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Checking the weather

by Allyson Hoffman

Looking outside today ... gray skies, intermittent snowflakes and semi-sleet accumulated into a pretty white wintery picture.   For those selling their homes or those looking at them, this is not a wonderful environment.  There's nothing like driving up to a property, excited customer in tow, to find that the lovely white stuff has amassed into at least an ankle-deep pristine pathless carpet with no way to the door but right straight through it.  Only the most adventurous and determined of agents and clients will brave the task and abandon their comfort and safety.   So to increase your odds of not inadvertently turning interested people away at the curb, make sure to clear those driveways and paths directly to your engaging front door.  That welcome is a subliminal good will message that will pay off in a good first impression ... that one time opportunity to make a positive impact from the start.  If you want to check that weather report, just in case, you can check your area at www.weather.com!

Image courtesy of Ben+Sam/Flickr.com

The Escrow Process

by Allyson Hoffman

When purchasing a home, part of the process to complete the sale is when the potential homeowner will enter into escrow. Many first time homebuyers have many questions about the escrow process. Below are some clarification and information on this important process. 

What is an escrow?
An escrow is an arrangement in which a disinterested third party, called a escrow holder, holds legal documents and funds on behalf of a buyer and seller, and distributes them according to the buyer’s and seller’s instructions. The escrow becomes the depository for all monies, instructions and documents pertaining to the purchase of your home.

How does the escrow process work?

The escrow is a depository for all monies, instructions and documents necessary for the purchase of the home, including  funds for the down payment, lender’s funds and documents for the new loan. The duties of an escrow holder include: following the instructions given by the principals and parties to the transaction in a timely manner; handling the funds and/or documents in accordance with instructions; paying all bills as authorized;  closing the escrow only when all terms and conditions have been met; and, distributing the funds in accordance with instructions.

Do I need documentation?
Receipt of your deposit is generally included in your copy of your purchase contract. Your funds will then be deposited in your separate escrow or trust account and processed through your local bank.

What information will I have to provide?
Typically you will be asked to complete a statement of identity as part of the necessary paperwork. Because many people have the same name, the statement of identity is to identify the specific person in the transaction through such information as date of birth, social security number, etc. This information is kept confidential.

How long is the escrow?
The length of an escrow is determined by the terms of the purchase agreement and can range from a few days to several months. Typically an escrow often takes an average time of 30 to 45 days.

When does the escrow process end?

The escrow process ends when you actually close on the home, during the closing procedure. This is when all funds are transferred accordingly, when all documents are signed, and when you get the keys to your new home.

Image courtesy of www.gotcredit.com/Flickr.com

 

Expenses To Expect When Selling Your Home

by Allyson Hoffman

It is a known fact that when you purchase a homeyou will have many different expenses related to the sale. It is important to know as well that when you sell your home, you will also have expenses that will be required. Below is a list of some of the most common costs that come with selling your home.

Closing Costs: Although most of the closing costs are the responsibility of the buyer, the seller is expected to pay the property taxes and insurance up to the date of the closing, even if they're not due yet. in addition, some buyers will ask the seller for help with other closing costs as part of the negotiations.

Realtor Commission: Typically there's a 4 percent to 7 percent commission on the sale price of the house if you opt to go with an agent. Usually this rate is between 5 percent and 6 percent, so be sure to account for this cost when pricing your home and figuring up your expenses that come with selling your home.

Home Inspections: Although the buyer pays for the home and pest inspections, it's a good idea to get your own inspection before putting your house on the market. This way you're aware of any hidden problems before selling.

Legal expenses: Even if you are using a real estate professional and not selling your home yourself, you still may want an attorney to examine the sales contract and assist with closing, which can be complicated.

Prepayment penalty: Many mortgages have prepayment penalties if you pay off the mortgage early. Be sure to examine your mortgage agreement and read the fine print.


Many homeowners are not aware of the costs involved with selling a home but there are some perks as well. With any home sale you are eligible for a tax write off of up to $250,000 gained in the sale of your home for a single owner, and $500,000 for married couples. This applies for most state taxes as well; check with a tax professional to get all the details of any tax credit that may be available to you and your situation. 

Photo courtesy Sufi Nawaz, Stock.XCHNG.

New Rules To Protect Buyers

by Allyson Hoffman

Many new home buyers are surprised to find that when they go to closing to finalize the sale, that the costs to close were more than they expected. Unfortunately, the Good Faith Estimate that tells the buyer an estimate of the fees associated with a mortgage loan due at closing, is exactly that – an estimate. Many times these costs increase by the time the buyer gets to the closing table without warning.

There is good news for homebuyers, as of January 1, new federal rules adopted by the Department of Housing and Urban Development took effect. The new rules will implement a redesigned, simplified Good Faith Estimate form to help buyers avoid those closing-table surprises.

Until now the way lenders would provide the borrowers with the estimated fees was complicated and confusing. Under the new rules lenders will all be required to use the same form for their Good Faith Estimates – a three-page document issued by HUD.

There are also new rules that will put a cap on the increases in costs that are indicated on the Good Faith Estimate and guidelines so that fees listed on the initial estimate reflect the actual cost at settlement.

Photo courtesy of Pictures of Money/Flickr.com

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Photo of Allyson Hoffman & Paul Wells Real Estate
Allyson Hoffman & Paul Wells
RE/MAX of Barrington
306 W. Northwest Highway
Barrington IL 60010
Allyson: 847-310-5300
Paul: 847-913-6100

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RE/MAX of Barrington
306 W. Northwest Hwy.
Barrington, IL 60010

Allyson Hoffman
(847) 310-5300
[email protected]

Paul Wells
(847) 913-6100
[email protected]