Video tours have quickly become the norm in the COVID-19 era as a safe way to get a closer look at the house you want to see in person. And while no doubt the kitchenÂ andÂ living room are high on your list to check out, the bedroom deserves more than a passing glance.
After all, a bedroom isn’t just a place to catch some zzz’s; it’s also a place that can function as a retreat or a quiet workspace. For your kids, it’s a room to play, do homework, and host sleepovers. And sure, a bedroom’s size and closet space are importantâbut they’re not the only things you should ask to see during a video tour. In fact, glossing over the bedroom could mean huge peeves after you buyâor worse, real problems that cost you money.
Here are some potential issues you might find hiding in the boudoir.
1. It might not actually be a bedroom
“Many listings will call a bonus room a bedroom even if it does not have a closet and a window, which is technically not correct, ” says John Gluch, founder of the Gluch Group in Scottsdale, AZ.
The legal requirements for classifying a room as a bedroom vary by state. Still, while taking the video tour, you should verify that bedrooms have a door and a window as two means of escape in an emergency.
The ceiling should be tall enough for a person to comfortably stand, and the square footage sufficient to accommodate a bed.
Be sure to ask your agent if the room is legally considered a bedroom.
2. There’s no privacy
Have your agent scan the windows and sills to check their condition. Take note of features such as triple-pane or tilt-and-turn windows.
Finally, check the view.
“You’ll want to know if a large, beautiful window in the master bedroom lacks privacy and looks right into a neighbor’s yard,” says Jennifer Smith, a RealtorÂ® with Southern Dream Homes in Wake Forest, NC.
3. The fixtures and outlets are dated or in bad shape
“Buyers’ eyes tend to naturally go toward the beautifully made bed with lots of accent pillows and the art hanging on the walls,” Smith says. “But it’s important to remember to look at the more permanent features of the room that you’ll have to live with day to day.”
Ask your agent to zoom in on things like the flooring, ceiling fan, light fixtures, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and heating and cooling vents. Is there a radiator hiding behind the headboard or an air conditioner in the window?
Be sure to find out how many outlets are in the room. Older houses often have fewer outlets, and they may be the outdated, two-prong variety, which isn’t grounded.
4. The early morning sun will wake you up
Oodles ofÂ natural light is a coveted featureâunless the morning sunlight wakes you up hours before your alarm goes off.
“Many Realtors and home buyers who visit a property at varying times throughout the day unintentionally fail to consider what the exposure is like at 5:30 a.m. with the sunrise,” says Gluch.
Curtains and blinds are obvious solutions, but you may not want to cover windows that showcase a beautiful view or are placed high in a vaulted ceiling.
5. Your furniture won’t fit
Whether it’s a large master suite or a children’s bedroom, pay attention to how much furniture is in the room and how it’s arranged, Smith says.
“Staging declutters and depersonalizes a space as much as possible, so buyers should think about how their current belongings will fit or if they’d have to buy all-new furniture,” says Smith.
Ask the listing agent for the dimensions of the bed and/or dresser for comparison. But if the dresser is missing, it could mean the bedroom has a large closet with organizational options.
Ask to see inside all the closets, and make note of the size, shelves, and other organizational components.
6. The bedrooms are in an inconvenient location
It’s easy to get disoriented when you’re taking a live video tour, so “buyers shouldn’t forget to pay attention to where bedrooms are located in the house,” Smith advises.
Ask yourself how the locations of the bedroom will suit your lifestyle. Will you be more comfortable with the kids’ bedrooms on the same floor? Is the master suite adjacent to a busy living room or kitchen? Where are the bathrooms in reference to the bedrooms?
7. The master bathroom doesn’t offer separation
A spacious master suite isn’t just a place to rest your weary head at night. It’s your future dream retreat, where you can sink into a soothing bath or luxuriate in a rainfall shower. But if you want a bit of privacy, be mindful of how the master suite is laid out.
“Many people overlook the fact that there is not a door between the bedroom and the bathroom,” says Gluch. “Likewise, many floor plans now have a water closetâa small toilet room with a doorâbut do not have a door separating the bedroom from the rest of the bath.”
8. There might be potential safety hazards
If you’re looking at a multilevel home or a house with a bedroom in the basement, verify fire escape routes.
“Consider potential safety hazards such as how difficult it might be to drop a fire escape ladder out of an upstairs bedroom window or a ladder up from a basement bedroom,” says Gluch.
Basement bedrooms should have an egress window, and upper-floor windows should be clear of obstructions like trees or sections of the house that would make an emergency exit difficult.
The post 8 Hidden Problems in the Bedroom You Might Not Spot in a Home Video Tour appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.comÂ®.
Idaho has some of the best potatoes in the world, but it has more to offer than just that. Itâs also dubbed the Gem State, with over 70 precious and semi-precious stones found within its bedrock and streams. The real gems of Idaho are its national parks, friendly people, and a range of real estate deals for buyers looking to maximize value without breaking the bank.
Finding an amazing home in Idaho is easy if you know what to look for and have the top tools and professionals on your side.
What to Look for in an Idaho Home
In Idaho, you can have your pick of beautiful homes and properties with stunning natural backdrops. To narrow down your list, you may want to keep a few things in mind.
Proximity to Employment
The capital of Idaho, Boise, is a major draw for many homebuyers due to its impressive list of corporate and boutique employment opportunities. If youâve already landed a job at a powerhouse like Boiseâs Micron, Hewlett-Packard, Clearwater, IDACORP, or St. Luke’s you will want to look for a home in or around the Boise area. If you havenât scored a job yet, being close to the city can only help your search and prospects.
With the Homie app, you can narrow down your search using the city or town of your current or future job. Whether you are looking in Boiseâs Bench or North End, Garden City, Meridian, Nampa, Caldwell, Kuna or some other area, you can find what you are looking for. You can then collaborate with a Homie agent to decide which homes you may want to make an offer on in Boise.
The Lot the Home Sits On
Even though much of Idaho’s real estate sits on predictable, easy-to-manage land, in some cases, a property could have hidden issues. Keep an eye out for the following when evaluating where your home sits:
- Setback regulations that may limit where and if you can put on an addition
- Easements put in place that may limit what you can do
- How fences, hedges, trees, and other things at the edges of the property sit in relation to the actual, registered boundaries of the lot
Check the Available Utilities
Particularly in the more rural areas of Idaho, you will want to double-check the utilities at your disposal. In the more urban sections of the state, you may have multiple options for handling sewage, as well as heating your home. However, other parts of the state have far fewer choices. It’s best to decide ahead of time how you will deal with:
- A septic system instead of a town sewer
- Limited heating fuel optionsâand the extra expense that may involve
- Getting a back-up energy source in case there’s a blackout due to a storm and crews are delayed in fixing it
In most cases, any inconveniences can be overcome with a little planning. The more rural sections of Idaho more than make up for it with their natural beauty.
Idahoâs temps can dip below zero degrees Fahrenheit in the winter and push the mercury above 100 degrees in the summer months. To keep comfy, whether you want to be cozy or cool, it’s important to try to find a home thatâs energy-efficient. Focus on both the insulation and the mechanical system.
If thereâs no information available for the insulation used in the home, you can often gauge its efficiency based on the thickness of the walls. Two-by-six construction tends to be better at maintaining inside temps than two-by-four walls. Likewise, single-pane windows allow more heat loss or gain than a modern dual pane window filled with argon. A quick trip to the attic can reveal the kind of insulation between the roof and living spaces below.
The Importance of Using an Agent
Enlisting the assistance of a Homie agent can make the buying process easier and save you thousands of dollars, not to mention peace of mind. Here are some of the top advantages of using a Homie agent instead of trying to DIY your home purchase.
Getting the Best Deal
Making the right offer is a fine art and skill. Often, a homebuyer may have a number they think reflects the value of the home, but even a thoughtful figure may be skewed by a number of subjective factors. With an agent from Homie, youâll get a dedicated professional that knows the local area, how its prices have fluctuated over the years, and how well homes tend to hold value.
A local agent from Homie also knows how long properties tend to stay on the market in a given area, as well as the infrastructure and municipal projects in the works that may influence the valueâpresent or futureâor a home. With this store of data and insights, a Homie agent can help you nail the best offer and earn you a great deal.
Work With Experienced Professionals
When you work with Homie, you not only get to work with some of the top agents, but Homie also helps you find the best providers for all your needs through Homie Marketplace. The Marketplace is a list of partners that we know do amazing work in things like home inspections, warranties, and moving services.
Finding trusted professionals for each part of the home buying process is essential. A good home inspector will tell you what types of repairs your potential home needs. This important information to have so your agent can help you negotiate a fair price.
Youâll also want a good home warranty to protect against any unexpected issues that might come up after you move in. Instead of hunting all over the place to find each of the providers you need, our Homie team will help connect you with the right people.
Familiarity With Legal and Paperwork Requirements
Thereâs a lot more to buying a home than writing a check and grabbing the keys. The legal landscape can get tricky, particularly when it comes to the paperwork. Even well-meaning sellers can include clauses in the contract that could put you at a disadvantage.
Work With a Homie
If youâre digging for an Idaho real estate gem, a Homie professional can help you as you prospect for your prize. Whether youâre looking for the perfect starter home, an upgrade as your family grows, or a lovely investment property, your Homie agent will help you score a great deal and have a smooth process. Click here to start working with Homie to find your Boise home today!
For more tips on home buying, check out the articles below!
4 Ways to Outsmart the Competition When Buying a Home
5 Tips to Help You Afford Your First Home
Common Home Buying Fears and How To Overcome Them
The post How to Find a Home in ID appeared first on Homie Blog.
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Touring a house is like going on a first date: It’s your chance to get a sense of whether this home is the one. Can you envision baking cookies in that kitchen, or cracking a beer on that back deck?
But in this day and age, with so many houses to see and so little time before they get snapped up, the prospect of finding this dream home in the real estate haystack can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming. Add in the coronavirus pandemic, and the idea of checking out houses all around town might feel unsafe, too.
But here’s the good news: The rules on how to tour a house have changed in ways that can save time, lower your exposure to COVID-19, and curb your workload and stress levels, too. Here’s what you need to know to ace your house-hunting game for the modern day.
How to schedule a home tour
Most home buyers start their house hunt onlineâthat’s a given. But once you spot a home you love, what’s next?
In the olden days of real estate, a home tour would kick off with several rounds of phone/email tag. You’d call your real estate agent, who would then contact the home’s listing agent, and once they’d talked you’d get looped in to when you can finally see the house. Talk about complicated! And that’s for just one house; most home buyers are juggling multiple home tours.
But today, the process is much simpler. For one, many real estate listings have a button you can click on to learn more about a property, sans the annoying phone games. On some listings, you can schedule a tour simply by clicking on your preferred day and time to visit. (See the Schedule a TourÂ option on the right side of the sample listing below.)
In short, the process of scheduling a tour can now happen in a few seconds, no harder than ordering lunch on Seamless. After you submit your information, you’ll be assigned a local real estate agent, who will reach out to you directly to confirm your tour time and format. (More on your options there next.)
Should I schedule a virtual tour or visit in person?
It wasn’t long ago when the only way to tour a house would be to visit in person. But today, you also have the option to take a virtual tour. You just schedule a tour as you usually would, but request a virtual home showing where a real estate agent shows you around the house via a live video stream on Google Hangouts, FaceTime, Zoom, or other app.
So should you opt for a virtual tour, or go for the real thing? According to many real estate experts, a virtual tour is the faster, easier, and safest place to start. While buying a home “sight unseen” as they say is a risky move few are willing to take (although it is done now more than ever), virtual tours are still a great way to whittle down your options and spend less time running around town.
“Virtual tours can act as a clearinghouse for buyers to narrow down their search,” says Jack Smith, a real estate agent with Shorewest Realtors in Milwaukee. From there, if you like what you see, you can proceed to an in-person tour to get a closer look.
What to look for on a home tour
Whether you’re conducting a virtual or in-person tour, it’s important to get to know every nook and cranny of the property. Breezing from room to room is not enoughâparticularly if you’re doing a remote tour where small details might be out of view.
As such, you’ll want to check out some less obvious features to make sure the house is in good shape. Here are some areas to home in on that many buyers might miss:
- The HVAC and hot water systems:Â The age and quality of these big-ticket systems can make or break your budget, so while they’re not quite as fun as that gigantic kitchen island or the bonus room above the garage, they should be top priorities during your tour, even if you plan to hire an experienced home inspector.
- The exterior:Â Don’t limit your tour to the house itself. Be sure to check out the garage, front and back yards, and any structures on the property such as swimming pools or gardening sheds.
- The neighborhood at large: You’re not just buying a home, but the neighborhood. Try to see the homes surrounding the one for sale to get a sense of what your life there would be like. Tons of traffic whizzing by might be a deterrent if you have kids or a dog; nearby restaurants and bars might be nice but will add to ambient noise. To get to know this area better, check out local neighborhood apps like Nextdoor.com.
What role does a real estate agent play in a home tour?
A real estate agent can serve as an excellent sounding board when touring a house. Plus, if you’re conducting a virtual tour, your agent may be able to visit the property on your behalf and answer any lingering questions you have, says Tony Mariotti, a real estate agent with RubyHome in Los Angeles.
“Buyers have asked us to check the number of electrical outlets and data ports in a room they intend to use as an office,” Mariotti says. “We’ve also measured and ‘reality checked’ rooms that looked big in listing photos due to wide-angle lenses.”
What to ask when touring houses
During a home tour, you’ll want to delve deeper by asking your real estate agent questions about the house. Here are some topics to hit.
- How old is the home? How old are the various systems and structural elements, like the roof and the water heater?
- Has any renovation work been done? If so, were the proper permits pulled and can I see them? Was the work performed by a licensed contractor, electrician, plumber, etc.?
- Are there any previous insurance claims that could affect insurability? Are there any special insurance policies required for the home?
- What were the average costs of utilities (water, electric, gas, sewer, and trash) over the past 12 months?
- What is the home’s listing history, including any price reductions or contracts that fell through? Why did the seller drop the price? Why did the home fall out of contract?
- Are there homeowners association fees? If so, what do they cover? How are the fees billed?
How home buyers can make the most out of touring homes
When touring bunches of homes, it can be hard to remember which house had that spa bathroom or sunroom you adored. To keep one home tour from blurring with the next, keep a notebook where you can make notes and reminders to help keep all the homes straight. Give each house a name if that helps you, and be sure to highlight any important concerns that jumped out during the tour.
And lest you get swept up swooning over home features that won’t really matter that much in the long run (e.g., that outdoor hot tub is nice but not all that necessary), it may help to write down a list of your top house-hunting priorities.
“Buyers should have a list of their ‘must haves,’ their ‘like to haves,’ and things they are willing to compromise on in a property,” says Cara Ameer, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker in California and Florida.
Similar to dating, you should probably just accept that you can’t have it all, and that some flexibility will be needed if you want your house hunt to end anytime soon.
The post How To Tour a House Today: Tips To Make the Most of Virtual or In-Person Showings appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.comÂ®.
The local Arizona housing market has been hot nearly all year long. As we get closer and closer to the yearâs end, will the trends continue? We checked out all the stats for Arizonaâs market during November. Check out what we found out!
According to data from the ARMLS Â® from November 1, 2020 to November 30, 2020, monthly sales in the Phoenix metro area rose significantly from where they were at this same time last year. With a +27.4% year-over-year increase, sales landed at 8,886 for the month.
While this number is a slight drop from the previous month of October, the -8.3% month-to-month decrease in sales is in line with the typical slow down in the market as the year starts wrapping up.
At $453.9K, November saw a +6.4% year-over-year increase in average list price. Median prices also rose. With a +10.0% increase from November 2019, the median list price in November was $330K.
Average sale prices increased by +18.0% between November 2019 and November 2020, landing at $418.7K. With a slightly smaller jump, median sale prices still rose significantly with +16.8% year-over-year increase. The November median sale price was $331.0K.
As forecasts predicted, these numbers are slightly lower than sale prices in October of this year. The average sale price was -1.5% lower than that of October and the median sale price was -1% lower. For next month, the average sale price is projected to increase, while the median sale price is expected to have another small decrease. Check back next month to see how these forecasts turn out.
Days on Market (DOM)
While many metrics in the market slowed down this November compared to the previous month, the Average Cumulative Days on Market did not. This number continues to steadily drop, showing homes are being sold more and more quickly. Landing at 41, the Average DOM saw a 2-day decrease from October of this year and a 17-day decrease from November of last year.
Want to Know Your Homeâs Value?
If youâre thinking of selling soon, youâre probably wondering how much your home is worth. Click here to request your free home value report from a Homie pro!
A Message From Sales and Operations Manager, Wayne Graham
Going into December, inventory is 28.2% lower than it was a year ago. In fact, some areas are experiencing record low levels of inventory. However, In contrast to the record low levels of inventory, weâre seeing record-high levels of sales. Demand increased by 27.4% between November 2019 and November 2020. Low supply and high demand are one of the surest guarantees of rising sales prices.
But even though prices are rising, according to the National Association of Realtors Housing Affordability Index it is still very affordable to buy a home in Phoenix compared to historical market trends. This is still possible because of extremely low-interest rates. So overall, home affordability is still in a good historical place in the Phoenix area.
Turn to a Homie
With our dedicated team of professionals, we can help you navigate the real estate market easier than ever. Click to start selling or buying with a dedicated and experienced Homie agent.
The post Homieâs Greater Phoenix, AZ Housing Market Update November 2020 appeared first on Homie Blog.
Buying a home often entailsÂ alsoÂ buying various types of insurance to protect your property, and one type you might need to getÂ is called title insurance.
When you buy a home, you âtake titleâ to it and establish legal ownership. A title insurance policy protects you against the possibility that someone else might have a claim on your home. In essence, it ensures that a homeowner and their lender will be okay in the event that the seller or previous owners didn’t have absolute ownership of the house. (It sounds crazy, but sometimes it turns out that the homeowner is not the only one with rights to a home!)
If you need a mortgage to buy real estate,Â your lender will likely require you to buy a title policy from a title insurance company. Although it’s a cost home buyers incur, getting a title policy from aÂ title insurance company is critical to establishing peace of mind.
Let’s examine the ins and outs of title insurance, why home buyers need it, how much you can expect to pay, and how you can save on a title insurance policy.
What is title insurance?
Holding a title insurance policy means you and your mortgageÂ lender are protected against any financial loss or titleÂ issuesÂ due to liens, disputes between prior owners over wills, clerical problems in courthouse documents, or fraudulent claims against the property or forged signatures.
A title search will be performed by your title or settlement company to uncover any issues with your title that could give you legal troubles down the line.
The title company then insures your claim to the property’s title. If anything is missed during the search or there are lawsuits questioning your legal ownership of the property after closing, your title insurance policy will cover the costs of resolving the problem.
Why a title search is required with a mortgage
When getting a mortgage to buy real estate, you’ll find that most lenders will typically require that you getÂ a title search before you close the deal with your escrow company. Basically this would mean you’ll have to hire a title company to search local records on your property.Â Some of the issues theyâre looking for include the following:
- Disputes between prior owners over wills: If your property was inherited and then sold by the heirs, there could be other heirs contestingÂ the will and claiming ownership of your property.
- LiensÂ for unpaid property taxes.
- Liens forÂ contractorsÂ who worked on the home but wereÂ neverÂ paid.
- Clerical problems in courthouse documents:Â Believe it or not, a simple typo can lead to title claim problems.
- Fraudulent claims against the property or forged signatures: For example, if a group of heirs can’t get a holdout to agree to sell the home, itâs possible that someone will forge a signature on aÂ quit claim deed.
While most homeowners will never need to use their title insurance, its existence offers protection against a potentially aggravatingâand very expensiveâfinancial loss.
Lender’s title insurance vs. owner’s title insurance
There are two types of title insurance: lender’s and owner’s. Almost every lender will require you to pay for a lender’s title insurance policy. This protects the lenderânot youâfrom incurring any costs if a title dispute pops up after closing.
Owner’s title insurance is usually optional, but it’s highly recommended. Without it, you’ll be left footing the bill for all theÂ costs of resolvingÂ aÂ title claim, which could be thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Even though it can feelÂ like you’re hemorrhaging cash when you’re closing on a house, a title insurance policy is one of those things that can save you money in the long run.
“When you consider the benefits of title insurance and some of the unique aspects of title insurance relative to other kinds of insurance, it is clear why itâs risky and ill-advised to purchase real estate without a title insurance policy,” saysÂ Brian Tormey of TitleVest in New York City.
You can purchase basic or enhanced owner’s title insurance, with the enhanced insurance policy offering more coverage for things like mechanicâs liens or boundary disputes.
While your title insurance covers you for things such as mistakes in theÂ legal description of your propertyÂ or human error, be aware that it will have some exclusionsâparticularly in cases where violations of building codes occur after you bought your home.
How much does title insurance cost?
The average cost of title insurance is around $1,000 per policy, but that amount varies widely from state to state and depends on the price of your home.
Title insurance premiums can vary from a couple of hundred dollars to a couple of thousand dollars. Some factors that can affect the cost of your premium include the title search, examination, and expected cost of any title defects.
“In general, each policy price is based on the purchase amount of the home or the total amount of the loan,” explains Tormey. “Title insurance is a highly regulated industry, so title insurance policy types and costs will vary from state to state. Each stateâs Department of Insurance can provide information on the pricing regulations in their state.”
In some states such as Texas and Florida, title insurance premiums are fixed by the government, so you will pay exactly the same amount no matter what. Other states such as California and New Mexico have unfixed premiums, which means that buyers can shop around. Iowa actually underwrites the insurance itself, resulting in the lowest premiums in the country: $110 for properties costing up to $500,000.
Unlike other types of insurance, a title insurance policy is paid with a single premium during escrow while closing for your mortgage. If youâre buying a real estate resale orÂ refinancing, you may be eligible for a “reissue” rate, which could offer a substantial discount off the regular premiumâbecause the title policy is already in effect, and the title research has already been completed.
Here’s a calculator that can help youÂ figure out the cost for your area and purchase price.
How to save on title insurance
In some states, title insurance premiums are the same no matter who you work with, but in the majority of states, you can save money by shopping around. Even in states with highly regulated title insurance industries, there are ways to save. Here are some ways to lower your title insurance costs.
- Shop around.Â If premiums are unregulated in your state, find the company that offers the best deals. Just make sure you’re not sacrificing customer service to save a few dollars: Resolving a title issue can be stressful, and you want a company that will help you through the process. Read reviews and talk to your real estate agent for recommendations.
- Bundle.Â Some companies will offer a discount if you bundle your lender’s and owner’s policies.
- Negotiate add-ons.Â Even if the premium itself is fixed, there are almost always other fees built into your total premium price. See if there is any wiggle room with those items. They may be optional, or the insurance company might be open to discounting them.
- Negotiate with the seller. Closing costs are always open to negotiation, and picking up the tab for the title insurance might be worth it to a seller who’s highly motivated to close the deal. But be wary of using this tactic in a competitive market.
Michele Lerner contributed to this article.
The post What Is Title Insurance, and How Much Does Title Insurance Cost? appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.comÂ®.