The Importance of Homeowners Insurance

Hello Everyone,

This morning I would like to share an article that talks about the importance of Homeowners Insurance and why we need it.

Insurance takes care of our misfortunes when they happen, home insurance may not be mandatory but the dangers of not having this kind of cover are there for every one to see. We have situations where houses are broken into, fire gutting down the house taking with it all our possessions, misfortunes such as hurricanes, floods befall people every year. These are just a few things that can happen to anybody out there, but one who has taken a home insurance cover will be in a better position despite the misfortunes. Home insurance cover basically protects us from financial loss when we are visited by misfortunes like the one mentioned above. Investing in a home insurance policy is a basically a form of protection against misfortunes.

Imagine a situation where the burglars break into your house take all the important possession like electronics as well as furniture. With the kind of economic situation that is prevailing in the country today buying new electronics and furniture may be a tall order to a majority of the people. When you have a home insurance policy where the stolen stuff is covered the insurance company after investigation is mandated to compensate for the loss. You might not go back to the level where you were before the theft but the compensation that you get from the insurance company ensures that the you continue to enjoy the kind of life that you had. For the person who had not taken a home insurance cover, such a theft will leave a huge dent financially in an attempt to furnish the house in order to enjoy the same kind of lifestyle that prevailed before burglary occurred. Natural disasters such as floods, hurricanes and earth quakes are common nowadays. No one knows when these disasters can strike; it is equally evident that when these disasters occur they cause serious damage.

A person who has insured his or her house and property against such natural disaster will be at peace when they occur, the insurance company will be obliged to compensate the policy holder in an event of such eventuality. Home insurance not only gives us a peace mind but also allows us to continue enjoying the same kind of lifestyle that we had even before misfortune befall us. One can only ignore this kind of insurance at own peril. Disasters can strike at any time and anywhere for that matter, you may be rich and living comfortable today but within a short time everything might be swept away.

It is advisable that when these misfortunes occur we should be on the right side, under the insurance cover which will protect us from financial disaster. When you are living in a house which is ensured, you have a peace of mind and at the same time confident that in case of any eventuality your financial status will not be affected. All that is needed is to ensure that you have taken the right home insurance policy, one that covers most of the property as well as inclusion of most of the perils.

Please give us a call today to help with all your Real Estate needs!

Sincerely,

Scott Myers, Century 21 Scott Myers Realtors
(210) 479-1222c21

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New Home vs. Pre-owned

Hello Everyone,

At first when starting to consider your next home purchase your Agent will ask you have you considered a new home or a pre-owned home? So, today I kind of wanted to share some information regarding the pro’s and cons.

Picture the home you’d like to live in. Chances are it bears a passing resemblance to the one you grew up in. A traditional “Leave It to Beaver” colonial or, perhaps, a brownstone townhouse straight out of “The Cosby Show.” Then again, maybe that is not what you are looking for. Maybe you’d prefer something newer, something with contemporary style, the latest amenities and a lot less maintenance. Or maybe you’re not ready for that whole “3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and 1.5 kids” thing at all, and a condominium or co-op fits the bill. When it comes to home buying, one size does not fit all. But it does pay to understand the differences when it comes to options between an older house and a new construction.

New House, New You?

Unless you are looking at a custom-built house on an individual lot, most new homes are built in developments with a unified style. These developments can be as small as a cul-de-sac, or as massive as a former farm field filled with dozens, if not hundreds of homes. Built to the latest codes and standards, they tend to be contemporary styled, energy efficient and often are more expensive than resale homes of a similar size. Sometimes, these types of developments can represent a savings over established developments with existing homes. Either way, the decision about whether to forgo an establish community is worth taking time to consider. Specific details vary, of course, but consider the pros and cons.

Pros and Cons of New Construction

PROS
•Contemporary style
•Some flexibility on design during construction phase
•Cheaper to maintain (new appliances = fewer repairs)
•Cheaper to operate (energy-efficient construction)
•Extended warranties
•Cohesive neighborhood (consistent layout, common areas)
•Frequently have a homeowners association (helps protect resale value)
•It’s brand-new!

CONS
•Cookie-cutter design
•Limited negotiating room on price
•Potential for homeowners association dues
•Frequently less character, or homogenous design
•Frequently have a homeowners association (can put limits on how you use your property)

Of course, one home buyer’s pro (“No one has lived in it before us, so we won’t inherit any problems.”) can be another’s con (“No one has lived in it before us, so we have no way of knowing about any problems.”). Fortunately, there are ways to make sure the house you’re buying is really the house you want:
•Check the builder’s track record. What else has the company built? Were previous projects completed on time, on budget and without bad blood between the builder and buyers?
•Walk the streets. If you live nearby and previous stages of the development are occupied, ask the residents if the builder did quality work and lived up to contractual commitments.
•Picture your home, not the model home. You can certainly have the granite counters, surround-sound home theater and jetted tub you saw in the model home, but they’re not included in the base price. You will pay extra for them.
•Bring your own agent. If the builder has a real estate agent on site, the agent will be more than happy to help you. But, on-site agents work for the builders who hire them. Their best interests will be for the builder, not you.

Finally, consider the intangibles. Similarly styled homes attract like-minded buyers, and most developments are built with families in mind. Depending on your point of view, the consistency, conformity and kids playing in the street can be a blessing or a curse.

With new developments springing up seemingly overnight, it’s obvious that new construction is popular. And yet, most people buy a resale home; i.e., a home that someone else has lived in but is now on the market again. Call them used if you must — existing home sounds better — but they’re the kind of houses that many people would like to call home.

Of course, there are pros and cons with existing homes, too. (That darling farmhouse with the big windows? It can be mighty drafty come winter.) Generally speaking, resale homes tend to be more available and less expensive than new homes, but they are also full of surprises.

The Pros and Cons of Resale Homes

Pros
•Availability: More choices, more styles to choose from
•Price may be more negotiable
•Track record: Known issues will be revealed in disclosure documents
•Established neighborhood
•Could contain more charm and character

Cons
•More maintenance: Things break or wear out
•Less energy-efficient: More costly to operate
•Dated design, older appliances and amenities
•It’s been lived in!

As with new construction, there are ways to make buying a resale home less scary:
•Have the home inspected. You do not want to find out the foundation is cracked or the roof needs to be replaced after you move in.
•Consider a counter-offer. If the inspection reveals fixable flaws, propose the seller do the repairs or lower the price.
•Expect the unexpected. Pipes leak, electrical work becomes outdated and furnaces fail — get used to it.
•Be honest with yourself. If major repairs are required, you’ll either have to do them yourself or bring in the professionals. Some people can handle the disruption; others can’t.

The bottom line on resale homes is this: Don’t buy someone else’s problems unless you can tackle the solutions. Find a house you like, consider its pros and cons — objectively, as well as emotionally — and think about the compromises you’re willing to make. The more logically you approach buying the house, the more you’re going to love living in it.

Whether your going to buy a new home or a pre-owned home remember that having a Century 21 agent on your side will cost you nothing for all of the services that we offer helping you move into that new or pre-owned home.

Give us a call to schedule an appointment today!

Sincerely,

Scott Myers, Century 21 Scott Myers, Realtors
(210) 479-1222sa1

What to know about Closing Costs

Hello,

Most first time homebuyers are a little unsure about what exactly closing costs are and that there is a difference between your actual down payment and your closing costs. Here is some information to share regarding closing costs.

Closing costs are the fees required to complete a home sale. The nature of the housing market may dictate whether the buyer or the seller picks up various closing costs. If the market is hot and homes are selling quickly, the seller has the advantage and there is no incentive to give the buyer a break. When the real estate market is in decline and homes aren’t selling well, sellers are more willing to dicker and take on a larger portion of the buyer’s costs.

The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) is a consumer protection law. Passed in 1974, its main goal is to help consumers shop for closing services. When you apply for a loan, your lender or mortgage broker must provide a Good Faith Estimate of the fees that will be due at closing. This is a very useful tool, but bear in mind that these are estimates, not guarantees.

Some fees are generated by third parties and typically don’t change very much, no matter where you find your loan. There are additional expenses you can’t control, such as taxes and government fees. However, many lender-charged fees can be negotiated or even waived.

Negotiable closing fees generally include:

The loan origination fee. This is what borrowers are charged for the privilege of receiving a loan. Origination fees usually are expressed in the form of points. Each point represents 1% of the amount borrowed.

The appraisal fee. This is charged to determine the market value of home. If the value is found to be less than the requested loan amount, the loan won’t go through.

Attorney fees. Both the homebuyer and the seller may have their own legal representation.

Title insurance. This is insurance to protect a lender or owner against loss in the event of a property ownership dispute.

Although most buyers choose title companies recommended by a real estate agent or a mortgage company, they are free to shop for the best title insurance and settlement services.

Question Excessive Fees

Making closing-cost comparisons among lenders can be difficult, since different companies may use slightly different words to describe similar services. Watch out for “junk fees.” These are processing and documentation fees that may be added on simply to raise your bill. Question any fees for reviews or document preparation.

If your closing costs rise significantly beyond your Good Faith Estimate, you may feel pressured to accept them to avoid losing the home to another buyer. This kind of pressure is common during strong real estate markets, when prices are rising and sellers often have several buyers to choose from. Rather than pay the high closing fees, try to convince the lender to reduce the charges you find to be too expensive. If that strategy fails, talk to the seller and ask if he or she can extend the closing date so you can shop for another loan.

As you review your closing costs, be your own advocate. Don’t be rushed into paying too much. Make sure that you receive a thorough explanation for any fees that seem unusual, unnecessary or just too costly.

Please give us a call to explain how we may be able to include closing costs into your home loan and save money in your pocket.

Sincerely,

Scott Myers, Century 21 Scott Myers, Realtors
(210) 479-1222c21

How will you sell & market my home?

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Hello Everyone,

Selling your home can sometimes create challenges for sellers & the agents. One of the best questions you can ask your agent is, How will you market & sell my home?

Posting a for-sale sign in your front lawn is all well and good, but you can do that yourself — without the aid of a fancy Realtor. But what about potential buyers who don’t happen to drive by your particular street? Out-of-towners who are moving to a new area usually don’t have the time to comb the streets of every neighborhood to find a house. In this age of a limitless information superhighway, it’s much easier to break down geographic barriers that connect sellers with buyers. This means your options expand along with your competition, so it’s imperative to think beyond the yard sign.­

One of the biggest advantages that a real estate agent offers you is his access to resources for marketing your home. Ask each agent you interview to spell out his marketing plan for getting your house sold. A good agent will post your house on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) immediately after signing with you. The MLS is a system of databases which lists homes for sale and gives your house broad exposure to homebuyers.

An agent should market your house in other ways too. Print advertising includes ads in newspapers and magazines, or brochures and flyers like the ones you see in waiting rooms and at the entrances to restaurants. However, one of the most common venues for selling homes is the Internet. According to the National Association of Realtors, the Internet is used to find a home 88 percent of the time. Web sites like Craigslist, Yahoo! Real Estate and Realtor.com have exploded in popularity as places for buyers and sellers to find each other, and there are scores of others you can use. Most realty companies even have their own Web sites where you can search their MLS listings.

During this conversation, you should also find out whether the agent has plans to hold open houses. How soon and how many?

Finding the right agent is crucial and can be the difference maker of whether or not yourhomegets sold.

Please call our office and speak with one ofour agents today!

Sincerely,

Scott Myers, Century 21 ScottMyers, Realtors
(210) 479-1222

Buying vs. Renting

Good Morning Everyone & Happy Friday,

This morning I wanted to discuss and explain some of the factors and closing costs and the difference between buying & renting. Some people believe that sometimes you are better off renting a home rather than buying. Actually, buying a home can be less than renting when you consider your initial deposit and first month’s rent.
Especially with all the incentives that homebuilders are offering today you can get into a new home with a few hundred dollars deposit and in some cases $100 deposit with great credit.

Here we go! – Buying

Purchase costs are the costs you incur when you go to the closing for the home you are purchasing. This includes the down payment and typical closing costs.

Yearly costs are recurring monthly or yearly expenses. These include mortgage payments, condo fees (or other community living fees), renovation costs, maintenance costs, property taxes and homeowner’s insurance. Property taxes, the interest part of the mortgage payment, and in some cases, a portion of the common charges, are tax deductible. The resulting tax savings is accounted for in each item’s totals. The mortgage payment amount increases each year for the term of the loan because the tax credit shrinks each year as the interest portion of the payments becomes smaller.

Lost opportunity costs are tracked for the initial purchase costs and for the yearly costs. The former will give you an idea of how much you could have made if you had invested the down payment instead of buying your home.

Selling costs are the costs you incur when you go to the closing for the home you are selling. This includes the broker’s commission and other fees, as well as the remaining principal balance that you pay to your mortgage bank. “Proceeds from home sale” is the money that you receive from the person who is buying your home. This amount is equal to the value of the home that year and is shown as a negative number since it is not something that you spend money on, but rather, it is money you receive.

If your cumulative buying total is negative, it actually means you have done very well: you made enough of a profit that it not only covered the cost of your home, but also all of your yearly operating expenses.

Renting

Initial costs are the rent security deposit and, if applicable, the broker’s fee.
Yearly costs are the monthly rent and the cost of renter’s insurance.
Lost opportunity costs are calculated each year for both your initial costs and your yearly costs.
Leaving your rental is equal to the rent security deposit, typically returned to a renter at the end of a lease.

Whatever you decide is best, you can contact our office and speak to one of our agents to assist you in buying your home or renting a home and planning your next purchase once your lease is over with.

I guarantee you will be 100% satisfied with our service or you can call me directly.

Sincerely,

Scott Myers, Century 21 Scott Myers, Realtors
(210) 479-1222

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