend much on upgrades. Pick small to medium upgrades and stay pretty standard with the customization. Pick items that the general population would enjoy – a gold column in the living room may not be appealing to the new buyer or renter.

If you are looking at the home as a forever home for your family, then go for the upgrades. Customize the home for quality for living. Make it something that you will enjoy for years to come!

I’m ready to buy my first investment property. What should I be looking for?

First you have to remember that real estate is similar to the stock market (although I believe a much safer investment than stocks) – you cannot predict what the market will do. But you can try to buy the best house in the neighborhood – so that when it is time to sell, no matter what the market is, your home is most desirable!

Location, location, location! This is what is most important. Look for homes in good school districts that will be a desirable neighborhood. Avoid homes that back up to major roads and loud nuisances (shopping centers, railroad tracks, highways- just to name a few). Try to get homes that are on the interior of the neighborhood and located in cul-de-sacs.

You will also want to buy it for about 60% of its value. This helps cover the costs of repairs that will be needed, keeping utilities on while it is vacant, fees for flipping the house, commissions to pay when selling it, among other fees that may come up. Depending on the condition of the home, you will have to adjust your margin based on the repairs you will need to do.

What are the best schools in Hampton Roads?

One of the top motivators for people when buying a home is schools! Being in a good school district is important for many buyers as well as looking at the resale value for your home. You should do your research on finding which schools are best in your city and the areas that you are looking to buy. We have provided links below to the cities in Hampton Roads so you can see how the schools are ranked in areas that you are looking.

What Neighborhood has the lowest crime?

A question we are often asked is which city or neighborhood has the lowest crime rates? These are stats that vary based on many conditions. These stats should be checked to see if the city you are looking in meets your criteria. Below, we have posted links to each city in Hampton Roads where you can view the crime rates for yourself.

How do you know if the price per square foot is reasonable or if the home is really off in its price per square footage?

Some people look at the value of a house based on the price per square footage. This is not always the most accurate way to look at the price of a home. Say you have 2 homes that are next door to each other and they are the exact same square footage. One has 3 bedrooms and one has 4. The one that has 4 bedrooms is going to have a higher price per square footage than the one that has 3 bedrooms because an extra bedroom increases the value of the house.

Most homes in the neighborhood should have a similar price per square footage, but there will be small variations based on how many bedrooms, baths, etc. One of our agents will be happy to look at the comparable homes in the neighborhood to let you know how the home you are interested in compares with the others.

What are current interest rates?

Interest rates change with the way the market fluctuates. This is still a great time to buy! To check out current rates, click http://www.marketwatch.com/tools/pftools/.

You can also contact our preferred lender, Nathan Techanchuk with Movement Mortgage at 757-747-0577 or nathan@movementmortgage.com to see what rate you can get today!!

How can I buy a home with you for free?

When buying a home, you do not have to pay for your real estate agent. The seller pays commission both to the listing agent for selling their home and to the buyer’s agent for bringing a buyer to buy their home. The buyer is not responsible for their agent’s commission.

It is very important that you have proper representation when buying a home. This is one of the most important decisions you will make in your life. Make sure you have an agent that is looking out for your best interest and will find you the best deal! We have a team of agents ready to help you! Just call 757-717-1003 or email team@chantelray.com!

What are the problems with New Construction?

New Construction can be a huge blessing. You get to create the home of your dreams. You can pick out what floors you want, move rooms around to become more functional for your family and select countertops to match your taste – just to name a few of the advantages and perks. But new construction can also be a huge headache. We will touch on a few of the problems that you can try and recognize ahead of time and try to avoid.

One of the main problems with new construction is not knowing what you are getting. You drive up to a new homes site and you see a sign that says homes in the low $200,000. You think, great! Just the price I was looking for. You walk in and the house knocks you off your feet. You LOVE the hardwood floors and granite countertops, and those stainless steel appliances are just AMAZING!!! You think, I can get all of this for $200,000, where do I sign?!?! You sign your contract and get to start picking out floors, countertops, and appliances. Now you find out that those floors are an upgrade as are those counters you just had to have. And the appliances, will that will be additional as well. The next thing you know, you have added $30,000 in upgrades.

Make sure, before you sign the contract and fall in love with the house, you understand what are standard features and what are upgrades. Many of the models have been upgraded for buyer’s appeal. What you see is awesome and truly beautiful, but often it is an upgrade that will cost you more. Make sure you take an agent with you on your first visit to the home site so they can help you understand this process. Our buyer’s agents will be able to walk you through the process and help you get a great deal!

We have to remember, every home started as new construction, and existing homes also suffer from many of these same issues. This can lead to expensive maintenance and/or repair issues. Although new construction homes may exhibit some of these issues, they are often more energy efficient than resale homes. Any home is only as good as its builder, and there are a lot of great custom home builders out there!

What are the downsides to buying a rehabbed home?

You’ve been looking for homes and all need repairs, when all of the sudden, you find one that has been rehabbed! You are so excited – it looks move in ready! Hold on just one second – there may be a few things to consider. Often rehabbed homes are being sold by investors who bought the house at a low price, fix it up, and then sell it at a higher price. There are a few downsides to this to consider

You don’t know the contractor that rehabbed the house. Did they do a good job on the repairs or did they just do the bare minimum to make the place “look” new using cheap materials and labor. Was only cosmetic work done or were the major systems repaired as well? The other disadvantage is that you don’t have any control over the repairs. They have already been done for you. If you buy a fixer upper, then you can make sure the work is done properly and to your liking.

There are a lot of great contractors out there that do great rehab construction – so don’t be turned away by a rehab property. Just make sure you do your due diligence and make sure the work was done to the standards that you would expect. Our buyer’s agents will help you through the process and make sure that your interests are being protected.

Top 5 problems with new construction

Here we will count down the top 5 problems with new construction.

  1. Leaky Windows – If windows are not hung properly, it can lead to leaks, fogging and drafts. Installing windows is a multistep process and should be done correctly without cutting corners. They have to have proper flashing and insulation installed to make them function correctly and be energy efficient. The last thing you want with a new home, are windows that are improperly installed and costing you a high energy bill.
  2. Roof Leaks – One of the most common problems in homes that are built too fast is a leaky roof. There are several things that can cause problems with poorly installed roofs. The pitch of the roof, waterproofing materials and flashing are a few of the items that have to be done just right to provide proper drainage and weather resistance to keep you from having buckets placed all over your new home.
  3. Cracking foundations – Another problem in homes that are constructed too quickly is cracking foundations. When building a house, the ground and soil have to have tests done to make sure they will be able to hold the home that is going to be built. If proper soil and ground tests are not completed, a home could be built on a foundation that is not able to support it. Make sure the proper tests are completed so that you won’t have to deal with this costly problem.
  4. Plumbing – plumbing issues are a major concern in new construction. There are a ton of issues that can arise if plumbing is not done correctly. The hot and cold water lines can be crossed, toilets can overflow due to incorrect installation, tile leaks into the walls where tiles are not sealed properly and water gets behind them. Some of these problems are not seen for some time because they are hidden and when you find them, they are a mess (as well as expensive) to fix. These are just a few of the problems that can arise when plumbing is done incorrectly.
  5. Misconception of what you are ACTUALLY getting – You walk into the model home after seeing a sign that says, homes starting in the low $200K. Great, you think! That is in my budget AND I can get a brand new home. You walk in the model and fall in LOVE! You’ve signed your contract and you start to pick out your floors – Wait, the floors in the model were an upgrade and they are going to cost HOW MUCH?? The counters that you saw were an upgrade too and they cost MORE!!! The next thing you know, your $200K house is not $275K! Make sure you know what is standard in the model and what is an upgrade BEFORE you agree to the price.

Our buyer’s agents are well trained and very knowledgeable and will be able to help walk you through this process seamlessly.

Top 5 things that can go wrong with closing

Here we will count down the top 5 things than can go wrong with closing.

  1. Walkthrough – you go to do your walkthrough before closing to make sure that everything is as it was when you signed the purchase agreement and any items that you asked to be repaired have been repaired. You get there and find out the stove doesn’t work, the seller took the refrigerator that they agreed to sell and none of the repairs we done. This will definitely hold up closing trying to get all of this sorted out. Money will need to be placed in escrow to cover any issues that still need to be fixed and deadlines will have to be extended.
  2. Title Search – make sure that the title search has been completed with plenty of time to fix any issues that may arise. This is where your closing attorney has someone go through and make sure there are no defects on the title that would hold up the property from being sold. If the title search was done at the last minute and there are issues, these sometimes take a while to fix and will hold up closing.
  3. Wire – the wire needs to arrive within a certain window of time for closing. If for some reason your lender has an issue with the wire, this can hold up closing or cause both parties to re-close. Double check with your lender and closing attorney to make sure all parties have the correct wire information and timelines.
  4. Fees – make sure you get a copy of your HUD in advance so you can look over all fees and ask questions before closing. Your lender and closing attorney will have fees that will be charged on the HUD. Also, there will be charges from the city, insurance, surveys, and transaction fees, among other things that are charged on the HUD. You don’t want to go to the closing table and have a surprise fee on there that may hold up closing.
  5. Lender Package not ready – one of the most common things that can bump a closing is the lender package not being ready. When the loan process comes to an end, there are a lot of loose ends that have to be met and this can sometimes cause delay. You may be scheduled to close at 11am, but your package isn’t ready until 3pm from the lender and the closing attorney already has closings booked for the rest of the day. This may bump you to the next day.

Our agents can help point you in the right direction to make sure that you have a lender and closing attorney that are working for you!

The buyer wants to walk away from the closing….WHAT???

The most dreaded words a seller can hear: “The buyers want to walk away from the contract.” What now? Can they do that? What will they lose? Sometimes buyers get cold feet. They begin to get nervous about how much their mortgage payment is going to be and should they be buying right now? What if the market starts to decline – will they lose their money? Sometimes they were rejected in their financing or they found another home they liked better.

There are contingencies that are built in the contract that buyers can get out of the contract with. These can include home inspections, financing and HOA documents. These contingencies usually expire pretty soon in the process, so buyers have to decide quickly if they are going to move forward or not. Once the contingencies have expired, the buyer’s earnest money is at risk and will most likely be awarded to the seller if the buyer decides to walk. Depending on the contract, sometimes they can also go after liquidated damages – given certain circumstances. A buyer must not enter in a contract with uncertainty. Once the contingencies expire – their earnest money deposit is at risk.

The buyer has asked for repairs….what do I do now??

The house I am selling just went under contract! The buyer did their home inspection and now they have sent me a long list of repairs! What do I do now? This is a common scenario that we find ourselves in with our sellers. Once a contract has been accepted, if a home inspection was requested, it must be done within a certain amount of time. If repairs were requested, this list must be given to the seller within the time frame as well. Once the seller receives the request from the buyer, they have 5 days to review the request and respond back.

We suggest to our sellers that they get quotes on the repairs that were requested and decide which ones they would like to entertain. If they decide they do not want to complete all of the requested repairs, they counter back with what they are willing to do within the 5 day negotiation period. The buyer then has 24 hours to accept or counter back. Once the 24 hour period has expired, either party can release from the contract without being in default and no damages can be awarded.

Once repairs have been agreed upon, they have to be completed, prior to closing in a workman like manner. Our sellers select the contractors that complete the repairs and once repairs have been completed, receipts are sent to the buyer’s agent if requested. Prior to closing, the buyer and buyer’s agent will inspect the repairs to make sure they were done in a workman like manner. If all parties are in agreement with the repairs, the contract will move to closing.

We’re ready to sell!!! How long will it take to get it sold?

You have painted, updated, de-cluttered and are ready to put your home on the market. Now you have the age old question – How long will it take to sell my house? Our marketing strategy, if you follow our suggestion, is to price the home at the value where it will generate buzz quickly and get buyers in the door. The more desirable your home seems, the more buyers you will come through your door and want to make an offer. We try and get you an offer within 14-21 days, but this all depends on what the market is doing at the time. The winter months tend to be a little slower with buyers and spring time homes are flying off the market.

Once you get an offer on your house, it typically takes 30-45 days to get the home from contract to closing. We have the most effective marketing and spend over $40,000 a month on radio ads, TV ads and print media to get your home seen and heard!

Is there anything else we should do to get our home ready to sell?

There are a few items that we would like you to address in order to get your home ready to place on the market. First, we would like you to clear the home of clutter. When you are living in your home, it may be ok to have stacks of paper laying around and family pictures all over the home. But when you are selling, you want potential buyers to picture themselves living in the home and their pictures on the wall. Remove personal pictures and remove clutter from countertops to clear them off. You want the buyer to have it appear there is more counter space and room for furniture. If you reduce all of the extra clutter throughout the house to make it feel bigger, it make the home more spacious and buyer friendly.

We also recommend that you fix big problems that may drive buyers away. Is there a big hole in the wall that you have been covering up? Are your carpets in serious need of replacement? We would recommend you fixing these items. Large items like this can drive a buyer right out the door. Buyers have a hard time picturing “what it could be like”.

I want to sell my house…do you know how much it is worth?

There are many factors that go into the value of your home. Of course the condition of your home will be one of the first things to look at. Keeping the home updated and maintained will help a home hold its value. Also, any upgrades that you have done can be factored in. While these may not add actual value to your home, it will help place your home against the comparable sales in the neighborhood.

One of the biggest misconceptions that a seller will have is how much they paid for the house and what it should be worth now. Home values are based on what the current market is. You may have paid $300,000 for the house 5 years ago, but if the current market is now saying the house is worth $250,000, that is all you will be able to get. Market value dictates the price – so make sure that you have a great agent on your side who can give you the most updated market conditions. Here at Chantel Ray Real Estate, we can prepare for you a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) right away to give you an idea of what your home is worth.

I am ready to put my home on the market…what do you think I should fix?

Getting your home ready for the market is one of the most important things you can do. Your home only have a few weeks as a “fresh” home on the market so you want to impress buyer’s right out of the gate. While each home is unique and different, there are a few pointers we can recommend to get you started. First and foremost, remove the clutter. The best investment you can make is getting a storage unit. When buyers see clutter, they can’t picture themselves in your home. Remove family pictures, clear off the counters and remove cluttered furniture. It will make your home appear larger and help the buyer see their future in your home.

Some other things you can do to get your home ready include servicing the major systems. One of the most common repairs requested are for the HVAC systems. Making sure these are cleaned and running properly will save you costly repairs in the end. Also, if your home is colorful, consider painting it a neutral color to appease all tastes and replacing carpet if it shows major wear and tear. All of these will help the buyer feel that the home has been well taken care of and give them a warm and fuzzy about the home. This will help your home compete well against the other homes on the market.

What do you do for marketing?

We have one of the best marketing programs of any agent in Hampton Roads. We spend over $40,000 in marketing each month. This includes radio ads, TV ads, print marketing and web based marketing. We are constantly on the radio, TV, email blasts and websites driving traffic to our agents so they can help find a buyer for your home.

We have agents on duty 7 days a week between the hours of 8 am and 8 pm. They are there to answer every call and email that comes into our office so that we never miss a showing call for your house. Our signature jingle and constant media presence has allowed us to be one of the top marketing real estate agencies in the area. We get your home sold because we don’t work alone. The average joe realtor does not have the money to spend on marketing like our Real Estate agency does!

What are the top three things that separate you from other agents?

First and foremost, our mission statement is to Glorify God by putting our clients’ interests before our own. We make sure to put our clients before our own needs and desires. We make every decision in our company in this order: 1. What’s best for the client, 2: What is best for the company, 3. What is best for the individual team member? Our client is what is most important in every transaction.

Second, we are available to our clients all the time by phone or email. We get the job done, because we don’t work alone. It is not just one agent working for you, we have a whole team of agents available to you. While you work with one agent, if they are ever out of town or unable to answer your call, they will have another agent on the team help you as well.

Third, our marketing is second to none. No one agent is able to spend on marketing what we spend each month. We make sure to hit every medium – print, radio, television – to target the right buyer for your house. By spending over $40,000 a month, we are able to drive massive amounts of traffic to our phone lines to speak to an agent or to our website so they can view our listings.

I’m thinking about listing my house – am I able to review the documents that I need to sign before we actually meet?

This is a big step and you have a lot of questions. You want to be prepared when you meet the agent for the first time so you can make sure you are getting all of the information. How can you be prepared for that initial meeting? Ask the agent to send you the paperwork ahead of time so you can review it.

Our agents are happy to send you ahead of time our listing packet. It lays out what to expect when listing your home with Chantel Ray Real Estate. You will have a chance to review what you should expect out of our service as well as what we will need from you to get your house sold as quickly as possible. You can review all of our disclosures ahead of time and have all of your questions ready!

What kind of guarantee do you offer?

We have a no hassle listing agreement. If you’re not happy, FIRE us! If at any time you are unhappy with our service, we ask that you let us know what has not met your expectations. We ask that you give us one more shot with a different agent on our team. If you are still not satisfied with our company, we will release you out of your contract with no hassle!

How much do I have to pay the agents who sell and list my home?

We charge anywhere from 2%, 4% or 6% depending on who finds the buyer on the home. If you find your own buyer and no agent was involved on the buying side, we will charge 2%. If someone in our office finds the buyer for your listing, we can discount the commission to 4% (if agreed to ahead of time). If another agent brings a buyer for your listing, we charge 6% with 3% going to the buyer’s agent.

How long have you been in the business?

I have been a real estate agent since 2004. Since then, I have built a team of professionals and trained them to sell homes just as I did. I am a big fan of the Ritz Carlton and I want every client treated as if they were at the Ritz Carlton.

When a new agent comes on our team, they are paired with a seasoned agent to learn the ins and outs of our company. We have a complex training program that positions agents to be within the top 10% of all agents in the Hampton Roads area. With all of our real estate knowledge combined, we have tens of years of experience.

What makes you different than any other real estate company?

We are completely different than any other real estate company! To find out why, watch out secrets video at www.chantelray.com/secrets.