How to Buy or Sell a Home in Need of Repair

During the purchase or sale of a home you’ll most likely hit some bumps in the road to closing. If you plan to finance your new home, homeowners insurance is required and a clean 4-point inspection (HVAC, electrical, plumbing, and roof) is necessary. So, what can be done if your soon to be new home is in need of a major repair such as roof replacement? 


I recently had a seller who suspected that their roof was in need of repair. They gleefully accepted an offer after only 1 day on the market!  As suspected, the home inspection showed that a flat portion of the roof was at the end of its life and needed to be replaced. However, the sellers didn’t have the cash to do the repair prior to closing.  Whether buying or selling, if you find yourself in circumstances where a repair is needed, you have a couple options that will still allow you to close the deal with little or no money out of pocket. 

The most favorable option is to have repairs complete before closing. Some companies will do repairs and allow the payment to be made at closing. Who pays for the repair depends on whether you have an as-is contract or standard residential...but that’s a whole other topic. If the seller is obligated by contract or willing to pay for repairs, payment can come out of their proceeds at closing so that they are not responsible for the full amount up front. As-is contracts do not require a seller to fix the issue but it also gives the buyer the opportunity to back out of the sale and get their deposit back. 

Another less desirable option is for the closing agent to hold money for the repairs in an escrow account that will pay for the repair after closing. The escrow account will hold 150% of the estimated cost to repair in the event the repair ends up costing more.

Most inspection reports are going to have a long list of items, don’t be alarmed, many items are not a deal breaker. Buyers and sellers can negotiate repairs even after the property is under contract. Thanks to HGTV, many buyers have become less detoured by a home in need of repairs or updates. 


I’m no stranger to a home in need of repairs. See how I financed and gained equity on my own fixer-upper here  or join my mailing list  for a FREE ebook of your choice (Buying, Selling or Credit Scores 101).

What’s my home worth? Click here for Your custom report.

Buy a Home and Customize it with Specialty Financing

If you’ve been house hunting recently you’ve probably noticed a lack of turn key homes available; unless you’re working with a hefty budget.  



If your budget is under $300,000 the inventory of updated homes leaves much to be desired. Also, everyone has difference tastes, so why pay for upgrades that someone else added that you don’t even like? Well, you don’t have to settle! You can have a house with great bones AND customize it to fit your needs all in one loan. 



We’ve all seen the house that’s the right price, location, you can already picture spending summers in the backyard but it has 20 year old wall to wall carpet that you just can’t live with. In the past you would have two options, pay out of pocket to replace the flooring or live with it until you can upgrade. You no longer need cash on hand to update a home and make repairs. That’s right, you can wrap the cost of new flooring, a kitchen, roof or nearly any other upgrade you can imagine into your mortgage. 



I’m very familiar with these products because I used the 203k to purchase and customize my own home. Our home, built in 1907, was gutted to the studs and sat empty for nearly 20 years. See a before & after photo below. You can also read more about we found our home here. Our home was quite the project and I gained SO much knowledge that will help guide you through the process of specialty financing. It may sound scary and complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. If you choose this route, you can be confident that my expertise and experience can help simplify yours.  

I partner with Homebridge, a trusted expert in specialty financing. They have multiple options to pay for repairs and updates on a home. Whether you need $5,000 or over $100,000, my mortgage partner Pete at Homebridge will help match you to a loan program that is the best fit. 



Even new construction limits your material options. With specialty financing, the possibilities are endless! If you’re looking to buy and would like to customize your home, I’d be happy to discuss options (click here for contact info) to help you make a wise investment and build equity.

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4 Negotiation Tactics to Use When Buying a Home

In a real estate transaction, typically negotiating is thought of as price. However, there are many other factors that can either aid or hinder your probability of getting the house you want for the price you’re willing to pay. 


GET PREQUALIFIED.

As a buyer, the most important item you can provide to flex your buying power muscles is a pre-qualification letter. No seller wants to take their home off of the market for weeks just to find out that the buyer doesn’t qualify for the purchase amount. Any savvy buyers agent would make sure their client has a pre-qualification letter before even beginning the house hunt. 


MAKE A STRONG DEPOSIT.

Offers are normally accompanied by a “good faith” deposit that goes into an escrow account while the property is under contract. Contingencies on the contract protect your escrow deposit in case something arises during the contract period such as a cloud on the title, property appraisal not meeting the purchase price or a poor home inspection. Deposits are typically 1-2% of the purchase price. A larger deposit shows a seller you’re serious and committed to the process of buying the home. 


KEEP INSPECTIONS SHORT.

Inspection periods fall under contract contingencies that allow buyers to negotiate repairs, a lower price, or terminate the contract altogether if the inspection report is unsatisfactory. 15 days is the typical length of an inspection period, keep it at 15 days or shorter to make your offer more appealing. For a seller, a long inspection period means the property is off market for an extended period of time without a guarantee that the sale will go through. 


An “AS-IS” contract means the seller isn’t obligated to make repairs or pay for any items, however, the inspection period on an “AS-IS” contract also states, “If buyer determines, in buyers sole discretion, that the property is not acceptable to the buyer, the buyer may terminate the contract in writing before the end of the inspection period”. AS-IS contracts are basically a low-risk look behind the curtain of a home. Standard residential contracts are more difficult to negotiate repairs as a buyer because the contract has a certain amount built into the contract that the seller has allocated towards repairs. 


CLOSE QUICKLY.

When financing a property closing usually takes about 45 days, some lenders pride themselves on closing deals in as little as 30 days. A quick closing that isn’t contingent on the buyer selling their home is most desirable to a seller. Some buyers want to make the sale of their home a contingency for purchasing a new home but there is usually a “kick-out clause” meaning the seller can still accept another offer without that contingency. 


As a buyer, having Realtor® representation is typically at no cost to you. Don’t walk through the buying process alone or depend on the listing agent of the home. A listing agent can only represent the transaction if they have both sides of the deal and can NOT represent the best interest of both sides. Be prepared, have your own representation that’s looking out for you! If you are in need of a Realtor®, call me! It would be my pleasure to serve you. 

Do Open Houses Work?

Take a quick drive around any residential neighborhood on the weekend and you’ll spot at least one “Open House” sign. Even as the real estate industry has changed over the past few decades, open houses have remained common practice. So, question is...do open houses work?


Data from the National Association of Realtors says that 7% people found the house they bought from a yard sign or open house. 


Most buyers who attend open houses are not ready, not qualified to buy or simply have no intention of buying...if anyone even shows up at all. Every agent I know has had at least one open house where they’ve sat for 3 hours just to have one curious neighbor who has considered selling their home come through. Once, I even had a neighbor come in, he sat on the couch and FELL ASLEEP! Seriously, I can’t make this stuff up. 

If a buyer is ready and serious, they will make an appointment for a private showing and be prequalified.


In todays digital age 95% of buyers are looking for homes online. That’s why photos, video, and property preparation are essential to making a great first impression online. If a buyer sees a house they’re interested in on Tuesday and they see that there is an open house on Sunday, do you think they will wait until the open house to see it? No way! If they’re serious about buying, they’ll call their agent and set up a showing immediately. 


Safety is also an issue because you’re allowing ANYONE to enter your home. This leaves your home vulnerable to theft and gives burglars an opportunity to scope out your belongings. So, is the risk worth the low probability of capturing a sale? 


In my experience, open houses are ineffective and a waste of a seller’s time. You may be wondering, why then do agents continue this archaic sales strategy? Open houses can actually provide leads for the agent...but that doesn’t help you sell your home. The short answer is we work for the seller and if the seller wants to hold an open house, that’s what we do. 


What’s your experience with open houses? Do you think they can be effective?


I’d be happy to discuss with you my marketing plan and strategies that are tailored to your home and needs! 

What’s my home really worth? Click here for a custom report.

Answers to the 3 Most Common Mortgage Questions

As a REALTOR® my job is not limited to the transactional duties of buying or selling your home. My goal is to escort you through the process providing expert advice and recommendations. I work with a reliable team of people including inspectors, insurance agents, attorneys, closing agents, mortgage brokers and more to ensure a smooth transaction from start to finish.

Julian Minatel, loan originator from Amerifirst Home Mortgage, is one of my trusted lenders. Here are Julian’s answers to the most common questions he receives about mortgages.

How much do I need to put down?

It really depends on the type of loan program that the buyer is interested in and may qualify for. Typically, this is from 0% (no money down) to 25% Occupancy also plays a big role (for example, a primary residence requires less money down than an investment).

What is my interest rate?

The interest rate is a variable that changes daily. It is dependent on a variety of factors including: credit score, loan program, loan length, loan to value, and property type.

What do I need to apply for a home loan?

Buying a home is very different from a regular installment loan or auto loan. Common loan documents that we need for a home loan include: bank statements (last 2 months), W-2s or 1099s (last 2 years), tax returns (last 2 years), pay stubs (last 30 days), photo ID (driver license, passport, state ID card) and proof of rental history (past 12 months if applicable). There may be additionally documents per the underwriter so they can accurately underwrite your file.

 

If you’d like help getting prequalified or have questions about how to sell your current home and purchase a new home, call or email me. It would be my pleasure to serve you!