How To Rock Your Request For Repairs

A typical Residential Purchase Agreement contains an inspection contingency that allows for the buyer to inspect the property, review the reports and present a request for repairs to the seller. If the buyer is unsatisfied with the agreed upon repair list he or she can choose to cancel the deal and have their deposit returned. A request for repairs may ask for a detailed list of work to be done and/or a credit amount to cover the cost of the repairs.

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While some buyers feel that opting to waive the inspection contingency will give them a better at getting their offer accepted, we always advise buyers to opt to have the property inspected. While general home inspections cost several hundred dollars and are paid by the buyer, they could save the buyer a large amount of money in the long run. It also helps to educate you on the overall condition of your home and the condition of its systems.

Your home inspection will inevitably point out some problems with the property – no matter if it is brand new or 25 years old. Your home inspector will check that the main appliances and main systems (plumbing, heating, electrical, etc) are safe and operational. They will also check to see if there are any health and safety issues that might be a problem with the specific property. Pending the results, the general inspector will recommend additional inspections from a specialist (such as a roofing or foundation expert) and/or a list of necessary repairs. Most home inspectors have years of experience and should be able to identify what is problematic and needs to be addressed immediately, as well as what will need maintenance in the near future.

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At this point, you will need to generate a list of requested repairs or credits to present to the seller. This part of the escrow process requires negotiation and strong communication between both the agents and their respective parties. Thus, when deciding what issues or problems to put on your list it is helpful to consider how the seller might react – while you may feel that you are entitled to put everything the inspector recommends replacing, this is a key example of “picking your battles”. You may an extensive list, but it is best to get the list down to the most crucial items and be willing to let the minor things go.

Generally, it is a good idea to stick to health and safety items, as well as any damage that could adversely affect the structural integrity of the home over time. A few items of real concern are: cracks in the chimney, foundation cracks or a damaged roof.

As a buyer, you should be absolutely be persistent on ensuring that your future home is up to par, but you should prepared to take on some of the responsibility of the repairs. After all, you do not want to the deal to fall apart or get drawn out because you cannot come to an agreement as to which party will fix a few cracked floor tiles.

The best way to ensure that you get the most from the seller is to present estimates of the actual cost from contractors. While this may require more effort on your end, doing this gives the seller concrete proof of the price work that needs to be done and gives them little wiggle room.

Another thing to keep in mind when crafting your request list is the sale price of the home. If you were able to secure the home way below asking price, you should consider being a bit more lenient on your list. If you paid full price, you will have more wiggle room to include more requests, but remember that it is very rare to have the seller agree to all the requests right off the bat.

Most importantly, lean heavily on your agent during this whole experience! Remember, we are negotiation specialists and have gone through this process many times. We know the importance of being flexible, but also when to stick to our guns and fight for our clients and their wants. In the end, our job is to ensure that you get the best deal and that you feel 100% confident moving forward with closing on your new home!

Seller’s Transaction Timeline

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Hi Friends!

This year I have been working with a lot of sellers so I thought I’d fill you in on what a typical timeline looks like from the seller’s end of a transaction.

1. Select a Realtor

2. Initial Consultation
-Review market analysis and comparable homes
-Establish listing price
-Sign listing agreement

3. Home Preparation
-Declutter
-Clean up
-Stage

4. Work with Realtor
-List and market the home
-Schedule showing and open houses
-Review offers
-Negotiate terms

5. Fully Executed Sales Contract
-Open escrow
-Buyer to deposit earnest money 

6. Prepare, Review, and Sign Documents
-Disclosures to be filled out and signed
-Escrow instructions to be filled out and delivered back to escrow

7. Grant Buyer’s Access to Home for Inspections
-Review and negotiate request for Repairs (if applicable)
-Request buyers to remove inspection contingencies 

8. Request Buyer’s to Remove All Other Contingencies
-Appraisal contingency
-Loan contingency

9. Sign Final Documents

10. Grant Buyer’s Access to Home for Final Walk Through
(if applicable)

11. Lender to Fund the Loan

12. Title Transfer to New Owners

13. Close Escrow!
-Buyers receive keys

14. Receive Final Check and Closing Package from Escrow

Your agent’s job is to help keep you on track every step of the way so you wont have to memorize this process. They should be aware of the deadlines for the buyer to remove their contingencies and for when your paperwork is due. They will also help you coordinate appointments with the buyers as well as handle any new negotiations that may arise during the escrow period. Hopefully this timeline has given you a snap shot of what to expect when selling your home and the general order of the process. As always, if you have any questions or if you are thinking of buyer or selling your home, don’t hesitate to contact me! cell: 310.387.4693 or email: laurenw@hmsold.com

Two closings in one week!

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Congratulations to my brother, Mark, for his first home sale! His condo/townhouse sold for asking price of $589,000 and closed in less than 30 days. From this transaction I learned the power of communication BEFORE entering into escrow. The biggest challenge we came across was making sure everyone was aware of the Mello Roos and HOA dues. Irvine and Tustin are known for these additional fees in the newer developments and even though it was disclosed in the listing details, I was surprised at how many agents overlooked it. So my tip to my sellers and listing agents is disclose, disclose, disclose! Pre-screen your agents and prep the clients before they submit their offers. Have open communication and make sure that everyone is aware of any additional fees/taxes/supplements, because you can never assume that they already do know.
After a total of three offers, the house went to a great and well deserving buyer. It was nice to work with his awesome agent and kick ass lender. Their clear and open communication was the key to our smooth transaction and am so appreciative of their professionalism. Congratulations again to Mark, Linda, and my dad for all their hard work!

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Congratulations to Sammi and Alex who sold their home in Gardena. Wow was this a hot commodity! After listing the house I received at least 10 phone calls and over a dozen showings in the first two days on the market. By the third day we had our first open house and had over 30 different parties come to visit! We received multiple offers and sold the house for over asking at $450,000 and it was appraised at value! I have learned a lot from working with my clients, more than they probably know. I feel truly honored to have met such hard working, kind-hearted, positive, and smart people. By observing they way they carried themselves in this transaction I was constantly reminded of the importance of having a good attitude towards all things in life (including business). Their positive mindset is what made this transaction such a pleasure to be a part of and an honor to be their agent!

I Am A Certified Negotiation Expert!

The National Association of Realtors profile of home buyers and sellers shows:
-99% of Buyers believe negotiation skills are “Very Important” or “Somewhats Important” in their real estate agent.
-Only 43% of all Buyers felt their agent “negotiated better sales contact terms”.
-Buyers give “Negotiation Skill” the lowest satisfaction rating of all agent skills and qualities.
-Only 5% of Sellers want “help with negotiation and deal with Buyers”.

These statistics shock me and is pretty upsetting to me that so many home buyers and seller’s felt as though they were not represented by a skilled  negotiator. Over my years of practice in Real Estate I have learned how to communicate with my clients as well as the other agent involved in the transaction. I believe my form of negotiation is a collaborative one where it’s a win-win situation for all parties. Don’t get me wrong, my top priority is my client and getting the best deal for them while protecting and informing them, but I believe negotiation can be done in a way where we get what we want and the other party is happy and feels as though they get what they want.

To take my negotiation skills to the next level, I spent all of Monday and Tuesday earning this certification to better serve my clients and I’m feeling pretty good about it 🙂

Here are a few tips (whether you are in the Real Estate industry or not):
-90% of a negotiation is about gathering as much information as possible.
-Assess the situation, ask many questions, identify the type of negotiator you are dealing with, then apply the correct approach.
-The most successful negotiations are collaborative ones. When you approach a situation with a win-win outcome and all parties are happy you will have the best results.

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Join us at our Home Buying Seminar!

When: Thursday, March 12, 2015 from 6:30PM – 7:30PM

Where: Kinecta Federal Credit Union at the Torrance Crossroads Shopping Center
24329 Crenshaw Blvd Suite F Torrance, Ca 90505

If you are thinking of buying, in the process of searching, or plan to buy in the future, then please join us in a couple of weeks for our home buying seminar. I have teamed up with Monica Fujiwara of RE/MAX Estate Properties and Adam Barreto of Kinecta Federal Credit Union to bring you the inside scoop on how to get your offer accepted in this competitive market and what to plan on during your search and home buying experience. Financing questions will be addressed and you will even have the chance to get prequalified on the spot! Don’t miss out on this opportunity to get your dreams and goals of becoming a homeowner in order. Please contact me at 310.387.4693 or laurenw@hmsold.com to RSVP today. Hope to see you there!

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Congratulations to the Nguyen Family!!!

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I am so happy to announce that the Nguyen family closed escrow and are officially new home owners! From the moment I met the young couple I knew I was going to enjoy working with them and it was a bonus that I also got to meet and work closely with their parents as well. This kind and genuine family is so deserving of this beautiful home and I couldn’t be happier for them. What an eventful year of getting married, having their first baby, and buying a house! I feel so honored to have been a part of such an exciting time in their lives.

The first time we viewed this house was at the end of the day and a bit dark. I typically don’t like to show property in the evening in the event that the house is vacant and there are no ceiling lights, it makes it difficult to get a good idea of how the space looks and feels. They liked the house but it was one of the first homes that they saw so we continued our search. A couple days and a dozen houses later, the couple still liked this house the best so I suggested we re-visit it to see it in the daylight. The second trip over was not planned but was perfect timing, and what I like to think as “fate”, because when we arrived the sellers as well as their agent were there. I truly believe that everyone crossing paths helped to get our offer accepted in a multiple offer situation. It is so important to be represented by an agent that works well with other agents. Collaborating together to work as a “team” can make all the difference in having a good or bad escrow. I knew that this agent was going to be a pleasure to work with and to everyone’s benefit, escrow was a smooth and successful process.

Establishing a friendly and professional relationship with other agents has always been a top priority of mine. I know it is a key ingredient to getting my client’s offer accepted as well as having a smooth escrow. People may think that the other agent is the competition so it’s not a priority to develop a relationship. However, I believe that it is these relationships help in negotiating during escrow. I was able to represent my clients with their best interest at hand and got their house tented and completely fumigated as well as install a brand new roof! I believe all parties involved in this transaction have come out of escrow happy and to everyone’s benefit we were able to close early.

Congratulations again to the Nguyen family and best wishes for many happy years filled with great memories in their new home!

Congratulations to the Smith Family!

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Congratulations to the Smith family on moving from Tennessee to Torrance!  I had the great pleasure of meeting these two and helping them secure a rental in the South Bay. Although I mostly help buyers and sellers with their real estate needs, I also help many tenants find a place to lease/rental. Did you know that it does not cost a tenant any money to use a real estate agent for their transaction? The owner usually pays the listing agent and leasing agent for bringing them a tenant.

Here are some renting tips:

Prices are negotiable, which means this could work in your favor or in the landlords favor. If a house has been on the market for over a month there might be room to negotiate for a lower price. However, if it is a new listing and there are multiple applications you may want to consider offering more rent to secure the place.

Pets may be negotiable. Depending on the landlord, type of pet, and how long the listing has been on the market you could always offer a larger deposit for the pet or even more rent to try and secure a place. All landlords are different so some may have a strict “no pet” policy while others may just prefer no pets and would consider one under certain circumstances. If you do have a pet, be prepared to pay anywhere from $500-$1000 per pet as an additional deposit.

Landlords are looking for good credit. Be prepared to have your credit ran and to pay a credit check fee (usually around $30). You are entitled to a copy of your credit report and most landlords are looking for a score of 700 or above. Granted, there are certain situations where some landlords are willing to work with someone that has bad credit. If it is due to a bankruptcy that happened years ago, or a medical emergency that racked up the bills, you should write a letter to the landlord explaining your situation. You may also want to offer more rent and proof of funds to support that you have the money to make payments on time.

Proof of funds. Landlords often ask to supply supporting documents to show either a bank statement or pay stubs. They are typically looking for proof that you have the money for the deposit and first months rent as well as income that show up to three times the amount of rent. ie: if rent is $2000/month they would like to see that you make at least $6000 a month. If you have multiple people applying for the house the total combined income would suffice.

Keep in mind that every landlord is different and one may be flexible on a certain term where another would not. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or real estate needs, I am always happy to help!

LaurenW@hmsold.com

One big tip on how to get your offer accepted!

Great news, my most recent listing got multiple offers and all above asking price!

While reviewing offers with my seller I noticed a huge factor that some buyers may want to consider when submitting their offer.

If an agent has helped their seller to price and market their home correctly, they should receive multiple offers in today’s market. Because competition is tough, I have some of my buyers write a personal letter depending on the condition of the sale and who the seller is.  As a buyer’s agent I collect as much information about the property as possible and try to develop a good relationship with the listing agent. If they are wiling to share some information with me, I like to ask things such as:
-How many offers are on the table?
-At what price point are they at?
-When does the seller plan on reviewing offers?
-Are there any special conditions the seller is looking for in their offer? (ie 30 day escrow, no repairs, etc.)
-How long has the seller lived in the property for?
-Why are they selling?
With this kind of information, not only can I write up a clean offer to best position them, but I can also gage whether or not this may be an emotional sale to the seller. If so, a personal letter may make all the difference between two offers that are identical.

Below, I’ve included a sample letter of one that I would personally have written to my last listing in Gardena. However, every home is different and every buyer/seller is different. I would suggest to make your letter as personal as possible so that the seller can get to know a little more about you (and your family).

Dear Mr. Hashimoto,

My name is Lauren Weber and I am in love with your home at 1036 Magnolia Ave! I have been searching for the perfect place to call my own for the past month now and I am very excited to present my offer to you. I really appreciate that your property is located on the top level of the complex and has so much natural lighting.  Just to give you a little history about myself, I was born and raised in Torrance and grew up going to numerous events next door in Gardena, including eating many meals at Gardena Bowl. I moved away to attend college at San Diego State University, but upon graduating I returned back to the South Bay and since then I have an even bigger appreciation for this community and what it has to offer. I truly believe it is the best place to call home! It is has always been a dream of mine to one day purchase a place of my own. With hard work and years of saving, I am finally in a place where I can attain such a goal.  If chosen to be the new owner of your home I promise to work diligently to make escrow as smooth of a transition as possible for the both of us. Please do not hesitate to contact me or my agent if you have any questions or concerns. I look forward to hearing from you!

Sincerely,
Lauren

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Points to include:
-Genuine excitement and love for the property
Point out something specific like kitchen cabinets or the flow of the floor plan.

-Familiarity with the neighborhood.
This shows the seller that you are aware of the surroundings and are not likely to change your mind during escrow because of the location.

-Add a little background about yourself
Sellers that have lived in their homes for a long time want to see that their home is going to someone that is deserving and appreciative. Paint them a picture of your life so they can get to know a little bit about you. Let them know if you are a newly wed couple or if you have kids, what are their names and how old are they?

-Show stability
Tell the seller a little about your job or your reason to purchase at this time in your life.

-Show willingness to work with the seller
Every seller wants a smooth escrow. Ensure that you will be easy to work with.

-Include a photo!
A stack of offers are just names and numbers, some sellers appreciate being able to put a face to a name.

If you are thinking about buying at this time, get your letter together ahead of time so in case you find something you love you wont have to scramble last minute. Be genuine and include a photo!
I hope these tips help you compile a great letter. Happy Weber Weekly Wednesday~!

My New Website and New Listing!

www.LaurenTWeber.com

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The launch of my new website is finally here! I am so happy to be able to offer this additional service to my clients and anyone else that is interested in the real estate market. Here you will find access to search the MLS for current listings as well as helpful information to better prepare for your buying or selling experience. My goal is to be your real estate go-to gal and having this site is just another outlet for me to provide useful information to you.

Also…. I have a new listing! Click HERE for all the details.
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This Gardena condo features:
2 Bedrooms/ 2 Bathrooms
934 sq ft unit
Built in 1975
2 car garage
Upstairs corner back unit with private balcony
Gated complex
Laundry on site
Asking price only $180,000
Located on Magnolia Ave next to Gardena Bowl
Please message me for more information or to schedule an appointment to view the place.

As always, feel free to reach out to me with any questions. I hope you are having a fabulous Weber Weekly Wednesday!