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Real Estate Disclosures and You

by Tucker Robbins

Zillow.com defines the term disclosure as “...the buyer’s opportunity to learn as much as they can about the property and the seller’s experience in it.”  In most states, this simply means that the seller must let the buyer know about problems that they are aware of.  Whether you’re selling or buying a house, disclosing issues with the house is an extremely important part of the process.  

 

What Disclosure Means for the Seller 

  • - Your listing agent will provide a form for you to fill out, answering questions with either yes, no or I don’t know about different aspects of the house.  This form should be filled out truthfully and to the best of your knowledge. 

  • - Items that most states ask you to disclose to the buyer:  lead paint or asbestos, previous repairs or additions, mold or water damage, pest issues, drainage problems, foundation cracks, problems with HVAC and other appliances, and if the roof is leaky. 

  • - If you think there might be a problem, say possible mold in the crawlspace, have an inspector come and have a look.  It’s better to be safe than sorry here. 

  • - While you’re going over the disclosure form, if you’re not sure if you should report something, report it anyway.  It’s best to err on the side of caution. 

  • - Have the disclosure ready before you’ve accepted an offer for your own protection. 

  • - Your listing agent will be aware of all government disclosure requirements--federal, state, and local--so be prepared to report all that these laws ask of you. 

 

Disclosure and the Buyer 

  • - Once you receive the disclosure statement, go over it carefully and ask questions if you’re not sure about anything listed, because you must sign the disclosure. 

  • - The extra expense of having an official inspection done on the house is vital to this part of the sale.  Have the disclosure form information with you when you meet the inspector at the house, so you can go over the problem places with a pro. 

  • - In the case of any additions to the home, check the local government building permit and zoning information to make sure the addition was done the legal way by licensed people. 

  • - If you have any issues with the seller’s answers on the disclosure statement, and don’t want to make the repairs, and can’t come to an agreement with the seller, it may be best to walk away and look for another house. 

  • - Once you are satisfied with the disclosure and have the peace of mind that the sale should go through, sign off on the disclosure. 

 

A disclosure should be a seller’s protection plan, and smart sellers will be completely honest, and maybe even over-disclose.  Also, be aware that some states even ask sellers to disclose things like traffic noise, and even paranormal activity!  Your Realtor will know everything you need to provide to buyers, so the sale of your home goes smoothly.

Courtesy of New Castle County DE Realtors Tucker Robbins and Carol Arnott Robbins.   

Photo credit: davesellsmetrodenver.com

New Castle County DE Real Estate Market Watch For September 2018

by Tucker Robbins

New Castle, De Sales Activity


Q2 2016Q3 2016Q4 2016Q1 2017Q2 2017Q3 2017Q4 2017Q1 2018Quarter50100150200

New Castle, De Home Sales Price Trends


Q2 2016Q3 2016Q4 2016Q1 2017Q2 2017Q3 2017Q4 2017Q1 2018Quarter120K140K160K180K200K
 Median      Average
Period Total Sold Average Price Median Price
2018      
JAN-MAR 83 $154,348 $120,000
Total 83 $154,348 $120,000
2017      
OCT-DEC 142 $182,089 $140,650
JUL-SEP 173 $181,614 $150,000
APR-JUN 142 $163,863 $139,950
JAN-MAR 135 $140,735 $124,900
Total 592 $168,148 $139,900
2016      
OCT-DEC 126 $193,530 $158,950
JUL-SEP 187 $188,611 $162,500
APR-JUN 180 $161,890 $137,500

Courtesy of New Castle County DE Realtors Tucker Robbins and Carol Arnott Robbins.   

Getting the Best Home Inspection in New Castle County DE

by Tucker Robbins

Whether your offer on an older home has been accepted, or you’re buying brand-new construction, it’s highly recommended that you have the house inspected.  Yes, it’s an added expense to the home-buying process, but it could save you money and heartache in the end.  Get the most out of the inspection by following these tips: 

 

  • - Ask your RealtorⓇ for a list of qualified inspectors in the area.  Be sure to check reviews, and ask other recent home buyers for recommendations. 

  • - Call at least three different inspectors for price, experience, and whether your state requires a license and bonding or not, ask about these anyway.  A top certification they could have is one by ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors). 

  • - Once you choose an inspector, choose a date for the inspection when you can accompany them.  If they have a problem with you being there, find another inspector. 

  • - Ask the seller if you can go in the house on your own before the official inspection to get an idea of the condition of the property for your own satisfaction.  Popular Mechanics offers a thorough list of things to look for in your new prospective home. 

  • - While you’re in the house, look for cosmetic things like paint and patching that could be covering bigger issues. 

  • - The inspector will have a process of their own, complete with checklist, but make one for yourself so you can have a record of your own for issues they show you as you walk through the house. 

  • - Don’t be afraid to ask questions during the inspection--a reputable inspector welcomes questions, plus, you’re paying them for their knowledge.  Getting answers before you get their final report will help you understand it better. 

  • - If you’re not quite sure of how to change the hot water heater temperature, how to work the circuit breaker box, or where the water shut-off is, the inspector can help you become more familiar and knowledgeable about the house.  Use your smartphone to take photos and video as they give you a how-to lesson, so you’ll have it in case you need it. 

 

Once you get your report, go over it carefully.  If there are major repairs that need to be made, ask the seller to make the repairs or offer you a credit or reduction in selling price.  Being as knowledgeable as you can be during this process can mean more money saved.  Just be sure to hire a good inspector, and stay involved in the process. 

Courtesy of New Castle County DE Realtors Tucker Robbins and Carol Arnott Robbins.   

Photo credit: drakeshomeins.com 

New Castle County DE Real Estate Market Watch For August 2018

by Tucker Robbins

New Castle County DE active listings are down 21% from last year and did not change from the previous month. The median listing price was just under $270,000 and the median sales price was just under $230,000. Compared to last year, the average days on market is down 19%. The number of units sold was consistent year-over-year and decreased 14% month-over-month. 

Courtesy of New Castle County DE Realtors Tucker Robbins and Carol Arnott Robbins.   

Home-Buying After Foreclosure or Bankruptcy

by Tucker Robbins

If foreclosure or bankruptcy has been part of your past, and you’re ready to jump back into buying a new home, welcome to the “boomerang buyer” club!  There are several factors to buying a home after these losses, so before you start house-hunting, make sure you’re not only emotionally ready, but financially ready! 

 

  • - Be absolute certain your credit has been rebuilt by paying all your bills on time and in full. Check your credit score, and keep an eye on it.  Aiming for a minimum score of 580 improves your chances of qualifying for a home loan. 

  • - Get every penny you can into savings! 

  • - Consider taking a course in financial management.  Not only does this help you become more financially stable, it shows a lender that you’re serious about it. 

  • - If your last home went into foreclosure, there are waiting periods for applying for a mortgage: three years for FHA loans, seven years for Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac loans, two years for Veterans Affairs loans, three years for USDA loans, and other lenders have different waiting periods. 

  • - Buying a home after bankruptcy depends on what type of bankruptcy was filed, so there are different factors when it comes to each situation. 

  • - If you have experienced a short sale with your last home, depending on the lender, the waiting period to apply for a mortgage is two-seven years. 

  • - Some lenders may ask you to write a letter explaining the circumstances for the foreclosure or short sale, as well as what you learned during the process.   

  • - Extenuating circumstances that caused a foreclosure or bankruptcy, such as a major illness or job loss can make a difference in how long you must wait to apply for a mortgage, depending on the lender.  Be prepared with any paperwork that shows your loss of income or increase of debt. 

 

Before you begin this second chance on homeownership, talk to a RealtorⓇ who is experienced with assisting those who have experienced financial hardship and lost a home in the past.  They have a wealth of knowledge to help you every step of the way on the path to a fresh start! 

 

Courtesy of New Castle County DE Realtors Tucker Robbins and Carol Arnott Robbins.   

 

Photo credit: homes.com

Ready to Buy a Home?

by Tucker Robbins

Buying a home is likely the largest investment you will ever make.  There is plenty of preparation before you start house-hunting, so make the process as smooth as possible with this guide to buying a home. 

 

  • - We can’t say it enough:  mind your credit!  Unless you have the funds to pay for a house in cash, then you need to keep an eye on your credit. Get a report from all three credit reporting agencies from the Annual Credit Report website. 

  • - Know what you can afford.  Make a budget and stick to it, recording everything on paper or using budgeting software.  Once you see where your money is going, it’s easier to cut some unnecessary things to put towards your down payment. 

  • - That said, start saving now, not only for your down payment, but any other expenses associated with a home purchase:  inspections, closing costs, and taxes are a few to expect. 

  • - Once you are close to having all of your down payment, start shopping for the best mortgages, and get pre-approved.  Being pre-qualified is great, but it’s not much help if you’re not approved for the loan. 

  • - Be ready to compromise on certain home aspects:  square footage, having to make minor repairs, or even living on a busy street.  If the price is right, the house fits your needs and wants, then put the it on your possibilities list. 

  • - Just because you’re approved for a certain home loan amount doesn’t mean you have to max that budget.  You need as much leeway in your finances for emergencies and unexpected costs. 

  • - Prepare yourself for possible let-downs:  some perfect-for-you homes are also perfect for others who are on the search for a new house.  If there are several offers on a house, you may have to walk away from it and keep hunting. 

  • - Don’t go through it alone!  Find a Realtor that you trust and like.  These real estate professionals are your ultimate guide through the home-buying process, and will make it so much easier for you.   

 

The house-buying process for most Americans takes a bit longer than what we see on the home-buying television shows. It takes planning and patience to find what you need and want.  So, do your “home” work, and you’ll soon be on your way to being homeowners! 

Courtesy of New Castle County DE Realtors Tucker Robbins and Carol Arnott Robbins

Photo credit: Realtor.com 

New Castle County DE Real Estate Market Watch For July 2018

by Tucker Robbins

New Castle County DE active listings are down 23% from last year and did not change from the previous month. The median listing price was just over $270,000 and the median sales price was just over $240,000. Compared to last year, the average days on market is down 14%. The number of units sold decreased 2% year-over-year and increased 15% month-over-month. 

Courtesy of New Castle County DE Realtors Tucker Robbins and Carol Arnott Robbins.   

 

New Castle County DE Real Estate Market Watch For June 2018

by Tucker Robbins

New Castle County DE active listings are down 20% from last year and up 8% from the previous month. The median listing price was just over $274,200 and the median sales price was just over $234,900. Compared to last year, the average days on market is down 15%. The number of units sold increased 1% year-over-year and increased 22% month-over-month. 

Courtesy of New Castle County DE Realtors Tucker Robbins and Carol Arnott Robbins.   

From Tenants to Homeowners in New Castle County, DE

by Tucker Robbins

Whatever the reason you’ve decided that it’s time to go from renting a place to live to purchasing a home of your own, there is plenty to consider.  From down payments to paint, many factors of home ownership are different than when you’re a tenant in someone else’s home.   

 

  • - Begin budgeting now, if you do not already.  Homeownership has more expenses involved than renting, and you need to be able to manage your money properly. 

  • - Check your credit score and correct any mistakes, or do what it takes to bring your numbers up. 

  • - Start saving towards your down payment.  

  • - Be realistic.  You know about how much you can afford, so don’t start your initial search in the luxury homes sections. 

  • - Once your financial things are in good working order, shop around for a loan, and talk with the lender about your pre-approval amount.  Knowing how much you can afford will help keep you in check when it comes to the house searching. 

  • - Don’t balk at browsing other homes besides houses--there are affordable townhomes and condominiums that could be perfect for you as your first home purchase. 

  • - Think about your community options--do you want to live in a managed community (HOA), a rural area, new construction in a planned community, or an older suburban neighborhood?  Each can affect how much you pay in HOA fees, taxes, or maintenance costs. 

  • - If you have renter’s insurance, and you should, you’ll note that a homeowner’s policy costs more, because it covers much more than just your belongings.  Speak with your insurance agent about a quote so you can budget accordingly. 

  • - On the chance that you decide to relocate, you can choose to rent your property and become a landlord yourself.  You will have money from the rent to pay towards your mortgage payment, or, if the house is paid for, begin building a nest egg. 

  • - Purchasing a newer house than what you’re renting can save money in the end, because of less up-front maintenance, as well as being more energy efficient, thus having lower utility bills. 

 

Think about the freedom to paint your living room teal blue if you like, and feeling like dancing and not having to tiptoe because there are no neighbor’s downstairs.  As soon as you are ready, contacting a Realtor to help you get started is the first step you’ll need to take, as they are your guide during the whole home-buying process.   

 

Courtesy of New Castle County DE Realtors Tucker Robbins and Carol Arnott Robbins.   

Photo credit: financetypes.net

New Castle County DE Real Estate Market Watch For May 2018

by Tucker Robbins

New Castle County DE active listings are down 22% from last year and up 4% from the previous month. The median listing price was just over $270,000 and the median sales price was just over $210,000. Compared to last year, the average days on market is down 21%. The number of units sold decreased 17% year-over-year and decreased 4% month-over-month. 

Courtesy of New Castle County DE Realtors Tucker Robbins and Carol Arnott Robbins.   

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 42

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Contact Information

Photo of Tucker Robbins Real Estate
Tucker Robbins
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices
3838 Kennett Pike
Wilmington DE 19807
(302) 777-7744 (direct)