How to Get Ready for Photos ūüď∑

You decided that you are going to sell your home and now you must get it in tip-top shape. It is critical that your home be perfect for photos because you want to make the first impression count. The photos will make people want to come see your home and hopefully buy it!

The majority of people will start their home search online viewing sites such as Zillow or REALTOR.com or your Agent Website. Here are some tips for making your home perfect for photos.

Interior of the Home

  • Start by giving your home the best deep clean its ever had – clean means you have taken great care of ¬†your home – thoroughly clean whole house (vacuum carpets, mop hard floors, clean countertops, clean windows)

On Photo Day

  • Turn all overhead lights and lamps on
  • Replace all burned out light bulbs
  • Use bulbs of the same temperature (ALL incandescent or ALL compact fluorescent) – if you home on the darkish side…consider daylight bulbs, they significantly brighten any home!
  • Turn all ceiling fans OFF
  • Turn all TVs OFF
  • Turn all computer screens OFF
  • Open blinds/window treatments to let in outside light
  • Remove personal photographs (or replace with general landscape/object photographs)
  • Make all beds
  • Remove small floor rugs to reveal actual flooring
  • Place all shoes/jackets in closet
  • Hide garbage cans in pantry or closet
  • Remove dishes from sink, place in dishwasher
  • Clear table, dust and polish the table top
  • Use decorative place setting if available
  • Feature one center piece such as a bouquet of flowers
  • Straighten all chairs and space them evenly
  • Remove child seats/booster chairs
  • Remove stacks of magazines, papers, mail, etc.
  • De-clutter fireplace mantel/hearth
  • Clean interior of fireplace and re-paint if needed
  • Fluff and arrange furniture pillows
  • Remove kid’s toys
  • Clear nightstands of all personal items including chargers and Kleenex boxes
  • Store away phone/tablet charging cables
  • Remove all clutter from top of dressers
  • Clean under bed, removing items that may show in the photos
  • Clear countertops completely.¬†No¬†soap, toothbrushes, medications, deodorant, etc. (only leaving decorative items)
  • Put toilet seats down
  • Fold toilet paper…like you see in a hotel
  • Close closet doors
  • Remove shampoo, soap, loofahs, etc. from showers and tubs
  • Remove dirty towels – leave out only new, unused towels
  • Remove floor mats

Exterior of Home

Curb appeal is so important, this is the first thing potential buyers see when they pull up. You also want your backyard to be seen as a relaxing space, make sure it is picked up!

  • Close garage doors
  • Remove cars from driveway and front of home
  • Clean up landscaping (mow, trim shrubs, clear leaves)
  • Remove empty planters
  • Use broom to remove cobwebs from eaves and door frames
  • Remove visible water hoses
  • Remove toys, sports balls, basketball goals, soccer goals, etc.
  • Clean porch, tidy up outdoor tables/chairs/cushions
  • Pillows/cushions should be fresh, not faded
  • Clear out kid’s toys, balls, frisbees, etc.
  • Clean pool
  • Remove pool vacuum/cleaner hose
  • Hide pool cleaning supplies
  • Turn on pool fountains/water features
  • Remove trash cans
  • Sweep or hose down patios

Pet

  • Place food and water bowls in pantry or closet
  • Place pet beds/toys in pantry or close
  • Use lint roller on furniture to remove pet hair
  • Contain pets in hidden crate or outside
  • Clear back yard of pet waste/toys

What to Expect During the Photo Shoot

When the photographer arrives, your house should be photo shoot ready! He usually has a full schedule that day and will need to be able to photograph without interruptions to make sure he does the best possible job for you.¬† To make sure that he gets all the shots that you would like, please have the home ‚Äúopen house ready.‚ÄĚ Plan for extra family members (including pets) to be away from home. ¬†Park your extra vehicles down the street. Our photographer will be in your home approximately 2 hours. ¬†It usually takes 24-48 hours for the photographer to finish editing the photos and send them to us.¬† Upon receipt, we will share the link with you to view all the images. ¬†The last step (uploading photos!) for getting your listing up and running on the MLS!

Elizabeth Lutz is a licensed Realtor with The Connors Group at Windermere Group One and specializes in the team’s social media marketing. ¬†Check out http://www.aprilconnors.com for more information.

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VA “Escape” Clause

The FHA/VA Amendatory & Escape Clause is a lender document that each party in the transaction must sign stating that the mortgage being applied for is the only loan being financed on the property; there are no ‚Äúsecret‚ÄĚ loans or down-payment sources being made under the table.¬† The Escape Clause ‚Äď in layman’s terms ‚Äď notifies all parties that if the appraised value comes in LOWER than the agreed to purchase price, that the buyer is under no obligation to move forward with the purchase.

Keeley Wagner is a licensed Realtor with The Connors Group at Windermere Group One and a former Licensed Closing Agent.  Check out http://www.aprilconnors.com for more information.

Broker’s Open House – What Is It?

Open House

We all know what an Open House is! ¬†An event scheduled to bring in potential Buyer’s to your home, typically held on a Saturday or Sunday for a specific period of time and advertised online!

What is a Broker’s Open House

What is that, exactly? The biggest difference is the invite list, this open house is not open to the public or the nosy neighbors, only real estate professionals. ¬†Typically a Broker’s Open House is held during a weekday or week night and Agents will be viewing the home for potential clients.

Once¬†your Agent schedules a Broker’s Open, ¬†it should be advertised to industry professionals. Typical forms of advertising are Facebook private events, flyers and picking up the phone to invite in person. Usually a free lunch is involved as an incentive to show up. On the day of the event, the other agents typically enjoy lunch, mingle with colleagues (from all different companies) while viewing the home and providing feedback on the property.

Why Consider a Broker’s Open?

A chance to target industry professionals to actually look inside your home, rather than viewing photos and video online.

A chance for professionals to take a moment to stop and think if your house matches any of their clients needs in their Contact Management System.

It provides valuable critique on value, staging and other items that might make your home more desirable.  Realtors are generally more open to providing positive and negative feedback at these events.

I’m a Little Bit Country…

Tired of the hustle and bustle of City life, dreaming of building that home in the Country? ¬†Who hasn’t thought of fields of flowers, wide open spaces and quiet living. ¬†Remember buying rural property is a lot different than purchasing a city lot. ¬†We are hoping to help you with¬†some of the items that¬†you may wish to consider during your buying feasibility study.

What is a Feasibility Study

A feasibility study is a timeframe the land owner or developer will give to the potential Buyer to determine if the property is “right” for them. ¬†It is the Buyer’s opportunity to explore all facets of the property before moving forward with the purchase of the land.

What Are you Looking For?

  • Livestock in your future? ¬†Horses, cattle, 4-H projects?¬†horse-1617857__480
  • Hobby Farm – thinking of trying your hand at growing wine grapes?
  • Just a acre or two for a pool and shop?

Make sure to consider the neighborhood carefully and how the adjoining properties are currently zoned, what is common for the area and how development could impact the future of your property.

Take a Walk!

You found the property!  We suggest taking your homebuilder to walk the site. You will need to carefully evaluate the following:

Property Boundary Lines РFind the boundary lines for the property to ensure they are clearly marked and there are no encroachments on the property.  If you are buying a parcel of land that is not in a new development you should always consider hiring a professional surveyor to locate boundary lines.

flooding-2048469__480Floodplain –¬†Wetlands – ¬†Are there wetlands on the property, make sure to verify. ¬†Building in a floodplain may require flood insurance, your due diligence should include calling your insurance agent before the end of ¬†your feasibility study to inquire if you need flood insurance and to understand the costs of extra flood insurance. ¬†In Washington State the Department of Ecology provides this¬†Flood Map Search¬†– make sure to check out your potential property.

Home Site – Is the property suitable for all of the things you want to accomplish? ¬†Home, shop, pasture….make sure to understand any easements on the property. ¬† Make sure to check with the county on any building requirements.

Items on the Property РInspect the property for hazards such as garbage dumps, buried or leaking fuel tanks, chemicals or other issues that may have significant costs associated with clean up.  Make sure your offer includes the developer or owner to take care of any debris or hazards on the lot you would like cleaned up.

Understand Your New Neighborhood!

Location, location, location.  Your neighborhood is uber important when considering any property and this is especially REALLY true for rural properties. . Much of the land in the country is used for agricultural purposes. Commercial farming may be present, including fertilizer, crop dusting, and livestock to name a few.  Take a drive around and understand what is around you!

CC&Rs

Most rural developments have Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions.  Make sure during your feasibility period that both you and your builder review and understand the CC&Rs fully.  A few of things you might find in the CC&Rs can include the style and size of home and shop you can build, view protection clauses, type of fencing you can use, and if animals are allowed, etc.  Grab a highlighter and spend some time reviewing these carefully.

Is there Irrigation Water?

Make sure to understand if there is irrigation water provided to your property.  This is a very important feature of rural property.  Without irrigation water you are limited on the amount of water your can draw from a private well to water your lawn or pasture, in Washington State you are limited to 1/2 acre.  Check out other water rights restrictions here.

Final Plat

Carefully review the face of the recorded final plat and any associated documents for other items you may not be aware of that are listed on the plat.

Where is EVERYTHING?

Moving to the country may mean a longer commute especially to schools, gas stations, school-bus-698473__480grocery stores, etc…are you prepared for that? Make sure to check out:

  1. School Bus Service
  2. Garbage Service
  3. Private vs. County Roads
  4. Cable and Internet Service.  Is high speed available, what are the other options?
  5. Emergency Services….where is the closest fire station…hospital?

Thirsty?

So how much does it cost to drill a well? ¬†Well…it can be substantial, the deeper you drill the more expensive it can get…and it is the Buyer’s responsibility to check with local well drillers and the Department of Ecology to determine if you can…start your research here ¬†Washington State Wells. ¬†Make sure to check well logs Washington State Well Logs¬†close by to see how deep the other wells in the area are to get a sense of how far you may have to drill. ¬† Check in with your County Health Department to find recommended local well drillers. ¬†Also, there is a recent Washington State court decision on wells…make sure you understand your County’s standing on the court decision of¬†Whatcom County vs. Hirst, Futurewise, et al¬†and follow along with¬†Senate Bill 5239¬†that is proposed to ensure¬†that water is available to support future development.

Public Sewer…Probably Not!

Most rural properties don’t have access to public sewer and require an on-site septic system. ¬†The systems are typically approved by the County, in our case the Benton-Franklin Health Department is a great place to start…check them out here.¬†The type of septic system you can install¬†depends on the soil of the property. ¬†It is super important that you evaluate and understand this expense.

You can evaluate by performing a PERC test which requires digging holes on the property  near your home site.  Once the holes are dug the Health Department Official takes samples and analyzes the soil to see how quickly water drains in the ground to support the septic drainfield.

Review Zoning, Taxes, and Land Use

Check with your county assessor’s office to answer these questions when considering building on a rural property:

  • Ôā∑ How is the property currently zoned?
  • What is the tax basis for the property?
  • Does the current zoning allow residential development?
  • Will the tax basis change if a residence is constructed?
  • If zoned agricultural, does the zoning and agricultural tax status transfer with the sale of the property?
  • What are the requirements to maintain an ag exempt status on (minimum acreage size, annual income requirement, etc.)?

Ôā∑ An ag exemption preserves the legal use and tax status of the property, however, some counties may have requirements which must be adhered to in order to maintain these benefits.

  • What paperwork must be completed to maintain the ag exemption prior to the transfer of the property?

Got Power?

strommast-2291381_1920If the propery does not have power this can be a SIGNIFICANT cost when developing rural property.  Make sure that power is available at the road or close to the homesite.

If the power is not to the property make sure to contact the public utility service during your feasibility study to estimate the cost to bring and install power to the lot.

Old McDonald Had a Farm

Not all properties are farmed, however, if they are you need to consider these items during you feasibility period:

  • Are there any leases? ¬†If the property owner is leasing out the ground to a local farmer to maintain and harvest the crops make sure you understand the terms of the lease agreement including but not limited to length of lease, terms, obligations and conditions.
  • Water Rights ‚Äď Some farm properties are irrigated from a lake, stream, river, deep well or irrigation district. ¬† Water rights are highly regulated and an integral part of the property‚Äôs value. Verify the water rights transfer with the land and consider some of these questions during your feasibility period.

Thanks for reading along!   We know there are many more items you will need to consider in your feasibility study, we are hoping that this article helps get your started!

April Connors is part of the Connors Group at Windermere Real Estate and is a licensed Real Estate Broker in Washington State.

What You Need to Know About Appraisals?

Congratulations! ¬†You are through the grueling inspection process. ¬†So…what’s up next? ¬†The BIG¬†hurdle in the home selling process…the APPRAISAL…house-307216_1280

Why is it Needed?

An appraisal¬†determines the value of your ¬†home AND more importantly determines how much the Buyer’s¬†mortgage lender will¬†lend you for your home. ¬†¬†The value is established by a licensed Real Estate Appraiser, they¬†are third-party contractors that are generally hired by the Buyer’s Lender. Appraisers establish the price the property¬†on factors relating to neighborhood growth, housing trends and market conditions.

money-256319__480Who Pays?

Appraisals typically cost a bit over $500 in our market, and typically the Buyer pays the fee at closing as part of their closing costs.  There are exceptions so please discuss with your Realtor.

How Do I Prepare?

 

The Appraiser will ¬†call your agent to schedule a time to view your home. ¬†In our market we like our Sellers to actually let the Appraiser in their home and suggest they have a ¬†list handy of any upgrades they have made to the home that they feel could add value to it. While preparing, think about showing your home to a prospective Buyer….SHOW READY with lights on, great smells, blinds are open! ¬†The Appraiser is setting the value on your home, make it¬†SHINE!

The appraiser will sketch your home to determine accurate square footage and take photos of your house while searching for any code violations that you will have to repair or fix prior to the lender approving you loan. ¬†IMPORTANT¬†in Washington State carbon monoxides detectors are REQUIRED if they are not installed at the time of the Appraisal site visit, the Appraiser will have to return to your property…THIS may delay closing and there WILL be an additional fee. ¬† ¬†Ask your Realtor how many C02 detectors you may need and where they should be located.

How Does the Appraiser Formulate Value?

Besides¬†neighborhood growth, housing trends and market conditions mentioned above, the Appraiser will review all recent comparable sales in your neighborhood to determine value, these are the same “comps” your agent hopefully used to establish the value of your home. ¬†The Appraiser will also adjust the the price of property up or down when comparing to the other homes¬†based on such items as:

  • Location
  • Garage Bays
  • Outbuildings
  • Lot Size
  • Curb Appeal
  • Swimming Pools
  • Construction Quality
  • Condition
  • Age
  • Square Footage
  • Swimming Pools
  • View
  • Updates within the Last 15 Years
  • Number of Rooms including Bathrooms

 

Lender Approvalcalculator-428294_1280

The Appraiser typically delivers their report back to the Lender within 7-10 business days of conducting the appraisal. ¬†In our market the Buyer is allowed to see the report. ¬†They Seller will hopefully hear the magic words….”the appraisal is in at value with no work orders” ¬†which means the Appraisal is complete and Buyer and Seller can move to the next stage of the process.

April Connors is a licensed Real Estate Broker with The Connors Group at Windermere Real Estate located in Southeast Washington State.

 

 

The Sign’s Up? What Happens Next?

So you have lived¬†in your home for years and you are about to make it perfect for, YES, someone else…all of those projects you wanted to do are now…yep, done. ¬† You have cleaned, you have decluttered, windows are washed, the stager has bcleaning-268126_1920een¬†over and you have packed up HALF your house. ¬† You are tired, your house looks perfect…why ¬†are you moving? ¬†Well you know your reasons…more space, less space, more yard, less yard!

So everything is ready, what’s next?

Contract

Your agent will prepare a Listing Contract for your review that will highlight the listing date, price, commission cost, term of the listing and other pertinent information written by a team of real estate lawyers for your review.   You will also help your agent fill out a data sheet on what items are in your home and what is included OR excluded from the sale.  There is also the ULTRA important Seller Disclosure Statement required by Washington State Law.

Professional Photography

Here comes the photographer.  The photographer will generally take 24-72 hours to return high quality images to youphoto-431119_1920r agent.  At that time the agent will determine which photos showcase your home in the best light!  We suggest having your photographer scheduled close to a week before listing launch.

Listing, Lockbox and Sign

The magic “I am hitting the button, we are going live” conversations is happening today. ¬†Are you ready? ¬†Don’t forget to ask your Agent to send you a link to review and approve!

Soon, a for-sale sign will appear in the yard and a lockbox will be attached to your house, most likely on your front door. The lockbox allows local agents access to your home when you are not there (of course, with an appointment).

This may make you nervous at first, ¬†but it‚Äôs important to allow agents to show your home when you are away. ¬† Our local e-key system does allow your agent to turn the lockbox off at certain times of the day (say late evenings or overnight) so other agents cannot access the box at that time. ¬†Ask your agent to program the box for an additional sense of peace. ¬†We suggest a lockbox because many agents will put you at the bottom of their client‚Äôs list of homes to see, because they feel it’s a headache to track down your agent, who must contact you to find out when you‚Äôll be available, which may not fit into the Buyers‚Äô schedule.

Showings

What do you do, how should you prepare?

Make sure your front door lock is EASY to open…most homeowners enter thru their garage. You don’t want the Realtor struggling to unlock the entry to YOUR¬†home!

Let your agent know you have a showing and vacate your house…but before you do…

Keep it Neat!  Keeping your house in tip-top shape, especially if you have kids and pets, is one of the hardest parts of selling your home. But remember: Buyers will walk into your house and try to picture living there.

Lights On….ALL of them for showings.

Blinds Open..ALL of them, Buyers love light and bright homes.

How does your home smell? ¬†Some Buyers are VERY sensitive to heavy scents, it is better to try light scents rather than wax melts and candles. Try…COOKIES! ¬†Buying the take and break chocolate chip cookies and, if you have time, cook six or so before a showing and leave them on the counter with a few bottles of water..or try baking bread or brewing coffee. ¬†Smells trigger memory. ¬† You want your house to be memorable so that the other Agent bringing potential Buyers back!

Pets need to be secured or vacated from the property, including litter boxes.  Buyers with allergies will discount your home if they see or smell pets.

Let in pleasant sounds, from birds chirping outside to a soothing water feature. Calming music in the background, high enough to hear but low enough to not overwhelm.

Important…don’t forget…safeguard your valuables, personal information and sensitive items. Stow small items like electronics, cash, jewelry and prescription medications, and protect financial statements and documents,

Open Housesreal-estate-1468047_1920

Your agent will want to hold a couple of open houses as soon as possible, which is why you shouldn’t list your house until it’s ready for showing.

It is really best if you are not present during open houses and showings,  Buyers want the ability to look thru cabinets and drawers and make comments.

Whether you have additional open houses is up to you and your agent. Many sellers incorrectly think that multiple open houses are needed to sell a house. In fact, few homes are sold at open houses, but there are many good reasons to have one for the public!

April Connors is with the Connors Group, Windermere Group One and licensed Real Estate Broker in Washington State.

 

Superstitious…Lucky Home?

Superstitions? ¬†Old Wives Tales? ¬†Farmer’s Almanac? ¬†I am not even going to get into the BLACK CAT or the NUMBER 13.¬†We have all heard some of these from our parents, grandparents aunts and uncles….but what do they mean? ¬†Do you have a favorite?

carpentry-1867302_1920

NEVER POUND A NAIL AFTER SUNSET, OR YOU’LL WAKE THE TREE GODS

Seriously? ¬†What in the WORLD does that mean? ¬†I can honestly say I have never¬†heard this before…and what happens when you wake them??? ¬†I couldn’t even find a good explanation on Google for this one…Anyone out there have? one?

NEVER WALK UNDER A LADDER…ladder-1604451__480

Yep, heard this one my entire life, how about you? ¬†You will ALWAYS¬†find me walking around them..a little late night research and I clearly found out that an open¬†ladder¬†forms a triangle, and triangles were once considered a symbol of life, so…¬†walking¬†through that shape was considered tempting your fate. It is also thought that because it has three sides, the triangle symbolizes the Holy Trinity, and ‚Äúbreaking‚ÄĚ it by entering the triangle is¬†bad luck.

DON’T MOVE INTO A NEW PLACE ON A FRIDAY, SATURDAY OR RAINY DAY

So much for closing on Friday and moving in over the weekend! ¬†Maybe they are only thinking Friday the 13th and rainy day back luck??? ¬†Either way…glad we live in Tri-Cities and not Seattle. ¬†¬†Some other superstitions say that April, July and November are the most unlucky months in which to move. If you follow Indian superstitions, Thursday is the luckiest day of the week for moving into a new home. ¬†I am not sure why…

WHEN Ybroom-1437605__480OU MOVE OUT OF A HOUSE, LEAVE YOUR BROOM BEHIND

I am beginning to think none of my relatives practiced these traditions! ¬†Who wants your old broom, why would you leave it? ¬†Rumor has it..¬†with the dust and dirt of¬†your¬†old home, old¬†brooms¬†also carry the negative aspects of¬†your¬†life. A new¬†broom¬†signifies a fresh start in¬†your¬†new home. ¬†I am pretty sure the new homeowner doesn’t want the negative aspects of your life being left in their new home, you might want to throw that old broom away?

NEVER OPEN AN UMBRELLA INSIDE

According to superstition, bad luck will “rain” on you if you¬†open an umbrella indoors. Found out that in¬†the days when¬†umbrellas¬†were used as protection from the sun;¬†opening¬†one¬†inside¬†might insult to the sun god. ¬†I don’t want to do that!

CARRY BREAD AND SALT WHEN YOU FIRST ENTER YOUR NEW HOME

OH…and don’t forget your new clean fresh broom too! ¬†After additional research lbread-1281053__480ooks like bread symbolizes that no one in your house will go hungry. ¬†You should also spread a pinch of salt on the floor of every room, including over the threshold of the front door.¬†Salt is supposed to ward off evil.

STUFF FENNEL INTO YOUR KEYHOLE

This one may be super useful on Halloween…wards away the witches!

PAINT YOUR FRONT PORCH BLUE

house-1364159__480

I just made a trip back to New Orleans and LOW and BEHOLD those Southern Plantations in the Garden District…yep you guessed it, underside of most of there porches was a gorgeous Robin’s Egg blue. ¬†Why? ¬†Apparently it wards off¬†ghosts who can’t cross water. ¬†That blue porch confuses ghosts into thinking the porch is made of water so they¬†don’t enter!

DON’T CARRY YOUR HOE IN YOUR HOUSE

Good NEWS we found out that this one is reversible!!!  All you have to do is carry it out again, walking backward to avoid bad luck.  Easily done!

hiking-2042599__480

NEVER PUT YOUR SHOES ON THE TABLE.

Ok, honestly, I am not even googling this one because it is GROSS…do you know where your shoes have been?

NEVER GIVE A KNIFE AS A HOUSEWARMING PRESENT, OR YOUR NEIGHBOR WIL BECOME YOUR ENEMY

Hmmmm, I am not sure how to respond to this one…many of my real estate friends give these out as closing gifts! ¬†Fellow agents you may want to read up on this…just saying…

acorns-1678771__480

PLACE AN ACORN ON A WINDOWSILL

This one states that putting an acorn on a windowsill during a thunderstorm protects the  home from a lightning strike.  This one is easy enough to give a try.

 

Hope you enjoyed these superstitions let us know if you have some of your own!   Happy New Home!

April Connors is a licensed Real Estate Broker with The Connors Group – Windermere Group One in Kennewick, WA.

 

 

 

What to Expect at Closing?

Closing.

You’ve now successfully gone¬†through the grueling, nerve-wracking benchmarks of a home-inspection, appraisal, loan processing, (if you’re a buyer), packing…hoping…and praying everything goes smoothly. ¬†There are¬†a lot of instances where the topic of closing resonates¬†uncertainty among clients because it’s not something a large percentage of people ever do more than one…two..maybe three times in their lives, (unless interest rates hit a new low and then refinancing is on the horizon!). ¬†There is a common misconception that once you go in and sign, you’ve closed; it’s a done deal and now “Where’s my keys?” or “Where’s my money?” ¬†Nope. ¬†Not the case. Not that simple. ¬†There are actually several¬†things that happen to constitute closing, and until they have all occurred you are left in a purgatory of wonder. ¬†I won’t bore you with the gory details of what the Lender, Title and Escrow companies are doing behind the scenes because they really do A LOT of hard work to get your file prepped for closing. ¬†They have to make sure all i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed. Let’s talk signing, funding, and recording.

If you’re a Buyer…

For the last 45ish days, (hopefully not too much more), your loan officer and processor have been working expediciously with their underwriters to ensure they have everything they need to let you borrow some cashola for your new casa.

Closing Disclosure.

Once the final underwriting department flashes the green light, they will send you a Closing Disclosure that itemizes all costs/credits associated with your financing. ¬†Once you’ve reviewed the Closing Disclosure, (CD), you MUST sign it as this¬†triggers¬†a 3-business-day countdown. ¬†Legally your loan cannot close¬†before the end of this waiting¬†period. ¬†At the end of the 3-days, your lender and Title & Escrow Company will work with you to schedule an appointment to go in and sign.

Your Signing Appointment.

Ring Ring! ¬†Escrow will call you to schedule a¬†signing appointment as well as inform you of how much money to bring in. ¬†Time to break the bank. ¬†The painful withdrawal of¬†a large sum of money you have feverntly saved, is now going to become a roof over your head. ¬†The closing¬†funds must ALWAYS be in the form of a Bank Wire or Cashier’s check. ¬†NO PERSONAL CHECKS OR CASH ALLOWED! ¬†Well…you could take a personal check, but only if the amount is for $500 or less, (depending on the company policy). ¬†Be sure to take ¬†your VALID driver’s license to your signing appointment as¬†there will be a large stack of documents which must be notarized. Your signing will take approximately 30-45 minutes, but prepare for more just in case you have questions. ¬†One thing to remember is that if you want the house, you gotta sign the docs. ¬†Getting too detailed in trying to read and understand what you are signing will just delay things more. ¬† Unless your¬†numbers look inaccurate,¬†there isn’t a single document in the loan package you can contest signing if you want your loan to go through. ¬†Refuse to sign a document and your lender will refuse to loan you money. ¬†Sorry to break it to you. ¬†Plus, it’s super annoying to your escrow closer if you start drilling them with questions they don’t have a legal capacity to answer anyway, and it really can slow things down. ¬†If you have questions they have to be directed to your lender. ¬†After¬†you sign, the escrow officer sends all of your documents back to the lender to review, and then once they’ve reviewed that no signatures, initials, or dates were missed, they will FUND the loan.

Funding.

The lender has all documents back for review and now has to run down their checklist to make sure EVERY document is back, signed and dated correctly, and notarized correctly if necessary. ¬†Once all is deemed to be sufficient, their ‘funding department’ can initiate and wire your¬†loan proceeds to the escrow company.

Recording.

This is the final step. ¬†The homestretch. ¬†The Escrow Company has received the wire from your lender for your loan proceeds. ¬†Though now¬†that they have the funds, this does not mean they can immediately go record the sale at the county courthouse. ¬†They MUST wait until your lender sends a confirmation that all loan conditions are clear and they have been released to record. ¬†Once released, however, they are free to head on down to the County to record the transaction. ¬†THIS. ¬†THIS MOMENT is what you’ve been waiting for. ¬†Recording. ¬†You are NOW officially a new homeowner. ¬†Congratulations!

If you’re a seller…

You have been party to an¬†interview¬†from the Title Company and felt like you gave your life history, with the exception of a blood sample and first born child. ¬†Social Security Numbers, Marital Status, Mortgage Account Number, Contact info… It’s a lot. ¬†BUT, this is all necessary and vital information to do what is called ‘clearing title.’ ¬†Mortgage payoff(s) must be¬†ordered, (if any), to ensure that upon the closing of your sale, you deliver clear title to the buyer. All liens or, (sometimes), judgements must be cleared.

Waiting.

As¬†a seller, you have it a bit easier than the buyer. ¬†Once you’ve provided all the information necessary to the Title Company, it’s really just a waiting game. ¬†Waiting until your buyers lender clears them¬†for loan docs. ¬† If at any point during escrow you plan to leave town for an extended period, you should always notify your Realtor or the closing agent so they can note your file and make arrangements ahead of time for a Power of Attorney or the Pre-Signing of your Deed. ¬†The Deed is the one single important document that¬†a notarized¬†original is required from a seller to record a sale.

Your signing appointment.

Estimate approximately 30 minutes for your appointment, however it’s usually much shorter. ¬†Take your Driver’s License for ID verification. ¬† Make sure you have given thought to how you’d like your sales proceeds delivered¬†– if you want them to be direct deposited, you will need to have account information or a voided check.

Funding/Recording.

At this point, you are¬†just waiting for your buyers lender to deliver the wired loan-proceeds to escrow and release them for recording. ¬†Once both events¬†have occurred, the Title Company can head on down to the County Courthouse to record the sale. ¬†This is when it’s official and you are now CLOSED. ¬†Congrats!!

What about Keys?

Key transfer technically doesn’t have to occur until 9 PM the day of closing. ¬†Make sure arrangements for key transfer and timeframe have been clearly communicated between all parties.

I’m a seller, where’s my money?

I usually like to inform my clients that their funds will not appear in their account for 24-48 hours, depending on the day of the week and timeframe of deposit. ¬†If you closed on Friday, and the recording happened late in the day, there is a chance your proceeds will not appear in your bank account until Monday. ¬†Do not be alarmed. ¬†There are wire-cut off times with the FED, as well as with your escrow company and sometimes the cut-off times are missed if the recording didn’t occur prior to the cut-off. ¬†You may¬†also elect to PICK-UP your check at the Title Company after recording. ¬†They will call and notify you once it’s ready. ¬†Keep in mind some banks will put a ‘hold’ on checks for large amounts for up to 3-10 days just to verify sufficient funds.

Congrats on a successful closing!

What questions about closing can we answer for you?

Keeley Wagner is a licensed Realtor with The Connors Group at Windermere Group One and a former Licensed Closing Agent.  Check out http://www.aprilconnors.com for more information.

I Sold My Home- What Should I Leave for the Buyers?

So, you have signed on the dotted line, the movers are loading up that last box…besides contract household fixtures and items specified in the Purchase and Sale Agreement, (if you have questions on what these items may be, contact your Realtor), what should stay in the home that you have loved and cherished for the lucky new homeowners?

Welcome Note

Let’s face it, you made memories here. ¬†Probably lots of them. ¬†Take a moment and welcome the new owners and share a couple of your favorites. ¬†Think holidays, birthdays, movie night, planting a favorite tree in the backyard. ¬†Wouldn’t you love getting a note on the kitchen counter from the past owner? ¬†Other ideas may be your favorite local restaurant or a close walk nearby that you enjoyed. ¬†Engage the members in your house – it could be a great transition for everyone.

A Clean House

Imagine if you were moving in, how would you like to find your new home? ¬†Most Sellers are tired after packing, moving boxes and trying to set up their new home. ¬†If you don’t have the time to properly clean, make sure to set up a professional cleaning company in advance.

Keys

Well yes, they unlock the door! ¬†Generally your Realtor will have one key to hand over to the Buyer’s Agent following closing, your remaining keys should be left securely in the house.

Garage Door Remotes

Don’t forget the remotes, especially the ones that are on the visor in your car, and if you have a ¬†keypad access code, leave that on a note beside the openers.

Mailbox

Directions to your mailbox bank, (if you have one), and providing the number as well as the key! ¬†Don’t forget to forward our mail. ¬†You can do so at¬†www.usps.com

Appliance or Household Manuals

Any manuals you have for appliances or household items that are remaining with the home are invaluable, especially if any of them have an ongoing warranty.  If you have an HVAC servicing warranty, have the Buyer check out with the HVAC Company if that is transferrable to them.

Garage

If you have paint that belongs to one of the rooms, tile, flooring, caulk that the Buyer may want, ask your agent to connect with the Buyer’s agent and see if they would like those items left neatly stacked in the garage. ¬†Most Buyers will say yes.

Irrigation Information

If you have a map for your irrigation system this is very helpful for the new Buyer. ¬†Also in our area the sprinklers are blown out every year. ¬†A reminder to the new Buyer about sprinkler blow out, (we have a lot of transplants), as well as information who provided the service in the past are invaluable. ¬† Don’t forget to refer your lawn care professional if you used one!

Special Instructions

Do you have any special instructions on items you are leaving with the home or require special attention? ¬†Are you leaving behind a security system? ¬†A central vacuum unit? ¬†A water softener? A flat screen TV (don’t forget the remote)? A screen on your irrigation filters that needs to be cleaned out monthly? ¬†Where the whole house water shut-off is?

Helpful Information

Do you have great neighbors?  If you are still in the area, provide an introduction.

Have any other great ideas?  Leave them in the comments below for us!

We are licensed Real Estate Brokers with Windermere Real Estate in Southeastern Washington State.

 

 

 

 

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