Are you ready to buy?

You’ve saved your down payment.  You’ve saved a little extra to stretch You’ve shined your credit score. You’ve gone online and found your dream home. You’ve chosen your Realtor®.   You are ready to buy a house.  Are you?

 

This housing market is not for the faint of heart.  You are facing a home sale market in which there are literally a hundred potential buyers for every home that comes on the market.  In the challenging market you face in Central Ohio it is not enough to be financially ready to buy a house. You must be temperamentally ready.  What does that mean?

 

Here are a few scenarios for which you must be ready to become a homeowner in a market where demand far exceeds supply.

 

  • Did it take you three weeks to buy a car? This may not be the market for you. This market demands quick decisions. Most homes will go into contract within hours of going on the market.  You may see a home at 10:00 a.m. and the listing agent gives a deadline of 6:00 p.m. to have offers in.  Unlike a ‘normal’ market there is rarely time for a second walk-through or second thoughts.

 

  • Are you able to handle the crowds? You likely will not have a ‘private showing’ on the home.  Depending on the demand for the home, the driveway may look like a parking lot, the home may be filled with other interested parties and the line out the door will look like a Honeybaked Ham® store on the day before Thanksgiving.  Frustrating? Absolutely. Reality? Absolutely.

 

  • Are you able to break all the rules you have learned about buying a home? Negotiate down off of list price? Won’t happen.  When a home is priced well negotiating starts at list price and goes up.  Home inspection important to you?  You may have the right to a home inspection (the more competitive Buyers waive that right) but you likely won’t have the right to ask for repairs.  Unwilling to pay over appraised value?  The Buyers who win waive the appraisal value and bring cash to closing.

 

  • Are you willing to compete for a home? In the first week a home is on the market it is not if you will compete with other potential homeowners, but how many you will compete with. If the home is overpriced, it will still be on the market in a week, and you may have an opportunity to purchase without competing with other.

 

  • Are you willing to move twice to get a home? You own a home.  You need to sell it to buy your next home.   This is a market where the competition demands a non-contingent offer.  The homeowner on the home you want does not have to take on the risk and time of you selling a home, and they generally won’t. You will need to move twice e., sell, move into temporary housing, and then purchase a home.

 

  • Are you comfortable with the Seller living in your home after closing? In this market, you’ll get the keys when the Seller is ready to give you possession.  If the Seller needs the home for up to 60 days after closing, the winning Buyers will give it to them.  At no cost.

 

 

While there are exceptions to these realities, they are realities, and they are typical.  If this is not the home buying experience you are prepared for, you might be more comfortable to trade the Seller’s market (less money and perks’ on the sale end) for a more favorable Buyer’s market.

 

This Blog is written by Kathy Chiero, Lead Agent for The Kathy Chiero Group.  Thinking of Buying?  Get a copy of my free book “Ten Ways to Win in a Challenging Market” Visit us a OurOhioHome.com  Ready to sell? Contact us for a no-obligation analysis of the value of your home.

I don’t have a LOW credit score. I have NO credit score. Can I buy a house?

Let me start by saying that I’m a huge Dave Ramsey fan.  Dave Ramsey, founder of Ramsey Solutions and a get-out-of-debt guru, is all about staying debt-free and living a cash-only lifestyle.   I agree, debt-free is the way to go.  In a perfect world none of us would have debt.  But I live in a house buying world where debt, called a mortgage, is the only way the vast majority of buyers can purchase a home.

 

I recently had an experience with a client that made me want to sound warning bells.   John and Sarah (not their real names) sold their home in 2019.  They moved into an apartment while looking for their next home.  They had the proceeds from the sale of their home in the bank and one credit card in John’s name which carried a very low balance. They paid this credit card off every month.  While I don’t know if John and Sarah were Dave Ramsey fans, they could certainly be Dave Ramsey stars.  They could have called into his radio show (as many do) and yelled “WE ARE DEBT FREE!”  but could they still buy a house?

 

A couple of weeks ago they found “the” home and called their loan provider to update their preapproval status so that we could make an offer on the home.  They were shocked to find out that in the absence of any debt in her name, Sarah no longer existed in the credit reporting system.  The home they sold in 2019 was the only debt she had.  Sarah had no credit cards, no car loans, nothing in her name.  She worked and her income was necessary to purchase a home, but the lapse in having ANY credit had a devastating effect on their ability to buy Sarah didn’t have a LOW score, she had NO score. To the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau – the gods in the credit sky that disperse credit worthiness – Sarah was “credit invisible,” thus a higher risk to a mortgage provider.

 

According to Dave Ramsey, this is a good thing.  I pulled from his website: “Turns out that one of the wisest things you can do for yourself, and your family is lose your credit score. It means theres absolutely zero chance youre currently in debt or at risk of slipping into debt anytime in the near future.”  Ramsey does admit that you will be “less likely” to be able to purchase a home with no credit score unless you go to one of his endorsed mortgage providers.  He provides a link to one his loan buddies through which if I get my loan, I may get a house and Dave Ramsey gets paid.   Hear me on this:  re-read my first line.  I am a big Dave Ramsey fan.  Nothing illegal here, nothing even unethical.  He is a terrific entrepreneur who has found a way to make A LOT of money advising you how to keep yours.  But the truth is, having no credit score can make it much more difficult, and costly, to borrow money.

 

To borrow money, you must get the approval of a human underwriter or electronic underwriting system. Underwriting is the verification of your ability to borrow, approval of the loan, and authorization for dispersal of funds. Most banks/mortgage companies use electronic or “desktop” underwriting (DU).   No human sees the verification data until hours before closing.  DU will kick you out immediately because you do not have their primary determinant: a credit score.  With no credit score you must go to a mortgage company who still does their underwriting manually.  This means all parts of the approval process are still done by a person (think 1983) and your lack of credit can be explained.  The human underwriter will seek out other forms of payment history such as utility or phone bills, verification of rent or car payments.   This added effort has an added cost.  Expect to pay a slightly higher interest rate for what the bank believes to be higher risk.

 

The solution?  Sorry, Dave, but my advice is to keep at least one credit source in your name and responsibly use it.  Like John and Sarah: one credit card, paid off every month.  Debt may be a destructive force when mismanaged, but proof of  a past of well-managed debt is still the only way most loan providers trust you with money at premium rates to pay back in the future.

 

This Blog is written by Kathy Chiero, Lead Agent for The Kathy Chiero Group.  Thinking of Buying?  Get a copy of my free book “Ten Ways to Win in a Challenging Market” Visit us a OurOhioHome.com  Ready to sell? Contact us for a no-obligation analysis of the value of your home.

Thank you for being a friend! (Now will you be my roommate?)

If you are a woman over the age of 50 you probably know the statistics: across the industrialized world, women will live as much as 10 years longer than men.  Even if you don’t lose your spouse to divorce or early death, human genetics predict years, if not decades, of being alone.

 

The “Golden Girls” living arrangement is becoming increasingly popular. Named after the 1980s sitcom about four post-menopausal women sharing a home, the idea of rooming with friends is catching on.  Women who find themselves facing ten to 15 years or more alone are testing the waters of communal living for the first time since college. Unwilling to go “backward” in life to spartan apartment living, it makes financial sense to maintain a lifestyle standard with a little help from your friends.   Renting a room shaves the edge off of finances and ensures a built-in friend with whom to binge on Netflix or share a holiday meal.

 

A change in our culture works in favor of this friendship-based living arrangement: Baby Boomer women have benefitted from the choice to work outside the home and have lives independent of housework and raising children. Decades of life outside the home have resulted in deep and lasting friendships.  These friendships have spanned marriage and divorces, the birth and graduation of children, the changing of diapers and jobs, the marriages and burying of loved ones.  Why wouldn’t they evolve into last-years roommates?

 

Here are some tips to keep in mind if you are considering a “Golden Girls” living arrangement:

 

  • This isn’t college. Your roommates (like you) have decades of doing things “their way.”  Does their way mesh with your way?  It’s hard to tell a 62-year-old that running the shower for 11 minutes before you get in is wasteful.
  • Try to limit the arrangement to the number of bathrooms in the home. We are grown-ups.  Even the closest friends want their own bathroom space.  If you have roommates agreeable to share, the bathroom deserves its own set of rules for space sharing.
  • Maybe the reason you love your bestie so much is that you only see her a day a week. Can you live with this person without sacrificing your friendship?
  • Put it in writing.   While you don’t want the document to be hard-edged and demanding, think of it as discussion points.  Who does the cleaning and are groceries shared?  Are romantic partners allowed … overnight?   Pets allowed? Smoking? Are you a chatty Kathy or early morning grump?  Shared meals or grab and go?
  • Set minimum standards of cleanliness for common areas: your definition of clean might not be hers.
  • Are the kids allowed? How often is the teen daughter going to be overnight and are her friends welcome? Son is home from college for a month and needs a place to stay?  Are these short-term intrusions welcome?
  • Consider a 6-month trial period at the end of which all parties can come together and decide whether to continue the arrangement.
  • Speak up. Making long term arrangements with the person you will spend months with is not the time to “be nice” and hope for the best.  Make sure rules of the home are clearly understood and enforced. Have set times for communication until the house gets its “rhythm.”

 

Where do you find these roommates?  Ask around a trusted circle: church, clubs, civic groups.  While there are on-line postings for older roommates (www.seniorhomeshares.com is one), caution is still the rule.  If you own the space to be shared, you will be expected to set the initial rules: do your research and have your lease agreement ready.  If you are the one looking for space, make sure you speak up about your preferences.  Better an awkward conversation than a miserable living arrangement.

 

This Blog is written by Kathy Chiero, Lead Agent for The Kathy Chiero Group.  Thinking of Buying?  Get a copy of my free book “Ten Ways to Win in a Challenging Market” Visit us a OurOhioHome.com  Ready to sell? Contact us for a no-obligation analysis of the value of your home.

I want to buy a home, but I have a home to sell. Is this possible without a double move?

It’s a pretty common conversation I have with homeowners: they’ve heard about the “bidding wars” on their neighbor’s homes.  They gasp at the listing price of a home only to be shocked when it sells for tens of thousands of dollars higher.  They want to get in on this.  “So,” I say to them, “where are you going to go when your home sells?”  The reason you are going to be the recipient of a spectacular offer on your home is that there are very few homes to buy.  Once you sell a home, you are now a home buyer.  And with a 15:1 ratio of Buyers to available homes, this often means you are temporarily homeless.

 

In last week’s House Call blog, we discussed the challenge of buying a home when you have a home to sell.  The old contract staple: the “sale of home’ contingency is as rare as for sale signs in the yard these days.

 

So, what are your options if you own a home? Here they are:

 

  • Buy without the sale of your home. Do you qualify to own two homes?  If so, that is the way to go.  You find your next home, then immediately list your current home.  In the current sale environment, your current home will close within weeks of the new home avoiding double mortgage payments.
  • Move twice. I know this is not a pleasant option, but it is very likely a necessity in this market. You sell your home, move into temporary housing (friend, relative, rental home or apartment) until you can find and purchase your new home free of any sale contingencies.
  • Close on your home and negotiate a “rent back” from your Buyer. This contract trick allows you to live in your home (technically now THEIR home) while you look for a home.   However, the Buyer’s lender will only allow this arrangement for 60 days.  You may still have to move twice.
  • Build a new home. If you qualify to buy without selling your home, you can time the listing of your current home to coincide with the closing date of your new home.   This avoids a double move and the no-holds-barred free competition for existing homes.   Even though you qualify to own two homes, the Seller’s market generally guarantees that your existing home will sell before you close on your new home.   Keep in mind if you do not qualify to purchase the new build without the sale of your home the builder will require you to list your home within days of going into contract on the build ultimately requiring a double move.

 

Bottom line:  the dark side of this great Seller’s market is that once you sell you are a Buyer. To “cash in” on the best Seller’s market in decades the Central Ohio homeowner must be willing to accept the challenges of being in the worst Buyer’s market in decades.

 

 

This Blog is written by Kathy Chiero, Lead Agent for The Kathy Chiero Group.  Thinking of Buying?  Get a copy of my free book “Ten Ways to Win in a Challenging Market” Visit us a OurOhioHome.com  Ready to sell? Contact us for a no-obligation analysis of the value of your home.

Whatever happened to the “Sale of Home” contingency?

Remember the “old days”?   You wanted to sell your current home and purchase another.  You met with your Realtor® and were advised to get your home on the market first because it will likely take 90+ days to sell.   As soon as the sign is in the front yard, you began looking for the next home.  You find the perfect home and write an offer which includes a contingency that the closing of your new home is contingent upon the sale and closing of your current home.  It is called a “sale of home” contingency and until recently was a common as For Sale signs in May.

 

Look around.  There are far fewer For Sale signs.  As demand for homes far exceeds the current supply, the homeowner who does put the sign out is often the recipient of a dozen or more offers.  Spread out in front of them like a deck of cards, the offer contingent upon the sale of home is rarely in the running.   Why would the homeowner take the risk of your home closing when they don’t have to?  In their hands they have 10 offers of preapproved, ready-to-close Buyers.  Your offer is tied to an anchor which sinks your chances of being chosen.

 

You might ask “why would they hesitate to take my offer contingent upon the sale of my home when my home will also sell quickly in this high-demand environment?” It is not the IF of your home going into contract.  The homeowner knows your home will likely go into contract quickly.  Getting your home into contract is not selling it.  The Seller wants to avoid the additional risk of getting your home from contract to closing.

 

All contracts carry risk, even the best ones.

 

Receiving an offer on your home is only the “start” block of a multi-step game board. To get to “finish” a buyer has to be preapproved with a good lender and get through a home inspection.  The home has to appraise, and the Buyer has to jump through more hoops than twirl at a hula competition.  Then, you hope the Buyer doesn’t lose his job, break up with a girlfriend, or mess up their credit by going out to buy a car prior to closing.  For a homeowner, these risks exist when choosing one buyer for their home.  If they take your contingency of sale on your home, they are doubling the risk of something going wrong.  In a “normal” market, the Seller takes this risk because they have no choice.  They have one offer.  In the current market the Seller doesn’t have to accept this risk and they generally don’t.

 

I have sold hundreds of homes in this multi-offer market.  I can count on one hand the number of sale of home contingencies accepted by a homeowner.  Those that were accepted had extenuating circumstances that made the homeowner amenable to added risk.

 

 

What are the options of a homeowner has who wants to buy in this market?  I’ll tell you in next week’s House Call blog.

This Blog is written by Kathy Chiero, Lead Agent for The Kathy Chiero Group.  Thinking of Buying?  Get a copy of my free book “Ten Ways to Win in a Challenging Market” Visit us a OurOhioHome.com  Ready to sell? Contact us for a no-obligation analysis of the value of your home.

It might be love at first sight, but make sure your new house can go the distance:

I’ve often said that buying a house is like getting married: you fall in love when you step in the door.  You learn as much as you can during the home inspection.  You don’t really know the house until you’ve lived there a few years. After 5 years you have your list of what you’ll do differently the next time.  Fortunately, the “next time” is more pleasant and easier when buying a house than trading in a spouse!

 

My goal as a Buyer’s agent is that you live happily ever after.  I know that the longer you stay in a home the better the investment.  So, how do you know on Day #1 what you will need in Year 7? While every Buyer and family is different there are common reasons people sell a home. Many of these “reasons to sell” can be avoided, or at least the time frame in your home extended with a little forethought in your purchase.

 

From my 24-year experience selling thousands of homes, here are the top reasons people sell, not necessarily in this order:

 

  • School System. What works when you’re a couple changes when you have a kindergartner.  Think ahead.  Do you plan to use public schools and, if so, what school system is your preference? How important is it that your child be able to walk to the school?  Is bus transportation available or are you willing to make the drive sometimes 3-4 times a day depending on the number and ages of your children?  Private or Parochial School?  Are there geographic boundaries for attendance? Is there bus transportation? I once had a client who purchased a home specifically because it backed to her child’s private school. Upon calling me to sell it she said it was the best decision she ever made.  “It saved me hours on the road” she said, “and sick days, snow days and early closures were never a problem.”

 

  • Room to do what you love: Do you love to cook? A small kitchen will force an earlier move. Do you entertain quite often? Look for large spaces and open rooms.   Lots of sleepovers? A basement playroom is a priority.  Work at home? The dining room table won’t cut it over the years, look for space to create an office. Overall, make sure square footage is adequate for your needs and possible growth through life change: marriage, children, adding a roommate.  Right now, my team is marketing an adorable downtown condo.  It’s under 900 square feet and owned by an equally adorable single woman.  Single woman met single man and, well, 900 square feet isn’t enough for two adorable people.

 

  • Storage. This is a big one.  People move because they have too much stuff. This is especially true when you don’t have a basement.  Homes without a basement cost about $15-$20,000 less than homes that have below-ground storage or living areas.  It sounds like a “money saving” move to forego the basement.  But look at it this way:  It costs 8.5% of the value of a home to sell it.  On a $250,000 home that’s $21,250.00.  If you sell 3-5 years earlier because you need storage — you have given away over $20,000 in equity. Look at closets, under the steps, garage, and sheds — make sure the home you’re purchasing has the room you need and can grow into with your “stuff.”

 

  • Number of garages. When you buy your first home, you’re thrilled to get a yard.  After a few years of scraping ice off of your windshield a garage becomes a priority.  You have a home with a one-car garage, and you tire of the “car dance” to get your car and your partner’s vehicle around each other on a daily basis.  Then you have kids and (see #4) the garage becomes a storage locker.  Finally, your kids become teenagers and your two-car household becomes a 3-car household and it’s time to sell.  Think ahead.  Do your best to budget for a least a garage that can give you 8-10 years in a home.

 

  • Number of Bathrooms. Many younger Buyers are coming from apartments that have two full bathrooms.  They are willing to sacrifice a bath to buy a home until they have kids.  Just a few years later and that bath-sharing thing gets old.  This is often why first-time home buyers stay in their homes less than six years.  Stretch to get that 2nd bathroom if at all possible.

 

  • Steps. This is a particular reason to move for the over-50 home buyer.   Steps are essential to space and private living when you’re in your 30’s and 40’s.  Even age 50-60 is often still in the range of health that most of us can tackle a second floor.  If you are buying a new home at age 50-60 and steps are your daily exercise, you still need to think about life at 70+ or you will be moving again.

 

  • Taxes. You are paying for that great school system whether or not you are using it.  Those taxes are subject to go up further by the vote of families using the schools — long after you are not.  Take a hard look at your monthly tax expense.  Even if you don’t hold a mortgage on your home — the State Treasury does.  It’s called taxes and you are subject to the inevitable rise for the length of time you own the home.

 

Your goal should be to be in a home a minimum of 8-10 years.  If you cut out just one home sale over the life of your years of homeownership, you will save $20,000 or more in equity.

 

 

This Blog is written by Kathy Chiero, Lead Agent for The Kathy Chiero Group.  Thinking of Buying?  Get a copy of my free book “Ten Ways to Win in a Challenging Market” Visit us a OurOhioHome.com  Ready to sell? Contact us for a no-obligation analysis of the value of your home.

The Downside of a Great Seller’s Market

Central Ohio homeowners have a right to celebrate!  After 8 years of watching your home values depreciate at double digits a year (2005-2012) we are entering our 9th selling season of supply and demand heavily weighted in favor of the Seller.

 

However, here is the dark secret of this great market:  the market for your home is ‘great’ for about a week.  If you overprice your home and it doesn’t sell in the first 3-5 days you have lost the “Seller’s” market and have turned the clock back to 2004.  Why?  Because with homes selling in a weekend, even hours, after a week or so on the market the Buyer begins looking at your home as a stagnant listing.  Your home is suspect: there must be something wrong with it, it’s been on the market so long.  As a Realtor, I can tell you there is only one thing “wrong” with it: the price.

 

The Seller overshot the great market and priced their home too high.

 

Here’s the scenario we see played out every day in Central Ohio:  We list your home for $350,000.  It should be $340,000 but it’s not so overpriced that Buyers will pass it by.  The home gets 35 showings in the first weekend.  Thirty of those Realtors respond for their Buyers telling us that the home is overpriced. This “negative feedback” tells us all the reasons that, even in a hot market, the Buyer is unwilling to give you your price.  However, five Buyers express some interest.  Because we are still in the first few days on the market those five Buyers think everyone is going to make offers.  After all, this is how Buyers have been “trained”.  They know the pace of this market.  So even though the price is a little high we likely will still get offers at or above list price.  I have had the experience of getting only one offer on a home but because it was in the first five days — the buyer thought they were bidding against others and paid over list price and gave the Seller very favorable terms.

 

What are those terms? Far beyond price we are looking for the Buyer with the most favorable financing (or cash!)  They will waive the right to ask for repairs, bring money to closing over appraised value, and give you the closing and possession date you need.

 

Let’s look at this scenario if we priced a $340,000 home at $360,000.   Very likely we would have 35 showings and no offers.  There is a price point at which Buyers are unwilling to overpay.  They will just wait for the next home.

 

“But we’re not in a hurry” homeowners often say.   In it a truth in real estate that time is not your friend.  The longer your home is on the market, the less likely you are to get your asking price.  The price drops every day your home is on the market.

 

Looking at our $340,000 home:  we price it at $360,000 and get no offers.  About 10 days in, you have lost the benefits of the Seller’s market.  You have lost the interest of the 30 buyers who jumped on your home in the first days on the market.  You now will have a showing a week.  The Buyer who comes through your home on Day 10 has a different mindset than the Buyer who came on Day 1.  The Day 10 Buyer is looking for why your home hasn’t sold. They know they aren’t competing with anyone and know they have the opportunity to negotiate the price, get the full benefit of a home inspection with repairs, will insist on sticking with the appraised value of the home and want the keys at closing.

 

The key to getting all the “wins” of a great Seller’s market is to price well.  Hire a Realtor who knows how to accurately price your home to earn multiple offers and let you walk away with all this market owes you!

 

 

This Blog is written by Kathy Chiero, Lead Agent for The Kathy Chiero Group.  Thinking of Buying?  Get a copy of my free book “Ten Ways to Win in a Challenging Market” Visit us a OurOhioHome.com  Ready to sell? Contact us for a no-obligation analysis of the value of your home.

Are home buyers foolish for “over-paying” for homes in this heated market?

We are in our 9th (yes, NINE) year of a Seller’s Market in Central Ohio. In some areas and price points there are over 20 buyers for every home on the market.  I have had as many as 41 offers on a single home.  I recently presented an offer on a home that the Realtor later told me had 56 offers.  The home with 56 offers went into contract at $40,000 over list price and the Buyer agreed to pay his offered price no matter what the home appraised for.

 

Is that buyer the “winner” or foolish?

 

We all know someone who has either made a bid far over list price to purchase a home in Central Ohio. Or you have heard that your neighbor’s homes have sold for well over list price. Even crazier — you have heard of Buyer’s paying over appraised value for a property with a willingness to bring additional money to the table if necessary.

 

Are these Buyers going to have a post-purchase hangover in 2022 when they wake up and regret having scrambled to beat 15 other potential buyers with an over-list price offer?  Do they regret having to cancel the trip to Disneyland because they needed the additional $10,000 to cover the “appraisal gap?”

 

First of all, let’s start with a disclaimer that the purchase of real estate in any market is speculative.  Very smart people didn’t foresee the housing crash of 2005-2012.  No one could have predicted that the soaring values we began to see in 2013 would continue to this day.   I sold houses to Buyers in 2013 when multiple offers were new and novel.  Those buyers are now selling again — having watch their home value skyrocket as much as 10% a year.  Those 2013 over-list-price bidders certainly don’t regret having stretched their budget and the credulity of others in 2013.

 

How much over “fair market value” is winning and how much is foolish? A good Buyer’s Agent can advise you, but generally I advise not to bid more than two years appreciation over what is likely to be appraised value.  There are times with when my clients are willing to stretch more, but there is a limit when more is too much.

 

Here is another consideration:  In 2010 a $200,000 home at 5% interest would have a mortgage payment of approximately $1400 a month.  In 2021 a $280,000 home at 2.78% interest has the same mortgage payment.   So, the buying power of the lower interest rate often outweighs the $10,000 or so over list price you paid for the home.  You could wait 2-3 years when the market slows, but if interest rates rise your buying power is equally reduced.

 

Another way to look at the purchase is that buying a home is far more than a financial transaction.  Yes, we hope it’s an investment that pays off in years to come.  But it is also a roof over your head, a place to put the Christmas tree, and walls you can paint purple if you want to.  You’re going to pay to live somewhere, so a good portion of your mortgage would be going to rent.  (In fact, in 2020, with 2.5% interest rates it is often less expensive to buy than to rent, at least at it pertains to the monthly payment.) Even if the value stagnates or goes down — it doesn’t affect you unless you need to sell in a “down” period.  The market is cyclical — stay and the value is likely to come back. As long as the home is maintained it is always worth something.  When the mortgage is paid off, you have a roof over your head and the equity in the home.

 

The bottom line?  If you are not comfortable with offering over list price for a home or bringing money to the table to offer more than appraised value — this market is not for you.  Unfortunately, until the steam is out of this overheated housing environment there will be a long line of buyers willing to do so to become homeowners.

 

This Blog is written by Kathy Chiero, Lead Agent for The Kathy Chiero Group.  Thinking of Buying?  Get a copy of my free book “Ten Ways to Win in a Challenging Market” Visit us a OurOhioHome.com

Is your home in danger of being electronically stolen?

You’ve heard the commercials.  Is your home in danger of being “stolen” by title thieves?

 

“With the advancement in technology, it’s a huge problem and tremendously unreported as a crime,” says Art Pfizenmayer, Senior Advisor to the CEO of Home Title Lock as reported in the San Diego Union Tribune in 2018.  But is it?  Is the crime so rampant that it is necessary to pay a company like Title Lock hundreds of dollars a year?  We’ve all heard the commercials with the alarming warning that our homes can be stolen with a few keystrokes.  Is it true and is the “protection” provide by Title Lock a good idea?   I spoke to Scott Stevenson, a 26-year attorney and CEO of Northwest Title. Northwest Title is a cornerstone in the Central Ohio title community and has been around for over 50 years.  “Never in my career and never in the history of our company have I heard of it happening,” said Scott.

 

What does Title Lock claim is occurring and what do they promise to do?  According to their website, criminals “go online to find your title and mortgage information. Thieves use this information to transfer you off your home’s title. Once they have the paperwork forged, it’s just a quick trip to the county recorder’s office to file the “updated” paperwork. Also, with the convenience of being online, many offices allow paperwork to be digitally transmitted…no need to leave their keyboard!”  Then, says the Title Lock website, these same individuals take out mortgages on the home, essentially locking your home up in liens that you must remove.

 

Stevenson says if it were as rampant as Title Lock claims, a title company would be ground zero. “We would know, and it’s not” he says. Scott goes on to say that there were rumors of this kind of fraud happening around 2010 in Michigan but unverified and certainly extremely remote.   “Slim to none” he says are the chances that your deed could be stolen.  “More likely that you will be hit by a tornado on Broad Street.”

 

Furthermore, says Stevenson, an examination of Title Lock’s website provides no clear evidence of what you are paying them to do, at least nothing that you couldn’t very easily do yourself.  Calling it a “ridiculous” service, Stevenson says the steps they take to “protect” your title are very simple to do yourself.  You don’t need the “proprietary software” they claim to use.

 

What does Title Lock promise to do for $149.00 a year?  They promise to “monitor” your title and let you know if there is any change to it.

 

OK. I guess. But couldn’t you do that yourself?

 

Pull up the Auditor’s website and look at your home’s record. Is your name on it?  You’re safe.   Pull it up every day if it makes you feel better.  (You’re performing much more due diligence that Title Lock, and it’s free.)  Pay attention to bills coming to your home.  Are you still getting the tax bill? The home is still in your name.  Are you getting mail regarding loans being requested on the address? That’s a clue fraud could be occurring.   If you have your tax payments on any kind of “auto pay” by your bank — make sure you also sign up for paper or electronic notification that it has been paid. This kind of diligence is especially important if you own two homes: mail to vacation homes might not be checked for months at a time.

 

This kind of oversight of yours or a loved one’s home affairs is easy, can be done in a minute and will not result in a recurring charge of $149 a year on your credit card.

 

 

This Blog is written by Kathy Chiero, Lead Agent for The Kathy Chiero Group.  Thinking of Buying?  Get a copy of my free book “Ten Ways to Win in a Challenging Market” Visit us a OurOhioHome.com  Ready to sell? Contact us for a no-obligation analysis of the value of your home.

Ten Ways to Win: #10 – Be willing to be a backup contract and consider older listings

What is a “back up” Buyer?  A back up Buyer is first in line to purchase a home if the “Primary” Buyer is unable or unwilling to perform on a contract.   It happens.  The Primary purchaser loses their job or breaks up with a girlfriend.  Three weeks into the transaction, the contract falls apart.  The first phone call is to the “back up” Buyer.

 

If you have made an offer on a great home and your offer wasn’t chosen, ask your Buyer’s Agent to inquire about acceptable terms for a “back up” offer.   The language of a backup offer allows you to continue to look for homes and to rescind the backup offer at any time before being moved to Primary position.  So, it’s a no-harm-no-foul move.  You can be a backup offer for as many homes as you wish.  Sooner or later, one is going to come available, and you will be first in line to grab it.

 

Another option:  consider the listings still on the market 10 days or more.  These are the listings passed over by other Buyers, but they could be an attractive choice for you.   Why were they passed over?  Most likely because the Seller overpriced their home.  They have missed the opportunity for multiple offers in the first days on the market and now they are waiting for you to come along with all the negotiating options in your hands.

 

 

This blog is written by Kathy Chiero.  Kathy is the Team Lead for The Kathy Chiero Group of Keller Williams Greater Columbus Realtors.  Thinking of Buying or Selling?  Find us www.OurOhioHome.com © 2021 All rights reserved.