Dear Michael: We are doing a final walk-trough just before closing on our new home. We notice some items that we would like the seller to fix but our agent is telling us that we should have asked for these items to be repaired earlier when we did our inspection.
Answer: I guess you are asking me: what is the protocol of the “walk-trough” also correctly known as “Verification of Property Condition”. The buyer has a right to a final review of the property usually within 5 days prior to the close of escrow. This is not an inspection but a verification of the property to make sure that repairs have been completed and that the house is in the same condition as when you first purchased it. You had an inspection at an earlier time. If your home inspector failed to notice any defects with the property or if you simply failed to request any repair from the seller, well, now it is too late. If your home inspector is at fault for not finding items that needed repairs you need to take it up with him. If this repair that the inspector neglected to find is a major repair that you cannot oversee, then you consider consulting with a real estate attorney in order to help you resolve the problem.
Dear Michael: My loan is re-setting next year at which time I will no longer be able to make my mortgage payments. I have no choice but to sell! How can I get the re-sale value on my home?
Answer: Discovering how much one can sell their home is not always an easy task. Ultimately, you are going to want to research local home sales in your area. Contributing factors when comparing home sales are: use, type, zoning, year built, square footage, bed/bath numbers, how close in proximity to your property, when the comparable sale took place (the more recent the better, six months being too long to consider a true comparable - too much time has past). When you have completed all your research you should have a general idea of what your home is worth. If you want to be 100% sure of the value of your home contact a local Realtor that has experience and who works the area. Most Realtors will come to your home to demonstrate a comparable market analysis at no charge. Interview at least 2 Realtors before making your final choice.
Dear Michael: I have been told by many experts and friends that the market is stabilizing. Is this a good time to buy?
Answer: The best time to purchase a home depends on each individual, his/her circumstances, and future goals. When determining whether or not "now" is the right time to buy there are specifics one should consider in his/her decision. Here are points that best outline what one should contemplate when deciding if “now is the right time”. Search criteria: What type of investment are you making? Make no mistake, buying a home is an investment, and you should have some idea what your long term plans are for this investment. Are you buying for the long term (10 years or longer), or will you be moving in the immediate future? Will you be living in the home, or is it a second home or investment property you are buying for income purposes? If it is an investment property, will is generate positive cash flow? Will you hire a property management team, and how will this cut in to your bottom line profit? Can you afford the additional debt the new mortgage will bring? How will this affect your style of living? Is the market a buyer's market or is it a seller's market. Buyer's markets favor buyers, so ideally you are looking to purchase during this type of market, desperate sellers mean lower offers are reviewed more seriously and you have a better chance of securing a low purchase price. Some believe winter is a better time to buy than summer because summer brings out traffic, and incidentally increases buyer action and improves seller opportunity. I leave this up to you to decide whether it holds merit. If it happens to be a seller's market, it doesn't mean you should not buy, of course there are compensating factors. In addition to determining what type of market it is, you should consider overall market conditions. Are home values increasing or decreasing in the area you are considering. Obviously an appreciating market has its advantages. If the market does happen to be depreciating there is usually good reason, and you may be able to find a home that is significantly undervalued presenting its own opportunity. Finally, one needs to consider financing markets which are very favorable at this time. One last thought… If you are in for the long term there are no other investments as solid as real estate.
Michael Kayem is a Realtor with Re/max /Execs serving Culver City and the Westside since 2001. You can contact Michael with your questions at 310-390-3337 or e-mail them to him at: firstname.lastname@example.org