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Walk AWAY from that house….oh, wait…RUN!

Sometimes it’s best to walk away from a house purchase…..even after spending money on an option fee and inspections.

In fact, that’s why we have an option period in Texas….so you can have professionals go out and inspect the house to see if it’s worth owning.

Yesterday we had the opportunity to have our buyers sign a “Termination of Contract”…..even though it wasn’t our buyers asking to sign it.

Our first warning should have been when the seller’s son-in-law called to let us know that all communication for the purchase would be directly to him….bypassing the agent on the Multiple Listing Service .  We knew a “For Sale By Owner” sign was on the property….but had also seen the property on the local MLS.  We checked our MLS….still showing as “active” but in remarks…it asked us to send all correspondence to the seller.  Turns out…not really the seller, the sellers son in law.

Our buyers hired a home inspector and also had a septic company go out to the property to make sure the septic system was in working condition.  A number of items were brought up by the home inspector that were items of concern…so our buyers asked for a few repairs.  The seller’s son (not a Realtor, nor the owner) immediately responded that no repairs would be made.  Our buyers decided to move forward…they really wanted the house.

Closing was to occur on October 5th and the offer was contingent on the sale of the buyer’s home.  The sellers son in law called on September 11th asking for our buyers to remove the contingency.  He also stated that if they didn’t release the seller from selling the house to them he would do his best to make sure the buyer’s didn’t ever get the  earnest money back.  His words (in WRITING) followed with an ugly email:  There is no “good faith” on this side because we feel we have been misled (?),  and mistreated (?), the appraisal has not even been completed, we want to be released from this contract immediately.  If your clients hold us up any longer and will not release us until 10/5 and do not close as promised and signed they can kiss the $1K earnest money goodbye, I will tie it up indefinitely.  Sign the release….get your $1K refunded.

The buyers, after reading the email, decided to forget about the purchase.  They don’t qualify without the proceeds from their home…..which is why it was contingent on their sale.  They had put new windows in their house, new siding outside, had it painted inside and out, replaced the fence….all done and ready to put on the market for a very quick sale at $200,000 on Sept 12th.  The house they were buying…..$310,000 and needed lots of updating. We have since learned the sellers daughter called the lender and told her they had another offer…but it wasn’t as good as this offer.  She also told the lender that the Mom, the seller, had borrowed money to fix up the new house she had bought in a new city and needed the funds from the sale to pay the borrowed money back.

I can’t help but believe if we had been able to work with another agent on this sale…..instead of the seller’s son in law, a hot head, we might have been able to close on this home.  We wouldn’t have seen an email that was so “heated” from the son-in-law…..we would have either got a call from the Realtor or an email asking how the process was going for putting the home on the market and getting it sold.   In San Antonio…homes that are fixed up and ready for quick move in for $200,000 or under FLY off the market….especially in North Central San Antonio with great schools and in a great neighborhood.  We probably would close sooner than  the next buyer…..and it appears, from the disclosed call to the lender, that the seller would have netted more from our sale than the next sale.  So…did the seller borrow the money from the son-in-law and he couldn’t afford to risk it not being back in his account by October 5th?  We’ll never know…..but I still believe you hire Realtors to get your home SOLD and keep the emotions out of the transaction….and everyone wins because they understand what is happening, when it is happening and why it is happening.  Without the Realtors you have this situation….a seller who has no clue what really is happening and why….and a seller that will end up with less money in her pocket because her spokesperson was a hot headed relative that didn’t know real estate.

 

 

 

 

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!

 

Downtown San Antonio Life

Last week we had the opportunity to view the gorgeous residences above the Grand Hyatt….Alteza.  Stunning views!  If you want to truly be an “empty nester”…this is the spot for you!  One of the best buys is $579,900 with 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1474 square feet and views from the 25th floor that are just incredible!  Very hip and contemporary….and when the kids want to visit…check them in a room at the hotel….and let’s all play “tourist”!  It will be worth giving up the huge house when you have these views and can just take an elevator down to walk out to the river walk and catch a bite to eat!  Living life well!  And if you are young, hip (or think you are young and hip) what a cool place to live!  Only one unit is available that features one bedroom at $465,450.  HOA fees currently run as low as $510 for the one bedroom up to $1672 for the pent house.  Need more information?  Give us a call at 210-497-0657!  We can’t wait to go back!

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.

 

 

 

For Sale by Owner or List with a Realtor?

 

Lots of folks try to sell their home on their own….this seller tried and had it under contract twice and neither closed.  Finally.. frustrated and tired of never knowing if he was actually going to move he interviewed agents and hired us to sell his home.

We had him put away a few things for photos and took some great pictures….and built a virtual tour to show off the best features of his home.  The home went into the MLS system Wednesday evening……and on Friday we already had 19 showings scheduled, 1 cash offer and another on the way….and even more calls from agents asking him to hold off on making a decision until they can get their offer written.

Activity he never had before….and it will be sold this weekend.

Did you know 90% of all sales nationally listed their homes with a REALTOR?  And that by using a REALTOR the sellers actually netted more money than if they hadn’t used a REALTOR and saved on the commission?

Are younger people buying homes?

Today I just read an article in the San Antonio Express News on the housing market….sadly, it stated that people under 35 were not buying homes like my generation did at the same age.  Reason?  Student loan debt.   Mortgage loan rules now require their student loan payment to be factored in with their debt…..even if they are not required to pay the student loan at this time.  Now…that’s going to keep a lot of people from being a homeowner.

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