Posted by Andrew Abu Realtors on 8/24/2015

The time has come to buy a home and you have a list of questions a mile long. How many bedrooms does it have? What is the down payment? What are the taxes? What school district is it in? But there are some questions you should be asking that you may not have considered and these answers will not be disclosed on the property's listing sheet. In order to make a smart buying decision you will want to dig a little deeper into the neighborhood's crime rate, area residents and what safety measures are in place to keep your family safe. Here are a just a few things you will want to research before buying your next home: 1. Check the sex offender registry. Most states have provisions like†Meganís Law and other registries where individuals with histories of criminal convictions must register their home addresses with local authorities. Check the address of the home you are considering to see who is living in your potential new neighborhood. 2. What is the history of the home? You may think this unusual but some abandoned homes have been used as drug labs. Homes that were used as drug labs are hazardous to your health. A home that served as a methamphetamine lab contains chemicals that often make unsafe to live in. These homes are usually but not always sold by banks as foreclosures. If the bank or real estate agent does not know the home's history they donít have a legal obligation to disclose it so you will have to do your own homework. First, talk to neighbors to see if they have any information. You can also search the federal Drug Enforcement Associationís Clandestine Laboratory Registry. 3. †Check the neighborhood's crime rate. Don't look at just the numbers of crime but also consider what sorts of crimes happen in the area. Are the crimes†violent and non-violent? Will you need to invest in a car alarm or a security system after a rash of break-ins? SpotCrime.com gives detailed crime data, breaking down crime types with easy-to-scan icons and providing data for communities all over the country. 4. †What precautions are in place in the neighborhood? Does the neighborhood have a watch program? Talk to the homeís seller and the neighbors about what type of precautions are in place. For more information on neighborhood watch programs check out the National Crime Prevention website. 5.†Visit the neighborhood at different hours of the day; watch for unsavory visitors, traffic and vacant homes. Buying a home is an investment in your family and your future. If you have any other questions regarding local information your real estate professional can help point you in the right direction. You can also always call the local police department and ask for any statistics they have on the area.





Posted by Andrew Abu Realtors on 5/4/2015

Many buyers today think buying a foreclosure means big savings and this can be true but buyers also need to be aware of potential pitfalls. A foreclosure takes place when a homeowner or property owner cannot pay the mortgage fees on the property and is forced to give up the property to the bank. First, potential buyers should know there are different stages of foreclosure.
  • Pre-Foreclosure
Pre-foreclosure stage is the earliest stage of foreclosure. Reaching pre-foreclosure status begins when the lender files a default notice on the property, which informs the property owner that the lender will proceed with pursuing legal action if the debt is not taken care of. At this point, the property owner has the opportunity to pay off the outstanding debt or sell the property before it is foreclosed. In this stage, many homeowners may opt for what is called a short sale. Many of these homes will sell for near their appraised values. Banks may be willing to negotiate on these properties but the process can be lengthy. Properties that sell at a 20 to 40 percent discount usually need repair or are in unstable communities.
  • Foreclosure Stage
If a property doesn't sell in pre-foreclosure, and the home owner actually defaults on his mortgage, the home goes to public auction. During this stage you can find the best bargains but it can be filled with unexpected changes and last minute details. Preparation, patience and knowledge are key here and remember if a property does go to auction it will go to the highest bidder which is often the bank.
  • Many auctions are canceled at the last moment as the property has been sold or payments reworked.
  • Court-appointed trustees only accept cash or cashiers' checks.
  • There's little time to arrange inspections, so bidders may have no clear idea of what they're buying.
  • Properties are sold "as is," without warranties. Sellers needn't disclose problems. Buyers may find themselves with unexpected and expensive repairs.
  • Post-Foreclosure
  • In the post-foreclosure stage, the lender has already taken control of the property. The home is then in the possession of the lender's REO (Real Estate Owned) department, or in the hands of a new owner or investor who purchased the property at auction. Lenders are typically extremely willing sellers, because an REO on the books is an obvious sign of having made a poor lending decision. Both the overhead and losses involved with an REO -- reflected in both the added reserves a lender must maintain as well as any potential property management fees incurred -- means the bank is likely a willing negotiator.
    • Bank will not agree to do any repairs; as-is sale.
    • Bank will usually require additional paperwork.
    • Bank cannot provide disclosures as to property history/condition issues.
    Bank foreclosure properties can definitely help you make a good buy in real estate properties and still have lots of savings. Doing your homework on the neighborhood, comparable sales and property condition are essential in making a good buying decision.





    Posted by Andrew Abu Realtors on 8/11/2014

    If you are looking for a deal you may be thinking about buying a foreclosure but buyer beware. There is a lot to know before putting an offer in on a foreclosed property. Often foreclosures are sold "as is" and many times do not have a seller disclosure available for review. This makes it even more important to get a thorough home inspection. Here are some†issues to be aware of commonly found with foreclosures and not usually seen with the naked eye.

    • Roof damage
    • Damaged appliances
    • Damaged or missing plumbing
    • Faulty electrical systems and components
    • HVAC system problems
    • Conducive termite conditions
    • Water penetration and damage issues
    • Interior structural damage
    A home inspection is essential not only to identify problems with the home but to also get a more realistic picture of the things that need to be repaired to make the home livable.