Sunday, March 29, 2009

I Really Want To Buy A House But Can’t Do It By Myself … What Can I Do?

The good news is that you are aware of what a great time this is to buy a home. Interest rates just went down again and prices are still very low. So what can you do to buy a house? The traditional source of assistance was family. Your parents might be happy to assist you, but there are other options with broader thinking.

If you need additional income to qualify, another way to buy a home is to partner up with somebody. Are you living with a roommate now – why not own together? How about your college friends or co-workers? Is there somebody you really get along with that is responsible? Is your brother/sister renting in the same town? You lived together for many years up to this point, why not do it again and have a business investment together? Your good income with your partner’s good credit, or vice-versa, is the combination your are seeking. With the low interest rates and prices it is amazing how low monthly payments are … and the income needed to qualify for them. Check it out – you will be amazed at what you can buy.

Our youngest son recently closed escrow on a wonderful home with two friends. They put 3.5% down, got a new FHA loan and their total payment, including taxes and insurance, is just about equal to what they’d have to pay in rent! Plus … they will share the $8,000 first time homebuyer’s tax credit. Their anticipated holding period is 5-8 years, enough time to get done with schooling, and establish careers. What will the market do during that time? We think it will be kind to them and give them a good financial start in life with this initial real estate investment.

The mechanics are important when buying with a partner … be sure you get along. Not only is this a business venture, you will be living together. Select carefully. Determine in advance who will get the master bedroom, use of the garage, etc. Have a pet policy … cats, dogs okay? Snakes? Be sure you have a household account with reserves. Our son and friends set up a household bank account titled “Three Amigos”. That makes for easy record keeping and assurance that there will always be funds available when needed for a common expense.

It is important to memorialize your agreements in writing. A Memorandum of Understanding should include responsibilities, and how future decisions will be made. What if one of you wants out? What if one doesn’t make their share of the monthly payment? What is one gets married and another person is suddenly involved (hint - get a Quitclaim Deed). Do this in advance when everybody is getting along.

Our Advice: Understand, the statement “partnerships were made in Hades” is very true, but they can work well with the right preparation and circumstances. There are 100% loan programs available in some of our communities. You can buy with nothing down and get an $8,000 tax credit for doing it. These are the good old days. Look at your options … these and others.
While the present economic situation is causing heartache and pain for many … there are some silver linings to these dark clouds. This is a wonderful opportunity for young American entering the work force to partake in the American Dream. When it comes to choosing professionals to assist you with your real estate needs… Experience is Priceless! Lisa Wetzel & Jim Valentine, RE/MAX
Realty Affiliates, 775-781- 5472.,

Monday, March 9, 2009

Rub A Dub Dub There’s a Goose In Our Tub!

Its never dull in the country. Went out the other morning and one of our Toulouse geese wouldn’t stand up. Just sat there in the mud. She stood up and couldn’t walk so I picked her up and took her in the house to “sick bay”. As she is a rather large bird, and our dogs are very curious, a box just didn’t seem to work. Ended up using the guest bath tub. Set her up with grain, lettuce and water. She was docile and timid … not her normal demeanor.

Our grandson came to visit and seeing her in the tub exclaimed, “she’ll probably lay an egg”. Ha! A sick goose laying an egg in the tub …right. You guessed it – the next morning there was an egg in there … a big goose egg. Nothing like an eight year old to expect the unexpectable.

It has taken a couple of days, but now she’s starting to stand, and even squawk a bit when we aren’t in the room. We’re going to plug the tub and float her in a little bit. It’ll take the load off of her sore leg, and she can get a bath … one of a goose’s most pleasurable pastimes. Happily, it looks like she is recovering nicely and can join her fine feathered friends in a few days.

For our city friends, we call our Toulouse geese “Granny Goose Geese” – now you know what she looks like.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

What’s Up With Sneaky Buyers and Sellers?

To have effective representation you must have good honest communication with your agent. It is surprising how many people don’t tell their agent what’s on their mind, or even answer questions in an honest manner. When you go to the doctor’s office and are asked, “Where does it hurt?”, do you stay mum and have him push, pull, twist, prod, and poke until he finds where you are hurting? Of course not!

Walking in to a real estate office and not being candid about your wants, needs, abilities, and overall situation is no different in its absurdity, but it is truly amazing how often that happens. Most agents will quickly ask you a simple question, “Are you working with an agent?” You might have been, but aren’t happy with the service. If so, explain it just that way. You might not like what the other agent told you, or how you were treated - explain it that way. If an agent won’t show you certain properties, if an agent only shows you listings from their own office or won’t show your listings from a specific other office, or if an agent doesn’t hear what you are trying to tell her … you have good cause to change agents. Share your frustration with your new agent – don’t keep it a secret.

If you simply don’t like what you are hearing from that agent, though you know it to be true in your heart, you aren’t being realistic. In that case you aren’t being fair to you and your family, or to either of the agents involved. You can’t escape the truth by agent shopping. If you find an agent you can push around, or one that says only what you want to hear, you’re setting yourself up for frustration and failure.

It’s okay to be cautious with personal information until you reach a level of comfort with the agent you’ve just met, but be truthful when your agent is asking qualifying questions. Qualifying questions are what the good agent asks about you and your situation so she can get an understanding of how she can help you. The weak agents don’t ask the hard questions because they are afraid of the answers they will hear. The good agent knows that they need the information in order to properly assess your situation and match it to the market. Without it they would be like a doctor that gives you a pain pill without knowing your broken bone is in need of repair.

Real estate is multi-dimensional … it is not a black and white business. You have personal Past Experiences, i.e.- grew up in a two story farm house; future Goals, i.e.- want horses; present Needs, i.e.- want kids in certain elementary school … all which must be understood and applied by your professional real estate practitioner to the market. If you don’t share and they don’t ask you are both in the process of finding the proverbial needle in the haystack – a waste of everybody’s time.

Our Advice: Whether buying or selling, it is more important now than ever to have competent professional representation in your real estate transaction. Your agent can help you keep the right perspective and separate fantasy from reality. Understand that there are those that will abuse your candor so proceed with caution as you develop your relationship with your agent. Your honest agent will listen to you and serve your needs based on what you are saying … sharing their thought process along the way.

You’ll know when you are in the hands of a professional. Its then that buying and selling real estate is a magical process as your dreams manifest. When it comes to choosing professionals to assist you with your real estate needs…
Experience is Priceless! Lisa Wetzel & Jim Valentine, RE/MAX Realty Affiliates, 775-781- 5472.,