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Thursday, June 30, 2016

About Real Estate Appraisals

Real Estate Appraisals

A real estate appraiser is an impartial, independent third party who provides an objective report on the estimate of value of real estate. The appraisal is supported by the collection and analysis of data.

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When Should I Use An Appraiser?

You will likely need the services of a real estate appraiser whenever an estimate of the value of your real estate is required. Most commonly, this occurs when you apply for a real estate loan, either to purchase or refinance your home. You may also need a real estate appraiser to assist in the appeal of your property tax assessment, for insurance purposes, for probate and estate settlements or other reasons.

What's My Property Worth?

It is common to ask the appraiser this question as soon as the appraiser has inspected the property. The truth is at that time the appraiser doesn't yet know. The inspection is the first step of many that the appraiser must complete before a value is determined. 

The appraiser measures the house from the outside to determine square footage. The appraiser takes notes concerning the features of your house such as room layout, number of bedrooms, baths, etc. The appraiser also makes a determination of the general condition, appeal and functional layout of your house. All of these items are taken into consideration in the appraisal report.

How Long Does an Appraisal Take?

The physical inspection of a typical property usually takes about twenty to forty-five minutes. Sometimes an inspection can take longer if the house is difficult to measure or has some unique features that require additional investigation by the appraiser.

After the initial inspection of the property the appraiser spends time examining or analyzing the neighborhood or area. The purpose of this is to search for other properties that are similar to the property being appraised that have sold recently and examine neighborhood influences. When the fieldwork is finished, the appraiser completes the report at his office.

What Does the Appraiser Need to Know?

To help the appraiser complete the appraisal, you can provide some information that is helpful. Please tell the appraiser of any previous sale on the property within the last 12 months. Indicate if there is a pending contract to purchase on the property. Does the property have any right of way or other easements? Is there structural damage, or water leakage in the house? Is the property in a flood zone? Basically, inform the appraiser about any hidden features or detriments to the property.

What is a Short Sale?
A short sale is a real estate transaction where a property is sold for a value that is less than the current mortgage secured by that property. The mortgagor's bank or lending institution will agree to the short sale of the property if they believe the financial loss will be less than foreclosure proceedings might cost. 
In other words, this is a business decision for a lender, not a charitable one. Moreover, this means that in the situation of a short sale, the bank is the one calling the shots. In fact, every short sale contract contains a contingency that states that the sale must be finally approved by the lending institution. 
Some short sales are great deals, and other are treacherous transactions. If you need to make a move quickly, or have a very specific deadline, a short sale deal might not be for you.


© 2016 Dan Benton
Dan Benton - Realtor with Real Estate Brokers of Alaska
1577 C Street, Suite 101A., Anchorage, AK 99501
Phone: (907) 727-5279

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Friday, June 10, 2016

About Down Payments

For many Americans, coming up with a down payment for their first home can be a major roadblock--and quite often the reason for renting, rather than owning a home.

A down payment is the difference between the home's purchase price and its mortgage amount. This percentage of the sale price must be paid up-front and can vary by lender, location, and loan program. A higher down payment generally translates into lower loan interest rate requirements.

Typically, a down payment comes from personal cash savings, but it can also be a gift that is not to be repaid, or a borrowed amount secured by assets.

While conventional loan down payments may be close to 20% of the sale price, government loans typically have lower down payment requirements. This allows potential home buyers who normally cannot meet down-payment requirements an opportunity to qualify for a mortgage. Keep in mind that down payments that are less than 20% of the sale price typically require mortgage insurance payments.

10 things to know before buying a home

  1. Before you start looking for a home, get pre-qualified for a loan. Banks, credit unions, and mortgage bankers make home loans; mortgage brokers process loans through a variety of lenders. The lenders will take an application, process the loan documents, and see the loan through to the funding stage.
  2. If you have marginal or bad credit, consult your lender. You may be able to qualify for a loan depending on how long ago and what reason(s) caused the bad credit.
  3. You will need a down payment. Down-payment requirements vary depending on the type of loan. You may also qualify for federal or local down payment assistance. Consult your real estate agent.
  4. You will need funds for closing costs. Closing costs are charges for services related to the closing of your real estate transaction. ey include, but are not limited to: Escrow fees, title policy issuance fees, mortgage insurance fees, fire, flood, and homeowners insurance, county recorder fees, and loan origination fees. Consult your lender for an actual estimate of these costs.
  5. Some loans have "points" and some do not. A point is a loan origination fee equivalent to 1% of the loan amount. Together with the interest rate, they constitute the yield on your loan for the lender.
  6. Mortgage rates can be fixed or adjustable. Which one is right for you depends on whether mortgage rates are at a high or a low point when you purchase, and on how long you plan to live in the home.
  7. There are two main types of loan categories. Conventional mortgage loans are available with fixed or adjustable interest rates. Government loans include FHA fixed and adjustable rate mortgage loans, and VA fixed rate mortgage loans.
  8. If you are a low-to-moderate-income homebuyer, there are special programs designed to help you. These loans are available through private lenders, as well as local and state housing agencies.
  9. You may have to pay mortgage insurance. Mortgage insurance protects the lender from potential loss if you should default on your mortgage loan payment. Mortgage insurance is always required on FHA mortgage loans.
  10. Many organizations offer home loan counseling to prospective homebuyers. They will cover home selection, REALTOR® services, lenders, loan programs, homeownership responsibilities, saving for a down-payment, and other important pieces of information.


© 2016 Dan Benton
Dan Benton - Realtor with Real Estate Brokers of Alaska
1577 C Street, Suite 101A., Anchorage, AK 99501
Phone: (907) 727-5279

Join Great Alaskan Homes on:
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Saturday, June 4, 2016

About Property Disclosures

Yes – you must disclose

When the time comes to sell your home, you will be asked to fill out a disclosure statement that will list "material facts" about problems you are aware of regarding the condition and history of your home. Both federal and state laws govern what must be disclosed during a property sale and as the homeowner you must be the person to complete these disclosure forms. By law your real estate agent cannot complete these forms for you. 
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Sometimes, homeowners are told varying policies regarding disclosures. The general rule of thumb is that you must disclose anything that would:


  • Lower the perceived value of the property
  • Affect the buyer's decision to purchase
  • Change the price and/or terms the buyer offers

Common disclosures include information about any natural hazards, fire hazards, pollution problems or zoning changes that affect you property. If you feel like you don't properly understand the disclosure requirements, you should consult a real estate attorney who knows the local disclosure laws.

As you fill out these forms just remember, you should strive to answer all of the questions to the best of your ability. Don't sweat the small stuff, but make sure you disclose everything that you'd want disclosed to you if you were the buyer. If you don't know the answer to a question (such as exact age of the roof if you're not the original owner or the like), answer "Do Not Know." But not having precise facts about defects you know exist does not permit you to answer "Do Not Know" to every question. This will always raise a red flag.

Lead Paint Disclosure – A Federal Law
You may think that lead paint is only a problem for folks buying cheap goods imported from China, or for people living in ancient, dilapidated housing. Not so. As recently as 1977, lead paint was used in homes across the United States.

In order to protect Americans from lead poisoning in the paint, dust and soil in their homes, Congress passed the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992, also known as Title X. If your home was built before 1978, you are required to disclose if you know of any lead-based paint hazards on your property. You must also provide a 10-day period, if not waived by the homebuyer, to conduct a paint inspection or risk assessment for lead based paint hazards.

The home sale contract between you and your buyer will include an attachment regarding the lead-based paint hazards if any exist, and the buyers will be provided with the appropriate EPA-approved information pamphlets on lead-based paint hazards.

Some areas in the United States have special disclosure agreements.



© 2016 Dan Benton
Dan Benton - Realtor with Real Estate Brokers of Alaska
1577 C Street, Suite 101A., Anchorage, AK 99501
Phone: (907) 727-5279

Join Great Alaskan Homes on:
Blogspot - Pinterest - Twitter - Facebook - Google+