4 Reasons to Consider Buying a Home in the Off-Season

As a home buyer, you can optimize your home buying if you move forward with your search during the off-season of where you wish to live. In very hot climates, the off-season will be during the summer, while in most other parts of the country, it would be during the winter months. Here are a few reasons you may want to consider buying your home out of season.

1. A seller who lists his or her house during the off-season is more likely to be very motivated to get the home sold. Therefore, you can benefit because the seller will be more willing to negotiate on price and terms, especially if you present a fair offer.

2. There are usually fewer buyers when you decide to shop when it’s not peak market time. Fewer buyers mean less competition and no price wars. Buyers tend to be more focused on the holidays during the winter, while communities in hotter climates draw virtually no competing home-buying snowbirds during the summer.

3. Since the off-season can mask the usually attractive curb appeal of a home, it can also provide a more realistic viewing of a home without the gingerbread. You can better see the “bones” of a home with minimal landscaping and possible deferred maintenance.

4. The durability of a prospective property can be better tested when you shop off-season since the mechanics of the home are being put to use on a daily basis. The furnace output is being tested to its maximum capability in cooler winter zones, while the air conditioning is being constantly challenged in the desert climates during the summer. The insulation and soundness of doors and windows are also best evaluated during these times.

Even though the market traditionally slows down during the off-season, we are here 365 days a year to improve the results of your home-buying experience.

Determining Home Appraisal Value: 7 Contributing Factors

The valuation of your home will consider a variety of contributing factors. The appraised value will weigh everything from location and demographics to the physical attributes of your home. These are key influences.

1. First is the location. The neighborhood’s location value will be relative to its proximity to area schools, amenities and accessibility to those amenities. A home’s location within the neighborhood can add positive value if it is in a cul-de-sac or on a large lot and does not back up to any main roads. Location value is reinforced if surrounding homes are clean, neat and owner-occupied.

2. Value will be influenced by what upgrades and updates are contributing to making a home more current in quality, energy efficiency and safety.

3. Appraised value is enhanced when a home has been built in the last 20 years because it presents a lower risk for needed repairs and has newer amenities.

4. Buyers will pay higher prices when the design of a home is timeless and has good appeal for the majority of buyers.

5. As important as the value of the interior of a home is in the appraisal process, so is the exterior landscaping and overall curb appeal. Landscaping that is easy to care for and complements the home’s exterior will yield more value.

6. The value of the number of bedrooms and baths will be of prime importance when comparing to competing sold and listed homes. As the bedroom and bath count goes up, so does the value of the property.

7. The square footage and the efficiency of the floor plan contribute to the value. Finished livable basements add value, but not to the same extent as those living spaces that are above grade.

If you have any questions about home appraisals, call or email us. We are always here to help guide you so you can make the decisions that are best for your goals.

Wire Fraud in Real Estate: How to Protect Yourself

In a world of scamming via Internet connections and communications, we want to warn you of the wire fraud that could be a product of sending or receiving emails that takes root during the closing process in a real estate transaction where large sums of money are being transferred to consummate home sales.

Once scammers gain access to a real estate agent’s or title company’s email account, they can deceive home buyers by “forging” emails to falsely convey closing money wiring instructions. If successful in convincing a buyer to send closing funds to an account other than that of the title company’s financial institution, the scam won’t likely be discovered until the funds cannot be recovered.

It is important to protect yourself from this potentially huge loss of your life savings. Whenever you receive an email from a title company or your agent with wiring instructions for closing, you always need to call the source to confirm the content of the instructions that you have received. Typically, real estate agents should not be in receipt of wiring instructions because it provides another avenue for potential fraud.

Most title companies protect themselves and their clients by communicating wiring instructions via encrypted email once the buyer calls to ask for those instructions. While nothing is foolproof, email encryption helps assure the secure transfer of closing funds.

We are aware of the perils associated with this part of the closing process and are here to assist you in the verification process. We can direct you to title companies with encryption capabilities.