Wednesday, August 3, 2016

To "DUAL or not to DUAL"

Virginia law allows for disclosed dual agency (representation) in a real estate transaction. That means the same real state agent may represent BOTH the buyer and seller in the SAME transaction.
My only question is:  would you hire an attorney to represent both the Commonwealth against you, and the same attorney to represent you in a court of law?  The short answer is - you can't!  Provisions have been made by the Commonwealth to ensure full loyalty to one party - either for you, or against you. Now, that said, we don't anticipate a real estate transaction to get as combative as a court scene can. However, we hear stories too often, (after the fact) of how one buyer or seller in the above scenario felt  abandoned by their shared agent and would never do it again..  Hmmmm.... who couldn't see that one coming? 
Why do buyers and sellers agree to this?  Too often to save money.
The consumers may have been told there will be a discount offered in compensation to the agent involved should only that singular agent be involved in the transaction. Again, the analogy: should it save me money to have one attorney represent the Commonwealth, and that same attorney represent me in a court of law, would I do it? I think most would think long and hard on if that was a sound decision. Did the explanation go beyond the reduced compensation? Were the required forms used and explained well?  Have all the details been advertised openly in MRIS for all agents to see those details in the event of a competitive situation? 

At Hanrahan Properties, as a matter of policy, we will not represent both sides to a transaction.  We can assist the other party without representing them. Feel free to call to discuss how to be fully represented in any transaction.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Delinquent HOA fees may begin affecting credit scores

Sometimes when money is tight, a homeowner might have to make a decision which bills are urgent and which might be able to be put off.  A thought that might cross one's mind, is to delay paying the HOA fees, thinking that they won't affect credit scores.  Well, that may be soon to change. 
Sperlonga, a credit data aggregator, is the first company to provide HOA payment and account status data to Equifax, which is one of the three major credit-reporting agencies. A full rollout of the new HOA reporting to Equifax will go live in October.
Homeowner associations and property management companies collect about $70 billion in HOA payments yearly among at least 333,000 community associations, according to the Community Association Institute.
For property owners who are late or delinquent on their HOA payments, they will likely see a negative effect on their credit score, just as if they had missed a mortgage payment.
“Introducing new sources of data beyond what has traditionally been found on credit files can provide additional insight into a consumer’s financial behavior and help deliver expanded credit access,” says Mike Gardner, senior vice president at Equifax.
Source: NAR, Sperlonga and “Your HOA Payments May Now Affect Your Credit Score,” (May 4, 2016)

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Hurricane Season Begins June 1 - Nov 30!

Can you believe it? We haven't had consistent spring weather and yet, here we are already talking hurricane season!  Having spent the 1st half of my life in the Midwest where tornadoes were our largest violent weather threat, I quickly found out that with hurricanes you have some time to prepare. Here are some tips that might be helpful.
Some items recommended by the Virginia Dept of  Emergency Management:
Learn more about hurricane and flooding preparedness at the Virginia Department of Emergency Management website.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

TRID Buyer Side Considerations

A few posts back, we covered some of the seller side ramifications.  Let's discuss the buyer side today.
1st: ALL ducks must be in a row.  There is no more "let's find the house then I'll talk to a lender". That needs to be done right after the initial buyer consultation!! NO ifs, ands, or buts... please don't even try that one.
2nd:  things will move rapidly immediately after ratification (all parties have signed and received a copy of the signed contract)

Ideal order after ratification:
a) set up appointment with lender for formal loan application 
b) set up home and radon inspections (if radon is included in contract). Your agent will attend so consider their schedule when setting the appointment
c) attend and negotiate home inspection.  It is the seller's responsibility for all remedies to take place in timely manner for a walk-thru 5-7 days prior to settlement
d) PURCHASER selects settlement date and time with settlement company. Many sellers are choosing to settle at a different location or at a separate time. This should occur PRIOR to buyer's time. An addendum is NOT required, however, courtesy of a written Notice form is usually provided by listing agent when seller signs at another location. 
e) Purchaser's top priority while all this is going on is to keep in communication with your lender to ensure all forms are complete, all items requested by lender are provided, etc.  PLAN on a last minute request of a copy of both sides of the canceled check for the EMD (earnest money deposit). It is more common than not.
f) Complete any forms/provide information requested by the settlement company. Determine early on if you want a survey, and if you would like the corner boundaries marked.
g) order WDI (wood destroying insect) inspection - some home inspectors now do this at the same time as the home inspection. Report is to go to buyer's settlement company and usually comes with a 1 year warranty. This must be done sooner than in the past as it must clear the underwriter's desk now to provide the CD (closing disclosure) 3 days prior to settlement
h) attend a pre-settlement walk-thru inspection 5-7 days prior to settlement. We realize that the seller is most likely in a state of packing, but due to the new Federal regulations, there is a need to determine if the contract items negotiated on the home inspection have been remedied and there are no issues. Ideally, another walk-thru will take place once the home is vacant and prior to settlement.  This brings an excellent point considered in the seller side article - a post occupancy of 3 days by the seller can cover a myriad of unfortunate circumstances at the very end. Trying to move in on settlement day may be a thing of the past.
i) have a cashier's check or certified funds to take to settlement (lender or settlement company will provide you the amount)
j) bring a photo ID with you to settlement (to prove you are YOU!)
k) leave smiling and Thank your agent for a smooth process
Your agent should be with you every step of the way. 
Don't be a lone wolf and do any of this without the consult of your agent! 

HAPPY Home Hunting!

Please note:  This states "ideal" order. There may be times when the order fluctuates as not all situations are the same. In a perfect world, this order and all parties working towards settlement in a timely fashion should produce agreeable results for all.
This information is not for reprint without the express written authorization by the owner.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Part II: Hot Water Heater Regs

The 75 gallon tank has been installed to replace the 65 gallon original one. A new expansion tank AND a drip pan were added too.  

Let's start with the drip pan:  a code requirement for a finished basement. And since we anticipate finishing the basement at some point, it was easier to add it now on an empty new tank, than an older filled one!  Less than $100.  So very grateful I mentioned the plan to finish the basement to the lead plumber. It was his suggestion to add it now rather than later. Great thinking Brad!

Now, the expansion tank:  another code requirement in Loudoun County. Apparently, they have a tendency to retire before a HWH, and yes, it had outlived its capacity to serve its purpose, so we got a new one. Approx $150

The Hot Water Heater itself:  we had room for the additional girth (same height tho).  It seemed a textbook replacement and within 3 hours, the plumbers were out of here and hot water was heating in the new tank! 

The next article will be back on the TRID guidelines for buyers and sellers.

Information not for re-publication without owner's permission.

Friday, October 30, 2015

DID YOU KNOW? New EPA Regs for Water Heaters!

I just tried to order a new 65 gallon natural gas hot water heater to replace an original model (2004) in my own home that has been acting up a bit.  The plumber stunned me when he said, "As of April, 2015, 65 gallon natural gas tanks are no longer made. The EPA said they were not energy-efficient enough and are discontinued".  WOW... was all I could think.  Being a Realtor, I thought of all the clients who might have 65 gallon tanks and are most likely unaware too!

Natural gas options:  a 50 or a 75 gallon tank.  It didn't take much discussion with my husband to say we should go with the 75. It is just the 2 of us and a 50 gallon would work just fine. However, the likelihood we sell before this new tank retires is possible and our home will most likely attract a family of more than 2. It will likely be a deterrent to the sale if we have a 50 gallon tank when other homes our size have a 65 gallon older tank, or have upgraded to the 75. Something to think about in your planning. We also haven't finished our basement yet, and when we do, that will add another bath - requiring additional hot water.

Electric options: The plumber proceeded to tell me about the less than ideal options for electric water heater replacement!  The EPA also mandated the 66 and 80 gallon electric tanks be discontinued for their energy-inefficient qualities.  I asked him what options those homeowners have and his response was this: "they either downgrade to a 50 gallon tank and lose 3 showers a day, or upgrade to 2 - 50 gallon tanks and immediately add $60/month to their electric bill OR they have to go a hybrid system".  Now, I don't know about you, but how is that a savings over a 66 or 80 gallon tank that might not be quite as "efficient"?  And the cost of retro-fitting 2 - 50 gallon tanks where 1 - 80 gallon sat?  All of a sudden the replacement cost is more than doubled!

Maybe I am the only one who missed the press release, but I wanted to pass the info along.  What I thought would be a 1400-1500 replacement cost is now a 1800-1900 bill for an 11.5 year old heater - so long as I don't need a new expansion tank or a new tray. i'll keep you posted on the results once it is installed!

Friday, October 16, 2015

TRID - Seller Side Implications

TRID - the impact to Seller side of the transaction

The new Federal guidelines are in effect now and we are beginning to see the impact to all parties. This article will focus on implications, changes and the reframing of mindsets that must occur to enjoy a thoughtful plan you can live with.

#1:  Longer time between ratification (all parties have agreed to in writing) and settlement.  We should plan on 60 days. Don't accept an offer with financing from anyone who says "our lender says we can do this in XX days". Simply can't happen.  We hope that as the dust settles we can move up to 45, however, for the remainder of 2015, let's stay with 60 days from ratification to settlement.

#2:  Longer time period for financing and appraisal contingencies. We should plan on 30 days as both sides work thru their new, or re-ordered steps in the process.

#3:  Buyer's pre-approval. By the new guidelines, will only offer 6 items of info on buyer - and is NOT what our normal standard of practice has been here in Virginia.  No verification of income will have taken place. This is to allow the buyer time to shop for best terms and rates AFTER ratification!! This is backwards from how most of us worked with buyers. We wanted to ensure sellers that we have viable pre-approved buyers in their homes and this is a setback. Nothing we can do about it - this process is deemed to protect the buyer from unscrupulous agents and lenders who might lock buyers into terms that were not competitive. The buyer unfortunately, can now shop for their loan AFTER ratification. The contract still says that formal loan application MUST take place within 7 days, so at least only a week can be spent shopping for a loan.

#4:  Highly recommend 3 day post-occupancy (some call this a "rent-back" and it is NOT RENT!) should your home be occupied.  And #5 explains why:

#5:  ALL final documents are now created by the bank - not the settlement company! This again is to protect the buyer from last minute fees. Should a last minute adjustment need to take place, the lender can determine settlement should be delayed by a 3 business day period (including Saturday - not Sunday or holidays). As the seller, you don't want your furnishings on a moving truck and have settlement delayed  while you are empty-handed of bedding, clothing, food, etc.

#6:  Once home inspection contingency has been agreed upon, ANY work must be performed immediately so that invoices can be reviewed, and final walk-thru take place PRIOR to the 3 day period immediately preceding settlement.

Think of it this way, you are to have your house ready to go to settlement at a minimum of 3 days in advance of settlement.  We know most of you will still be in the house and packing, but right now , this is the scenario. It will take some getting used to and a lot of communication between the 2 of us, but we can get through like many other changes over the years.  Knowledge is Key!