Repair Requests From Buyers

Unless your contract with the folks buying your Edmond, Oklahoma home states they are purchasing the house in “as-is” condition you may have to deal with repair requests once the buyers complete their home inspection.  Most purchase contracts state the sale is contingent upon such a home inspection, which leaves the door open for buyers to come back to you and ask for repairs to be completed on your dime before they’ll close on the transaction.

So the discussion comes up about what you should and shouldn’t expect to have to pay for to ensure the sale happens.  Generally speaking if a repair request addresses structural defects, safety issues, and/or building code violations, you, as the seller should expect to have to rectify the situation.  The argument here is sound: if you were to stay in the home instead of selling you would have to take care of these types of repairs to make the home safe for your own family.  Now, if the request is more cosmetic in nature you will have more leeway to reject the buyer’s request as the issue does not affect the “livability” of the property.

Just keep in mind the current market conditions in your area.  If you’re currently in a buyer’s market where there are more homes for sale than there are buyer’s available to buy them, then a buyer may believe they have some leverage and be more aggressive in their request for repairs.  If you’re in a seller’s market where there is a shortage of homes for sale and significantly more buyers competing for them then a seller may have leverage and will be less motivated to remedy marginal requests.

The question you ultimately need to ask yourself is, “If I refuse to make a requested repair, and the buyers walk because of it, is that same inspection/repair issue likely to come up with the next buyer?”  If the answer is yes, why not pay for the repairs sooner rather than later and save everyone some time?

Remember, time equals money.

Mortgage Market Update

Here are the week’s rates and notes for our Edmond, Oklahoma friends and family courtesy of Freddie Mac:

30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.32 percent with an average 0.6 points at the end of the day March 20, 2014, down from last week when it averaged 4.37 percent.  Points remain unchanged.

15-year FRM this week averaged 3.32 percent with an average 0.6 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.38 percent.  Points remain unchanged.

5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.02 percent this week with an average 0.4 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.09 percent.  Points again were unchanged.

1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.49 percent this week with an average 0.4 point, up slightly from last week when it averaged 2.48 percent.  Points were unchanged.

Close Quarters and the Neighbor’s Dog

Ugh!  That dog barks all day, and the cat cries all night.  Either way, your Edmond, Oklahoma neighbor’s pets are driving you crazy and you’re about to blow a gasket, unless…  Unless you are the neighbor with the annoying pets.  Does your outdoor kitty use the neighbor’s yard as a litter box?  Is your dog digging holes under the fence?  That’s bad enough.  Now, think about how the matter gets even more complicated if you live in a shared living arrangement like a condo, town home, or an apartment complex.

Whether you’re in a house, apartment, condo, or town home, and regardless of your furry best friend being a dog or a cat, here are a few tips on how a pet owner in close quarters can also be a good neighbor:

  1. Training.  Cat boxes, staying off the furniture, behavior on a leash, all domestic pet behaviors can be guided through proper training.  The trick is being consistent, rewarding with small treats, and frequent tidying of the cat box.
  2. Dog barking.  This is a big one for shared living complexes.  Our best advice?  Take your dog for a walk.  Get them (and yourself) some exercise.  Dogs bark when they need attention, so give them some!
  3. Keep indoor pets inside.  Domestic animals that spend their lives indoors do not know how to act when they get outside unsupervised and without restriction.  Cats can be attacked by other cats and dogs, and loose pet dogs can suffer the same fate with automobiles.

It’s also a good idea to know any local pet laws as well as HOA bylaws concerning pets.

Buying a Home After Bankruptcy

First things first.  If you’re still somewhere in the process of your bankruptcy there’s not much you’ll be able to do to work toward obtaining a new mortgage until your bankruptcy is discharged.  I’m not qualified to give legal advice, so check with your lawyer on the status of your case.  In the four types of bankruptcy filings (chapters 7, 11, 12, and 13) discharge happens at different points in the process.  For our purposes, discharge is the point at which the legal obligation to repay a debt is removed from the borrower(s).  For more information check here for the US Courts government page on bankruptcy.

After your discharge has occurred you’ll want to get copies from all three credit reporting agencies to make sure those discharged debts are removed from your reports.  And yes, you do have to check all three.  Just because one report is up to date does not mean the others are in the same condition.  Each agency collects and processes data independently, so be thorough.  Everyone is entitled to one free report each year from each of the three agencies – Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.  Don’t get roped into paying for extra unnecessary services from these companies.  You do not have to give them your credit card info for the free report.

After your bankruptcy is discharged and you clean up your credit reports it really comes down to making good financial decisions and rebuilding your credit.  Don’t plan on making any great headway quickly with this process; this is more of a marathon than a sprint, but it can be done.  Check out this great article for tips on credit rebuilding and responsible personal financing, and start working toward buying your first Edmond, Oklahoma home after bankruptcy.

Your Ideal Home Location (Part 2)

Okay, last time we discussed what goes into an ideal home location, taking into consideration school districts, views from the property, proximity to retail and service companies, and employment, and local economies.  Today I want to list some undesirable location features for our Edmond, Oklahoma home buyers so you’ll know what to look out for and avoid when searching for your next dream home:

  1. Near high traffic areas.  This includes homes next to railroad tracks and highways, or those which lie within flight patterns of nearby airports.
  2. High crime areas.  Do your research, and talk to your Realtor about areas in your town that have a higher occurrence of crime.
  3. Natural hazards.  Most of these don’t apply to our area, but in general teer clear of neighborhoods built on old landfill sites or in communities developed on old swamplands.  Likewise stay away from giant power stations.  Whether you believe they cause health issues or not, we can all agree they are awful to look at.  Proximity to the less frequently encountered nuclear power plant is just as undesirable.
  4. Locations next to industrial or commercial properties.  When you live right next to retail stores, restaurants, factories, or other businesses you are at the mercy of increased vehicle traffic, foot traffic and loitering, manufacturing noise, truck engines idling, lights from delivery vehicles at all times of the night, etc.

Your Ideal Home Location (Part 1)

What makes the ideal location for your next Edmond, Oklahoma dream home?  Is it proximity to shopping, medical facilities, entertainment?  Is it the actual size of the lot, or maybe the presence of large mature trees?  What about views of other natural landscape features?  You might say yes to all of these or none of them.  Today we present our list of desirable location benefits and features to help you sort through and prioritize your own list for when you’re ready to shift from home shopper to home buyer.

  1. Great school district.  If you have children you undoubtedly want your kids to go to great schools.  But whether you have children or not, a good school district has a positive impact on the resale values of ALL homes within its boundaries.
  2. Great views can include views of mountains, lakes, the ocean, forest, city lights, golf course, etc.  A great view can also mean no neighbors within sight!
  3. Proximity to retail establishments like grocery stores, movie theaters, gas stations, shopping strips or malls, restaurants, and night life.
  4. Proximity to service establishments like the post office, medical facilities, dentist, dry cleaners, public transportation, the airport, etc.
  5. Proximity to employment.  Makes sense.  Shorter commute equals more personal time.
  6. Stable local economy.  Residential property in depressed economic areas tend to have lower property resale values than more stable areas.

Uh…Location, Location, Location? (Part 2)

Continuing from last time…

If your ideal location is the most important deciding factor when Edmond, Oklahoma home shopping, here are some items on your wish list you may have to consider altering or giving up:

  1. Home size.  Never say never.  It’s possible you can get everything you want in a home, or close to it, just in a smaller package.  More square footage is a boon, so ask yourself how much space you’re willing to part with to get where you want to go.
  2. Lot size.  Okay, your lot is part of your location, but if your ideal location if prohibitive because of cost can you go with a smaller lot to still get in the neighborhood?  Can you go with the smaller lot because if you gain proximity to neighborhood parks and/or open areas?
  3. New or newer home.  Are you willing to go with an older home, or a home that needs some renovation to meet your ideal home standards just to get your ideal location?  What about a fixer-upper?
  4. Time.  When many people finally make the decision that it’s time to move, they’re ready to do it right now.  As with any home purchase, getting into your ideal location must take your finances into account.  Can you afford to purchase in that dream spot?  If not, how close are you to being able to afford it?  Maybe you just need a little more time to save up for the down payment.  Keep in mind the time you need to get your finances in order also give the properties in your area time to appreciate.  Other alternatives?  Are sellers in your area open to the idea of rent-to-own, applying part of your monthly rent toward an eventual down payment?  Just a thought.

Uh…Location, Location, Location?

Everyone knows the hackneyed answer to the question, What are the three most important factors in determining the value of a home? right?  It’s Location, location, location, as if to say location is by far the most (only) important factor in determining the value of a home.  Who’s to say if this expression truly applies to you?

So here’s an exercise.  What if, as an Edmond, Oklahoma home buyer, you’re faced with choosing between your ideal location and your ideal home?  For the sake of argument let’s say the perfect home you’ve got your eye on has the four bedrooms, three bath, two and half car garage, breakfast nook, and full finished, walkout basement you’ve always dreamed of.  The problem is it’s in a poor school district, has a tiny yard with no trees, and is thirty minutes away from the nearest interstate.

The perfect location for you and your family, also for sale in your market, has a giant back yard with a gorgeous stream behind the back property line, mature trees, lies within the most desirable school district boundary, and has easy, quick access to the highway for commuting.  However, the home in this ideal location lacks many of the features and benefits you’ve been dreaming of.

You understand the conundrum.  So which is more important to you, house or location?  School district lines, setting, lot size, and proximity to shopping, hospitals, post office, highways, etc. are things you can’t change.  Homes can be improved.  You may not necessarily have room to add a bedroom, but maybe you can add a bath?  And you can always renovate or remodel interiors, replacing old cabinets, appliances, light fixtures…and on and on.  So the question becomes, Are you prepared to supply the (time, finances, patience) of a few home projects?  Or can you simply do without some of the items on your dream home wish list?

Think about your answer for a couple days and check back next time when I’ll give you some tips on how you can decide for yourself which way to go, dream home or location, location, location.