Ayelet Gilad

Alpharetta Living, Real Estate and Community


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Loved The House? Be Ready To Make An Offer!

In continuum to my previous post on how in today’s market, buyers should be ready to compete, I wanted to stress again to all the home buyers out there that the highest and best offer is not usually the seller’s strategy when it’s not a short sale or foreclosure transaction. I’ve seen buyers, debating and going back and forth between themselves on whether they should put an offer on a house they loved; they weren’t mentally ready and as a result they missed the opportunity to get the house they loved. Because they were hesitant, even though they put on great offer, they were late! The seller already accepted another offer and this is just a missed opportunity.

I totally understand that buying a house is a big commitment, it’s probably the largest purchase you’ll ever make and it’s an emotional and stressful process. BUT, you should trust your gut and your real estate agent, especially if they have shown you again and again that they care about you and the transaction.

It’s a tough market out there now, so be ready to make an offer. Want to discus your real estate needs over coffee? Contact me now!

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The Real Estate Transaction: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Spring is officially here, which means houses will start popping up on the market like flowers! Just in time for that, I wanted to share this great info with you and what can possibly go wrong. As I said many times, buying  a house is a very emotional and stressful process. Reduce some of this stress by choosing a great agent to be your partner in the process. I’m always here to help so start today by contacting me!

So remember – “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” While Edward Murphy was referring to the use of new measurement devices, his rule can be aptly applied to the real estate transaction without a hiccup.

From the very first step – getting preapproved for a mortgage – to choosing a real estate agent to the close of escrow, the process is full of pitfalls.

If you’re considering the purchase or sale of a home, it’s a good idea to know what could go wrong during the process. While some problems are hard to anticipate, others happen with enough frequency that they offer lessons, allowing you to become informed and, hopefully, help you to avoid some of the biggest problems.

Choosing a Real Estate Agent

Your real estate agent is the driver of the transaction. As such, he or she will steer the transaction around common roadblocks and avoid certain pitfalls. That is, if you choose the right agent.

What happens if you don’t? Several things:

  • Your house may not be priced properly.
  • Your house may sit on the market longer than it should.
  • If you’re buying, you may end up paying more than you should.
  • A complicated transaction, such as a short sale, may have details that are allowed to fall through the cracks.

 

Avoid these potential problems by hiring an experienced real estate agent. When selling your home, your first concern is getting the most money for the home. An agent familiar with the area is much better able to determine market value than one from outside the area.

An agent with proven marketing capabilities will get your house in front of more buyers than an agent who hasn’t a clue about marketing. If you own a specialized home, such as a luxury home or beachfront property, or you are performing a short sale, you need an agent experienced in these types of sales.

When purchasing a home, you need a savvy negotiator in your corner – an agent who can go to bat for you and get you the best possible price on the home.

Give me a call today for your free consultation at @ 404-245-7172 

Counteroffers

The offer to purchase is a document full of potential pitfalls. Some of these include:

  • Price.
  • Insufficient earnest money.
  • Inappropriate closing date.
  • Requests for personal property.
  • The buyer isn’t preapproved for a mortgage.
  • Requests for repairs or allowances.

 

Of course, there are many, many more, but these are some of the most common. These problems are typically addressed via a counteroffer. This document says to the other party, “I accept the offer as long as the following conditions are met.” This is the nuts and bolts of negotiating, and it’s fraught with perils.

If you’ve done a good job of carefully selecting your real estate agent, this is the time to rely on him or her for advice. The decisions are ultimately yours to make, but expert advice should be considered.

Home Inspection

The home inspection presents another opportunity for a deal to fall apart. Home repairs can be costly. Some can make you want to walk away from the deal. If you decide to remain engaged in the process, you’ll need your old friend the counteroffer to request repairs or a reduction in the price of the home to allow for the cost of repairs.

Appraisal

When markets change rapidly, appraisals become more challenging. When home prices began to stabilize after the latest recession, for instance, appraisers had nothing to base home values on but the depressed recession prices. Foreclosures particularly drag down values, and many homes aren’t appraising for as much as homeowners and their agents expect them to.

If you’re the seller or buyer of a home that doesn’t appraise for the purchase price, your options include:

  • Reducing the price.
  • Raising the amount of the down payment.
  • Challenging the appraisal.
  • Walking away from the deal.

 

Closing

Lots of things can go wrong at closing. Some of the most common events are:

  • The lender pulls a soft credit report and finds that the buyer has made some large purchases, changing his income-to-debt ratio to the point where he no longer qualifies for the mortgage.
  • Your paperwork is delayed by the lender and your attorney pushes the closing to another day.
  • The funds don’t arrive.
  • One of the parties is unhappy with the information on the HUD-1.

 

Not every real estate transaction has problems. In fact, most sail along smoothly. While it’s hard to hold your excitement in check, the best time to let it loose is when your agent hands you the keys to your new home.


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Make Sure Your Home Is Safe – Test for Radon

Radon is a cancer-causing gas, and is the second leading cause of lunch cancer in the US. As most gases – you can’t see, smell or taste it, but it may be a problem in your home! Some studies have shown that children are more sensitive to radon, possibly due to their higher respiration rate and rapidly dividing cells.

Radon comes from the natural decay of uranium that is found in nearly all soils. It typically moves up through the ground to the air above and into your home through cracks and other holes in the foundation. Your home traps radon inside, where it can build up. Any home may have a radon problem. This means new and old homes, well-sealed and drafty homes, and homes with or without basements.

Many people assume that they should only test for radon when they buy a house but this is wrong! You should periodically check for radon at your house and I’d encourage you to follow the EPA guidelines. You can even do it your self using radon testing kits that you can find at Lowes, Home Depot or even get for free.

If radon was detected in your house, you can fix it by installing radon mitigation system. There is a wealth of information on how to fix the problem on the EPA consumer’s guide to radon reduction.

Don’t want to do it yourself? Give me a buzz and I’ll happily refer you to a reliable and trustworthy inspection company that can test and fix radon problems.

For more information abou radon from the health risks to fixing high radon levels, please visit the EPA Radon website.


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What Can You Do With Your Tax Refund?

It’s tax refund season! Did you receive your refund already or about to receive it? I can think of at least two great ways you can use your refund for!

The first option is to use the refund to remodel your house and get it “listing ready” just in time for spring! For more details on the benefits and expected return on the investment in remodeling please read “Should You Remodel Your House Prior to Putting it on the Market?”.

Your second option is to use the refund for a down payment on an FHA loan. You only  need to put 3.5% as down payment (FHA loan can up to $346,250).

Still debating how to use your refund wisely? Call me today @ 404-245-7172  and I’d be happy to discuss it with you!


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The (un)Power Of the Internet

The internet and the access to information have definitely changed our lives. The ease of accessing any type of information has made it easier for us in some respects to find any type of information or knowledge on the web, but it’s also a kind of a double-edge sword, as not all the information we find on the web is up-to-date, real or not biased. You might be wondering why is a realtor writing about the web and access…well, it’s because it’s very relevant to my daily work!

I often have my clients, surfing the web and searching for homes on websites like Zillow and Trulia, they find houses they like and then they call me asking me to show it to them or how come I didn’t show it to them yet? Truth is, that in many instances these real-estate sites are not too up-to-date. The house you like and think I didn’t show you is already under contract, or you might have even looked at a house that was recently sold or not for sale at all. Therefore, please be aware that these sites are not necessarily updated.

Another problem is the price estimate that is shown on every house page.  Home buyers should be aware that these estimates are very limited since they are based on information taken from coutny tax records, and these are not very up-to-date as well! Therefore, the estimate is often inaccurate. Further, these websites don’t take into account differences in interior features (like hardwood floors vs. carpet, formaica vs. granite counter tops and such); or exterior features like stuco vs. brick, the house location (cul de sac, entracnce to the neighborhood) and other factors like power lines, highway proximity and so on.

So if you’d really like to know how much your house is worth or what is the worth of the house you want to buy – contact me!  As your realtor I have all the hyperlocal and most importantly – the most recent & up to date information. Plus, you get to talk with a human 🙂


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I’m “Looking” For Deals!

Everybody wants a deal! I mean – who doesn’t? But what does a deal mean to you?

All the time, I hear: “I want a deal”, “I want to buy a foreclosure or a short sale”. But is a foreclosure a deal? It might have been true 2 years ago.  In the past, when banks listed houses on the market, they priced them based on their interior condition, but their exterior condition, and most often their interior condition, still needed repairs. Many times the cost of these repairs brought you to market price anyway. So what do you think? What is a deal or not? It probably was if the repairs cost you less than what the bank thought they’d cost. My point is, that you shouldn’t buy a house that is foreclosure just for the sake of buying a foreclosure. Today, the banks learned their lesson, they list fewer foreclosures at a time, and they price them closer to market value even if repairs are needed.  Since the inventory is so low, buyers are willing to pay more for a foreclosure or “a deal” even though the bottom line shows it’s not a real deal.

Still not convinced? Contact me today to learn more about the most up-to-date real estate market trends in the metro Atlanta area.


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On Mortgages, Lenders And Everything In Between

Do you really know your mortgage company? Is it so important to know who your mortgage lender is BEFORE you start a transaction with them? Hell YEH! This is so keen, I wish I could emphasize this even more!

How much stress can you pile on a home purchase? A LOT! It is such an emotional and stressful process anyway, so why not reduced it a bit in advance? Trust me – it’s totally worth it to have one less thing to sweat about.

As the market shifts to seller’s market, and the regulation are loosening up a bit, you see more mortgage brokers returning, as well as new ones, entering the business claiming they can get you a mortgage.  But since they’re not established or experienced enough you can become a victim! Please be aware of all the new and less known lenders – you won’t get your mortgage, lose money and even the house you wanted! As I mentioned above, purchasing a home is a very emotional process and you have to get into it with logic in mind. This is why you need get your mortgage from a reputable company (ask me for referral) and you have to it before you start looking at homes.

Especially in this market, if you see a house that is very relevant for – you have no time to lose. You need to be ready with your pre-approval letter, be aware of all the costs (like closing costs, escrow etc.). Working with someone that has no solid reputation,  may lead to delays in closing and even eventually losing the house you really wanted to be your home. This is why I highly recommend to all my clients that the first and foremost important thing you should do when you decide to buy a home is to get your mortgage; and I don’t mean just pre-approved mortgage based on your credit score, I mean give the lender all the documents (like W-2, tax returns, etc.). I saw in the past, when the pre-approval is only based on credit history, sometimes, when you submit all the documents they will reveal your real financial situation and your mortgage might not be approved.

As I write about often in my blog, there’s plenty possible pitfalls when you’re buying a house, and when you work with me and with a reputable lender, we can make sure to avoid them and have a smooth, less stressful transaction.  Call me today @ 404-245-7172 to see how I can help you!