• Serving Gladwin and Midland County


Which party in a real estate transaction is represented by the Realtor® - the buyer or the seller? Until recently that question was never asked because the answer was always the same. Traditionally all the marketing professionals involved in real estate transactions were legally and ethically obligated to conduct business on behalf of the seller. They may have aided the buyer in certain situations, but their client was the seller. Today that is not necessarily the case. In a time of increasing specializations, buyers can be represented by a Realtor® who functions solely as a buyer's broker. In this case, the sales professional helps the buyer locate a home, negotiate the price, and is responsible to the buyer only, for an agreed -upon fee or a percentage commission. In any real estate transaction you have the right to know which party the Realtor® is representing.

You have just spent the entire day looking at homes and now they have all become a giant blur. Which house had the great dark room? Was it the same one with the small kitchen? You saw so much that you can't remember anything! Realtors® have developed little tricks to help them remember the thousands of properties they see. Carry a notebook with you when you are house-hunting, and give each house its own page. At the top of the page note the address and price. Write down the exterior construction, style and color, as well as the color of the living room carpet and walls and any other major feature that will jog your memory later. You can nickname the houses - "the white cat house" or "copper pots house" - anything to help you retain a mental picture of the property. This will enable you to recap the day and give your Realtor® important feedback that can speed up your search for the perfect home.

The beginning of negotiations is usually the end of many months of hard work for the buyer or seller. The work ahead requires skill in order to maintain a strong position. Sellers can lose their advantage if they do not counter an offer that a buyer has made. Even if the opening offer is beneath what the seller feels is reasonable, it is advisable for the seller to respond with a slight reduction from the asking price. The most important component in negotiating is good communication. The best way to handle a low offer is to counter it with definite terms that are favorable to the seller. A counter offer has two advantages: 1) it keeps the buyer interested, and 2) it moves the negotiation forward and gives the buyer the opportunity to submit another offer that the seller is more likely to prefer.our search for the perfect home.

Now that you have found the perfect home and negotiated the price and terms with the sellers, you come to the most difficult part of the transaction - finding the perfect loan. You should do some comparison shopping among lenders. Your Realtor® can refer you to several reputable lending institutions which should be able to complete the loan process before your proposed financial approval date. The loan officer will take your application and have you sign all the necessary papers to authorize credit and employment verifications. You and the Realtor® should get periodic progress reports to make sure that all the details are taken care of. Such reports will help to ensure that any potential problems are discovered and addressed before they can threaten the transaction.

You have probably figured out how much you will need at the closing for your down payment, but don't forget about the closing costs. These additional costs can add up to a signification amount. Closing costs will vary, depending upon the financing costs and the time of the month that you close. Costs to consider - private mortgage insurance (if required), title insurance, attorney's fees, recording fees charged by local government agencies. There may also be property taxes, homeowner' association fees and homeowners insurance that must be prepaid.

Your Realtor®'s job is to find the perfect home, in the right location and with all the amenities you want - and at the right price. It is the home inspector's job to find any skeletons in the closet or more likely in the plumbing, wiring, roof, basement and beams. The inspector won't pass or flunk a house based on what he finds, but will go over the house thoroughly to help you understand what it is you are buying. If there are any serious problems, and if they are reflected in the price, your inspector can give you a realistic idea of how much the repairs will cost. If there are surprises you will have the opportunity to re-open negotiations with your sellers before you commit to the purchase. A good inspector will also explain how some of the basic emergency systems work, such as the main water cut off valve and the circuit breaker box, and go over the items that will need routine maintenance. If you are buying a house, we recommend that you make a professional home inspector part of your home purchase team.

You noticed a lot for sale in a area that looks like a perfect place to build your dream home. Buying undeveloped land can provide an opportunity to build a house that will meet your needs, but you will need certain information before you sign on the dotted line. Most areas have zoning regulations which govern the type of structure that can be erected, the dimensions, and even the materials used on the exterior. Historic preservation groups work with builders in many areas to ensure that any new construction fits in with the existing buildings. If you want to build out of the city limits, check the availability of public utility services and the cost of bringing those services to the site. Local planning and zoning boards can provide you with information about proposed development that could change your quite country lane into a busy street. It is a good idea to consult an architect and zoning expert to confirm that your vision will work on the property you have selected.

Every property has some kind of easement - utility, water and sewer or driveway easement which provides access to landlocked parcels. As a property owner, you may be affected by easements at some point. An easement in gross is the most common type of easement used by public utilities. These easements are often under or above the ground, so they do not consist of actual land. If a utility gains the right to an easement in gross over your land, it must pay you for the diminishment in value of your property. Easements by prescription become easement simply through unchallenged use by the landowner for a specified number of years (usually 10-20). To avoid such an occurrence, the land owner must periodically make a formal objection to "start the clock over". The most familiar type of easement is easement appurtment that allows access to public roads and is used to create driveways and walkways for subdivided parcels. This type of easement should be treated by both landowners (and beneficiaries) as actual land parcels to be described and recorded meticulously.

Zoning classifications are the most important tool that a local government has to control the way land is used in a community. Areas designated as residential may have further controls on housing density for single family homes, townhouses or multiple-family houses. There are usually areas set aside for industrial, commercial and recreational purposes. Zoning boards spend their time listening to requests from parties who want to change or bend the existing zoning regulations. These zoning decisions have a major impact on the surrounding neighborhoods. Citizens' groups often get involved in testifying at hearings on proposals that could affect their property values or their quality of life. These groups help create interest about issues in the local press and work to educate their neighbors about matters affecting them. Developers who go before a zoning board seeking major changes are wise to involve the local neighborhood group in formulating proposals that will affect those homeowners.

When you buy a home, you will pay "closing cost" in addition to the down payment. These costs include the "points you pay on you mortgage loan, title and hazard insurance, the title search, legal fees, and other charges imposed by the lender. These charges vary by state and county, but they usually represent a considerable amount of money. When you begin your search for a new home your Realtor® can give you information about the closing costs in your area. You can use this information as a guide line. When you apply for your loan, the lender is required to provide you with a "good faith" estimate of the closing costs. This figure is usually very close to the actual amount, since the sales contract will have the price and terms of your new home spelled out. As the closing approaches, your Realtor® will give you a final figure for the check that you will bring to the closing table.

If you have questions, need advice, want to schedule a showing on any property, or if you want to discuss selling your home, please feel free to contact us. Call, or use the form below to send a message. We'll get back to you as quickly as possible. We look forward to hearing from you.

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