Home > Blogs > BestCapeHomes.com's Blog
133,551 views

BestCapeHomes.com's Blog

By Brian Arendes 239-823-3415 | Agent in Cape Coral, FL
  • Navigating Short Sales

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Lehigh Acres, Home Selling in Lehigh Acres  |  November 2, 2013 11:42 AM  |  583 views  |  1 comment

    Brian Arendes, Realtor, CDPE, SFR, CNS, C-REPS  239-823-3415

    www.bestcapehomes.com

    www.besthomesftmyers.com

    www.besthomesofswfl.com

    www.rescue4closures.com

     

    Navigating Short Sales: What to Do When the Sale Price Leaves You Short

    If you're thinking of selling your home, and you expect that the total amount you owe on your mortgage will be greater than the selling price of your home, you may be facing a short sale. A short sale is one where the net proceeds from the sale won't cover your total mortgage obligation and closing costs, and you don't have other sources of money to cover the deficiency. A short sale is different from a foreclosure, which is when your lender takes title of your home through a lengthy legal process and then sells it.

     

    1. Consider loan modification first. If you are thinking of selling your home because of financial difficulties and you anticipate a short sale, first contact your lender to see if it has any programs to help you stay in your home. Your lender may agree to a modification such as:

     

    · Refinancing your loan at a lower interest rate

    · Providing a different payment plan to help you get caught up

    · Providing a forbearance period if your situation is temporary

     

    When a loan modification still isn’t enough to relieve your financial problems, a short sale could be your best option if

     

    · Your property is worth less than the total mortgage you owe on it.

    · You have a financial hardship, such as a job loss or major medical bills.

    · You have contacted your lender and it is willing to entertain a short sale.

     

    2. Hire a qualified team. The first step to a short sale is to hire a qualified real estate professional* and a real estate attorney who specialize in short sales. Interview at least three candidates for each and look for prior short-sale experience. Short sales have proliferated only in the last few years, so it may be hard to find practitioners who have closed a lot of short sales. You want to work with those who demonstrate a thorough working knowledge of the short-sale process and who won't try to take advantage of your situation or pressure you to do something that isn't in your best interest.

     

    A qualified real estate professional can:

     

    · Provide you with a comparative market analysis (CMA) or broker price opinion (BPO).

    · Help you set an appropriate listing price for your home, market the home, and get it sold.

    · Put special language in the MLS that indicates your home is a short sale and that lender approval is needed (all MLSs permit, and some now require, that the short-sale status be disclosed to potential buyers).

    · Ease the process of working with your lender or lenders.

    · Negotiate the contract with the buyers.

    · Help you put together the short-sale package to send to your lender (or lenders, if you have more than one mortgage) for approval. You can’t sell your home without your lender and any other lien holders agreeing to the sale and releasing the lien so that the buyers can get clear title.

     

    3. Begin gathering documentation before any offers come in. Your lender will give you a list of documents it requires to consider a short sale. The short-sale “package” that accompanies any offer typically must include

     

    · A hardship letter detailing your financial situation and why you need the short sale

    · A copy of the purchase contract and listing agreement

    · Proof of your income and assets

    · Copies of your federal income tax returns for the past two years

     

    4. Prepare buyers for a lengthy waiting period. Even if you're well organized and have all the documents in place, be prepared for a long process. Waiting for your lender’s review of the short-sale package can take several weeks to months. Some experts say:

     

    · If you have only one mortgage, the review can take about two months.

    · With a first and second mortgage with the same lender, the review can take about three months.

    · With two or more mortgages with different lenders, it can take four months or longer.

     

    When the bank does respond, it can approve the short sale, make a counteroffer, or deny the short sale. The last two actions can lengthen the process or put you back at square one. (Your real estate attorney and real estate professional, with your authorization, can work your lender’s loss mitigation department on your behalf to prepare the proper documentation and speed the process along.)

     

    5. Don't expect a short sale to solve your financial problems. Even if your lender does approve the short sale, it may not be the end of all your financial woes. Here are some things to keep in mind:

     

    · You may be asked by your lender to sign a promissory note agreeing to pay back the amount of your loan not paid off by the short sale. If your financial hardship is permanent and you can’t pay back the balance, talk with your real estate attorney about your options.

     

    · Any amount of your mortgage that is forgiven by your lender is typically considered income, and you may have to pay taxes on that amount. Under a temporary measure passed in 2007, the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act and Debt Cancellation Act, homeowners can exclude debt forgiveness on their federal tax returns from income for loans discharged in calendar years 2007 through 2012. Be sure to consult your real estate attorney and your accountant to see whether you qualify.

     

    · Having a portion of your debt forgiven may have an adverse effect on your credit score. However, a short sale will impact your credit score less than foreclosure and bankruptcy.

     

     

    Note: This article provides general information only. Information is not provided as advice for a specific matter. Laws vary from state to state. For advice on a specific matter, consult your attorney or CPA. 

     

  • Take the Stress Out of Homebuying

    Posted Under: Quality of Life in Fort Myers, Property Q&A in Fort Myers  |  November 2, 2013 11:35 AM  |  559 views  |  1 comment

    Brian Arendes, Realtor, CDPE, SFR, CNS, C-REPS  239-823-3415

    www.bestcapehomes.com

    www.besthomesftmyers.com

    www.besthomesofswfl.com

     

    Take the Stress Out of Homebuying

    Buying a home should be fun, not stressful. As you look for your dream home, keep in mind these tips for making the process as peaceful as possible.

     

    1. Find a real estate agent who you connect with. Home buying is not only a big financial commitment, but also an emotional one. It’s critical that the REALTOR® you chose is both highly skilled and a good fit with your personality.

    2. Remember, there’s no “right” time to buy, just as there’s no perfect time to sell. If you find a home now, don’t try to second-guess interest rates or the housing market by waiting longer — you risk losing out on the home of your dreams. The housing market usually doesn’t change fast enough to make that much difference in price, and a good home won’t stay on the market long.

    3. Don’t ask for too many opinions. It’s natural to want reassurance for such a big decision, but too many ideas from too many people will make it much harder to make a decision. Focus on the wants and needs of your immediate family — the people who will be living in the home.

    4. Accept that no house is ever perfect. If it’s in the right location, the yard may be a bit smaller than you had hoped. The kitchen may be perfect, but the roof needs repair. Make a list of your top priorities and focus in on things that are most important to you. Let the minor ones go.

    5. Don’t try to be a killer negotiator. Negotiation is definitely a part of the real estate process, but trying to “win” by getting an extra-low price or by refusing to budge on your offer may cost you the home you love. Negotiation is give and take.

    6. Remember your home doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Don’t get so caught up in the physical aspects of the house itself — room size, kitchen, etc. — that you forget about important issues as noise level, location to amenities, and other aspects that also have a big impact on your quality of life.

    7. Plan ahead. Don’t wait until you’ve found a home and made an offer to get approved for a mortgage, investigate home insurance, and consider a schedule for moving. Presenting an offer contingent on a lot of unresolved issues will make your bid much less attractive to sellers.

    8. Factor in maintenance and repair costs in your post-home buying budget. Even if you buy a new home, there will be costs. Don’t leave yourself short and let your home deteriorate.

    9. Accept that a little buyer’s remorse is inevitable and will probably pass. Buying a home, especially for the first time, is a big financial commitment. But it also yields big benefits. Don’t lose sight of why you wanted to buy a home and what made you fall in love with the property you purchased.

    10. Choose a home first because you love it; then think about appreciation. While U.S. homes have appreciated an average of 5.4 percent annually over from 1998 to 2002, a home’s most important role is to serve as a comfortable, safe place to live.

     

     

     

     

  • Tips for Lowering Homeowner’s Insurance Costs

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Cape Coral, Home Selling in Cape Coral, Home Insurance in Cape Coral  |  November 2, 2013 11:30 AM  |  645 views  |  1 comment

    Brian Arendes, Realtor, CDPE, SFR, CNS, C-REPS   239-823-3415

    www.bestcapehomes.com

    www.besthomesftmyers.com

    www.besthomesofswfl.com

     

    Tips for Lowering Homeowner’s Insurance Costs

    1. Review the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE) report on the property you’re interested in buying. CLUE reports detail the property’s claims history for the most recent five years, which insurers may use to deny coverage. Make the sale contingent on a home inspection to ensure that problems identified in the CLUE report have been repaired.

     

    2. Seek insurance coverage as soon as your offer is approved. You must obtain insurance to buy. And you don’t want to be told at closing that the insurer has denied your coverage.

     

    3. Maintain good credit. Insurers often use credit-based insurance scores to determine premiums.

     

    4. Buy your home owners and auto policies from the same company and you’ll usually qualify for savings. But make sure the discount really yields the lowest price.

     

    5. Raise your deductible. If you can afford to pay more toward a loss that occurs, your premiums will be lower. Avoid making claims under $1,000.

    6. Ask about other discounts. For example, retirees who tend to be home more than full-time workers may qualify for a discount on theft insurance. You also may be able to obtain discounts for having smoke detectors, a burglar alarm, or dead-bolt locks.

     

    7. Seek group discounts. If you belong to any groups, such as associations or alumni organizations, they may have deals on insurance coverage.

     

    8. Review your policy limits and the value of your home and possessions annually. Some items depreciate and may not need as much coverage.

    9. Investigate a government-backed insurance plan. In some high-risk areas, federal or state government may back plans to lower rates. Ask your agent.

     

    10. Be sure you insure your house for the correct amount. Remember, you’re covering replacement cost, not market value.

  • 5 Feng Shui Concepts to Help a Home Sell

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Sanibel, Curb Appeal in Sanibel, Design & Decor in Sanibel  |  November 2, 2013 11:24 AM  |  672 views  |  No comments

    Brian Arendes, Realtor, CDPE, SFR, CNS, C-REPS  239-823-3415

    www.besthomesofSWFL.com

    www.bestcapehomes.com

    www.besthomesftmyers.com

     

    5 Feng Shui Concepts to Help a Home Sell

    To put the best face on a listing and appeal to buyers who follow feng shui principles, keep these tips in mind.

    1. Pay special attention to the front door, which is considered the “mouth of chi” (chi is the “life force” of all things) and one of the most powerful aspects of the entire property. Abundance, blessings, opportunities, and good fortune enter through the front door. It’s also the first impression buyers have of how well the sellers have taken care of the rest of the property. Make sure the area around the front door is swept clean, free of cobwebs and clutter. Make sure all lighting is straight and properly hung. Better yet, light the path leading up to the front door to create an inviting atmosphere.

    2. Chi energy can be flushed away wherever there are drains in the home. To keep the good forces of a home in, always keep the toilet seats down and close the doors to bathrooms.

    3. The master bed should be in a place of honor, power, and protection, which is farthest from and facing toward the entryway of the room. It’s even better if you can place the bed diagonally in the farthest corner. Paint the room in colors that promote serenity, relaxation, and romance, such as soft tones of green, blue, and lavender.

    4. The dining room symbolizes the energy and power of family togetherness. Make sure the table is clear and uncluttered during showings. Use an attractive tablecloth to enhance the look of the table while also softening sharp corners.

    5. The windows are considered to be the eyes of the home. Getting the windows professionally cleaned will make the home sparkle and ensure that the view will be optimally displayed.

    Source: Sell Your Home Faster With Feng Shui by Holly Ziegler (Dragon Chi Publications, 2001)

     

     

  • Prepare Your Home for a Virtual Tour

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Sanibel, Design & Decor in Sanibel, Property Q&A in Sanibel  |  October 11, 2013 9:07 AM  |  649 views  |  No comments


    Brian Arendes, Realtor, CDPE, SFR, CNS   239-823-3415

    www.BestCapeHomes.com

    www.BestHomesFtMyers.com

    www.BestHomesofSWFL.com

     

    Prepare Your Home for a Virtual Tour

    With more buyers shopping for homes on the Web, photos and virtual tours are a must. There are many things you can do make your home shine on camera.

     

    1. Understand the camera’s perspective. The camera’s eye is very different from the human eye. It magnifies clutter and poor furniture arrangement. To make a home shine in a virtual tour or video presentation, cater to the lens.

    2. Make the home “Q-tip clean.” Because the camera magnifies grime, each room must be spotless. Don’t forget floor coverings and walls; a discolored spot on the rug might be overlooked by prospects during a regular home showing, but that stain becomes a focal point for online viewers.

    3. Pack up the clutter. But leave three items of varying heights on each surface. For example, on an end table you can place a lamp (high), a small plant (medium), and a book (low).

    4. Snap pictures. This will give you an idea of what the home will look like on camera. Closely examine the photos and list changes that would improve each room’s appearance: opening blinds to let in natural light, removing magnets from the refrigerator, or taking down distracting art.

    5. Pare down furniture. Identify one or two pieces of furniture that can be removed from each room to make the space appear larger.

    6. Rearrange. Spotlight the flow of a space by creating a focal point on the furthest wall from the doorway and arranging the other pieces of furniture to make a triangle shape. The focal point may be a bed in a bedroom or a china cabinet in a dining room.

    7. Reaccessorize. Include a healthy plant in every room; the camera loves green. Energize bland decor by placing a bright vase on a mantle or draping an afghan over a couch.

    8. Keep the home in shape. You want buyers who liked what they saw online to encounter the same home in person.

     

    9. Use some night shots. Night shots encourage the buyer to visualize coming home at night. They add a romantic touch to any home. Not many other homes have night shots, so your home with stand out from the crowd.

    Source: Barb Schwarz, www.StagedHomes.com, Concord, Pa.

     

  • What Not to Overlook on a Final Walk-through

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Fort Myers, Property Q&A in Fort Myers, Investment Properties in Fort Myers  |  October 11, 2013 8:57 AM  |  646 views  |  2 comments


    Brian Arendes, Realtor, CDPE, SFR, CNS   239-823-3415

    www.bestcapehomes.com

    www.besthomesftmyers.com

    www.besthomesofswfl.com

     

    What Not to Overlook on a Final Walk-through

     

    It’s guaranteed to be hectic right before closing, but you should always make time for a final walk-through. Your goal is to make sure that your home is in the same condition you expected it would be. Ideally, the sellers already have moved out. This is your last chance to check that appliances are in working condition and that agreed-upon repairs have been made. Here’s a detailed list of what not to overlook for on your final walk-through.

     

    Make sure that:

     

    · Repairs you’ve requested have been made. Obtain copies of paid bills and warranties.

    · There are no major changes to the property since you last viewed it.

    · All items that were included in the sale price — draperies, lighting fixtures, etc. — are still there.

    · Screens and storm windows are in place or stored.

    · All appliances are operating, such as the dishwasher, washer and dryer, oven, etc.

    · Intercom, doorbell, and alarm are operational.

    · Hot water heater is working.

    · No plants or shrubs have been removed from the yard.

    · Heating and air conditioning system is working

    · Garage door opener and other remotes are available.

    · Instruction books and warranties on appliances and fixtures are available.

    · All personal items of the sellers and all debris have been removed. Check the basement, attic, and every room, closet, and crawlspace.

     

     

  • Tips for Lowering Homeowner’s Insurance Costs

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Cape Coral, Home Insurance in Cape Coral, Investment Properties in Cape Coral  |  October 11, 2013 8:54 AM  |  641 views  |  No comments

    Brian Arendes, Realtor, CDPE, SFR, CNS, C-REPS   239-823-3415

    www.bestcapehomes.com

    www.besthomesftmyers.com

    www.besthomesofswfl.com

     

    Tips for Lowering Homeowner’s Insurance Costs

    1. Review the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE) report on the property you’re interested in buying. CLUE reports detail the property’s claims history for the most recent five years, which insurers may use to deny coverage. Make the sale contingent on a home inspection to ensure that problems identified in the CLUE report have been repaired.

     

    2. Seek insurance coverage as soon as your offer is approved. You must obtain insurance to buy. And you don’t want to be told at closing that the insurer has denied your coverage.

     

    3. Maintain good credit. Insurers often use credit-based insurance scores to determine premiums.

     

    4. Buy your home owners and auto policies from the same company and you’ll usually qualify for savings. But make sure the discount really yields the lowest price.

     

    5. Raise your deductible. If you can afford to pay more toward a loss that occurs, your premiums will be lower. Avoid making claims under $1,000.

    6. Ask about other discounts. For example, retirees who tend to be home more than full-time workers may qualify for a discount on theft insurance. You also may be able to obtain discounts for having smoke detectors, a burglar alarm, or dead-bolt locks.

     

    7. Seek group discounts. If you belong to any groups, such as associations or alumni organizations, they may have deals on insurance coverage.

     

    8. Review your policy limits and the value of your home and possessions annually. Some items depreciate and may not need as much coverage.

    9. Investigate a government-backed insurance plan. In some high-risk areas, federal or state government may back plans to lower rates. Ask your agent.

     

    10. Be sure you insure your house for the correct amount. Remember, you’re covering replacement cost, not market value.

« Read older posts
Copyright © 2014 Trulia, Inc. All rights reserved.   |  
Have a question? Visit our Help Center to find the answer