Reno Real Estate and Community News

Nov. 6, 2020

Should You Accept the Previous Buyer’s Inspection Report?

Sometimes a home falls out of contract. Most buyers assume that it is related to a bad home inspection, but there are many reasons for a home to come back on the market that are unrelated to the condition of the home. During the contingency period, most buyers can cancel for almost any reason – or even no reason.

Of course, the listing agent and seller are motivated to get the home back under contract as quickly as possible and may offer the previous buyer’s home inspection report to the new buyer. Some may even ask that the new buyer remove their right to a home inspection, based on the one they offer.

If you have been offered the previous buyer’s inspection report, you’re probably wondering if you should accept it and remove that contingency. In a fast-moving seller’s market, it might be tempting, but before you accept the report, there are a few considerations:

• Before accepting the inspection, do your research. Who did the inspection? Is it a reputable, licensed home inspector? Check public review sites for comments and customer satisfaction. Check their license with the issuing board and see if they have had any violations or suspensions.

• Once you verify the company, give them a call. Make sure they have performed a comprehensive inspection. Many companies offer both a comprehensive and a simpler, cheaper, visual inspection.

• Finally, read the report carefully. If there are issues discovered, ask for clarification and consider paying for the inspector to meet you at the home to discuss the report in person with you.

Accepting the home inspection might seem like a good idea – both to make your offer more appealing to the seller and to save a few dollars – but before you remove the home inspection contingency, do your homework. Make sure you understand the real condition of the property before you buy it.

Posted in Buying a Home
Oct. 30, 2020

Happy Nevada Day!

Happy Nevada Day, everyone! I hope you all have a safe and festive holiday weekend. 

Posted in Community News
Oct. 23, 2020

Keeping Up With Smart Homes

It seems almost everything is connected these days. Want to check the temperature of your oven from outside? See how much milk you have in the refrigerator from the market? It’s possible! You can now control almost every aspect of your home from your smartphone. Yet with all this connectivity, you need a powerful internet network. If you’ve suddenly realized you have “dead spaces,” then it might be time to consider a mesh network.

A basic wifi network relies on the antennae of the router to reach all the connected devices. A mesh network uses a series of access devices that connect to the main hub and each other – forming a mesh of coverage. This helps eliminate the dead spaces because, in essence, you are creating overlapping wireless zones.

Smart devices benefit from the mesh network system. Unlike extenders that have their own identity, every device in a mesh network has the same name. This provides seamless coverage as smart products move between connectors. For example, items such as camera systems or multiple thermostats stay on the same network, allowing them to better coordinate with each other.

The smarter our homes become, the greater the strain on our internet connections. Mesh networks are just one way to ensure the best possible coverage throughout your home and property. Smart products are only valuable when they are online. 

Oct. 16, 2020

Local Pumpkin Patches are Open!

Happy spooky season, everyone! Get in the Halloween spirit by visiting one of our great local pumpkin patches. These are the three that are open for business and COVID compliant! 

Posted in Community News
Oct. 9, 2020

Working From Home? What Home Buyers Are Looking for Now

With major employers now stating that their employees will be working from home for the foreseeable future, many homebuyers have adjusted their list of desirables in their next home. Some not only need to plan for a home office space, but also need to accommodate the homeschooling or distance learning needs of their children as well.

This is impacting the way homes are marketed and the type of features that have become important to buyers at all price points. Of course, homebuyers with larger budgets have the luxury of seeking homes with extra bedrooms or offices and dens already included. But many buyers are not as fortunate and need to find the needed space in more creative ways.

The easiest way to add working space is within the bedrooms. This offers the ability to close a door for privacy. Larger bedrooms (both in master and secondary bedrooms) have been a top priority for homebuyers. Another important feature is an open floorplan which features a Great Room design. For generations, kids have done their homework at the kitchen table, and a spacious kitchen/family room combo makes it easier for home learning without becoming cluttered. Another option for homebuyers is a separate formal dining room which could be converted to a workspace.

With all the changes in working and learning environments for both adults and kids, the home is even more important than ever. As needs change, homebuyers seek different features from their new dwellings. 

Posted in Selling Your Home
Oct. 2, 2020

Downsizing? What to Do with Your Stuff

Whether you call it downsizing or rightsizing, the bottom line is you’re moving into a smaller space and have no idea what to do with all the stuff you’ve collected over the years. Many people consider moving from a larger home to a smaller home at some point in their lives. Often this move is made after the childrearing years, when homeowners no longer need the extra bedrooms or living space, and want less home to worry about (or to clean!). The problem is that they have accumulated items to fill the space that they aren’t ready to part with, yet all their stuff won’t fit in a smaller home.

If you’re considering this type of downsizing, begin by sorting your possessions into three piles: keep, donate, trash. After trashing, donating, and storing what you can, here are some clever ways to store your stuff in the new, smaller space.

• Dual-Purpose Furniture – Find furniture that offers hidden storage, such as a coffee table or ottoman with storage compartments for extra pillows, throw blankets, games, or books.

• Baskets and Cubes – There are a lot of great options for cube storage units that incorporate baskets to store extra items for easy access when needed.

• Digitize – This is the perfect time to put your important papers and pictures into a digital format. From treasured pictures to tax forms, there are companies who specialize in transferring your items for later access.

• Repurpose – Take a careful look at your furniture…and Pinterest. You’ll find great ways to use some of your favorite pieces in different and useful ways.

• Closets – Consider a closet consultation to make sure you maximize your closet space, not only in the bedrooms but also in your kitchen pantry and hall coat closet.

Downsizing doesn’t mean you have to throw out everything you love. Take a hard look at what matters and then use some of these tricks to store the items you treasure without adding clutter to your new home. 

Sept. 25, 2020

Self-Employed? What You Need to Know about Financing a Home in 2020

Self-employed borrowers have always had to jump through a few hoops to finance or refinance their homes. Without a traditional paycheck, lenders look for other ways to document income. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many business owners and delayed tax return filings. As a result, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have enacted changes in the way the mortgage industry processes home loan applications (as of June 11, 2020).

Income Verification

Self-employed borrowers are typically verified by the most recent two years of income tax filings. As a result of the pandemic, those two years might not give a current or accurate picture of the borrower’s income. As the borrower is seeking to secure a loan before the next filing period, underwriters are now requiring a signed Profit and Loss Statement (P&L) from these borrowers.

Profit and Loss Statements

As part of the underwriting process, self-employed applicants must provide an audited or self-generated P&L statement for the current 2020 period. The statement must not be older than 60 days and must include:

• Expenses

• Net Income

• Business Depository Account Statements (two most recent)

• Business Revenue

In addition, the borrower must provide their most recent personal bank statements which should support the P&L statement.

Professional Advice

Self-employed loan applicants have always faced challenges when seeking a home loan. Now more than ever, it’s important to understand the requirements and work with a mortgage professional to ensure the loan application is packaged correctly with all the needed documentation. Lenders are still approving home loans, but with these changes put in place to minimize risk as the mortgage industry works through the challenges of this pandemic. 

Posted in Real Estate News
Sept. 18, 2020

All-Cash Offer – Should I Offer the Buyer a Discount?

Most parts of the country are seeing a strong seller’s market. This is the case in Reno-Sparks as well. Inventory is low and buyers want to take advantage of the low interest rates. As a result, sellers may be in the enviable position of a bidding war. Some buyers believe that presenting an all-cash offer to the seller can earn them a lower price by being more attractive.

But as a seller, should you accept a lower price from a buyer just because it’s all in cash? The short answer is, “it depends.”

• Do you need to close quickly?

• What are the terms of the offer?

The best advantage of an all-cash offer is the ability to close faster than traditional financing. Typically, loan processing will take several weeks from appraisal to underwriting. A cash offer can be completed in a matter of days; the monies need to transfer and the title needs to be recorded. If it’s important for you to get the money quickly, then accepting a slightly lower sales price in return for the speed of closing could be worth the cost.

Even if the offer is all-cash, that doesn’t guarantee it will close any sooner than another buyer. The most important consideration is the terms of the offer. Even though there is no lender involved, the offer might still be contingent upon an appraisal, a home inspection, and other standard contingencies. Simply paying in cash by itself does not guarantee that the sale will close any faster than a well-qualified buyer who will use financing.

The bottom line is that before discounting your home price for an all-cash buyer, compare all the offers. Your goal is to net as much profit from the sale as possible. If the speed of closing is important, then a small discount might be warranted; but if not, consider all the terms carefully before assuming an all-cash offer is better. 

Posted in Selling Your Home
Sept. 11, 2020

How to Hire the Right Service Professional

The popularity of home improvement television shows has increased the number of home projects. Unfortunately, not everyone is capable of knocking down walls and retiling their kitchen on their own. If you’re one of these non-DIY-ers, you will need to find service professionals to help, but choosing the right person for the job is critical. Here are a few simple tips to help ensure you hire the best person for your project.

• Check References and Reviews – One of the easiest ways to verify the experience and professionalism of a contractor is to read online reviews. If someone has been in the business for a few years or longer, you should expect to find plenty of reviews to read on Yelp, Angie’s List, and other sites. Asking for local references is also important. Call references and, if possible, go see completed projects in person.

• Confirm Licenses and Permits – Verify the contractor is licensed by the appropriate agency and that the license is in good standing. It’s also important to have any required permits for the project by your local city or county. Unpermitted work can result in loss of value, fines, and even forced removal of the work.

• Proof of Insurance – All contractors need insurance and most are bonded. Ask to see the proof of insurance before allowing anyone to work in your home.

• Get it in Writing – Get a written estimate with the scope of work and question any confusing terms. This should include clear expectations, deadlines, and pricing. Make sure you understand everything before signing any type of contract.

Hiring the right person for your home improvement or maintenance job can be time-consuming, but is well worth the effort. Do your homework upfront and you can avoid costly mistakes. 

Sept. 4, 2020

Getting Outbid? Strategies to Make Your Offer Stand Out and Get Accepted

Summer is traditionally a busy time for buyers and sellers. This year has been no exception—and with lower interest rates, many homebuyers are finding the competitive environment challenging. With multiple buyers competing for properties, even terrific offers are often being outbid.

Fortunately, there are some things you can do to make your offer more attractive to the sellers and increase the chances of getting the property.

• Have Full Pre-Approval – A step beyond pre-qualification, a pre-approval involves submitting your full application to underwriting. Your lender will collect all your financial data and submit for review. This is stronger than a pre-qualification; a pre-approval requires the buyer to provide the proof of their ability to qualify for the loan.

• Increase the Earnest Money – Earnest money is the deposit held in escrow. While the contract will dictate how monies are disbursed in the event of a cancellation, increasing the amount offered can show the seller you’re serious.

• Add an Escalation Clause – In a bidding war, it can be difficult to know what to offer because you want to outbid the competition without going too high. An escalation clause is one way to automatically outbid the others. The clause typically offers an amount—$1,000 for example—higher than any verifiable offer up to a specific amount. This can ensure yours is the highest offer.

• Pay any Appraisal Shortage – When offering more than asking price, sellers become concerned about the appraisal coming in too low. If you are willing to pay over market value, include the amount of shortage you are willing to pay.

• Remove Inspection Contingency – This option can be tricky, but if you are planning a large remodel or are willing to tackle any defects found, then you can make your offer stronger by accepting the home as-is. 

Posted in Buying a Home