Posted by Andrew Abu Realtors on 4/23/2018

You are required to get homeowners insurance when you purchase a home. You probably are so excited about buying a home that you neglect to learn the ins and outs of your policy. Unfortunately, there are many things that insurance wonít cover, yet many homeowners think that they are covered under their home insurance policy. Below, youíll find some things that are often not covered by your home insurance, even though you might think they are. 


Broken Pipes


While your home insurance will cover damage from water in your home (different than flood insurance), the policy probably wonít cover what it takes to fix broken pipes. Your best bet in this area is prevention. You should be sure that your pipes are insulated properly and that there is adequate airflow around the pipes in your cabinets.


Earthquakes


If an earthquake hits, youíre out of luck when it comes to your homeowners insurance policy. You typically need a separate policy to get earthquake coverage. If you live in an area prone to earthquakes, youíll need to inquire about specific policies to protect your home from this type of natural disaster.


Floods


Youíll also need a separate policy in the event of a flood. Homeownerís policies do not cover damage or losses caused by flooding. You can get optional coverage and this is highly recommended, especially if you live near a body of water or in an area thatís prone to flooding.


A Sewer Backup


If a sewer backs up, youíll face some serious damage in your home. Unfortunately, your homeowners policy will not cover this type of damage. The repairs can be hefty. If you wish, you can always add this type of coverage to your policy. 


Only Portions Of Disasters May Be Covered


If a hurricane hits, any damage that has been caused by the wind will be covered by your home insurance policy. If you face flooding, however, and do not have a flood insurance policy, youíll be out of luck. Without extra coverage, some natural disasters can be a special disaster for you and your wallet. 


Keep Up The Maintenance On Your Home


Itís important to understand what is and isnít covered by your home insurance policy. When you know how to prepare for different situations, it will make caring for and maintaining your home and your financial future a lot easier. If you prepare accordingly for natural disasters as directed, and perform proper maintenance on your home, your insurance policy should act in the best interest for you. If you happen to live in an area where you are prone to natural disasters, make sure you get the appropriate additional coverage that youíll need to protect you.





Posted by Andrew Abu Realtors on 4/16/2018

Attending an open house is a great way to learn a great deal about a home in a relatively short amount of time. It allows you to see inside the home with your own eyes, enabling you to notice details that are omitted in photos, whether itís a noisy neighborhood or a smelly basement.

Aside from learning about the home, an open house is also an opportunity to help real estate agents learn about you. Being prepared and professional at an open house could set you apart from other, more casual, attendees helping you make a good impression.

Since most of us donít attend open houses on the regular, and since there probably isnít an Open House Etiquette 101 course you can take at your local college, it can be difficult to know exactly how to prepare for an open house. How should you dress? Should you take notes? Is it rude to take photos? Which questions are welcome and which should be avoided?

In this article, weíll help demystify the open house, leaving you more prepared to leave a positive impression when you go to see what could potentially be your future home.

Appearance

How should you dress when attending an open house? An open house is neither a funeral nor a trip to the beach. The realtor showing the house likely isnít a fashion critic-theyíre there to answer your questions.

In most cases, casual clothing is appropriate. Since youíll be touring the house and yard, however, you might want to avoid heels.

Questions and conversation

An open house is your time to learn all of the relevant facts about a house. Good questions to ask include upgrades to the house, how many offers it has received, and the current ownerís timeline (when they want or need to close by).

There are other topics youíll want to avoid. Donít ask too many personal questions about the sellers. It will make the real estate agent, understandably, uncomfortable. Also be sure not to reveal too many details about yourself. You donít want to mention things like your spending limit as this will remove some of your powers of negotiation.

Itís okay if the furniture and decorations in the home arenít your taste, but itís a bad idea to criticize these items as you tour the house, as you may offend the agent or owners who have decorated.

Being respectful of the owner'sí space

Even though the house is for sale, itís still someoneís home. Itís inadvisable to bring food or drinks without a secure cap into an open house.

We live in a time when everyone photographs and shares everything. But avoid the temptation to take photos when youíre at an open house. Would you want someone going through your home, taking pictures of your valuables, and then sharing them online? Instead, refer back to photos that are available online or from the agent.

When it comes to touring the house, all of the rooms should be viewable. In fact, if thereís a room you canít enter for any reason this should raise a red flag that something is wrong with the home. However, just because you should look in the closets to get an idea of space doesnít mean you should touch or go through the personal belongings of the homeowner.


Follow all of the above open house tips and youíll be sure to leave a good impression.





Posted by Andrew Abu Realtors on 3/26/2018

If youíre looking for a bargain on a home, there are ways that you can tell a seller is ready to give you a great price. 


The Vocabulary Is Right


Sellers who really want to get rid of their property will never say it directly on a listing. Yet, thereís so many different keywords that can help you to distinguish which sellers are in a rush to sell. These words can be found in the listing and include:


  • Motivated seller
  • Priced to sell
  • Needs TLC
  • Bonus offers for closing within a certain timeframe

These keywords and phrases signal that a seller truly is ďmotivated.Ē


Your Agent Gets The Inside Scoop


Sometimes, a sellerís agent will tell a buyerís agent outright that their client is looking to sell in a hurry. This can help you and your agent to work together to make a good offer and get a good deal on the home. 


A Home Has Gone On And Off The Market


If a home has been on and off the market for some time, itís a good bet that youíll be able to get a good deal on the home. If a buyer backs out, it can really put the seller in a bind. If this has happened several times over a period of time, you may have a good shot at getting a good bargain on a home. Your realtor will be able to research the property history and help you find out exactly what happened to the home in the past. This way, youíll know what youíre getting into with the property and if you have a good shot at making a deal.  


Choose The Right Season


At certain times of the year, such as winter where there are fewer listings, sellers are generally more motivated. Thereís less competition along with less buyers. Anyone who is looking during these times may be able to get a better deal on a home they love because of the low supply and demand.  


A Really Good List Price


If the listing price for a home is a real bargain to begin with, you may have a motivated seller on the other side of the listing. A seller who needs to make a quick sale will often put the home on the market at a great price right from the start. This is all in hopes that the home will fly off of the market. 


A low price can also be a bit of a red flag. The seller may have listed the home at a bargain price in hopes of a bidding war between buyers. If you donít want to get into the competition of trying to outbid another buyer, you may want to avoid homes listed at seemingly too-good-to-be-true prices.   


If youíre looking for a hidden bargain on a home, you can see that there are ways that you can find it pretty easily. Happy house hunting!





Posted by Andrew Abu Realtors on 2/26/2018

Saving for a down payment on a house can seem like an insurmountable challenge to first-time homebuyers. You donít have the benefit of equity built from owning previous homes, and most, if not all, of your income could be tied up in other places like paying rent and bills.

If this sounds like you, donít worry--youíre not alone. The good news is that there are some other things you might try before giving up on saving for a down payment.

In todayís post, weíre going to discuss a few techniques for saving for a down payment that you might not yet have thought of, and talk about how to can start saving sooner rather than later.

1. Know your options

Many first-time buyers arenít aware of all of the different mortgage types that may be available to them. VA loans, USDA loans, and more are all available to buyers who donít have a large down payment saved up.

Thereís also the common myth that your down payment needs to be at least 20% percent of the cost of the home. However, this number is more like an ideal figure that will allow you to avoid paying private mortgage insurance (PMI).

Before determining how much you need to save, make sure you understand all of your options.

2. Learn the art of budgeting

Most of us use the term ďbudgetĒ as a vague word that means the amount of money we can spend.

The true point of a budget, however, is to gain a detailed understanding of where your money goes and to develop a plan.

One good method of budgeting is to do what budget experts call, ďgiving every dollar a job.Ē This means that you know where each dollar o your paycheck will go.

There are many tools available for you to use when budgeting. You can use a free app like a spreadsheet from Google Sheets, or a service that connects you your bank account like Mint. Mint will also let you set goals (such as saving for a down payment) so you can track your progress.

3. Asking for a raise

Depending on how long youíve been at your job and your work performance, it might be time to ask your employer for a raise up front. Many employers are more than happy to reward hard work and dedication, but just donít hand out money if they arenít asked.

4. Start that side hustle

There are a lot of ways to earn extra money in a service economy. From waiting tables at night to delivering packages for Amazon, and giving lifts in your car for Uber, there are numerous ways to earn some extra cash in the evenings.

Just remember that you want this project to be something thatís enjoyable or interesting, otherwise itís easy to burn out from overwork.

5. See if you have employee assistance options

Some employers offer housing assistance programs to their employees as a work benefit. If you havenít flipped through your HR packet in a while, now might be a good time to make sure youíre taking advantage of your options.





Posted by Andrew Abu Realtors on 1/8/2018

A low appraisal is a possibility when youíre buying a home. This can happen for a variety of reasons. If it happens to you, donít panic! 


Once you get an offer accepted on a house you love, it may feel like a huge weight has been lifted off of your shoulders. As any seasoned homebuyer will tell you, this is only the beginning! 


It can be tough for both the buyer and the seller when a deal seemingly falls apart due to an appraisal that comes in too low. This is a common occurrence and there are ways to work around it. 


Reasons For A Low Appraisal


There are a few reasons for a low appraisal including:


Insufficient sales data for the area can often skew appraisal numbers

Lenders may only lend up to a certain percentage of the appraised value


If the appraisal comes in lower than what you offered for the purchase price of the home, youíll need to come up with the rest of the cash upfront in order to purchase the property. There are other options for you if you do come into this situation.


The Appraisal Contingency


The appraisal contingency is built into your sales contract and is a protection for the buyer, allowing them to walk away without financial burden if the appraisal comes in too low. This allows you room for negotiation on the sellerís part if they really are motivated. The contingency clause isnít a one-size-fits-all protection. Even with this clause, you could end up spending more out of pocket cash or walking away from the deal completely. Itís simply a protection.  


What If The Appraisal Is Wrong?


The appraisal can be submitted for review. The appraiser would need to explain why they didnít use comparable sales provided by the lender. The property can also be completely reevaluated. In addition, you can request a separate appraisal from your lender. The seller may even pay for the second appraisal in order to keep the deal from falling through. 


Donít Offer More Than You Think The Property Is Worth


When you base huge financial decisions on emotions, you could end up in a bad situation. Your offer that wins the house can quickly become a case of regret as a buyer. Many times in a tight real estate market, youíll need to make decisions fast. If you have a general idea of property values and work with a realtor to make an informed offer, youíll be in better shape to avoid a big headache. While you may be able to afford paying more than a house is worth, itís not a smart financial decision.       



Low Appraisals Are An Opportunity


A low appraisal should be thought of by the buyer as an opportunity to renegotiate the sale price of the home. This step in the home buying process is a protection for you as a buyer for one of the biggest purchases that youíll ever make.