What Determines the Value of a Property

Written by Rasheedat Oduola on . Posted in Field Services, Mortgage Closing Services, Mortgage Services and Providers

Sepropert value imagellers often want to know the value of their property on the market. Is it about how much home improvement that has been done or the purchase price of the property. Most sellers think remodeling the house before it is put up for sale alone would help increase its market value.

This is usually not the case as the value placed on a property is much more determined by other factors than remodeling, making home improvements and maintenance.

A great factor that determines the value of a property is the fair market price. The fair market price is the price a buyer is willing to pay for the purchase of the property and the price the seller is willing to accept for the sale of the same property.

Determining the fair market price involves finding the values of properties in the same subdivision which are very similar to the property being put up for sale. This similarity  could be in terms of the property type, condition, number of floors, property square footage etc. These very similar properties are called comparables.
There are some cases where the exact comparables are not found for the property. In such instances, sales of properties which are similar but not exact can also be used as comparables.

In other to be able to compare this comparable sale to the property and bring them to the same level, net adjustments for differences are calculated in terms of the factors that affect the value which could range from difference in square footage , floors, amenities, house condition and view of the property.

Whether you are the buyer or the seller of a property, it is always advisable to seek the services of a professional to help determine the asking or the selling price unless you are versatile in that field and have carried out proper research.

Mistakes That Can Lead To Claims

Written by Debrisha French on . Posted in Mortgage Closing Services

Failing To Require Personal Appearance By A Signer: Experts all agreed that failing to require a signer to physically appear before you is the most common mistake that lands Notaries in serious legal hot water. Notarizing without a signer’s personal appearance is violation of law in every state and territory, and can result in major financial and legal penalties.  The Notary admitted that she had done notarizations in the past where she spoke with signers by telephone to ask if they signed documents. The Notary’s commission was suspended.

Failing To Properly Record Notarial Acts: Too many Notaries fail to keep a record of their notarial acts, especially in states that do not require it. But that’s a problem because a properly maintained journal is your best protection if someone makes a claim against you. In essence, your journal is a record that you did everything right. Without the journal, you could find yourself trying to remember a notarization that might have happened years earlier. In addition, a poorly kept journal record can convince courts that you were sloppy and didn’t take the job seriously.

Failing To Obtain Satisfactory Proof Of Identity From A Signer: “Unless the signer personally appears and presents a valid ID, the Notary just cannot do the notarization. Period.” Busch said. “Otherwise, they will likely end up being sued, since more than likely there is a fraud being perpetrated.” Mistakes

Engaging In The Unauthorized Practice Of Law: While most Notaries would never walk into a courtroom pretending to be a lawyer, many don’t realize something as simple as telling a signer what notarization to choose or answering questions about a document is the unauthorized practice of law, which could lead to a lawsuit and other legal problems for the Notary.  Non-attorney Notaries should never prepare, complete or answer questions about a signer’s documents.  

Business slowing down?

Written by Lynn Nunez on . Posted in Field Services, Mortgage Closing Services, Mortgage Services and Providers

Now that business is slowing down, what do you do? How do you keep moving forward? Do you sit at home and just wait for the business to come to you?

Something you can tackle now with the business slowing is office politics. How things are running in the office, you know the place where your desk is located. No, not the one at home covered with stacks of papers but the one located off site and probably covered in dust. Well if this scenario describes your office, I would suggest beginning there, or maybe having the cleaning staff stop by a day before to get you started.

Now that the desk is cleared up, how are things in the office? Employee reviews up to date? Now would be a good time to catch up and touch base. Are all the departments running smoothly? Now may be a good time to hire new staff and complete training. Have them prepared for when things pick back up. How about a strategizing meeting with the staff to get things started. Marketing ideas, new product ideas or increasing coverage areas. Is the holiday season approaching? How about vacation times? Plan on some training and review of current policies. Look for areas that need improvement and then you should take small, common sense steps daily toward achieving those goals. Don’t try to tackle everything all at once, think small steps.

Woman looks up

Now would also be a good time to review stock. Such as paper stock, pens, ink, coffee and all other items that keep the office running smoothly. Recently a friend of mine told me her office incorporated a lunch service for all staff, maybe this is something to consider or even a potluck once a week would be fun and team building.

What ever you do, do something. That is why you’re here.  

Mortgages to reduce closing costs

Written by Lynn Nunez on . Posted in Home Buyers and Mortgagors, Mortgage Economy and Market

As reported by the mortgage professor, he proposed that mortgage lenders simply remove all of the third party settlement costs and instead bundle all of those fees required by the lender. When acquiring a mortgage have you noticed all of those fees and services not disclosed but required to be paid by you listed on your settlement sheet? These fees are required by the lender as a condition for granting you the home mortgage, why not they pay for it?

You’re wondering what difference bundling the fees will make. They will only charge you the total fee anyways.

Yes, you’re right but as these services, such as the title insurance that protects the lender, the mortgage insurance that again protects the lender, appraisal that assesses the value of the home, and all the other services needed and which you are referred to or have no control over where it gets done. In turn the lender is not only making you pay for it but profiting from it as well by receiving free or underpriced services.

They can purchase these services in bulk and get a much lower rate that can then be passed on to us in one flat rate. By having the lender charge the mortgagee a flat fee it will substantially lower the inflated prices they now pay the third party providers. Lenders will be competing for our business by offering a good flat rate on closing costs and quality, rather than itemizing the fees, some that are not even used or needed. In 2002, HUD tried to implement the package approach with a single price, but as it was voluntary the mortgage bankers were not on board. Notary Public tools

Now with the debut of a 15-year mortgage gear towards low to moderate income households with no down payment the flat fee closing costs sounds more appealing.

Moving Tips

Written by Shardae Griffin on . Posted in General, Home Buyers and Mortgagors

moving-tipsIf you are one of thousands of people who have moved their family to a new home or community, you probably have fresh memories of  some of the ups and downs, thrills or frustrations of moving. One of the best moving tips you’ll ever hear is that good packing is essential for a stress-free move.  If you choose to do some or all of your own packing, it is important that you familiarize yourself with packing techniques. Also moving boxes that will best protect your possessions are a big help. It may be convenient to make a list. Before packing one box, create a simple record keeping system. Place a number on every box you pack and list the contents on your list. When describing the box contents, be specific. For example, ” A-D files” is better than just writing “files” It may not hurt to color coordinate as well. Designate a color for each room in the new home, such as yellow for kitchen, orange for dining room, etc. Place colored stickers on the box near the box number. Inside your new home, place a matching sticker on the door to each room. If you have hired movers, they will know where to put everything once they arrive to the new destination.  It’s also helpful to post a sign on the wall where you may want boxes stacked to keep out of furniture and traffic areas. Try to keep things together when you or the movers are packing boxes. Keep bookends with books, light bulbs with lamps, and extension cords with appliances. Small, loose parts can be attached to the item they belong to with tape or placed in small envelopes. Larger corresponding items such as a cable TV cord can be placed in a resealable bag and then taped to the underside or back of the item.

Home Buying. Good or Bad Investment?

Written by Shardae Griffin on . Posted in General, Home Buyers and Mortgagors, Mortgage Economy and Market

homes1Most people seem to think that owning a house is a great investment. Thornburg investments says houses return a barely positive return on a real, return basis, but as they note, all of the fees are not actually included in this calculation.  If you consider a house as two distinctly different pieces, you have the land that you own and the actual house itself.  The land is what some would call an ” investment” since it’s highly probable the land itself will appreciate in value over time. The house itself, however, is a depreciating asset that is guaranteed to fall apart just like your car will. Like all financial asset purchases you are guaranteed to stat your purchase in the red by the amount of fees involved in purchasing the asset. Homes are an unusual financial asset in that they are extraordinarily expensive from an up-front cost perspective. You have Realtor commissions, closing costs, inspections, appraisal, insurance and a whole slew of other potential costs such as moving or maintenance. This is before you have even stepped foot into your “investment” and of course before you have started paying the real fees such as mortgage. Over the life of a home you will have to pay taxes, mortgage payments, property insurance, utilities, water, disposal and routine maintenance. These are all fixed costs and whether you rent or buy you will have to pay some of these fees no matter what. Throwing out utilities, water and disposal with the assumption that your rental option has these costs embedded you will still have to pay mortgage, taxes, property insurance and you will have to maintain the property yourself if you own your home. None of this means that buying a house is a bad idea. It is simply intended to put the total costs and real, real returns in the right perspective for those who buy a home with a mortgage and live in that home.

Tenant Rights and Responsibilities.

Written by Shardae Griffin on . Posted in General

tenantsTenant’s have rights and responsibilities during a tenancy agreement.  In almost every state, tenants are entitled to a safe and livable home, regardless of how much rent you pay or whether your landlord tries to get you to accept a hovel.  Your right to livable housing has a lofty-sounding legal name: You’re ­entitled to the benefit of the landlord’s “implied warranty of habit­ability.” What this means is that your landlord has promised you a livable place simply by renting it to you. You are entitled to a quiet and exclusive enjoyment of your home.  You are entitled to certain minimum standards of accommodation. You are entitled to a rent book. You have the right to contact the landlord or their agent at any reasonable time.  You are also entitled to have appropriate  contact info such as telephone numbers, email addresses, postal address, etc. As a tenant you also have obligations and responsibilities.  You as a tenant must pay your rent on time. Keep the property in good order. Inform the landlord if repairs are needed and give them access to the property to carry out repairs. You must avoid causing damage or nuisance. Also you must comply with any special terms in your tenancy agreement, verbal or written. If your landlord’s mortgage is in arrears and the mortgage lender has appointed a receiver, you must pay the rent to the receiver, but it is the landlord who remains legally responsible for matters such as returning your deposits. The receiver may arrange for repairs to be carried out, but it is unclear whether the receiver is required to do this or whether the receiver takes on any of the responsibilities of a landlord. If you feel your rights as a tenant have been infringed, you have some methods of redress. In case of disputes regarding private tenancy agreements, you may take your case to the Private Residential Tenancies Board, which provides a dispute resolution service.If your landlord is not maintaining the property to the proper standards you can contact your local authority, which is responsible for enforcing standards in rented housing.

House Flipping

Written by Shardae Griffin on . Posted in General, Home Buyers and Mortgagors

house-flipping-conceptSo much in house-flipping depends on the real-estate  market.  During a boom, flippers have the upper hand and can almost name their price in some areas. However, while in a slow period, many of these homes can sit for months. A lot of decisions are to be made from the very beginning. Once you know where you want to buy then your next decision is on what type of property you want to purchase. Deciding on a fixer-upper involves committing to improving that home, which takes time and money. If you purchase a foreclosed home you could get a bargain on an under priced house but keep in mind that if the previous owners could not pay the mortgage they most likely couldn’t afford to upkeep the house. You would then have to worry about problems such as a leaky roof or a dead or overgrown yard  These two types of properties are what most people think of when flipping comes to mind. One of the first piece of advice that most flipping experts give is to make a budget. While finding the perfect place and knowing your skill set is important, budgeting is where new flippers most often fail. So the first place to start is to get financing.  When financing it is very helpful to know that the larger down payment that you are able to pay, the lower the interest rate. It does not hurt to save cash for fixing up. Make sure that you research on what type of neighborhood you intend to do your house flip. Really investigate the area by driving around during the day and at night. Check recent sale prices and find out of any other flippers are sitting on empty houses.  Keep in mind that some markets are more profitable than others, such as: Great school systems, low crime rates, city improvements, including street repaving, new street lights and street signs.

Working from Home, Is it for you?

Written by Lynn Nunez on . Posted in Field Services, Mortgage Closing Services, Notary signings

how-working-from-home-worksWorking from home seems like the ideal scenario, but is it for you? There is more to evaluate when considering making the switch. The change in working environment not only affects you but those who are at home during the day as well. What you think you are saving in gas and commute time can cost you in other areas. Let’s look at some pros and cons.

Extra sleep.
No traffic issues.
No need to pack a lunch.
Dress code casual.
Less time away from home.

Now if you’re a parent, the likelihood that you can sleep in is slim, I still would need to make sure the kids eat, dress and get to school on time. That leads to the traffic issues, you still have to forge through it. Packing a lunch, I would still have to plan ahead to make sure it is easy to put together. The dress code is definitely a plus, unless of course your employer is requesting a live video while working. Let’s look at the cons.
Loss of social interaction.
Too many distractions.
Loss of regimen.
Too much time at home.

Social interaction can go both ways, at first you will find it to be more productive and then after a while you will notice you are more verbal on the phone with customers or after hours when talking to friends you just can’t seem to stay quiet. A quick follow up phone call turned out to be an hour on the line. Or the coffee break with a colleague turns into dinner. Now the distractions, I’m one of those people that can’t sit still when things around me are not tidy, I would continue to lose focus until I get up and straighten up what I didn’t want to do on my off time. I don’t know about you but I get off of work the commute to pick up my kids gives me a chance to change roles. To let go of my work day and turn on mommy mode. Same with the morning ride in, it gives me a chance to transition into work mode.

Too much time at home can go both ways. Your family sees you more, they feel you are involved. Then again you are seeing the same walls and faces for longer periods of time. Any chance you get to get out you will jump on it! Remember why you didn’t want to work in the office anymore?

These are just some things to consider when making the choice to transition.

Why New Real Estate Agents Fail

Written by Christina Green on . Posted in Field Services

3D real estate guy on a white backgroundMany experienced real estate agents love their job and feel that is one of the most fulfilling careers out there, but it takes a lot of hard work, patience, and determination to be successful.

It can take years for agents to see results, but many agents stick it out and make real estate their career until it’s time to retire. Many agents decide to leave the real estate field altogether for any number of reasons. Many new real estate agents end up leaving the industry early.

Some reasons why new real estate agents fail and end up leaving the business include:

Lack of training and experience

It is one thing to complete and pass your exams, but it’s another to use the lessons you learned during class and apply them to real life experiences. Learning is a lifelong skill and just because you passed your real estate exam doesn’t mean that the learning should stop there.

Many new real estate agents do not take advantage of the many certification courses and training classes that are available through their companies. Also a lot of new agents do not have a business plan that includes a clear vision and list of goals.   New agents should team up with their managers for one-on-one training. They have been in the business for quite some time and are there to serve as mentors.

Low on funds

For some agents that are coming into the industry after a career change, many are taken aback by the initial startup costs. Costs include MLS, NAR, state association and local association fees, marketing and advertising, business cards and lock boxes, among other business expenses. Additionally, a lot of new agents aren’t familiar with how a commission split works or are disappointed over how long it takes to generate a consistent flow of business.

Unrealistic expectations

Many new agents will come into the industry and treat it as a job, but real estate shouldn’t be treated as a business. Another expectation new agents have is that their personal friends and family members will help carry them through their first year of business, but oftentimes their friends and family will not be ready to buy or sell right away. Another belief is that they are there to sell houses when in reality, houses are secondary. Buyers and sellers will buy or sell with any agent. What you’re selling first is you.

Another common misconception that many new agents have is that they believe their brokers will generate and send any promising leads their way, but this is not the case. New agents lack the knowledge of what it will take to succeed. They enter the business believing that real estate will be an easy way to make money, and the difficulty is way beyond what they expected.