Do you have questions about Outer Banks real estate or the general process of buying or selling a home in the Outer Banks area?
Rubert wants to help answer any questions that you may have about buying your Outer Banks property. If you cannot find the answer to your questions below please feel free to submit your own or contact Rubert directly.
Some lenders are willing to negotiate on both the loan rate and the number of points but this isn´t typical among established lenders who set their rates like large corporations set the prices on their goods. Nevertheless, it pays to shop around for loan rates and know the market before you go in to talk to a lender. You should always look at the combination of interest rate and points and get the best deal possible.
The interest rate is much more open to negotiation on purchases that involve seller financing. These usually are based on market rates but some flexibility exists when negotiating such a deal.
When shopping for rates, look for published rates in local newspapers or check the growing number of Internet sites that publish such information.
Property taxes on all real estate, including those levied by state and local governments and school districts, are fully deductible against current income taxes.
As of Jan. 1, 1991, homeowners have been able to deduct points paid by the seller. This deduction previously was reserved only for points actually paid by the buyer.
What you spend on permanent home improvements, such as new windows, can be added into your home´s cost basis, or amount of money invested in a home, which reduces capital gains when it comes time to sell. Capital gains are determined by the difference in price from the time a home is purchased and the time it is sold, minus the cost of any permanent improvements.
However, the 1997 tax changes virtually eliminate the capital gains tax for most homeowners (the exemption is $250,000 for single homeowners and $500,000 for married homeowners).
Still, it is worthwhile to save all receipts for permanent home improvements just in case. They also can be useful documentation when it comes to marketing your home when you sell.
It can be difficult to negotiate the sales price with a developer because they may claim their prices are based on fixed construction costs. But it doesn't hurt to try.
If negotiating the price doesn't work, buyers commonly negotiate for better amenities (upgrade carpet, light fixtures, etc.) or lot location. Experts say a developer will rarely pass up a deal over a couple hundred dollars' worth of carpeting, for example
If you are taking out a FHA or VA loan, the lender can require an impound account to pay real estate taxes and hazard insurance premiums, as with a standard loan. Most conventional loans do not require an impound account.
Real estate agents are almost always paid by the seller of a property, not a buyer. Once a home closes, the realtor will receive a commission from the sale. Someone interested in purchasing a home in the Outer Banks Real Estate market or Corolla Real Estate market should be wary of any agent that requires payment upfront.
Yes. Buying a home "as is" is a risky proposition. Major repairs on homes can amount to thousands of dollars. Plumbing, electrical and roof problems represent significant and complex systems that are expensive to fix.
In some states, you do need an attorney to complete a real estate transaction, but in others you do not. Most home buyers are capable of handling routine real estate purchase contracts as long as they make certain they read the fine print and understand all the terms of the contract. In particular, you should be clear on the terms of any contingency clauses that will allow them to back out of the contract.
If you have any questions at all, it may be advisable to consult an attorney to avoid future legal hassles. In looking for an attorney, ask friends for recommendations or ask your real estate agent to recommend several. Call to inquire about fees and to check on their experience. In general, more experienced attorneys will cost more, but real estate fees as a rule are small relative to the cost of the property you are buying.
Sellers are not legally obligated to disclose the terms of other offers to prospective buyers.
Studies show that the closing costs, which can average 2 to 3 percent of a total home purchase price, are often more costly than many buyers expect. But there are some ways to save:
* Negotiate with the seller to pay all or part of the closing costs. The lender must agree to this as well as the seller.
* Get a no-point loan. The trade-off is a higher interest rate on the loan and many of these loans have prepayment penalties. But buyers who are short on cash and can qualify for a higher interest rate may find a no-point loan will significantly cut their closing costs.
* Get a no-fee loan. Usually, though, these fees are wrapped into a higher interest rate though it will save you on the amount of cash you need upfront.
* Get seller financing. This kind of arrangement usually does not entail traditional loan fees or charges.
* Rent the property in which you are interested with an option to buy. That will give you more time to save for the upfront cash needed for the actual purchase.
* Shop around for the best loan deal. Each direct lender and each mortgage brokerage has their own fee structure. Call around before submitting your final loan application.
In most cases, PMI can be dropped after the loan to value ration drops below 80 percent. The Homeowners Protection Act requires PMI to be dropped when the loan-to-value ratio reaches 78 percent of the home's original value AND the loan closed after July 29, 1999. For other loans, find out from your lender what procedure to follow to have PMI removed when your equity reaches 20 percent.
For homeowners who have improved their properties and believe that their equity has increased as a result of these improvements, refinancing the property at a loan-to-value ratio of 80 percent or less is another possible way of eliminating PMI payments.
In some states, the loans have to be at least two years old, and the borrower can not have made any late payments in the last year in order to drop private mortgage insurance. In addition, the loan-to-value ratio must be less than 75 percent. Some state disclosure laws require lenders to notify borrowers after the close of escrow whether the borrower has the right to cancel private mortgage insurance.
Getting a recommendation from a friend or work colleague is an excellent way to find a good agent in the Outer Banks or Corolla area. Be sure to ask if they would use the agent again. You also can call the managers of reputable real estate firms and ask them for recommendations of agents who have worked in your neighborhood.
If you selling a home in the Outer Banks or Corolla area, you should interview at least three agents, all of whom should make a sales presentation including a comparative market analysis of local home prices in your area. The best choice isn´t always the agent with the highest asking price for your home. Be sure to evaluate all aspects of the agent´s marketing plan and how well you think you can work with the individual.
One can usually find an inspector by looking in the phone book or by inquiring at a real estate office or sometimes at an area Realtor association. Rates for the service vary greatly. Many inspectors charge about $400, but costs go up with the scope of the inspection.
The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) has developed formal inspection guidelines and a professional code of ethics for its members. Membership to ASHI is not automatic; proven field experience and technical knowledge of structures and their various systems and appliances are a prerequisite.
Property taxes are what most homeowners in the United States pay for the privilege of owning a piece of real estate, on average 1.5 percent of the property's current market value. These annual local assessments by county or local authorities help pay for public services and are calculated using a variety of formulas.
There is risk involved in selecting an adjustable rate mortgage, or ARMs, because rates may go up. On the other hand, a fixed-rate loan offers good protection against rising interest rates, but the borrower is stuck with the initial rate if interest rates drop.
Whether to opt for a fixed or adjustable rate mortgage is a matter of personal choice. The first route offers stable payments; the second offers lower initial payments.
Another consideration is the length of time a buyer plans to own the home. If you´re planning on moving within three or four years, an ARM makes sense even if rates do nothing but rise during that period of time.
A property´s value is determined in several ways:
An appraisal is a professional estimate of a property's market value, based on recent sales of comparable properties, location, square footage and construction quality. This service varies in cost depending on the price of the home. On average, an appraisal costs about $300 for a $250,000 house.
A comparative market analysis is an informal estimate of market value performed by a real estate agent based on similar sales and property attributes. Most agents offer free analyses in the hopes of winning your business.
You also can get a comparable sales report for a fee from private companies that specialize in real estate data or find comparable sales information available on various real estate Internet sites.
It´s very important to price your home according to current market conditions. Because the real estate market is continually changing, and market fluctuations have an effect on property values, it´s imperative to select your list price based on the most recent comparable sales in your neighborhood.
If all agents agree on a price range for your home, go with the consensus. Watch out for an agent whose opinion of value is considerably higher than the others.
In general, lenders don't want borrowers to spend more than 28 percent of their gross income per month on a mortgage payment or more than 36 percent on debts. It pays to check with several lenders before you start searching for a home. Most will be happy to roughly calculate what you can afford and pre-qualify you for a loan.
The price you can afford to pay for a home will depend on six factors:
1. Gross income
2. The amount of cash you have available for the down payment, closing costs and cash reserves required by the lender
3. Your outstanding debts
4. Your credit history
5. The type of mortgage you select
6. Current interest rates
If you are interested in purchasing a home in the Outer Banks or Corolla area communities, your first step should be to find a reputable real estate agent to help guide you through the process.
Most homes are also listed online and can be pre-screened at your convenience. Find the latest homes for sale in Outer Banks, Corolla and surrounding communities by visiting our latest listings.
While your low offer in a normal market might be rejected immediately, in a buyer´s market a motivated seller will either accept or make a counteroffer.
* Is the offer contingent upon anything, such as the sale of the buyer's current house? If so, a low offer, even at full price, may not be as attractive as an offer without that condition.
* Is the offer made on the house as is, or does the buyer want the seller to make some repairs or lower the price instead?
* Is the offer all cash, meaning the buyer has waived the financing contingency? If so, then an offer at less than the asking price may be more attractive to the seller than a full-price offer with a financing contingency.
An "inspection contingency" protects you as a buyer in a purchase offer by allowing you to cancel closing on the deal if an inspector finds problems with the property. As soon as the seller accepts a written offer, the document becomes a legally binding contract. The purchase contract can be written to include a contingency for any repairs found to be needed or related items the seller must take care of before closing. If these are not dealt with, and you have such a clause in your contract, you can delay or possibly cancel the closing. If it´s not stated in the contract, you could face losing your deposit. There also may be costly legal implications stemming from backing out of a contract.
You usually will have the right to choose the inspector (and be responsible for paying for the inspections). In addition to an overall inspection for structural soundness, you can request a satisfactory pest control inspection report, roof inspection report or contingency for no potential environmental hazards such as asbestos or radon gas.
Closing costs are the fees for services, taxes or special interest charges that surround the purchase of a home. They include upfront loan points, title insurance, escrow or closing day charges, document fees, prepaid interest and property taxes. Unless, these charges are rolled into the loan, they must be paid when the home is closed.
Most offers include two standard contingencies: a financing contingency, which makes the sale dependent on the buyer´s ability to obtain a loan commitment from a lender, and an inspection contingency, which allows buyers to have professionals inspect the property to their satisfaction.
The purchase contract must include the seller´s responsibilities, such things as passing clear title, maintaining the property in its present condition until closing and making any agreed-upon repairs to the property.
PMI costs vary from one mortgage insurance firm to another, but premiums usually run about 0.50 percent of the loan amount for the first year of the loan. Most PMI premiums are a bit lower for subsequent years. The first year's mortgage insurance premium is usually paid in advance at the closing.
Any points you or the seller pay to purchase your home loan are deductible for that year. Property taxes and interest are deductible every year.
An appraisal is a professional estimate of a property´s market value, based on recent sales of comparable properties, location, square footage and construction quality. This service varies in cost depending on the price of the home. On average, an appraisal costs about $300 for a $250,000 house.
An appraisal is necessary for any buyer who plans on financing their home purchase. A lender will need to ensure that the value of the house is not below the amount they are loaning the buyer.
An impound account is a trust account established by the lender to hold money to pay for real estate taxes, and mortgage and homeowners insurance premiums as they are received each month.
Escrow is a term used to describe an impartial third party that oversees the distribution funds and completes the transfer of ownership. On many occasions, the closing attorney acts as this independent third party and dispenses payments once all documents are finalized.
Guaranteed replacement insurance is a more comprehensive policy. It tends to cost more, but it promises to cover the complete costs, less deductible, of replacing a destroyed house. With these sorts of policies, limits on the policies are not as common, because complete coverage is more explicit.
Private mortgage insurance, or PMI, insures the lender against a default. It is required when the borrower is making a cash down payment of less than 20 percent of the purchase price.
PMI costs vary from one mortgage insurance firm to another, but premiums usually run about 0.50 percent of the loan amount for the first year of the loan. Most PMI premiums are a bit lower for subsequent years. The first year's mortgage insurance premium is usually paid in advance at the close of escrow, and there is usually a separate PMI approval process.
Seller financing is when a seller helps to finance a real estate transaction by taking back a second note or even financing the entire purchase if the seller owns the home free and clear. Usually sellers do this when a buyer has difficulty qualifying for a conventional loan or meeting the purchase price.
Seller financing differs from a traditional loan because the seller does not give the buyer cash to complete the purchase, as does a lender. Instead, it involves extending a credit against the purchase price of the home while the buyer executes a promissory note and trust deed in the seller´s favor. These special circumstances must be acceptable to the lender who makes the first mortgage on the property.
The necessary paperwork is prepared by the title or escrow company after the terms are worked out between the buyer and seller.
If you are a seller considering such an arrangement, it is critical to thoroughly evaluate the creditworthiness of the buyer first. Fear of default makes many sellers reluctant to take back a second. But seller financing can bring a higher price plus complete the sale sooner in some situations. For more information, contact the Internal Revenue Service for a copy of its Publication 537, "Installment Sales." Order by calling (800) TAX-FORM.
Because many buyers prefer to move in the spring or summer, the market starts to heat up as early as February. Families with children are eager to buy so they can move during summer vacation, before the new school year begins.
The market slows down in late summer before picking up again briefly in the fall. November and December have traditionally been slow months, although some astute buyers look for bargains during this period.
The list price is a seller's advertised price, a figure that usually is only a rough estimate of what the seller wants to get. Sellers can price high, low or close to what they hope to get. To judge whether the list price is a fair one, be sure to consult comparable sales prices in the area.
The sales price is the amount of money you as a buyer would pay for a property.
The appraisal value is a certified appraiser's estimate of the worth of a property, and is based on comparable sales, the condition of the property and numerous other factors.
Finding out what you can afford is one of the fist steps, which can be done by pre-qualifying for a home loan. This step will help you narrow your search for both a neighborhood and particular houses. A pre-qualification is a simple calculation that considers several factors, but primarily your income. There are no guarantees with a prequalification, but it will be expected of you when you make an offer on a home.
A standard homeowners policy protects against fire, lightning, wind, storms, hail, explosions, riots, aircraft wrecks, vehicle crashes, smoke, vandalism, theft, breaking glass, falling objects, weight of snow or sleet, collapsing buildings, freezing of plumbing fixtures, electrical damage and water damage from plumbing, heating or air conditioning systems, according to the Insurance Information Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit group for the insurance industry. Such policies are "all-risk" policies, which cover everything except earthquakes, floods, war and nuclear accidents.
A basic policy can be expanded to include additional coverage, such as for floods and earthquakes and even workers' compensation for servants or contractors. Home-based business-coverage, an increasingly popular rider, does not cover liability associated with the business.
Insurance experts recommend that homeowners obtain insurance equal to the full replacement value of the home. On a 2,000-square-foot home, for example, if the replacement cost is $80 per square foot, the house should be insured for at least $160,000.
If you want to get top dollar for your property, you probably need to make all minor repairs and selected major repairs before going on the market. Nearly all purchase contracts include an inspection clause, a buyer contingency that allows a buyer to back out if numerous defects are found or negotiate their repair.
The trick is not to overspend on pre-sale repairs, especially if there are few houses on the market but many buyers willing to buy at almost any price. On the other hand, making such repairs may be the only way to sell your house in a down market.
Appraisers use several factors when estimating a home's value, including the home's size and square footage, the condition of the home and neighborhood, comparable local sales, any pertinent historical information, sales performance and indices that forecast future value. For detailed information on appraisal standards, contact the Appraisal Institute at 875 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 2400, Chicago, IL 60611-1980; (312) 335-4458.
Homeowners benefit from several generous tax advantages. The most important benefit is the mortgage interest deduction. People may deduct interest paid on mortgage loans totaling up to $1 million used to buy, build or improve a principal residence plus a second home. The IRS calls such loans acquisition debt.Points paid by the buyer or seller on a new mortgage loan for the purchase or improvement of a principal residence are deductible for the year in which the home was purchased.
Any points paid on a refinance mortgage, a loan to purchase a second home or a mortgage on income property must be spread over the life of the loan, according to Edith Lank and Miriam S. Geisman, authors of "Your Home as a Tax Shelter," Dearborn Financial Publishing, Chicago; 1993.
Note that when obtaining a new mortgage, the borrower usually is asked to pay interest from the closing date until the first of the next month. Check whether that charge is included in the year-end report.
Some moving expenses are deductible for people who changed jobs and relocated as a result. The IRS requires that the new employment be located at least 50 miles away, among other considerations, said Analisa Collins-Sears, a public affairs officer with the IRS' Bay Area office.
Resources: * "Tax Information for First-Time Homeowners," a free guide published by the Internal Revenue Service. Order by calling 1-800-TAX-FORM.
A home inspection provides for a paid professional inspector, often a contractor or an engineer, to inspect the home, searching for defects or other problems that might plague the owner later on. They usually represent the buyer and or paid by the buyer. The inspection usually takes place after a purchase contract between buyer and seller has been signed.
It depends. Fixtures, any kind of personal property that is permanently attached to a house (such as drapery rods, built-in bookcases, tacked-down carpeting or a furnace) automatically stay with the house unless specified otherwise in the sales contract. But anything that is not nailed down negotiable. This most often involves appliances that are not built in (washer, dryer, refrigerator, for example), although some sellers will be interested in negotiating for other items, such as a piano.
Closing costs are either paid by the home seller or home buyer. It often depends on local custom and what the buyer or seller negotiates
As much as you as a buyer may want to believe that the home you have found is perfect, a clear title report ensures there are no liens placed against the prior owners or any documents that will restrict your use of the property.
A preliminary title report provides you with an opportunity to review any impediment that would prevent clear title from passing to you.
When reading a preliminary report, it is important to check the extent of your ownership rights or interest. The most common form of interest is "fee simple" or "fee," which is the highest type of interest an owner can have in land.
Liens, restrictions and interests of others excluded from title coverage will be listed numerically as exceptions in the report.
You also may have to consider interests of any third parties, such as easements granted by prior owners that limit use of the property. Some buyers attempt to clear these unwanted items prior to purchase.
A list of standard exceptions and exclusions not covered by the title insurance policy may be attached. This section includes items the buyer may want to investigate further, such as any laws governing building and zoning.
Whether buying or selling a home in the Outer Banks Real Estate market or in surrounding communities, a real estate agent brings wealth of knowledge to the entire process. An agent will help you prepare your property for sale as well as market your home so that it sells more quickly.
If you are purchasing a home, a real estate agent can help you narrow your search area, point out questionable property features and ultimately negotiate a great deal on your behalf.