Home Buyers Guide: What to Check in a Final Walk Through

What an exciting day; the day you close on your new home! A few days before, your REALTOR called to schedule the date and time of the final walk-through. You thought, “This is great! I needed to check the paint color in the kitchen and my parents want to see the house.” But that is not what the final walk-through is for. This is your final chance to see the property before you sign on the dotted line and close the sale. It is an appointment take seriously. You must stay focused and examine the condition of the property one last time.

The purchase agreement signed in the state of Minnesota requires the seller to warrant that the mechanicals including: central air conditioning, heating, plumbing and wiring systems are in working order on the date of closing. It also insures the buyer the right to a “walk-through” review of the property prior to closing. This is not something to waive. A few years ago, there was a news report of first-time buyers who had just closed on their new home. They intended to move right in after closing but arrived to find a nightmare. In the time since seeing the home and writing a purchase agreement, a pipe had burst and flooded the entire home. They skipped the final walk-through as they felt it a waste of time. They became the proud and very frustrated owners of a huge mess. Although they may have legal remedies for having the home repaired, these buyers would have been in a much better position if they negotiated with the seller prior to closing. Or in the case of this extreme damage, the buyers could have not signed the final documents to purchase the home.

Every buyer should do a final walk-through on the home as close to the closing as possible. I suggest to my clients that we schedule the walk-through immediately prior to the closing. We meet one hour before at the home to review the condition of the property and then go directly to the closing. Any problems are noted and I immediately contact the seller’s agent so they have time to discuss the situation with their seller before our arrival. The walk-through just prior to closing doesn’t eliminate every surprise that a new buyer might face.

But it significantly reduces the chance of closing on an unknown disaster. Here is a quick guide of some of the areas to consider during a final walk through Final Walk-Through Guide

Double Check the Paperwork **Are all work orders complete?

Exterior Review **Check for any changes to exterior since purchase agreement.

Plumbing Review **Check for any changes to plumbing since purchase agreement.

Interior Rooms Review **Check for any changes to interior since purchase agreement.

Electrical Review ****Check for any changes to electrical since purchase agreement.

Furnace and Air Conditioning Review Attic and Basement Review **Check for any changes since purchase agreement.

The final walkthrough should be done with a COMPLETE CHECKLIST and organized plan. After a review of the home inside and out with a checklist will get you back to exciting part of that final walk-through…Will the new sofa look better here or there?

A Buyer’s Guide To Home Buying: 5 Keys

Wouldn’t it be nice, if qualified, potential home buyers, would have a clear – cut, guide, akin to a cookbook, so, they might proceed, effectively and efficiently, on a regular basis, and, thus, make their best possible decisions. Since, for most people, their house is their single, largest financial asset, as well as a source of pride, and comfort, but, unfortunately, many consider the home buying experience, to be an extremely stressful, period of time. With that in mind, this article will attempt to briefly examine and consider, 5 keys to making the home buying experience, a better, more successful one.

1. Know the market/ competition, etc: One of the important reasons, I recommend, buyers hire a qualified, professional real estate agent, as their buyer’s agent, is the guidance and assistance, this individual will be able to supply. When a buyer begins, with realistic perception and understanding of the local market, he has a better idea, what is available, and how his needs, and finances, fit into that scenario! Is it a sellers or buyers market, or a neutral one? Knowing this, helps you understand, the best negotiating strategy, etc.

2. Be realistic: When one is ready, willing and able, to realistically, consider the possibilities, and market, he begins, with a realistic concept and idea, of what he might be able to afford, need, and prioritize! This reduces the stress levels, because there are fewer unfulfilled expectations, and running around, considering homes, which may be unaffordable, etc. When a buyer focuses on his needs, and priorities, and looks at realistic possibilities, the process, is consistently simplified, etc!

3. Structuring an offer – How to differentiate? You’ve gone through the process, and probably seen many houses, which you aren’t interested in! Finally, you believe you’ve found the right house for you. What’s the best way to secure it, if it is? In a buyers market, this is often less challenging, than in a sellers one! So, if you are in the latter type, it’s a good idea, to consider, the best way, to structure your offer, in a way, which differentiates you, from other buyers, and makes it more attractive to the seller, to sell their home, to you. Have you taken the time, and structured yourself, in such a way, so you have a better than average – sized, down – payment, as well as being pre – approved (not only qualified) for your mortgage.

4. Negotiating points, versus deal – breakers: Smart buyers recognize the difference between effectively negotiating, and what makes up a deal – breaker! One must know, what are your wishes, versus essential goals and priorities! Use the services of a well – respected, professional home inspector, and know, what items, are more significant.

5. Negotiating offers – priorities and approaches: When you begin with a professionally designed, Competitive Market Analysis (CMA), you will better recognize the difference between the listing price, and what might be a realistic offer. Everyone wants to get their deal, at the best possible price, but what that might be and represent, often depends on the local real estate market.

Hiring the right agent, for you and your needs, who understands your needs, goals and priorities, and will direct you properly, as a buyers agent, is the first step, a buyer should take! Then, you should listen to the individual, you’ve hired, consider these 5 keys, and proceed accordingly!

House Insurance Online Guide: 5 Mistakes You MUST Avoid When Buying Home Insurance

Home insurance is something that most people require. While it is very easy to search for house insurance online, it’s not as easy to actually select a policy. There are plenty of mistakes that people make when selecting coverage. Just one mistake can cost you dearly.

Since it’s probably one of – if not THE – most valuable asset you own, it’s essential that you buy the correct type of insurance for your house.

Here are some huge mistakes you’ll want to avoid when purchasing house insurance online:

Mistake #1: Underinsuring your home

Many people go with the lowest price thinking they will save money every month. They buy only enough insurance to cover the mortgage, or only insure the house for its real estate value, in the gamble that the house won’t burn to the ground or get flooded out.

But that shouldn’t be a gamble you take. What you should do is buy enough coverage so that you will easily be able to rebuild the home. Building a house usually costs more than what it is worth – especially considering the increase in construction prices.

Mistake #2: Not buying contents insurance

Don’t forget about the actual contents INSIDE the home when shopping around for house insurance. Make sure the policy includes your personal belongings. What are you going to do if your favorite, expensive piece of jewelry is stolen? Or all of the furniture, floors, and appliances on the first floor and basement are destroyed in a flood?

Mistake #3: Overestimating your amount of coverage

Don’t just assume that because the monthly payment is high that it covers everything. You must know all of the details of the policy. You could end up filing a claim for nothing. Before making any agreements with an insurance company, make sure you understand what is covered, what is not covered, when you will be allowed to make a claim, and for how much.

Mistake #4: Not setting your deductible correctly

Another common mistake many people make when buying house insurance online is setting their deductible either too low or too high. With too high of a deductible, you could end up with large premium payments. With it too low, you will wind up paying more out of the pocket when something goes wrong.

Mistake #5: Ignoring certain types of weather coverage

Whether you live at a high elevation and don’t think you’ll need flood coverage, or live outside of an area prone to earthquakes and don’t think you’ll need earthquake coverage, you are mistaken. Anything can cause a flood, including a plumbing disaster. Even if it’s not your entire property, you’ll still have some damages to worry about. As for an earthquake, there are states other than California, HI, and Alaska to worry about. There are Faults in other parts of North America as well.

Keep these factors in mind when searching for house insurance online. The best place to start is with Lemonade. It offers a variety of affordable policies for homeowners and renters, and even covers contents. If you’re lucky, you might even be able to find Lemoande sales and coupon offers.

The Insiders Guide to Buying a Lake Home

Bumper-to-bumper traffic. Heavy travel schedule. Job stress. The proverbial ‘rat race’. Ugh. These are just some of the reasons that people dream of owning a lakefront home or cottage, a getaway within a couple hours drive time, where they can unwind from the stress of the work and the city, and have fun. Jet skis, fishing, sun tan lotion, barbecues, and crickets. Ahh!

For those folks looking to live the lake property dream, it’s important to know that there’s more to consider about buying lakefront property than just drive time and whether the water’s wet. In fact, doing a little homework ahead of time will pay huge dividends down the road, maximizing the likelihood that the lakefront cottage may stay in the family for generations to come.

Taking some time up front is critical when it comes to buying lakefront property. It doesn’t take long, but there are some important things to consider. You don’t want to make the mistake of moving too quickly and regretting your purchase.

To help you, we’ve put together this quick read – a primer of sorts.

So, what are those key things to consider?

Well, there are a number of them. Some are about you, and some are about the lake and the property itself. And it’s helpful to be familiar with them before you start looking at properties. That way, you can have yours eyes open to the full range of considerations from the outset.

Let’s start with you. These are the primary questions to ask before you begin your lakefront property search:

What do you want to do at the lake?

This is a simple question, and it may be the most important, so it’s worth taking some time to consider.

Do you want to waterski and jet ski? Do you envision floating around on a pontoon? Is fishing important? Are you a kayaker? A birder?

Do you care what other people do? For example, do you want an all-sports lake, or do you prefer a quieter, no-wake lake?

2. How big of a lake are you looking for?

Size matters. Among other things, it will impact the types of activities you can do. For instance, just within 2-3 hours of Chicago, in southwest Michigan, there are lakes ranging in size from less than 50 acres, to the 2,680-acre Gun Lake. That’s a big range.

3. How close do you want your neighbors to be?

Would it matter if they’re close? Or would you prefer to have more open space between you and your neighbors? Naturally, some lakes are more populated than others.

What kind of lake home do you want?

4. How far are you willing to travel?

Most people have a desired drive time of less than two hours. Does that describe you too? Or are you open to traveling further? Your travel time will define a radius, within which will be your search area.

Now let’s move on to the lake and the property. Let’s say you’ve found the place that seems ideal. Congratulations! But before you move too fast – and you may need to move fast – these are important things to consider:

5. How deep is the lake?

The relevance of this question is that water clarity is a key sign of a younger lake, and is naturally more popular for swimmers, while older lakes will have less clarity, and those nutrients make them more popular for fisherman.

6. What’s the beachfront like?

Is it a sandy bottom or have more clay? Is it weedy or have lily pads? The beachfront will impact whether you can have a dock, and influence what type of dock makes the most sense.

7. Does the property you’re looking at have its own private beach, or is it a common beach?

There are advantages and disadvantages to both, but most importantly, you want to know the details that relate to the property you’re considering buying before you buy it.

8. Is the property in a homeowners association?

It’s not uncommon for lake properties to be in neighborhoods with private roads, and sometimes with other common areas. You’ll want to know these details ahead of time, before making an offer. It’s always a good idea to be comfortable with any by-laws or covenants of the homeowners association before making a purchase.

9. Is there anything of note about the lake?

Does it have a reputation, good or bad? Does it have characteristics that are likely to influence property values?

There are other things to consider, but these are the highlights.

The bottom line is that it’s important to have a good conversation about these things before even looking at individual properties. And later, when you’ve found a place and want to make an offer, be sure that offer includes contingencies that allow you to do your full range of due diligence before closing.

Get Help!

Find an agent that truly understands lake properties – if they don’t know enough about all the unique details that come with the lake lifestyle, they can’t adequately represent your best interests. Do your own due diligence to find an agent with the necessary knowledge.

Take into consideration the full range of questions, do your homework and be careful to do your due diligence. Of course, in that regard, it’s also important to work with a qualified and competent Realtor. With proper planning, you’ll make a great decision, and then it’s good times, here we come!