Archives for May 2011

Protect Your Home While You Travel

Protect Your Home While You Travel

Planning your next getaway? Unfortunately, an empty house can be a tempting target for would-be burglars. Follow a few simple precautionary measures to secure your home, whether you are leaving for weeks or just a weekend.

Make your home look lived in – Install automatic timer switches on lights, radios, and the TV. They are inexpensive and many include variable timing schedules to create the appearance of activity in the house. Take extra steps to make your home seem occupied by turning off the ringer for your phone and parking a car in the driveway.

Alert the neighbors – Ask your neighbors to keep an eye on the house and leave them an emergency phone number. You might also consider hiring them to mow the lawn, water the plants, and put the trash cans out.

Stop all deliveries – Make sure things don’t pile up on the porch while you’re gone. Newspapers, mail, packages, and door flyers are all tell-tale signs that you’re away.

Secure your doors and windows – Use high-quality deadbolt locks on your doors, additional blocking devices on sliding glass doors, and sash locks on your windows. These can be easily retrofitted.

Install an alarm system – Deter would-be intruders with an alarm system and stickers on the exterior of your home. Many systems offer monthly monitoring for added protection. However, make sure everyone in the home knows how to properly use the system to avoid false alarms.

Remove valuables and keys – Leave your house key with a trusted friend (not hidden outside your home), and take valuables to a bank safe deposit box.

Spending a little time to protect your home before you go on vacation is well worth the effort. You’ll reduce your chances of being targeted and ensure a happy homecoming

Enjoy your trip!

Should I Accept This Offer?

Today’s market can be a difficult one for many sellers to navigate.  While your real estate professional can advise you, the ultimate decision of what offer to accept is entirely up to you.  This decision can come with quite a bit of pressure.  Even in the most favorable of markets this can be a difficult time.  How do you know when to accept an offer?  Here are some questions to consider:

1.  Is the buyer pre-approved?  Selling will involve an investment of time and money.  You may need to find a new home or a temporary rental.  There is nothing worse than buying a new house, only to find out the deal to sell yours has fallen through because the buyer is not qualified to buy.  If a buyer is paying all cash be sure to get verification of funds to close the escrow.  Always make sure the earnest money is deposited into escrow as written in the sales contract and this should be 2-3% of the sales price.

2.  Do you need to move?  The urgency of your move may dictate what offer you accept.  Many sellers need to move quickly for a new job or they may need to sell to avoid foreclosure.  If you are in a rush you may need to accept an offer that is less than ideal.

3.How much do you owe?  You do not want to sell your home at a loss.  Be sure to take closing costs into consideration.  For sellers a quick estimate of closing costs is 1% plus the commission percentage.  I try to provide a more specific amount when an offer comes in so the seller will know what he will probably net from selling for the offered price.  Many markets experienced high levels of depreciation over the last couple of years.  If you are “underwater” on your loan (you owe more than the present value of your home) now may not be the time to sell.

4.  What is the market climate?  Are you likely to get another offer?  How long has your home been on the market?  Have you had many showings?  All of these are factors to consider when contmeplating what offer to accept.

Above all, ask yourself if this offer was a reasonable offer.  There are buyers who may attempt to “low-ball” you.  They may see that your home has been on the market longer than your competition.  They may know that it is a strong buyers’ market.  In response they offer a much smaller amount for your home than it is worth.  You are not obligated to accept or even respond to these low-ball offers.  If you are in need of selling now, every offer warrants your consideration and potential counter offer achat cialis paris.

In the end you must accept an offer that works for you.  You may be willing to accept a lower price for a faster closing date or some other concession or you may want to hold out for the highest dollar amount.  Remember, real estate agents can market your home but only you can sell it.

What is Adverse Possession? What is Prescriptive Easement?

There are some interesting real estate terms that I would like to clarify for my readers; two of these are adverse possession and prescriptive easement.   Adverse possession occurs when someone occupies an entire property without the owner’s permission.   The law says one’s occupancy must be “open, notorious (obvious), hostile, exclusive and continuous.”

In addition, the occupant must pay the property taxes.  The number of years of hostile occupancy required varies by state up to 30 years.  The shortest time is five years in California.

A prescriptive easement can arise when you occupy just part of a property, such as a driveway.  The “open, notorious, hostile and continuous” requirements apply; however, the hostile use need not be exclusive and one does not have to pay the taxes on the property.  Again, the number of hostile-occupancy years varies by state.

To perfect a claim for adverse possession or a prescriptive easement, the claimant must bring a quiet title lawsuit in the local court.  The most common defense to such a lawsuit is that the legal owner may say he gave the claimant permission to use the property and if the judge believes him, that defense will defeat the claim.