I WANT TO SELL FSBO – WHAT NOW? – II Next steps from a real estate attorney

Mr. Teitle very graciously agreed to write a very informative article to help Home Sellers with an overview of what they can expect, and what they need to anticipate. Please note that this article does not eliminate the need for an attorney, and does not provide guarantees implied or express. This is Part II of this helpful post. For Part I please click
here.
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In my experience, the biggest concern most sellers have is how to handle the actual discussion and negotiations concerning terms of the contract.  Real estate law provides that agreements affecting real estate which are not signed and in writing are not binding and effective.  In other words, it is legally acceptable and quite normal for parties to verbally discuss the terms of an offer prior to putting them in a formal written contract called an Offer to Purchase (“Offer”) or Purchase Agreement (“Agreement”), which are interchangeable terms.  These discussions happen in most deals, and in some cases can also include email exchanges or text messages.  Please remember you should retain any electronic communications with the other party in case of need for reference as to what was discussed.  Always be aware, however, that once a final written agreement is signed by both parties, the law provides that all previous conversations, emails or texts do not matter, and both buyer and seller are legally bound by the specific terms of the final document they signed.

To be prepared for these conversations and communications, know the issues you need to see reflected in the Offer or Agreement.  In any residential purchase, the most common and important terms include the price, amount of earnest money, closing date, and contingencies such as financing, appraisal, inspection and other issues (such as a contingency of selling buyer’s home) or concessions (such as seller contribution to closing costs and prepaid items, specific allowance or home warranty).  A contingency is defined as something which must occur for closing to happen.  If a contingency included in writing is not satisfied, it generally results in the agreement being terminated and the buyer’s earnest money being refunded.  Finally, if buyer wants to purchase some of your personal property, such as appliances or patio furniture, you are free to include such items in the price of the home or agree upon another price.  Either way this should be done with a separate Bill of Sale, which your attorney can provide.

As a FSBO seller you certainly have the option ask for a buyer to present any offer in writing, which sometimes helps determine how serious that buyer is about your transaction.  If you do so, be sure to suggest that the buyer contacts a real estate attorney as opposed to a realtor (which will introduce a commission into the picture, usually paid by you).  However, you should also be mindful of the possibility that the buyer will not have an attorney, or may not want to go through the trouble of contacting an attorney.  In this case, don’t worry.  You can tell the buyer that once you come to verbal agreement on the terms of the deal, you can have your attorney draft an Offer or Agreement, and it can be presented from seller to buyer.  In such cases your attorney cannot represent both parties, and buyer would simply act without legal representation.

As far as a seller is concerned, a binding contract does not exist until there is a signed document.  You can expect any sophisticated buyer to press you for a response to a written offer within 24-48 hours, to decrease the risk that another buyer will step in with a better offer.  If a buyer puts a deadline to accept in writing, the offer legally expires at that time.  Sometimes ongoing counteroffers or responses cause a deadline for acceptance to be missed, in which case the original offer stands officially null and void unless revived by the parties.  The term “counteroffer” under contract law means to make a different offer, and it also constitutes a rejection of the most recent offer or counteroffer which has been made to you.  As seller, this means if the buyer makes a counteroffer to your original offer and you respond with another counter, the buyer can choose to reject your counter and walk away.  In other words, once you reject an offer by making a counter to it, you have no right to go back and accept the last offer made to you, as the other party may choose to withdraw it.  This becomes important in multiple offer situations.  Your real estate attorney can advise you on the most effective way to approach these scenarios, and how to handle more than one interested party.

Once you have a fully signed offer or agreement (remember, this is after all buyers have signed and initialed your disclosure forms and received the pamphlets), immediately get a copy to the buyer, as the lender cannot in most cases begin processing buyer’s loan application until they have received it.  The most common reason for closings being delayed is lenders not having authority to actually fund the loan, due to insufficient or untimely information.  As a seller, feel free to check in with buyer as you move toward closing, to ask if everything is going fine with the loan process.  Also ask when the appraisal will be ordered, and when you will get notice of its completion and whether the property appraised as required.  Ultimately, if the buyer is not prepared to proceed to closing on the contractually agreed date, the agreement usually allows seller the option to walk away from the deal without consequence.

Within a short time after the Offer or Agreement is signed, the buyer will arrange for home inspections by contacting a licensed home inspector and/or radon inspector.  Lenders also typically require a wood-destroying pest inspection.  As a seller, you will need to make the property available for those inspections.  Once the report is received, buyer must give notice to seller of any deficiencies.  Failure to give notice properly or timely can mean the buyer waiving the right to address such deficiencies.  In many agreements, if buyer raises deficiencies and seller declines to remedy them according to buyer’s demands, the deal is generally null and void until and unless a new agreement is reached, and buyer’s earnest money is refunded.  If the parties agree on certain deficiencies being resolved, often an addendum to the original agreement is prepared and signed to clarify exactly what seller is obligated to do.

Selling a home is a serious endeavor, but the FSBO process is actually very manageable with the right information and the guidance of an experienced real estate attorney who routinely handles these matters.  Competent advice about your questions, explanation of legal concepts and knowledge of typical practices in your community can help you get where you want to be.  Your attorney will also take care of transfer documents and closing, ensuring a successful end to the transaction.  Now that you know what to do, start planning for your FSBO sale today, and good luck with your listing!

 

Justin A. Teitle
Attorney at Law
Teitle Law Offices, P.C.

www.teitlelaw.com

This article is not intended as legal advice, and cannot be relied upon in that manner.  In order to get representation specific to your needs, contact a licensed real estate attorney for more information.

Thank you for visiting our QCFSBO blog.  For our main site visit QCFSBO.com

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I WANT TO SELL FSBO – WHAT NOW? – I Next steps from a real estate attorney

Mr. Teitle very graciously agreed to write a very informative article to help FSBO Sellers with an overview of what they can expect, and what they need to anticipate. Please note that this article does not eliminate the need for an attorney, and does not provide guarantees implied or express.

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You’re finally ready for the big move.  You have spent years of effort, time and money investing in your house.  It is the biggest purchase you will make in your lifetime.  But are you ready to protect all of your equity?  Simply put, having a solid plan for the sale of your property makes a difference of thousands, and often tens of thousands of dollars to your bank account.  For decades homeowners saw the FSBO process for real estate as somewhere between overwhelming and impossible.  In recent times, however, the transparency of the online world has demystified the process of selling a home on your own, allowing homeowners a tremendous opportunity to save.

There are some practical considerations which will help protect your interests at the outset.  One is to closely examine the terms of any agreement for the online listing of your property.  Make sure you understand the not just the upfront fees, but the total cost you will pay when closing is over, as this can vary considerably from one company to the next.  Also be certain you understand how much is owed if your listing does not result in a sale and you choose to remove your property from the website.  Additionally, recognize that for a seller, appraisals and home inspections add cost, are not necessarily always advantageous, and are not legally required, so don’t assume you will need them.

When it comes to handling legal matters, resist the temptation to think you can take care of everything by just downloading a package of canned documents from the internet.  Not only does this approach fail to cover all the legal help you will need in the course of a real estate sale, but in many instances that I have seen, the documents in question are either inadequate, incorrect, or both.  As a result, the seller ends up in an expensive legal battle and can be exposed to financial liability, or can lose rights which should have been preserved.  Online forums are much the same these days.  If I believed they were safe for you to rely on, I would come out and say so.  Unfortunately they tend to feature misinformation and incomplete solutions.  A capable lawyer will guide you through the transaction and provide the support you need to get things done efficiently, while answering the questions you will inevitably have along the way.

Before you move forward on listing, consider the things you need in place to make the buyer feel he or she is dealing with someone organized and professional.  This is not only about the obvious things like deep cleaning and decluttering, but also about legal preparedness, and being ready to anticipate the various aspects needed to protect your interests.

The first, most important step for a seller is to complete the disclosure statements required by state and federal law.  Disclosure statements must be provided to and acknowledged by a buyer before a purchase agreement can be signed.  Accompanying the disclosure statements are informational pamphlets regarding topics including lead based paint and radon.  If the home is subject to restrictive covenants, buyers must also be given access to those documents.  In certain situations a seller may be exempt from providing disclosures, but this is the exception rather than the rule.

Some sellers worry that making a certain disclosure will drive buyers away.  In my experience, the reality is that being honest and forthcoming on your disclosure form makes buyers more confident they are dealing with the type of person they want to buy from.  Additionally, properly completing disclosures in accordance with applicable laws helps protect sellers from liability in the event something goes wrong with a property after closing is over.  A real estate attorney should be able to provide you with the necessary forms and review them in order to offer advice and answer your questions.  If this topic doesn’t come up in your initial conversation, you may want to look for a different attorney.

Iowa law requires any home with a private septic system to pass a certified inspection prior to transfer.  This is typically the one inspection done at seller’s expense, and you can find a list of DNR certified inspectors online, click here.  Because of the time such inspections take, it is often good to schedule them either prior to listing, or as soon as you have a signed purchase agreement.

Another topic sellers don’t often think about is the title history of their home.  Legal issues affecting your title can come up as a result of events such as divorce, death, judgments, liens, easements and other matters.  Ensuring you will be able to pass clear title is critical to every seller’s closing.  In Iowa, the written title history of your property is contained in a document called an abstract, which your attorney will assist in having updated prior to a closing.  In Illinois, arrangements for title insurance will be made, and a title search will be performed.  If you can alert your attorney to past issues which may impact title, there is a greater opportunity to solve those issues and avoid a delay in closing, or worse yet, not closing at all.

Additionally, take time to recall the history of all of the features of your home, paying particular attention to the upgrades and improvements you have made over time.  Including these details in your listing will not only help answer questions accurately, but should impress buyers that you have taken care of the property and contributed to the extra value you are seeking in your asking price.  If you are aren’t sure about a detail, refer back to paperwork from the time you bought the home originally.

Finally, before you go to list your house for sale online, do your market research.  After years of watching clients sell their homes, I can say without question that the top reason for a property moving slowly or failing to generate interest is exactly what you think – it’s price, price and price.  Spend time looking at comparable sales on the Scott County Assessor’s page (Iowa), or use other online tools, and in the end, just be reasonable.  Legally speaking, you can always agree to concessions in a number of ways, but only if you are able to get the buyer’s attention.

Another item important to sellers is closing costs.  Typically, the seller’s closing costs are made up of their transfer taxes ($1.60 per $1,000.00 in Iowa, with first $500.00 in value exempt, and $1.50 per $1,000.00 in Illinois), abstracting or title insurance, attorney fees and property taxes accruing through the date of closing.  We estimate the total seller closing costs not counting property taxes to generally run somewhere in a range of about $1,750.00 – $2,250.00, including the above items.  Individual cases may vary up or down somewhat.

Special note – although you may be current in your property tax payments, they are always billed in arrears.  Hence, the taxes you are paying this year are actually for the prior year’s ownership.  We advise clients to be conservative and assume they may have to address about a year’s worth of property taxes at closing, depending on which month of the year they are closing.  If you are currently escrowing your property taxes with a lender as part of your mortgage payment, then upon closing and payoff of your loan, you will receive a refund of any amounts left in your escrow account for taxes and insurance which the lender will no longer be paying on your behalf.  Other than the above closing costs, sellers may incur a small overnight or wire fee in connection with the loan payoff.  Buyers should be paying their own inspection fees, application and loan fees, attorney fees and other closing costs, unless you agree to contribute to those items.

Once you have officially listed your property, be ready to engage potential buyers about what needs to happen in order to make a deal.  In particular, if a buyer expresses serious interest in the house, or mentions the possibility of making an offer, ask to see a letter of pre-approval of financing.  Initially a general letter of pre-approval from a buyer may simply refer to the creditworthiness of the buyer, which is at least a helpful indicator that a credit check was done.  It is also advisable to tell the buyer that when making a written offer, you would like to see a pre-approval letter specific to the address of your house and the purchase price the buyer is offering.  This still does not a guarantee a loan will be approved, as final loan commitments are not given until very close to the time of closing, after full lender underwriting and title work are complete.  However, it is as much assurance as you can get at this stage of the process.  For a cash buyer, request a letter specifying the buyer has sufficient funds available in a specific amount for the purchase price.

For the Second Blog Post which will continue this topic, please click here.

Justin A. Teitle
Attorney at Law
Teitle Law Offices, P.C.
www.teitlelaw.com

This article is not intended as legal advice, and cannot be relied upon in that manner.  In order to get representation specific to your needs, contact a licensed real estate attorney for more information.

Thank you for visiting our QCFSBO blog.  For our main site visit QCFSBO.com

How do You Hygge?

How do You Hygge?

After weeks of dry and warm Summer months, I am sitting here on this Wednesday afternoon, watching the rain cascade down the windows, while in the distance rumbles of thunder make me wonder how my dog at home is holding up. He does not like thunder.  I actually do like rainy days – especially when they are not interfering with the QCFSBO photoshoots. But there just is something about sitting in a dry, and warm place, preferably with a cup of something warm, and a good book, don’t you think?

Some years ago, a new buzzword arrived on the scene and has stubbornly hung around since. The word ‘Hygge’ was thrown at us by just about every website, dozens of books, blogs, TV etc. Just on the remote off chance that you have spent the past few years on a sunny island in the Caribbean, blissfully and completely off the grid, Hygge is a Danish term meant to convey the sharing of friendship and family in a warm and comforting environment. If you had mental images of flickering candlelight, warm fires either outside, or in an indoor fireplace, blankets, and an intimate group of smiling people sitting together holding steaming beverages, then you pretty much got it.

It makes sense that the Danes have this concept, and I’d wager the other Northern folk have it too. They have weeks of complete or near darkness, lots of snow and ice, and within that grew a tight sense of sharing and community. Even the Germans have a concept called Gemütlichkeit which is rather similar to the Danish Hygge, but seriously, unless you’re German you’re probably better of  pronouncing Hygge  rather than Gemütlichkeit. The idea behind it though is the same, togetherness, community but focusing on small, comfortable groups of people, a sharing of anything from food and drink to a comfortable silence, to music, or conversation, there are no rules really.

As late summer approaches early fall we all recognize that feeling that comes with it. A feeling of nostalgia as the signs of the change in seasons makes itself known from the increase of rain, to the slant of the sunlight in the evenings, and the gradual flocking of birds in a changing landscape.

Hygge shouldn’t cost you anything other than what you already have. Don’t get sucked in to clever marketing, you don’t need the cuddly Scandinavian blankets, or the mugs with the moose, what you have on hand will do just fine. If you have friends, call them over on an impromptu evening, just enjoy being together, light some candles, offer warm beverages, maybe you baked cookies, or have other simple snacks. Remember that Hygge is not about entertaining, but rather a time of shared comfort and togetherness.  My best friends and I have what might be considered an entire hyggelig weekend every autumn where the three of us rent a cabin for a few nights, bring food,  tea, coffee, wine and our knitting. Yes, we talk a lot, but we also sit for hours in comfortable silence  as the camp fire spits and crackles before us, and our needles click in a reassuring rhythm as we make magic with our yarn, row after row.

The idea here is to reconnect and stay connected with your friends and family without stressing out over entertaining, cleaning, having the right snacks, choosing the right music, and stressing over your wine selection.

I think I’ll text my friend now and ask her if she wants to come over this Friday for “einen gemütlichen Abend, “ or a hyggelig evening.

[photo credit liolaliola on instagram.]

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Copyright © 2019 Quad City Virtual, Inc. (an IOWA Corporation). All rights reserved.
Unauthorized commercial use of any content of this web page or redistribution in any form, print or electronic, is prohibited.

 

Sometimes it just takes a little longer

If you get offended easily, this may not be the right article for you to read. May we instead suggest this article.

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I don’t understand why we’re not getting any offers….

The age old lament of FSBO sellers, and usually the same age old reasons.

#1. It’s often the price. No, they just know they got it priced right. After all, a Realtor friend did the market analysis for them (ahem). We’ll circle back later to this one and take a closer look.

#2. Sometimes it’s the location. Some locations are just perfect for some people, but not so much for others. You might love living out in the sticks to be awoken by the cheerful crowing of the rooster down the lane and across the field. But not everyone wants to be woken up at 4:37 AM, or travel thirty minutes (one way) to get some milk because someone left it out on the counter in the morning (you know who you are).

Seriously, this of course is extreme, but locations do matter to an extent. A few years ago everyone and their uncle wanted to move up to a few towns just north of the Iowa side of the QCA because of – new neighborhoods and  school system. And that area is still smokin’ hot. Now entire clans are also moving to one of the QC Cities on the Iowa side because – neighborhoods and schools. Does that mean the other areas are not as good to live in or go to school at? Of course not, but it’s about perception. And in real estate, perceptions sell.

3.1 –  Sometimes the lament comes from sellers who have by all appearances priced their house relatively right, but are still not selling.  And sometimes we’re just itching to be honest, but decorum and business sense prevail and so we bite our tongues and grind our teeth. The question becomes one of not wanting to hurt feelings, and maintaining a polite relationship, or being truthful. What is one to do? We have seen homes with really stained and dirty siding which looks grungy even in the photos. Or basements which look like there’s several generations of stuff no one wants to deal with shoved in. We have seen homes with blankets nailed over the window in lieu of curtains, and homes so pungently reeking of cat pee, it made the photographer’s eyes water (that one was ultimately torn down and turned into a parking lot, no joke).  How a house appears matters. If it looks untidy, dirty, and unkempt it makes the potential buyer wonder what mechanical defects might be lurking and then they won’t even want to call or visit the Open House. Here’s another link where I try to address this and why it’s important to fix it.

3.2 – Sometimes the house is clean and neat and the price may be not that bad either, certainly within a  ballpark, but there is still no offer. And it might be because the 80’s called, they want their stuff back! We see houses  with fixtures which still scream brass, and hunter green carpet, not to mention several layers of wallpaper. We’ve seen neat as a pin kitchens with ancient Formica countertops and equally vintage linoleum floors, and pink tiled bathrooms so commendably clean, they’re giving off enough Pinesol fumes to make Mr. Clean get the vapors. But the fact remains, the house is dated.  The buyers are likely looking at all that work and they keep searching for a home which may be priced a bit higher but is at least for the most part updated. Updating this stuff not only cost money, but doing it takes time and nerves, and as we all know… you never know what other issues might crop up while you’re doing these improvements.

Now, let’s circle back to #1. The price. Actually, folks, I stalk people who leave our site to list with an agent. Not all of them, but some.  If they list with a real estate agent I write down when, and who with, and for how much. Then I keep tabs on when they lower their price, and by how much, and when/if they close and for how much. What we see is that the large majority, of those fine folk,  many of whom called us numerous times to get their stats (hits), and bemoan the fact that though they had a lot of hits didn’t get offers, end up lowering their price, considerably before selling. And guess what? Not only did they lower their price, but now they paid a commission anywhere in the neighborhood of 6-7%. We tell people, if you are getting a good amount of hits, but are not getting calls, revisit your price. Normally we then hear a long explanation of why they are asking that price. And then if they give up and go with an agent, they sometimes lower their price right away, but more often only after a few weeks.

I was a Realtor. And when I was a brand new agent, I had a mentor, who was really amazing in many regards, a great person. She taught me a lot. And the manager of the firm (who years later listed her own house with us, after the retired vice president of the company listed two of his properties with us also)  let me borrow tapes by this realtor guru. Yup folks, tapes. Way before streaming. But I have no doubt that these same lessons and techniques are still used, after all, people haven’t changed. These lessons had titles like ‘How to Overcome Objections’, How to get more Listings’, ‘How to deal with FSBOs’ and so on. Back then FSBOs were sort of a nuisance pest. They generally weren’t effective, all they had were the local newspapers and a sign in their yard.  But between my mentor and the tapes, one of the first  lessons I learned was to never argue with the Seller about the listing price when trying to get their listing.  Be enthusiastic, ‘Oh sure Steve Seller, this is a great house, it’s just the exposure is better with us. We have the MLS!’ (You should next read this article on that, btw). The idea is to first forge a positive relationship with the client. Once trust is established then you can go back after a few weeks with a chagrined expression and tell the client, ‘you know, I was so positive that this was a good price, and that it would move, but my colleagues have had a look at the listing and feel that I may have been a bit too optimistic. I’m so sorry guys,  but I think you may want to consider lowering the price.’

In that same real estate firm I worked at was another agent whom I remember rather less fondly, but one of the things he said then was as dead on the money then as it is now.

‘You can sell a dog house in Manhattan as long as you price it right.‘  He never bought into the Location, Location, Location schtick. His point was, if the location wasn’t optimum, adjust the price. It might take a little longer to sell, but sell it will.

And that applies for a good many issues with a property. If you price it right for the location, for the condition, and possible other factors….it will sell. It might take a little longer to sell compared to something in the hottest location and newly decorated and updated, but sell it will.

Tell me this…. if REALTORS and their MLS are obviously what you need to sell – according to them, then WHY IS THEIR AVERAGE LISTING PERIOD 6 MONTHS? We routinely see smart people only giving themselves 1 or 2 months to go FSBO but then stay for months listed with Realtors, lower their price anyway and then pay thousands of dollars in commission on top of it. I’m filing this under Observations made over the past 20 years!

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Copyright © 2019 Quad City Virtual, Inc. (an IOWA Corporation). All rights reserved.
Unauthorized commercial use of any content of this web page or redistribution in any form, print or electronic, is prohibited.

 

 

The Lure of a Fresh Start

Have you ever looked at your messy kitchen/bathroom, laundryroom, garage/house and thought… I should just blowtorch that, or failing that move? Well, maybe you haven’t, but let me tell you, lots of people have.  Insurance companies, and public prosecutors as a rule frown on arson, so option one is ill advised – really don’t do it.  But you’re not the only one who sometimes just wants to move and make a fresh start.  And that brings me to this post.

When people get ready for a move, a curious thing happens to them emotionally.  Just about everyone has images of a fresh start, of reinventing themselves.  It’s like New Year, in a way, everyone makes resolutions and promises. They’ll toss around statements like ‘we’re always going to clean up the kitchen before we go to bed once we’re in the new house,’ or ‘ we won’t let the mail pile up any more’, in addition to promises of ‘we’re going to walk on the nearby bike trail at least four times a week’ and ‘this time we won’t let the closets get out of shape, and to boot, the laundry room will always look like a page of an AFTER photoshoot in HGTV magazine.

When you sell your home, you are also , in a way, selling those dreams and hopes, and resolutions, and it is within your power to make your home look and feel like it will be possible.

stuffedcloset
Let’s be honest, chances are you’re only wearing a fraction of the clothes in your closet. No matter how neatly placed everything is, when it’s overstuffed it immediately makes even the largest closet feel insufficient.  Since you have to sort and pack anyway, do it before photos and showings.

By paring down the contents of  your closets, your basement storage area, your garage, your kitchen pantry and cabinets,  you are offering a glimpse at the possibilities that will come with the purchase of your property.  Do you have a kitchen desk?  Clean it off! Only keep a desk calendar, a few pens,  and  some pretty stationery at most.  Allow people the wholesome mental image of sitting at that very desk and penning thank you cards for the housewarming gifts they got after moving in this house. While you’re at it, take those magnets of your fridge, they just make your kitchen look cluttered.

Messy Kitchen
This does not give a good first, second, or final impression.  Clean of counters, remove everything including sponges, towels etc. Leave at the most three things on your kitchen counter, like coffeemaker, toaster, and the pot with the utensils. Everything else must go! Even small, and dated kitchens will look better if tidy.
Niceandneat kitchen.
This is the remodeled kitchen in an older house, and just look at the clear counters. No trashcan in sight, no unsightly magnets, no dishtowels draped over oven handles. Pure perfection!

Remove EVERYTHING except hand soap off your bathroom counters and neatly keep them under the sink.  Place a little flower arrangement, or a lovely candle next to some fluffy towels. Let people get that spa feel help them  envision themselves luxuriating in your perfect bathroom.

wastedpotential
What a lovely bathroom, what a lack of ambition. Is it convenient to have everything at your fingertips as you primp for the day? Sure, but when selling your house, put everything out of sight as soon as you’re done using it. Clutter is clutter no matter how neatly arranged. This bathroom clearly has a lot of storage space! Complete the look of this lovely space by adding some decorative items, a nice rug, and some plants.

 

When you have a showing, or if preparing for a photoshoot, don’t just make the master bed,  but place a tray on it with a teapot, two mugs,  a small vase with a flower or three, some teabags. Even if you get this stuff from a dollar store, put it together with a cute cloth napkin,  and it’ll look like a million bucks!  One of our customers did it and I can’t find the picture, but I tell you, it looked fantastic!  It only takes a few seconds and you can change the ambiance from utilitarian – this is where you pass out at the end of a long and wearisome day- to – this is a refuge, a haven from a long day where you can recharge your body and spirit.  Place some Zen and relaxation minded books on the bedside table,  if you’re ambitious, and stage  it further.  Declare a feeling of relaxation, of vacation at home, that can come if people just had your house and your bedroom.

People have dreams, that is why HGTV, BHG, Country Living, Architectural Digest, etc are so popular.  People are buying dreams! If you’re into Tumblr or Instagram, take a peek at  the many pictures of beautiful country homes,  farm houses, etc . We all want a feeling of home, of content, stress free living, of peacefulness.  When you’re selling your home, remember  that you are tapping into those feelings for the potential buyer. It’s not just square feet, but also dreams and hopes.

 

Thank you for visiting our QCFSBO blog.  For our main site visit QCFSBO.com

Copyright © 2019 Quad City Virtual, Inc. (an IOWA Corporation). All rights reserved.
Unauthorized commercial use of any content of this web page or redistribution in any form, print or electronic, is prohibited.

 

Your Pets and the New House

When we moved into our new home a few years ago, everyone was delighted with the new environment.

Everyone that is, except the dog.

We had assumed that our dog would be happy to be just where we were, and would adjust rapidly to the new home, but unfortunately that turned out not to be the case. In fact, our five-year-old terrier went into a depressed state, and mostly stayed in our windowless mudroom where he moped about and slept. He didn’t even really want to eat and we had to bribe him with liberal amounts of goodies to restart his appetite.

When I took him  few weeks later on a visit to the house we had moved out of, which we were cleaning up to put on the market, he was very agitated, and unhappy, and wanted nothing more than to get back in the car. I had thought he would be happy to roam about his old garden and chase a few squirrels, but that turned out not to be the case. I had to cut short my plans of cleaning in order to take my very confused hound home.

During the first few weeks I spent a lot of unplanned time with our dog, petting him, talking to him, making him come out of the mudroom, and taking him for frequent walks through the new neighborhood even in inclement weather. It took about two months before he had once again returned to his normal happy, and goofy personality.  The side effect of this has remained; he has become a complete mama’s boy and will always be in my vicinity, although the fact that I do the cooking may have something to do with it as well.

Talking to our customers I learned that this was not an unusual reaction and that other people had noticed a similar temporary personality change in their pet.

Here are a few tips when you make a move.

1. On the day of the actual move ask a friend to keep your dog at their home. The cat may be best kept in her carrier for a few hours. If you cannot ask someone to watch your dog, then be sure to crate or kennel it.  Under no circumstances leave them unsecured, even an older dog may get unnerved and spooked with the goings on as they watch people literally take their house apart.

2. Once in the new location, keep your pets secured until all the doors are closed after the last of the boxes and furniture have been brought in. If you let your cat out of her carrier, you may consider doing it in a locked room, and letting her get used to that one room first. Make sure familiar items are in the room for her, and of course water and food and her litter box. Even if your dog is normally well behaved off the leash and not given to straying, he is at risk in the new location. Keep them leashed for the first few weeks if you have no fence.

3. Your animals may initially display signs of depression; they may be clingy, or avoiding interaction. Take your dog on plenty of walks, and make sure the kids don’t pester them, but are kind and patient. Resume your old routine and your furry  family members will soon settle in. Some suggestions I have read say that cats should be introduced to the new residence a room at a time, some say to make sure to let her know where the litterbox and food are and then let her get used to the house on her own pace even if that means you don’t see her for a few days as she stays hidden under a bed.

4. Resist the urge to buy them a new pet bed etc to match with the new décor as soon as you move in, they need familiarity more than anything at this point, and you can upgrade their beds once they have settled in.

Do you have some additional tips and ideas you’d like to share? Put them in the comments!

——
Thank you for visiting our QCFSBO blog.  For our main site visit QCFSBO.com 

Copyright © 2018 Quad City Virtual, Inc. (an IOWA Corporation). All rights reserved.
Unauthorized commercial use of any content of this web page or redistribution in any form, print or electronic, is prohibited.

 

 

I FOUND THE RIGHT HOUSE – NOW WHAT? Next steps from a Real Estate attorney – Part III

Mr. Teitle very graciously agreed to write a very informative article to help Home Buyers with an overview of what they can expect, and what they need to anticipate. Please note that this article does not eliminate the need for an attorney, and does not provide guarantees implied or express. 

Justin A. Teitle
Attorney at Law
Teitle Law Offices, P.C.
www.teitlelaw.com

Part III

Once you have a fully signed offer or agreement, if you are financing the property, you should immediately get a copy to your lender, as the lender cannot in most cases begin processing your application until they have received it.  Ask your lender what, if any, additional documentation they need from you to keep the process moving, and the deadlines by which you need to provide it.  The most common reason for closings being delayed is lenders not having authority from their underwriters to actually fund the loan, due to insufficient or untimely information.  Lenders are subject to many regulations, and you want to make sure you are not the reason for a delay.  This is very important because in most cases, if buyer is not prepared to proceed to closing on the closing date, the agreement allows seller the option to walk away from the deal without consequence.  You don’t want to learn that lesson the very painful way, so stay on top of your loan officer with calls or emails throughout the time between signing the offer and closing, to ensure everything is going smoothly according to plan.  Our community has many fine loan officers and lending professionals who will not mind when you check in from time to time. Ask your lender when the appraisal will be ordered, and when you will get notice of its completion.

It’s now time to get rolling on your home inspections by contacting a licensed home inspector and/or radon inspector.  As a buyer, you always want to be personally present for any inspection, which allows you to ask all the questions you have, so you can learn the most about the home you are about to buy.  Once the report is received, be vigilant about remembering to follow the terms of your agreement in giving notice to seller of any deficiencies you are asking to be resolved.  Failure to give notice properly or timely can mean waiving your rights to address such deficiencies.  In many agreements, if buyer raises deficiencies and seller declines to remedy them according to buyer’s demands, the deal is null and void until and unless a new agreement is reached, and buyer’s earnest money is refunded.

A qualified real estate attorney should speak to you or meet with you personally concerning your offer and the process of buying a home.  Your rights are defined and protected by careful drafting of appropriate documents, and competent advice concerning all of your questions.  Your attorney should be familiar with local practices and customary terms, and can help you consider the specifics of your options.  Going the FSBO route as a buyer doesn’t mean having to rely on finding your own internet forms (which are most often inadequate, and in many cases actually harmful to you), or being presented only terms drafted by the seller’s attorney, which you may or may not fully understand.  Given that real estate is the single largest purchase many people will make, taking time and effort to do it right will save you headaches down the line.

Now that you are aware of the next steps to take, you can be better prepared to secure and close on the house you choose from the thriving FSBO market here in the Quad Cities.

 

Justin A. Teitle
Attorney at Law
Teitle Law Offices, P.C.
www.teitlelaw.com

This article is not intended as legal advice, and cannot be relied upon in that manner.  In order to get representation specific to your needs, contact a licensed real estate attorney for more information.


Thank you for visiting our QCFSBO blog.  For our main site visit QCFSBO.com

Copyright © 2019 Quad City Virtual, Inc. (an IOWA Corporation). All rights reserved.
Unauthorized commercial use of any content of this web page or redistribution in any form, print or electronic, is prohibited.

I FOUND THE RIGHT HOUSE – NOW WHAT? Next steps from a Real Estate attorney – Part II

Mr. Teitle very graciously agreed to write a very informative article to help Home Buyers with an overview of what they can expect, and what they need to anticipate. Please note that this article does not eliminate the need for an attorney, and does not provide guarantees implied or express. 

Justin A. Teitle
Attorney at Law
Teitle Law Offices, P.C.
www.teitlelaw.com

Part II

You must also consider the terms you want to include in your offer.  In any residential purchase, the most common and important terms include the price, earnest money, closing date, and contingencies such as financing, appraisal, inspection and other contingencies (such as a contingency of selling your own home) or concessions (such as seller contribution to closing costs and prepaid items).  A contingency is something which must occur for closing to happen.  If a contingency included in writing is not satisfied, it generally results in the agreement terminating and the buyer’s earnest money being refunded.

Many people are not aware that Iowa law requires any home with a private septic system to pass a certified inspection prior to transfer.  There are other topics you may want to cover in your offer, such as your right to review and approve any covenants, bylaws and rules associated with a Homeowners Association, as well as whether you are asking for any appliances or other personal property to stay with the house.  As a buyer, you may also want the seller to provide you with a home warranty, covering certain items for a year after closing.  The above list is not exhaustive, but includes the most common things you and seller will ultimately need to agree upon.

Assuming there’s nothing in the disclosures which causes you to change your mind, you are now prepared to tell the seller you would like to make an offer.  In real estate law, agreements affecting real estate which are not signed and in writing are not effective.  In other words, it is legally acceptable and practically speaking, generally expected to verbally discuss terms of an offer with a seller before putting them in writing in a formal written contract called an Offer to Purchase (“Offer”) or Purchase Agreement (“Agreement”).  These are interchangeable terms in real estate.  These discussions happen in most deals, and in some cases can also include email exchanges or text messages.  Keep in mind however, that once a final written, signed agreement is made between parties, the law provides that previous emails or texts do not control, and both buyer and seller are legally bound by the “four corners” of the final document they signed.

As a FSBO buyer, you will also find that some sellers prefer a more formal approach to the negotiations, and will ask that you present any offer in writing, which is also a way for a seller to determine how serious you may be.  In that case, you will need to take the step of contacting a real estate attorney to draft an offer before knowing for certain that seller is planning to accept it. Although there is some risk associated with spending a little time and money on such an offer, it may be necessary to get the discussion moving, and eventually needs to be done regardless if you come to an agreement with the seller.  Otherwise, if you are able to have good preliminary discussions and come to verbal agreement on the basic terms with the seller, you are able to contact the attorney with confidence the offer is likely to be accepted.

It is important for a buyer to also bear in mind that any discussions, emails or texts are not a guarantee that the property is yours when a signed offer or agreement does not yet exist.  For this reason, it is good to move as quickly as possible once you determine you want to formalize a deal, in order to avoid the disappointment of having a second buyer intervene with a better offer.  Putting a short response deadline on your offer of 24-48 hours in not uncommon in this industry.  Don’t be afraid to explain to a seller that it is important for you to know whether your offer is accepted quickly.  Sometimes ongoing counteroffers or responses cause a deadline for acceptance to be missed, in which case the offer stands officially null and void.

The term “counteroffer” under contract law means to make a different offer, and it also constitutes a rejection of the most recent offer or counteroffer which has been made to you.  As buyer, this means that if the seller makes a counteroffer to your original offer and you respond with another counter, seller can choose to reject your counter and walk away.  In other words, once you reject an offer by making a counter to it, you have no right to go back and accept the last offer made to you, as the other party may choose to withdraw it.  This becomes important in multiple offer situations.  Your real estate attorney can advise you on the most effective way to approach these scenarios.

 

Click here for Part III

Justin A. Teitle
Attorney at Law
Teitle Law Offices, P.C.
www.teitlelaw.com

This article is not intended as legal advice, and cannot be relied upon in that manner.  In order to get representation specific to your needs, contact a licensed real estate attorney for more information.

 


Thank you for visiting our QCFSBO blog.  For our main site visit QCFSBO.com

Copyright © 2018 Quad City Virtual, Inc. (an IOWA Corporation). All rights reserved.
Unauthorized commercial use of any content of this web page or redistribution in any form, print or electronic, is prohibited.

I FOUND THE RIGHT HOUSE – NOW WHAT? Next steps from a Real Estate attorney – Part I

Mr. Teitle very graciously agreed to write a very informative article to help Home Buyers with an overview of what they can expect, and what they need to anticipate. Please note that this article does not eliminate the need for an attorney, and does not provide guarantees implied or express. 

Justin A. Teitle
Attorney at Law
Teitle Law Offices, P.C.
www.teitlelaw.com

 

Part I

Shopping for real estate can be exciting, but being prepared and knowing what to do when making an offer can be the difference between closing on your dream house and being left out in the cold.  As buyers, many people looking to approach the owner on a FSBO listing are unsure of how to proceed if they really like the property and want to move forward. This post is meant to share a few thoughts about the basics and get you started on solid footing.

Ideally it begins before you even make contact or visit the listed home.  When you begin to seriously shop for your new home, you must put yourself in a position to convince the seller that you are in fact prepared to make a deal and follow through.  This means taking active steps to line up your financing.  If you intend to take out a loan secured by a mortgage, go to your chosen lender (you should shop the market to compare rates and closing costs) and obtain a letter of preapproval of financing.  Initially, you can get this from most banks or credit unions within a day. Be aware that all letters of preapproval are not equal.  A general letter of preapproval may refer to your creditworthiness, but not a dollar amount up to which you are approved.

Later in the process, after you have identified the house you want to buy, a more specific preapproval letter can be obtained, which will refer not only to your creditworthiness, but to the specific address of the house and the purchase price you are offering.  This type of letter will be more impressive to sellers and give them reassurance that you are a legitimate buyer.  It is superior to a general letter of preapproval because it leaves less question as to whether you can likely get a loan commitment for the amount you need.  Be prepared to present or offer letters of preapproval at each stage of the negotiation.

If you are a cash buyer, meaning you do not intend to take out a loan, being ready means having discussed your purchase with the financial institution where your funds are held, and having the institution ready to issue a letter specifying that you have sufficient funds available in a specific amount for the purchase price.  You will not obtain this type of letter until you identify the home, as you don’t want others knowing a general amount of money you may have available in excess of your offer.

Once your financing is in order, you are in a good position to contact sellers and visit the property.  Once you are convinced you may want to consider a property seriously, ask the seller for a copy of their legally required disclosure statements.  These statements will provide details on a variety of issues, as to whether the seller is aware of past problems or repairs.  This information is key in deciding whether to make an offer, and for how much.  Do not begin discussing terms, especially price, without seeing the disclosures. If seller has not yet secured an attorney to obtain the proper forms and advice, suggest that seller do so before proceeding further with negotiations.  By law in both Iowa and Illinois, these disclosures must be made before a purchase agreement is signed, and you are legally entitled to see them.

Click here for Part II

Justin A. Teitle
Attorney at Law
Teitle Law Offices, P.C.
www.teitlelaw.com

This article is not intended as legal advice, and cannot be relied upon in that manner.  In order to get representation specific to your needs, contact a licensed real estate attorney for more information.


Thank you for visiting our QCFSBO blog.  For our main site visit QCFSBO.com

Copyright © 2019 Quad City Virtual, Inc. (an IOWA Corporation). All rights reserved.
Unauthorized commercial use of any content of this web page or redistribution in any form, print or electronic, is prohibited.

Open House Explained

We are often asked about our thoughts on Open House and the when and duration thereof. Here are a few tips.

Open House, what is a good day/time for that?
Saturday after lunch or later afternoon 1.5 – 3 (at most) hours
Sundays after lunch for 1.5 – 3 (at most) hours
The longer your Open House duration the more you invite procrastination by the visitor.

Open House during weekdays.
While we certainly have had clients ask for those to be advertised, they are rare and we rarely get a repeat request.

Open House Yard Signs.
Corrugated Plastic Open House signs are easily found at the same locations where you buy your For Sale By Owner Yard signs. Open House directional signs are also available. If you use them do not leave them there the entire week long but put them out late on Wednesday or sometime on Thursday so people passing by can see them, but they are not so stale they become part of the landscape. Sometimes people put helium filled balloons, as the movement draws the eye. If you are placing directional signs on corner properties be a polite neighbor and ask the owners of that property for permission first and be prompt about removing the signs again as soon as you are done with the event.

If you live in an older neighborhood with lots of side streets and intersections, having  directional signs can make the difference between making it to your open house or not. Just remember to remove those signs afterwards.

What shall we do to get ready for the Open House
You have only one opportunity to impress the buyers. Everything you do and don’t do has an impact which will affect the decision one way or the other of your visitors.

So in short…..

Everything.

During the photoshoot your cupboards and closets stayed closed, but during Open House people will look and open up your storage to assess whether it will fit their needs. If you haven’t already begun to declutter your house, it is imperative you do it before you open your home for Open House or private showings. Here is a check off list which will help you keep track of what you have already done and what still needs to be attended to.

Sign in Sheet
Have a sign in sheet in the kitchen along with some sharpened pencils and request that visitors sign in with their names and numbers.

Security measures.
 This is a post in itself, please click here. Don’t skip!

Social Media
Use the “event-creating” capabilities for open houses.
Networks like Facebook are perfect for creating and marketing your events. While this feature can be useful for making RSVPs for a wedding or a summer barbecue, creating an event for your open house can increase your attendance significantly! Utilize both the QCFSBO open house feature and those of other websites to improve the success of your event.

Shoes on or off
Clean house, clean carpet, clean everything… now what? People are going to walk on your clean carpet? Yes, they are and there’s no stopping them. Here are your choices

  1. Ask them to remove their shoes. Some people won’t mind, some will mind, some with mobility issues can’t.
    2. Booties. Convenient and inexpensive, potential slip hazard.
    3. Adhesive Carpet Runners – Expensive, may not be suitable to thicker pile floor coverings.
  2. Spot Cleaner, white rags, soothing music and maybe a glass of (white) wine after the showing. (Our personal recommendation)

Printed Flyers

Have printed flyers (in color preferably) available for the visitors to pick up.

 

Thank you for visiting our QCFSBO blog.  For our main site visit QCFSBO.com

Copyright © 2019 Quad City Virtual, Inc. (an IOWA Corporation). All rights reserved.
Unauthorized commercial use of any content of this web page or redistribution in any form, print or electronic, is prohibited.