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Your 7-Step Checklist for Your Final Pre-Purchase Home Walkthrough

You have found the perfect house and now it’s time to sign the final paperwork. Congratulations!  However, before you head into closing, it is essential that you take one final home walkthrough inspection to ensure everything has been taken care of and no major issues were missed prior to taking ownership.

My final home walkthrough checklist includes everything you want to examine one last time with your real estate agent, for your peace of mind, before closing.

Step 1: Be Prepared

Before you step foot into your future home for your final walkthrough, ensure you have everything you need with you in your Walkthrough Survival Kit for the trip.  Here are the must-have items to have with you:

  • Your real estate agent/realtor (always keep them at your side)
  • Your contract of sale
  • Your inspection summary and any warranties/repair receipts
  • Your cell phone and list or preprogram numbers you might need
  • Your inspector

Step 2: Review All Post-Inspection Repairs

In this step, you will review all items that were identified as needing attention in your Inspection Summary.  If you can have your inspector on hand for this process, that would be best, as he/she will be able to point out where things are up-to-code or where corners were cut that shouldn’t have been.

Step 3: Cleanliness and Move-out Damage

Now that the previous owners have moved out, it’s time to assess the situation.  Let’s take a look to make sure that the house was left in a clean and orderly state and that no major damage was done during their move out. Make sure you check everywhere, including the garage, attic, outdoor shed, and basement.

Spend ample time reviewing the kitchen and all bathrooms as both areas are prime locations for small damages and plumbing issues.  Take some time to inspect appliances, plumbing, and faucets as well.

If you do spot damage, make a note of it and if it’s significant, ask that it either be fixed prior to closing or that a contingency plan/retribution be offered as part of the closing agreement.

Step 4: Inspect Doors and Windows

As you’re going through each room of the house, take time to carefully inspect all doors and windows.  You’re looking for leaks in the seals, doors that are off hinges, locks that don’t work, and windows that stick or don’t open.

It might seem silly, but fixing these type of issues once you move in can be a time-consuming hassle.

Step 5: Test the HVAC and Sprinkler Systems

Next on your list is to fully test the HVAC and sprinkler systems.  To test the HVAC, turn on the heat and go room-to-room to ensure that it’s heating as it should; then, do the same for the air conditioning.

Unless it’s winter and the sprinkler system has been shut down for the season, go ahead and test out the sprinklers.  If it has been shut down and flushed out already, add a contingency to your closing that will help cover any costly repairs that might already be there that you could get stuck with post close.

Step 6: Thoroughly Inspect the Electrical System

Following the same principles, as we defined with the HVAC and sprinkler systems, you should do a detailed inspection of your electrical system prior to closing and identify any issues that might have been previously overlooked.  Here is a list of items you can focus on in your review:

  • All electrical outlets (if there is a reset, make sure it functions)
  • Circuit breaker or breaker box
  • All light switches
  • The doorbell
  • The security system and fire alarms
  • Garage door operating system (interior wall mount, outside code mount, and handheld openers)
  • Outdoor lighting

Step 7: Exterior Walk About

Finally, you should go outside to walk your property and examine the condition of both the outside of the house and the yard itself.  Be on the lookout for missing or damaged siding, cracks in pavement or pavers, gutter damage, or rickety/rotted wood on decks and gazeboes.

Final Home Walkthrough Outcome

Once you’ve completed your final walkthrough, sit down with your inspector and real estate agent and put together your plan.  Identify items that must be fixed before closing, items that can be covered via a line item or addendum to the closing documentation, and items that are super small and you are willing to cover yourself.

Once you’ve established your list and you are comfortable with what you’re asking for, your real estate agent will handle it for you and you’ll be able to relax knowing that you’ll be walking into closing with things in perfect order.

Have more questions on what to look for during your final home inspection walkthrough?  Contact me and I’ll help you through the entire process!

Home Value: Estimate Before You Sell

Are you considering selling your home?  Before you start the process of putting your home on the market, do a quick home value estimate first.  A quick estimate will give you an idea of whether or not selling will give you a good enough return on your investment to make now the right time to sell.

Home value estimators also provide a great guide for bidding on a potential home you are interested in.  The estimator will give you an idea of what homes of similar value go for in the same area.  While your realtor will provide you with more information to use in your final offer, an estimator is a great first-line of reference during the process.

Here are two home value estimators I recommend:

Home Value Estimator by NerdWallet

Home Value Estimator by Chase

Once you have your home value estimate, contact me and let’s discuss optimal pricing and get started on the process of getting your home on the market!

 

Tips for Selling a House in Today’s Market

How to Sell a HouseWe are currently in a “seller’s market” where buyers are demanding homes, which makes now a great time to sell your home.  However, there is a lot more to selling a home than simply sticking a For Sale sign in your front yard.

The good news is that in this type of market, things move quickly.  The bad news is that in this type of market, things move quickly…so you must be prepared before you start fielding offers.

Here are a few tips to help get you ready to sell your home quickly in today’s housing market.

  1. Price Your Home to Move:  Traditional wisdom says to price your house with lots of extra wiggle room for haggling; however, in today’s market, this could price you out of consideration.  Homes are priced to move, so to prevent your house from being left behind to sit on the market indefinitely, price it to sell.
  2. Market Your Home: A sign out front isn’t enough.  Make sure you work with a real estate agent that will market your home.  Help get the message out yourself by sharing information on your own social media pages, like Facebook or Pinterest.  Also, give your realtor plenty of opportunities to show your home (in other words, don’t just consider one open house good enough to catch the attention of the right buyers in today’s marketplace).
  3. Set the Stage: Don’t cut corners when it comes to staging.  You might consider hiring someone to stage your house for you.  A professional stager knows how to create a mood that grabs buyers and sells homes quickly, making this splurge one that could make your home stand out and put you ahead of the other house options in the area.
  4. Make a Plan with Your Realtor: Sit down with your realtor and discuss how you plan on handling multiple offers before the process starts.  Determine what’s most important to you and advise your realtor on the types of offers you will most seriously consider.  This will allow your DeSoto County Realtor to prioritize offers and streamline the process.

Ready to start the process of selling your home?  Contact me and let’s get you sold!

Why Work with a Realtor

work with a realtorIn today’s digital age, with so much information available at your fingertips, many people wonder if they really need to work with a realtor or if they can buy and/or sell a home on their own.  While there are some people who are able to do this successfully, trying to buy or sell a home on your own is risky business and not something most of us should attempt.

For those of you who have ever wondered what are the advantages come with working with a licensed realtor, here are five good reasons for you to consider:

  • A Realtor Will Have the Education, Experience, and Expertise: Instead of trying to become an expert yourself, why wouldn’t you hire someone who has spent years in the industry, who knows the ins and outs, and who understands how to avoid the potential pitfalls that come with inexperienced buying and selling of property?  A licensed realtor knows the laws and industry requirements and can guide you through the entire process.  With an experienced realtor in your corner, just think of all the time you can save researching how to do it yourself and how much more time you can spend doing things you love instead…like watching cat videos!
  • A Realtor Will Have Your Back: Throughout the course of the process, your realtor will have your back fielding calls and questions from the buyer’s agents, handling general inquiries, and managing showing appointments on your behalf.  A realtor will also be able to filter calls and emails, ensuring you only have to respond to qualified offers, which will save you time and keep your stress level down.
  • A Realtor Knows the Neighborhood and How to Price for Success: Realtors are entrenched in the areas they serve, so they have the knowledge about your neighborhood and surrounding areas.  As such, they are familiar with growth prediction trends, pricing stats and comps, and selling cycles.  They will know how to price and sell your house quickly based on market conditions and will your advisor, guiding you through the purchase process, ensuring you don’t overpay for your area or it’s expected future growth.
  • A Realtor is a Skilled Negotiator and Can Handle the Paperwork:  An experienced, top producing realtor will be able to negotiate far better than the average buyer or seller — partly because of their years of experience and partly because they are emotionally removed from the transaction.  They are trained to present a client’s best interest and are skilled in the art of negotiation.  A seasoned realtor is also able to quickly balance and process all of the required paperwork, ensuring that you’ll never miss a deadline or incur excessive fees for misfilings or late filings.
  • A Realtor Forms a Long-term Relationship:  When you work with a realtor, you will form a long-term relationship, one that will last long after closing.  As a trusted advisor, they will be available for calls and consultation for years to come.  As with most relationships, it will grow over time and you’ll discover extra benefits, like those that come with referrals, both to and from your realtor, and their availability and willingness to support you in a future real estate transaction.

Ready to get started selling your current house or buying your dream home?  Contact me and let me help guide you through the entire process!

Buying a Home 101

Your first home purchase…it’s both exciting and a little overwhelming for some first-time homebuyers.  Not to worry though because our team of experienced realtors has your back!

To help you get the lay of the land, we’ve compiled a list of the basics to help you started down the road towards becoming a first-time homebuyer.

Tip #1: Get Pre-Approved

Before you take off looking for that ‘perfect home’, get pre-approved fist.  In today’s market, houses move quickly, so when the time comes that you do find that perfect home, you’ll want to be able to make an offer immediately.  Being pre-approved will give you the ability to make an offer with certainty and will help put you at the top of the pack should there be competing offers on the table.

You’ll also want to take time to clean up any credit issues or concerns that might negatively impact your ability to buy a home before you apply for a loan.  Dispute and remove any incorrect or non-relevant items from your credit report and get your credit cards and outstanding loans down as far as possible before applying for your first home loan.

Tip #2: Understand Your Finances and Requirements

Having a down-payment and knowing how much house you can truly afford are key before you delve into the home buying process.  While it’s true that there are many programs out there that are specifically designed for first-time homebuyers that do not require you to put down 20 percent, odds are, unless you qualify for a VA Loan, you’ll need something to put down.  Securely stash away as much as you can comfortably afford to put down 2-3 months prior to applying for your home loan.

Next, sit down and create a home buying budget to discover how much home you can comfortably afford.  Be sure your analysis includes things like utilities, insurance, principal payments, and all general living expenses.  If you can, check out a homebuyer or financial planning course either online or in your area. In these courses, you’ll be able to get a better understanding of just what you need to budget for specifically and how to best invest and plan for your financial future.

Tip #3: Have a Plan and a Professional Support System

Once you’re ready to start the process, find a realtor that not only has an outstanding reputation but that you connect with on a personal level as well.  This person will become someone you become very close to and will rely on heavily throughout this process.  You want to ensure you find someone you feel comfortable talking to and who you know will have your best interest at heart.

Outline a plan of what you’re looking for, the areas you are interested in living in, and what your goals are for the next 5-10 years.  Share all of this with your realtor so they can help guide you towards a home that meets your wants and needs.

Also, ask questions along the way.  Your realtor is there to support you, so take advantage of their knowledge and experience.  And listen to them if they raise a flag or spot a possible cause for concern about a house, say perhaps a potential foundation issue — take their warning to heart.  And if you’re unsure, feel free to get a second opinion or inspection.

Tip #4: Do Your Homework

Yes, your real estate agent is the expert, but as with anything in life, you want to come to the table prepared.  Do your homework and be proactive!

Check out the neighborhoods you like online and drive around the area on the weekends and in the evenings, so you can get a feel for your potential neighbors, the activity and vibe of the area, the schools, and the overall community.

Tip #5: Be Flexible and Keep an Open Mind

It’s important to have an open mind when you’re looking for your new home, especially for many first-time buyers who are on a budget. Be careful not to soak in too much HGTV and make sure you’re being realistic about what is available in the area that you want to live in, while also staying within your budget.

Many of the cosmetic items you see in a home can be updated or fixed over time, so don’t get hung up on the little things and expect that everything is going to be perfect inside the house.  Focus on the structural aspects of the house: roof, foundation, plumbing, windows/doors, etc.  Those are the costly items that you’ll want in tip-top shape before considering buying a home…the cosmetic items can be addressed over time.

Tip #6: Plan for the Future

Don’t try and purchase the home you think you’ll retire in, but rather, focus on buying the home you think you’ll need for the next 3-5 years.  Make sure it’s big enough for you and your family today and allows you a little room to grow.

Ready to get started? Contact me now!