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Questions to Ask a Mover

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"I'd wish I'd known that before I picked a mover."   Having a checklist of questions might have prevented this issue.   This list of questions will provide you with things to discuss when interviewing a moving company. Fees What is the charge for packing? Does it include boxes?   If not, what do they cost and will you deliver them? Is there an additional charge to deliver some items to a storage unit? Insurance How is a damage claim handled? What insurance do you provide and is there a cost? Does the insurance cover items packed by the owner? Can additional insurance be purchased? If items are covered by my Homeowner's insurance, whose insurance pays first? Unusual Items Can you ship my car(s)?   Will they be in the moving van or towed? What are the charges for shipping cars, lawn tractors, etc? What items cannot be shipped? If a shuttle truck is needed because of the location of my house or size of the drive way, is there an additio

Buy Before You Sell

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A common concern for homeowners is that if they sell their home first, they may not be able to find another home to buy.  It is understandable with the low inventories currently available in most markets, but a strong argument can be made to buy your replacement home first. In fact, there are some advisors that would tell you not to sell at all.  Instead, keep the home for a rental investment and refinance it to pull out some cash for the down payment and closing costs for the new one. Many homeowners recognize that their home has been an excellent investment for them.  Their home may have outperformed their retirement and other investments.  In all likelihood, homeowners understand the management and benefits of a single-family home far better than they understand stocks, mutual funds, annuities, or ETFs. Just as there are low inventories of homes for sales, there are shortages of available single-family homes for rent, as is evidenced by rent continuing to rise.  Rising

When are the Negotiations Over?

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The primary negotiation in a home purchase takes place when the contract is agreed upon that includes the price, closing and possession.    With inventory down over 19% in the past year and multiple offers being more of the norm than the exception, the first round of negotiations can be challenging. Buyers and sellers alike feel relieved once it has resulted in an agreement, but experienced agents know there is more to come if there are contingencies for financing, inspections, or other things.   The competition for the home may be so tough that the buyer waived their rights for what would be normal contingencies. Financing is one of the most common contingencies in normal situations but when multiple offers are involved, the cash offers tend to have the advantage.   If you don't have the resources to make a cash offer, the next best position is to be pre-approved with a commitment letter from the lender.   Arrange for the lender to confirm the pre-approval directly wi

Become a Victim of Inflation or Benefit from It

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In inflationary times, currently the highest in 40 years, the purchasing power of your money diminishes each day; essentially, buying you less.   The biggest threat is to be without capital assets, like a home, that are benefiting from the increase in prices.   Your money buys less gasoline now, than it did a year ago, by close to 50%. Beef prices are up about 20% since last year.   Used cars are about 35% more expensive than they were a year ago.   Mortgage rates are near 5% after reaching their lowest of 2.65% in January 2021. And then, there is the price of houses.   CoreLogic reports that home prices increased year over year by 20% in February 2022.   Their Home Price Index indicates an annual five percent increase in prices from 2014 to 2021. For many people, the American dream of owning a home is slipping away.   Adjusting your expectations for the perfect home and when you expect to achieve it, can be a legitimate, long-term strategy to making the dream come true

You don't have to give an arm to get a lower rate

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Rising interest rates compounded with increasing home prices are causing affordability issues for many buyers.   To keep payments low, you won't have to give an arm, but more buyers are considering getting an ARM, adjustable-rate mortgages. Mortgage rates are near its highest point since 2009.  "While housing affordability and inflationary pressures pose challenges for potential buyers, house price growth will continue but is expected to decelerate in the coming months."  said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac's Chief Economist. A $400,000 home with 10% down payment and a 30-year term has the choice of a 5.27% fixed-rate or 3.96% for a 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage.   The principal and interest payment will be $1,992.40 for the fixed-rate and $1,710.40 for the adjustable rate saving the buyer $281.99 per month for five years. There is an additional savings for the buyer choosing the adjustable-rate mortgage because the unpaid balance at the end of the five-year fir

Helping the Seller See Your FHA/VA Offer More Favorably

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With multiple offers the norm on many listings these days, the seller relies on their listing agent to help them determine which one to accept.   In some cases, offers subject to FHA or VA mortgages tend to move to the bottom of the list. Some sellers consider all cash offers first and then, conventional offers with at least 20% down payments as the next most likely to close.   It may be because of a common misconception that FHA or VA buyers are poor credit risks and have a higher likelihood of not being approved.   Both FHA and VA do not require as strict credit requirements as conventional loans but if a buyer has been preapproved, that should alleviate that worry. A legitimate concern regarding FHA and VA contracts could be that if the appraisal doesn't come in at the sales price, the buyer has an option to void the contract.   This means that the property would have to go back on the market and valuable time could be lost.   However, that could also be true for a

Today is a Skills Market

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In today's ultra-competitive real estate market where there is only 1.7 months supply of inventory compared to 6 months in a balanced market, and the average home is getting 4.8 offers per sale, it is more important than ever to have the right person "champion" your cause. In the Middle Ages, it became customary for a person of nobility to appoint a "champion" to fight for them in their stead.   Trial by combat ended in the 15 th to 16 th centuries but the practice of "fighting" or speaking in one's behalf continues even to this day. Lawyers will take up the cause of their client to win justice for them.   Professional athletes are recruited for their abilities to help their team become victorious.   Craftsmen of every type imaginable are in high demand because of their finished product. Sellers' and buyers' objectives are different and, in many cases opposing in nature.   Sellers, rightfully so, believe they should get th