Sometimes we get ahead of our clients and start talking "greek" to them. Here's a little help with Real Estate terms to help you understand what we're talking about if we forget to talk in lamens terms:
This blog contains information for Buyers, Sellers, Investors and Renters. Real estate is a fascinating topic and a very complex one. You can search this blog by topic to find exactly what you are looking for, it will also have all of our new listings. You can learn about Storm Lake's current local (50 mile radius), real estate market, and the current real estate market in the surrounding areas like Alta, Newell, Aurelia, Schaller, Early, Fonda, Cherokee, Sioux Rapids, Ida Grove, Spencer, Spirit Lake, Lake View, Lakeside, Correctionville, Remsen, Pocahontas, Laurens, Albert City and others.
For Buyers we will have topics including financing, down payment assistance programs, tips on how to compete with other buyers, how to offer, home inspections and how they work, the process of buying a property, what not to do after you have an accepted offer, the advantage of having a Certified Negotiations Expert on your side and a lot more.
For Sellers we will have topics including how to best price your property, how to prepare your property and see it through the buyer's eyes, home inspections and how they work, how to negotiate, the importance of staging, why pictures are worth a million dollars, the advantage of having a Certified Negotiations Expert on your side and a lot more.
For Investors - a topic I LOVE! Topics will include how to evaluate a property, what tools I personally use and access to them, how to find an investment property, what basic improvements cost if done by you or a contractor, how to find a good tenant, why you need your properties in an entity and not in your personal name, how to negotiate with buyers, sellers and tenants, 1031 Exchanges and a lot more.
For Renters - we list all the new rentals as we are notified of their availability on this blog, we can help you determine if it is time to buy instead of rent, help you determine what if any programs - like down payment assistance - you may qualify for, discuss how to have a conversation with a landlord when the property you are renting is in need of work, and a lot more.
For Everyone - Thank you for making Weaver LLC, Realtors the #1 Most Recommended Real Estate Company on Google 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 & .... for our Area!
Georgia Weaver - Broker Owner CRS, CNE, GRI, AHWD, PSA, RENE
Buying a home could be the biggest purchase of your life, and it can be overwhelming, especially if you are a first-time home buyer.
Some things to consider during the home buying process are taking enough time to really look over the house you want, making sure you can afford the loan, and knowing what you are getting into.
Certainly, buying a home is a process, and it is not something you can do overnight. It takes time, lots of contracts, and many other extra things in the process.
Without a doubt, buying a home is a big investment and a huge commitment. The list below will allow you to make sure your buying experience is positive and that you are ready for the commitment of a new home.
Make sure you have a savings account ready to help cover closing costs, inspection fees, and other costs. Yes, you can get a loan for your home, but a lot of the inspections and even the closing costs will come out of pocket.
You might get ready to buy a home and then find that you need $4,000 in cash for closing costs, and if you don’t have it, you lose your new home.
In most cases, you need to have a down payment to get a loan; some companies require a certain percentage based on your loan amount.
Your real estate agent can give you a ballpark figure of all of the out-of-pocket fees you might have once they pinpoint your price range and budget.
Knowing your credit score ahead of time will allow you to get a better picture of the right time to buy a new home. Your credit score is a big factor in buying a home. It will determine your approval, interest rate, and loan terms.
Companies like Credit Karma can provide your current credit report FREE of charge. I like Credit Karma because it’s free to join, and you’ll be able to know your credit score instantly. It is very safe and keeps you informed with real-time monitoring and alerts.
The best part of Credit Karma is that it monitors your credit report from Equifax and TransUnion on a regular basis. Besides, they will notify you when there are important changes in your credit report and they offer you free ID monitoring; in case of identity fraud.
You can do all this from their app, which is very easy to download and use. You can sign up for a FREE credit Karma account here.
When you have a great real estate agent by your side, he will help walk you through the steps. Make sure you feel comfortable with him so that if you have a question, you are not afraid to ask.
Your real estate agent will be the one showing you houses that might become your future home. You want him to truly get an idea of your perfect home so you don’t waste your time or his.
This is one thing that happens often: you get qualified for a certain amount of money, and you buy first-time that is on the high-end of your home approval. Try to remember that you will have homeowners insurance, possible flood insurance, and other fees that go along with owning a home.
If something breaks, you need to fix it, so make sure you can afford to keep saving money.
Plus, your monthly house payments may go up over time, and you need to ensure that you are not buying a home based on the maximum amount of money you can spend each month on your home payment.
Many first time home buyers make the mistake of buying a home because it fits their current situation or needs.
However, if you are planning to start or expand your family, consider buying a home large enough for your family to grow into.
Also, try to consider the idea of how effectively the house could sell in the future (if you ever need to sell it).
The task of finding the right neighborhood is important. Some things that can help you to decide on the right neighborhood are how safe is the area, the quality of schools in the area, and the surrounding safety and crime statistics.
There is nothing worse than living in an area where you and your family don’t feel secure at all.
Buying a home doesn’t just mean you simply buy the home and you’re are done. You can have additional costs that really add up quickly, and you want to make sure that you are prepared and can financially cover it all.
Here are some recurring costs you will want to factor in when you purchase a new home:
Depending on where you buy your home, the price to insure it will vary. If you buy a home on the beach, the price can be pretty high. If you live in an area that is at high risk of floods or even hurricanes, you have to factor in those special insurance items.
Flood and hurricane insurance is required in certain areas if your home is at risk, and they are not cheap! Reach out to your insurance company ahead of time or speak to your realtor to see if the home is in a high-risk zone.
Making sure your potential new home gets inspected will help save you money in the long run. If, for example, you buy a country home and don’t get a home inspection before purchasing, you may find some leaky faucets, your septic might need to be updated, your basement might leak, and you could have mold.
All this can go unnoticed when you’re simply viewing the house, and then you are stuck with some hefty bills when it is all over. Replacing a septic can easily cost $9,000.
I highly suggest getting your potential new home inspected to know if there are any issues with the roof, water, and so on that need to be fixed. Some mortgage companies require inspections, and others do not.
When buying a home, you have to know things can happen in the process, and you can lose out on buying a home. You can put an offer down on a home and get declined. Try not to get too attached to the home.
Buying a home is one of the most important decisions in your life. It can be nerve-wracking, especially if it is your first time buying a home. The list above will serve as a starting point for some of the most important aspects of the home purchasing process.
Today’s cooling housing market, the rise in mortgage rates, and mounting economic concerns have some people questioning: should I still buy a home this year? While it’s true this year has unique challenges for homebuyers, it’s important to factor the long-term benefits of homeownership into your decision.
Consider this: if you know people who bought a home 5, 10, or even 30 years ago, you’re probably going to have a hard time finding someone who regrets their decision. Why is that? The reason is tied to how you gain equity and wealth as home values grow with time.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) explains:
“Home equity gains are built up through price appreciation and by paying off the mortgage through principal payments.”
Here’s a look at how just the home price appreciation piece can really add up over the years.
Even though home price appreciation has moderated this year, home values have still increased significantly in recent years. The map below uses data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) to show just how noteworthy those gains have been over the last five years.
If you look at the percent change in home prices, you can see home prices grew on average by almost 64% nationwide over that period.
That means a home’s value can increase substantially in a short time. And if you expand that time frame even more, the benefit of homeownership and the drastic gains you stand to make become even clearer (see map below):
The second map shows, nationwide, home prices appreciated by an average of over 290% over roughly a thirty-year span.
While home price growth varies by state and local area, the nationwide average tells you the typical homeowner who bought a house thirty years ago saw their home almost triple in value over that time. This is why homeowners who bought their homes years ago are still happy with their decision.
Even if home price appreciation eases as the market cools this year, experts say home prices are still expected to appreciate nationally in 2023. That means, in most markets, your home should grow in value over the next year even if the pace is slower than it was during the peak market frenzy when prices skyrocketed.
The alternative to buying a home is renting, and rental prices have been climbing for decades. So why rent and fight annual lease hikes for no long-term financial benefit? Instead, consider buying a home. It’s an investment in your future that could set you up for long-term gains.
Don’t let the shifting market delay your dreams. Data shows home values typically appreciate over time, and that gives your net worth a nice boost. If you’re ready to start your journey to homeownership, reach out to a real estate professional today.
Enter the Escalation Clause. A tool I have used successfully to give our buyers an edge over the competition.
How does an Escalation Clause work?
If you have ever made a bid on eBay you probably understand the basics of this tool. You make an offer and you agree to increase your offer in set dollar increments if another competing offer is received. You set a predetermined amount (highest price you are willing to pay) upon acceptance of a copy of the competing offer.
Your Offer: Lets say a house comes on the market at $275,000. This price is backed up by a good comparative market analysis (CMA) and your agent agrees with this price. So, you offer $285,000 with an escalation clause of $500 with a contingency for obtaining an 80% mortgage, but add in the Escalation Clause form stating you are prepared to increase your offer by $500 over any other competing offer. This escalating of the offer stops at a predetermined dollar amount. Yours is at $300,000.
The seller's agent has a 3 day hold or review period on offers noted in the listing (seller will keep the property active and accept offers for 3 business days prior to choosing or countering an offer) and you know there will be other offers to compete with.
2nd Offer: Offer number 2 is for $289,000 without an escalation form. The other terms: same loan type, same close date.
Upon receiving a copy of the competing offer, your offer increases to $289,500, five hundred dollars over this competing offer.
What happens and who's offer will the Seller accept?
The seller will accept your offer, it is higher, with all terms the same.
While Escalation Clauses vary significantly, the general escalation clause addendum has 4 basic components:
1) The original offer price is stated
2) The dollar amount increment ($500 on yours), that the original offer amount will
be escalated above any other competitive bid.
3) The maximum amount that the buyer is willing to go to to purchase the property.
4) The circumstances in which this clause is used, should be only with multiple
When should an escalation clause be used
Escalation Clauses should only be used by experienced knowledgeable REALTORS because there is risk. Once an Escalation Clause is written and presented there is no going back. You just told the seller how high you are willing to go. I personally would only use one on a newly listed property (less than 3 days) and one that had another offer in. If there is no other offer in you have no need to do an Escalation Clause, my opinion.
If your offer is contingent on an inspection, appraisal for a mortgage or other terms be sure they are included. Has the seller's agent include a review time period for the offer? I do a certain number of days the seller is accepting offers (in my case usually 3-5 business days). It is a good idea to know and understand how all offers are going to be reviewed and responded.
Problems that can happen with an Escalation Clause and why you need an experienced REALTOR
An Escalation Clause should only be used by an experienced Realtor who can clearly explain to you how the process works and answer your questions. A real estate contract is a complicated legal form, adding things to it make it even more complicated. But, there are times when addendums can give a client an advantage in negotiations and should be used. If you are unsure or uncomfortable with your agent using an Escalation Clause have them get their Broker involved.
Weaver LLC, Realtors is an experienced knowledgeable real estate company, at this time we have 2 Associate Brokers and me, the Broker. If you are in this pursuit to win it, we can help. An Escalation Clause is only one of the many tools we use to assist our clients. Call me, Georgia Weaver at 712-291-0118 to help you get the property you want under contract.
2021 has been an unusual year, as was 2020 with the Corona Virus. This year is a little wild in the real estate industry. Homes are getting multiple offers, most are selling for more than listed price. Some homes are getting as many at 6-8 offers. That is unusual in NW Iowa here except for in the early Spring market. Even then, it is unusual to get more than 3-4 offers.
Realtors are changing how they do business to best assist their buyers and sellers, including our office. Last year we saw the lack of inventory and the low interest rate as 2 significant factors that would change our market. We started looking outside our area for solutions to how other Realtors were handling the situations. 3 Tools are making a big difference for our Buyer and Seller Clients.
Several solutions surfaced immediately:
1) This one we have been doing for nearly 2.5 years. The other realtors in our area are not doing this to this day. That
is to hold a property on the market available for at least 3 days and 5 is what we recommend to sellers. Of course, this is up to the seller. But, if the ultimate goal is to sell for top dollar then this is the way to go in the current
market. By not immediately accepting an offer, more realtors and buyers are aware the property is for sale.
2) Buyers are required to be preapproved prior to looking at properties. Sellers are encouraged to require this in their
listing criteria. If a buyer is preapproved, they will know what price range to search for properties, what kind of loan
they are getting and therefore the Realtor will know if a specific property qualifies for the loan type. They will also
know what their payment should be.
3) Escalation Clause - I LOVE THESE. Our office is the only one in our area that uses these, not sure why. Other than
they are not aware of them or how to use them to benefit their clients. These give my Buyers a tool to safely ratchet
up their offer if another offer comes in above theirs.
Jorge and Mavel CONGRATULATIONS!!!! You have a wonderful new home. Can't wait to see what you deo with it!
Mitchell and Amy CONGRATULATIONS on your new home!!
As a Realtor, I understand the amount of work both buyer and seller put into purchasing and selling a property. Throw in this Coronavirus social distancing and it gets about 20 times more complicated.
Is it a good time to buy, in my opinion YES. That's because there are homes to sell, interest rates are low, rental rates are very high, this Coronavirus will end. Once that happens, hopefully sooner than later, interest rates will go up, more buyers will be out looking and competition will increase.
It is still a very good idea to not be any closer than 6 feet from another individual. Also, if you are sick, have been sick in the last 14 days or have been exposed to anyone who has been sick in the last 14 days, please do not ask a Realtor to show you properties. Can you still see houses, YES, but be prepared to answer health questions, follow the homeowner's precaution requests and have your temperature taken.
You do not know if that Realtor or the home owners are immune compromised or have elderly people they care for. The responsible ethical thing to do is to wait. This illness is spread by contact with an infected individual, who may not show symptoms for 14 days after they were exposed and can still be able to spread the virus up to 14 days after becoming symptom free. Keep track of those you have been in contact with, it could matter a lot to someone. This is not a time to panic, this will end. It is a time to take precautions, be mindful of others and limit everyone's exposure. Who is your neighbor, Jesus would say everyone.
. Thank you for your diligence and caring for others.
Georgia Weaver, Broker/Owner, Weaver LLC, REALTORS, 607 Lake Ave, Storm Lake IA
If you have questions please call me at 712-291-0118.
Great Before and After photos show what a little time and elbow grease can do. One thing I see a lot while looking at or showing homes for sale in the Storm Lake IA and surrounding area is simple fixes that sellers are missing. These simple fixes make all the difference in a showing and presentation. The laundry rooms below are the same room. One is just a blah typical laundry, like most of us have. The second one is an organized, tastefully decorated and painted laundry that someone wouldn't mind being in to do laundry.
When selling a property it is a good idea to super clean, if you can't do it or you hate to clean, HIRE IT DONE. It is critical your property is clean, de-cluttered and well maintained looking. It is a great idea to have a pre-listing property inspection, that way there are no unpleasant surprises once the home has an accepted offer. It is also great to have a Realtor look at your property at least 60 days before you plan to put it on the market. A good realtor can point out things like the laundry below, unflattering paint colors, half dead trees (landscaping concerns), additions or subtractions that can not only sell your property sooner but for more money.
Blah laundry room, not organized After Laundry Room - so much better!
Paint, shelf, small cabinet, some wall decorations. Maybe $100 in materials and 2 hours of work. YOU CAN DO IT! Which one would you rather buy? Call me and schedule a time to walk through your property. I can do a valuation (called a Comparative Market Analysis or CMA), give you insight into what could cause problems with a USDA or a FHA loan (the majority of loans in our area are of these 2 types), and help you tweak your property room by room to bring top dollar.
Georgia Weaver, 712-291-0118, IA Licensed, Broker/Owner, Weaver LLC, Realtors, 607 Lake Ave, Storm Lake, IA online at www.weaverrealtors.com