Cheryl Fleming, GRI, ABR's Blog
The real estate world can be difficult to navigate unless you know the language. There is so much jargon and specific terminology that somebody without years of experience can get overwhelmed. If you’re buying or selling a house for the first time, you’ll be learning a lot of these terms as part of the process. Here are three of the most important terms to understand:
Escrow is a word you will see used to describe part of the home sale process. Escrow means that a neutral third party is temporarily holding onto money involved in the transaction. A home is “in escrow” for however long the entire transaction takes to complete. An individual escrow agent or escrow company can facilitate the process. Either way, the purpose of escrow is to protect both sides of the transaction. Escrow guarantees that the buyer actually has the money to go through with the purchase. It also protects the buyer from losing money in a fraudulent sale.
Sometimes you might see the word escrow used to describe the entire home buying process. While that’s mostly accurate, the transaction is not technically “in escrow” until the neutral third party holds the funds.
FSBO (For Sale By Owner)
FSBO is an acronym used to describe a type of property listing. When a home is “for sale by owner,” or FSBO, it means the seller did not hire a real estate agent or broker to manage the sale. There are many benefits and disadvantages to FSBO depending on the situation, but no matter what, the seller holds responsibility for everything on their side—literally and legally. The seller sets the price and handles all the paperwork, so as a buyer you (and your agent) will work with them directly rather than another agent.
Closing, sometimes also referred to as settlement, is a term that covers a lot of important details. Primarily it refers to the very end of the home sale transaction when the title officially transfers to the new owner. Closing involves reviewing all the legal paperwork and signing off on the last stage of obtaining a mortgage loan. An attorney or mortgage representative typically oversees the process and makes sure all the required documents are completed. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau provides a paperwork checklist to help you make sure you complete every step. The entire process from loan application to title transfer takes 30 to 45 days, but the final checking and signing of the paperwork only takes a few hours. This is called “closing day.”
Buying a home is a complicated process on both sides of the equation. Regardless of the number of agents involved, it’s important for the buyers and sellers to understand the terminology so they can make informed and confident decisions. For many, buying a home is the biggest financial transaction of their life—and not just because of the money. The details and long list of steps in the process might make it seem like an ordeal, but once you understand the language, you’ll find it a lot easier to enjoy the experience.
38 Edward Drive, Grafton, MA 01536
It's probably much easier and less expensive than you realize to improve your home's curb appeal. Simple fixes such as replacing rickety porch railings or giving trim a fresh, bright coat of paint go a long way toward making prospective home buyers smile. And when you create a welcoming pathway, that leads right to your door from the street or driveway, you may get more than smiles. Depending upon how professionally it's done and how cozy it appears, you just might get more money for your home. Try these five attractive options for creating the perfect, welcoming walkway:
They come in all shapes and sizes, and they're relatively inexpensive when you catch them on sale at your local home store. Pavers can help you design a walkway that looks upscale and unique to your home. Place them on the diagonal, or lay them with small stretches of grass or gravel in between for a one-of-a-kind look that's unlike any other home in the neighborhood. A paved walkway gives guests traction on rainy days and can help keep the path to your front door mud-free.
Stamped concrete lasts forever, and you can customize it to create many different looks. Mimic cobblestone or slate, brick or natural stone, simply by stamping different designs into your concrete before it's fully set. Once cured, your design is there forever. And if your stamped concrete was dyed before it was poured, no one will even recognize that it's concrete.
Stamped concrete brings texture and form to your front yard. It also provides nice, clean edges for placing annual border plants such as petunias or marigolds. Add color and function all in one, when you install a stamped concrete walkway.
A mulched pathway is an improvement over no pathway at all, but it may not raise your property's value. Mulch keeps mud at bay, and it delineates where guests should walk as they move from driveway to front door. It's an economic choice, however. And if budget is an issue, mulch is a perfectly acceptable material to use in building walkways. You can always up the wow factor of your mulched walkway by evenly nestling single, large pavers on top for feet to land on.
Natural stone such as shale or slate gives walkways an immediate boost. It can be a bit slippery when it rains, however, so be careful building natural stone walkways on slopes. Natural stone is one of the more expensive building materials to use inside or out, but its distinct appearance adds value anywhere it's used.
When you're ready to bump up your home's curb appeal, whether for your family's convenience or to impress prospective buyers, consider the formidable power of the front walkway. It's a gorgeous few steps in the right direction.
The homebuying journey may seem daunting at first. Lucky for you, we're here to help take the guesswork out of finding and acquiring your dream house.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you approach the homebuying journey with poise and confidence.
1. Be Diligent
A diligent homebuyer may be better equipped than others to enjoy a seamless and successful property buying experience. In fact, this buyer likely will do whatever it takes to find the right house at the right price, regardless of the current real estate market's conditions.
To become a diligent homebuyer, it generally is a good idea to learn about the housing market in your preferred cities and towns. With this information, you can determine whether you're pursuing a home in a buyer's or seller's market and plan accordingly.
Furthermore, it may be beneficial to get pre-approved for a mortgage. If you enter the housing market with a mortgage, you'll know exactly how much you can spend to acquire your dream house.
2. Know Where You Want to Go
Establish homebuying criteria – you'll be glad you did. If you know what differentiates your dream house from others, you can quickly and effortlessly search for residences that match your expectations.
Also, you may want to hone your home search to specific cities and towns. For example, if you want to find a house close to your office in the city, you may want to explore residences in or near the city itself. On the other hand, if your goal is to buy a house near the top schools in a particular state, you should narrow your house search based on school rankings and other pertinent data.
3. Work with a Real Estate Agent
Buying a house is no small feat, and ultimately, there is no reason to try to navigate the homebuying journey alone. Thankfully, you can hire a real estate agent who can provide expert support throughout the homebuying journey.
A real estate agent is a must-hire, and for good reason. He or she will guide you along the entire homebuying journey and respond to any of your homebuying concerns and questions. In addition, a real estate agent offers recommendations and suggestions to help you make informed decisions as you pursue your dream residence.
Usually, a real estate agent will learn about your homebuying goals and craft a personalized homebuying strategy for you. He or she next will keep you informed about available residences that meet your criteria and set up home showings. Once you find your dream residence, a real estate agent will help you put together a competitive offer to acquire this house. And if your offer receives a "Yes" from a home seller, a real estate agent will help you finalize your house purchase.
Ready to streamline the homebuying journey? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can kick off a house search and discover your ideal residence in no time at all.
For home sellers who want to do whatever it takes to enhance a house's interior, depersonalization is key.
By depersonalizing a house's interior, a home seller can make it easy for a homebuyer to envision what life might be like if he or she purchases a residence. That way, a home seller can increase the likelihood of a fast, seamless and profitable home selling experience.
Effectively depersonalizing a home's interior can be simple – here are three areas that a home seller needs to consider to depersonalize a house's interior:
Although photographs of loved ones, celebrations and family vacations may hang throughout your residence, now is the right time to take them down if you're selling your house.
Removing photographs from all walls and shelves is necessary to effectively depersonalize a house. In addition, don't forget to hide any photographs located in a home office.
Antiques are beautiful treasures that deserve to be displayed. However, if you're selling your house, it may be worthwhile to temporarily store these items outside your residence.
When it comes to antiques, it is always better to err on the side of caution. If you have priceless treasures that need to be removed from your house, you should allocate the necessary time and resources to store them properly. This will enable you to minimize the risk of damage to your antiques while you sell your home.
In some instances, renting a storage unit for your antiques may prove to be a great idea. Or, if you have a family member or friend who has extra storage space available, he or she may be able to hold your antiques until your residence sells.
Awe-inspiring artwork can help you show off your unique personality. But if you have bold paintings, sculptures or other artwork in your home, you may want to remove these items while your house is listed on the real estate market.
Artwork sometimes can be distracting, and as a result, may make it tough for homebuyers to imagine what life could be like if they purchase your house. Also, if artwork takes up lots of space, it might be difficult for homebuyers to see the full potential of your living space.
If you need help with depersonalizing your house's interior, you should reach out to a real estate agent for support.
A real estate agent understands how to showcase a residence to homebuyers. As such, he or she will offer honest, unbiased recommendations to help you depersonalize your residence's interior and ensure your home will capture homebuyers' attention.
Furthermore, a real estate agent can serve as your guide along the home selling journey. He or she will set up home showings and open houses, negotiate with homebuyers on your behalf and respond to your home selling concerns and questions at any time.
Ready to depersonalize your house's interior? Consider the aforementioned areas, and you can give your home's interior a fresh look and feel before you list your residence.