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Happy Realtor

What stays with the house?

Not sure what is supposed to stay when you’ve sold your house?

When you sell a lot of houses you tend to have some pretty amazing stories about items that weren’t clear to the sellers…..how about these?

  1.  The sellers moved the water bed and forgot they carpeted around it….so a big hole without carpet was in the master bedroom for our walk through before signing to buy.
  2. The buyers drove up to discover all the rose bushes were missing….the sellers said they thought they were theirs because they planted them in honor of their Mom years ago (this happened twice….both my sellers blamed it on Mom)
  3. The front door was not the leaded glass door that was there when they bought it…it was a much cheaper door.  The seller wanted the old door for the new house but forgot to tell anyone.
  4. The curtains in a guest room were the same color…but not the eyelet fabric….the seller told me this a few weeks after closing bragging that the buyer hadn’t even noticed that she took the curtains…..when the buyer called me years later to sell the house for her she pointed out that she would leave the same curtains that were up in that room and would not be replacing them with eyelet fabric.
  5. All the curtains were gone and holes in the wall from where the curtain rods had been.
  6. All the curtains and rods were gone and the holes patched.
  7. The gas logs in the fireplace had been removed (by the seller…..caution….this could be  a gas leak).
  8. The lamppost light in the front flower bed was bent from the seller trying to dig it up as the buyers drove up to their new house.
  9. No floor molding or tile was behind the desk the seller removed from the kitchen (it was personal property but once again….they had installed the tile floors around the desk that they decided was a personal item later).
  10. An older black stove was in the kitchen instead of the new black double oven stove that had originally been in the house when the buyer wrote the offer.

If it’s attached, it probably stays…unless you have something in the contract specifically stating it doesn’t stay.

So…what stays?

In Texas, all appliances….except the refrigerator.  That means dishwasher, stove, microwave.  Your washer and dryer are yours unless you agreed in a Non-Realty Items addendum to leave them or sell them to the buyers.

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Your faucets, the disposal under the sink, the water softener, chandelier, light fixtures and fans are the new buyers.  The mirrors above the bathroom sinks stay.  If you have cabinets in the bathrooms, kitchen, utility room and garage….they stay.  Even shelves can become an issue if you remove them.  This does not mean replace them with cheaper versions before closing….the items that were in the house when the buyer saw the house must be in the house at closing.

 

The curtains and rods stay…unless you have agreed in the contract that you are allowed to take them.  The lampshades on the chandelier remain with the house.

The fireplace screen remains—unless you have agreed in the contract that it does not stay.

Per the Texas Earnest Money Contract:  “The house, garage and all other fixtures and improvements including appliances, valances, screens, shutters, awnings, wall to wall carpeting, mirrors, ceiling fans, attic fans mail boxes, television antennas, mounts and brackets for televisions and speakers, heating and air conditioning units, security and fire detection equipment, wiring, plumbing and lighting fixtures, chandeliers, water softener system, kitchen equipment, garage door openers, cleaning equipment, shrubbery, landscaping, outdoor cooking equipment, and all other property owned by the seller and attached to the above described real property.”

“Accessories:  window air conditioning units, stove, fireplace screens, curtains and rods, blinds, window shades, draperies and rods, door keys, mailbox keys, above ground pool equipment and maintenance accessories, artificial fireplace logs, and controls for garage doors, entry gates, and other improvements and accessories”.

Mirrors are considered realty items if they are attached above sinks.  Always check before you buy if a beautiful mirror is staying….just because it is attached to the wall doesn’t mean the seller is leaving it.  Lots of homes have room for large mirrors in closets and bathrooms that could be considered “personal property”……always ask if there is a question…and add a “Non-Realty Items Addendum” to avoid problems later if you believe it could be questionable later.

Brackets for television and speakers can be tricky…..if the seller has a huge TV in the living room and you aren’t planning on putting a TV there….discuss this during your option period.  Know before you close if wires are going to be left dangling from the ceiling from the surround sound speakers the seller removed or if you will have a huge bracket for  a TV that you didn’t want to hang on that particular wall.  The seller may prefer to take the TV bracket and patch the hole for you…..these items can (and should) be negotiated before closing day.

I got a phone call last year from an agent that was walking the property with her buyer before the buyer went to sign the final papers to purchase.  Her question?  “Where are the surround sound speakers?”  This was the first discussion about speakers…..clearly, from the contract, they were not sold with the house.  I assume that was a long ride to the title company for that agent and buyer.

Once your house is under contract…if something breaks before closing it needs to be repaired.  I recommend you tell your Realtor and buyer the item  broke and you are repairing it.   If it didn’t work when you put the house on the market….put this information in your sellers disclosure.

The number one reason why Sellers  gets sued after closing is for not disclosing items properly on their sellers disclosure….so carefully fill the seller’s disclosure out correctly.  If something is in the house that you want (Mom’s Roses, a chandelier, a mirror above a sink, curtains and rods)….if possible, remove them before you put them on the market.  If that isn’t possible….make sure in your MLS write up that that item is discussed and THEN make sure it is written in the contract as not remaining.

When it’s all said and done….the happiest Sellers and Buyers are those who are informed.

 

 

Top 3 Reasons to Stage Your Home

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  1.  It will sell for MORE!
  2. It will sell FASTER!
  3. Your online photos will stand out!

89% of all buyers start their search online!  Don’t you want more money?

Best Day to get Keys

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Lots of people don’t think about what the best day is to close on their new home….when you’re buying…thinking about a few things in advance may help by not adding additional stress.  Don’t just pick a great date and think that’s going to work without taking into consideration a few items:

  1.  How long it will take to get your loan….very important.  There are no “sure” dates in this situation…. the type of loan and your situation can delay closing.  If you are getting a VA loan (because you’re  Veteran….God Bless You and Thank YOU for your service!) your loan may sometimes be delayed because the VA appraiser is just very busy.  Your lender might be great….but your lender can not “rush” the appraiser.  We’ve had appraisers (VA and regular appraisers) write in the wrong neighborhood…a delay….take 2 weeks to submit their final appraiser….a delay….say a property is a commercial property and it is not….another delay.  Maybe you should ask for almost 60 days to close for a VA loan?  Happens more often than you think.
  2. If you are self employed….your lender and the underwriter may ask you to provide items that just seem like they are “none of their business”….trust me…if you don’t provide these items….you won’t get the loan.  Get your lender the information asap…the longer you delay getting them these items….the longer it takes to get the loan. I tell people all the time that they need to put their underwear (clean, please) in a paper bag and add it to the pile of items the lender will need….it’s a joke…but almost the truth!
  3. You went online and applied….sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.  We had a buyer that picked a lender and after 60 days still didn’t have a loan….or even a clue if they were even near getting a loan.  We had the buyer switch to a lender we trust….and it still took almost 60 days because the appraiser wrote the condo as a “commercial building”….and the borrower/buyer was self employed and the lender needed TONS of paperwork to document it was a good loan to the underwriter.  Be prepared…these things can happen and do happen all the time.
  4. The appraisal comes in with a value lower than the sales price….sadly, some appraisers are in a hurry and pick properties that may not justify or even qualify as comparable homes so the appraisal value comes in low.  Good luck getting the appraiser to adjust his values…..he doesn’t have to do anything or change anything.  But your loan now may change…you may have to put up additional funds to make up the difference…you can get lucky and have the seller agree to lower the price.  But this usually  delays the closing date.
  5. How many holidays occur between the contract date and the closing date may make a difference in when you get a loan.  Lots of lenders take holidays off….which means a 4 day weekend and no one is working on your file.  Guess what….some appraisers even take off for holidays….another possible delay.
  6. Try not to pick a Friday….if the seller can’t sign until 1 pm you might not get keys until Monday when the property “funds”…..very frustrating if you have a moving van sitting outside the title company with all your stuff in it and the dog waiting in the lobby.  Try to pick a Wednesday or a Thursday….to make sure you get keys in time for your move.  We had a seller close at 4:30 on a Friday….and the buyers were in the lobby of the title company waiting for keys.  The agent called us at 10 that morning asking us if there was any way our sellers could come in earlier so the buyers could make sure they got keys.  One seller was at work…..unable to leave early without giving notice….a common practice for most jobs.  I wanted to tell the agent “your poor lack of planning is not my seller’s emergency”…but I resisted and called the seller to see if there was any way he and his wife could come earlier….I want everyone to be happy all the time.  I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the buyers…it wasn’t their fault that no one considered that the seller might not be able to make an appointment to close early in the day.
  7. Try not to pick the day before a long weekend….because EVERYONE else is closing on that date also….so you run the risk of not getting keys  because some offices have “skeleton” crews because the most “senior” staff  is on vacation already.

Wishing you much luck and happiness with your new home and I hope this information has been helpful!

 

The House that Leo Built

One of my favorite real estate stories began from a random call I got one day at the office……a prospective tenant was calling to find out about a house to rent near Mahncke Park  that was already rented.  I asked him why he would want to rent when he could buy a home around the corner for almost the same amount a month…. he gasped…..”I could really pay the same amount to buy?”…..and I confirmed….Leo called my preferred loan officer before meeting me ….and yes, it was true….his mortgage payment, including taxes and insurance, would actually be a little less than the rental amount was going to be.

I quickly ran out to look at the house before meeting Leo…..and when I opened the door…..a horrible smell hit my nose.  I called my husband before continuing to walk inside……I was afraid it was a dead body.  It wasn’t a dead body….but it was the largest squirrel I had ever seen…dead in the middle of the living room.  Somehow he got inside (I am assuming the squirrel was male) through the fireplace…and couldn’t figure out how to get out.  I called the listing agent and told her about the squirrel…..and she called someone to have it removed.

I met Leo for the first time…..at the front curb of the house.   Once I explained about the squirrel….we walked inside.  Leo loved the house….it was perfect for him.  We made an offer….and it was accepted.  Leo had the home inspected and a few items needed repairs…..the most important item was a bee hive removal…..in the brick on the side of the house….requiring the Queen bee removal….and the seller agreed.    Leo was buying the house with a VA loan…. the appraiser came out and gave it a value much higher than our sales price but required several items to be repaired….but somehow, by mistake, the seller was told of the appraised value (not by me)…..so she refused to make the repairs in hopes that the buyer would back out and she could sell again at a higher price.  Leo decided to make the repairs at his expense….and the seller agreed to let him hoping he wouldn’t make his closing date on the contract.

We made the closing date…..but not without a little stress.  One of the repairs was regarding the yard (adding extra dirt on the side of the house) and the appraiser had to come back out to re-inspect.  Leo and I met early that morning at the house…I brought him donuts.  Leo had done the yard work himself….and was sweating and dirty….and scared.  What if the appraiser didn’t approve the repairs?  We said a silent prayer and Leo drank the coffee and ate a donut while watching the appraiser walk around the house…..finally….in what seemed like a million hours (maybe 20 minutes) the appraiser walked up to us…..and asked if Leo was the buyer.  We introduced ourselves….and waited.  The appraiser laughed….and asked if we were as scared as we looked…..so we laughed….and admitted  we were.  He then asked if Leo did the grading…. Leo croaked out, “yes”…..and the appraiser said, “great job”!  Leo jumped up and started dancing around….and I joined him!  What a great way to begin the day!

After Leo closed and moved in….he called.  He found some books in the attic…and one in particular he thought I would want.  He asked me to come by….he wanted to keep the book a secret until I saw it.

The book was “Businesses That Built San Antonio”….and my dad had taken many of the photos and also was one of the businessmen featured in the book.  I didn’t own this book.  I didn’t even know it existed.

Leo’s comment?   “This was the first book I opened after finding the box in the attic…and when I saw your Dad’s name I knew it was just another sign that you were supposed to sell me this house…thank you so much”.

Sometimes being a Realtor is priceless.  This was one of those times.  Thank you, Leo.  It was my pleasure.

 

 

 

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