COVID & Buying or Selling a home

by | Aug 6, 2020 | Real Estate | 0 comments

COVID & buying or selling…
Home Buyer & Seller Education & Classes

Please remember that, currently, ALL BUYER & SELLER classes are being held virtually. We look forward to teaching at the community centers again, once they open.

For the virtual classes, they are TWO hours long, and will start at the scheduled starting time. Please email for link & password

Upcoming Home BUYER Classes

Saturday, August 8, from 10am-12pm (ish)
Saturday, August 15, from 11am-1pm (ish)
Saturday, August 22nd, from 12pm-2pm (ish)
Monday, August 24th, from 5pm – 7pm (ish)
Saturday, August 29th, from 10am – 12pm (ish)

Upcoming Home SELLER Classes
Saturday, August 8th, from 12:30-2:30pm
Saturday, August 22nd, from 9am-11am
Thursday, August 27th, from 5:30pm-7:30pm

Happy August!

I have to admit.. I am sad today. Today is the day before the Clark County Fair would have started. Today I should be at the fairgrounds setting up our booth and getting ready for the fair to start tomorrow morning. We are at the fair every year, and as exhausting as it is, it is also fun, exciting…and honestly… I absolutely love it when our friends, family, clients (both past, present, and future) come and visit us. I love seeing everyone and visiting with them. I also love being able to give little gifts to everyone. I am also looking at the projected weather forecast for the next week, and honestly, I am crying a bit as it is really a PERFECT fair forecast…..of course it is, right? Remember how at the beginning of this year we were so excited? All the holidays that were going to fall on the weekends? 4th of July on a Saturday? Rock on! Halloween on a Saturday AND with a Full Moon? AWESOME! Christmas? New Years? On Saturdays? Score!! It’s like the stars all lined up for a perfect year….and well, it’s like that piece of cake you are so excited to come home to eat, and that you have been thinking about ALL day…and you come home, and it is GONE!!! Someone else ate it!! You know what I mean…right? That is what 2020 feels like to me… crazy.. but here we are.

HEADS UP, if you are a CLIENT, please check your mail boxes! We couldn’t do a Client Appreciation this spring, but there is something in your mailbox that should be a little fun. We are also trying to plan something for the end of summer… we will see how that shakes out… stay tuned!

This month I am going to talk about showing a home and a few of those ‘hidden’ fees that people don’t think about. Whether you are thinking about selling (because it is definitely a sellers market), or you are buying a home… how does that work right now with COVID and everything else going on? Well, hopefully, this should help. As always…feel free to reach out with any questions! Thank you!!

While showing homes, we go over lots of ‘little’ things that otherwise people don’t think about. Some of these items are the ‘hidden’ costs of buying a home….those things that you weren’t planning on, but probably should be. Not too long ago, I was on one of the facebook swap/free/sale sites, and I was reading how some people were upset with the home buying process and the ‘hidden’ fees they weren’t told about. It is true that there are a LOT of fees and other expenses involved with buying a home. The point of these blogs, and of course, the home buyer classes is to give folks this information. There shouldn’t be anything ‘hidden’ about the home buying process. As you know, I am a big fan of not sugarcoating anything….I believe that an ugly truth is better than a pretty lie every day of the week. You might not always like what I have to say (and that is ok), but I am not going to hold anything back from you on the off chance you might not ask me to help you buy, or sell, your home. Personally I don’t just want to hear about the ‘good’ things about a loan, or process….I want to hear it all…the good, the bad, and the ugly, so that I can make the best decision for me and my family based on the pros and the cons….not just the good. So….yes, I am not going to just agree with what you read on the internet, or saw on HGTV, or heard from your direct and personal circle….I am going to give you the pros and cons because this is YOUR home buying (or selling) adventure, and YOU need to make the decisions. My job is to help you find, and have, all the information I can get you so that you can make those choices based on a full picture….not just half of one. Last month we talked about the ‘basic’ fees of earnest money, home inspection (including the possibility of radon & sewer scope), and appraisal. However there are a few other ‘fees’ that you might want to think about.

Other fees?

Changing out locks
…I always advise my clients to change out the locks of their new homes. Why? Well, even if the sellers give you all the keys they have…there is not guarantee that there isn’t more keys running around somewhere. I used to change out my house locks every couple of years because my kids were always losing keys. Finally….last year… I went and purchased the the house locks that have the key pad. It is awesome!! I don’t worry about lost keys anymore. Every family member has a code, and what is the best is that I can add and delete codes as needed. So…go away for a couple of days, and have a house sitter? Give them a code,and when you get back you simply delete the code. I tell you….worth it!

Mailbox key
…yes, legally you are not supposed to copy the mailbox key, but a lot of people do. Mail is not something you want to mess with. Take your HUD form down to the post office, and have them re-key the box, and get a new key. Cost is about $100, but for peace of mind…that isn’t much. When you are changing out locks, talk with the locksmith… she/he may be able to help with this as well.

…you will probably want to paint some, or all, the rooms of your new home. Each gallon of paint runs about $25. Paint is the easiest thing you can do to make the home ‘yours’, and it’s fun! Paint can change the entire feel of a room, or home. Personally, I am a fan of semi-gloss. I like the shine to it, and most importantly, it cleans up easy….with kids and big dogs, this is my go-to.

Minor repairs
…during the home inspection the inspector will probably point out repairs that the home may need. Some of these repairs may be cosmetic repairs that will be part of your ‘honey-do list’ with your new home. Remember that, at the home inspection, we are looking for any repairs that will affect the safety of the home, or occupants…or anything that may need a contractor to repair. The ‘big’ areas that we usually see repairs for are roofs, attic spaces, crawlspaces, and siding. These are the places that usually get called out during the repair process for a licensed contractor to come in Remember that home inspectors are licensed for home inspections. It is during this period that we will request a second opinion by a licensed contractor…who can give a better, more thorough inspection/repair for the item that the inspector called out. All homes have some repairs that will need to be done by the (new) homeowner….it is part of being a homeowner. Don’t forget that the worst thing a homeowner can do is to defer maintenance. If you need help with that, give me a call or email… I always have a ‘guy’ that you can call for help. Anytime you need work done around the home that you can’t do, give me a holler…I know people. I tease, but it is true. I know excellent contractors that will usually give you a better deal because I refer them out. I refer them out because they do a good job…and give better deals. Just like in Real Estate… referrals are the name of the game. 🙂

Lawn supplies
…did you come from an apartment? Well, most likely now you have a yard. You will need a lawnmower to start with. There will be other lawn equipment that will follow…weed eaters, trimmers, wheel barrels, shovels, and a myriad other things that come with having a yard.

…don’t forget that washer, dryer, and fridges don’t come with the home. If you don’t already have these appliances then you may also be purchasing a washer, dryer, and/or a fridge. Just please, please, please wait until AFTER you get keys for the home before you go purchase these things.

…if your new home doesn’t already have some then this may be on your ‘to buy’ list. Sometimes even if your home does have some, you may want new ones. Honestly, I have had very good luck with curtains at places like Target, or Fred Meyer, or even Wal-Mart. I think I’ve gotten all my curtains from Target. They have blinds as well.

House Cleaner/Carpet Cleaner
…when a home is vacant you know exactly what you’re going to be walking into when your buyers agent (hopefully me LOL) gives you keys, but… when the home is owner occupied, you don’t. Yes, you can and will do a walk thru of the home before closing, but it will still be occupied. In many cases, when the home is owner occupied the (soon to be) previous owner doesn’t vacate the property until day of closing, or sometimes even a couple of days after closing. With cases like this, you really don’t know what condition the home will be upon closing. We have to have faith that the (soon to be) previous owner will leave the home in a clean condition, but sometimes…well, sometimes, they don’t. Also, one persons idea of clean is not another persons idea of ‘clean’. 🙂 Many times, whether the home is vacant or owner occupied, a buyer will book a professional carpet cleaning, or house cleaning after closing….simply for peace of mind.

… already have insurance, don’t you? Well…yes, you have mortgage insurance, title insurance, and homeowners insurance, but what about earthquake insurance? You don’t…
When I purchased my home my homeowners insurance included earthquake insurance. About 10 years ago though we received a letter that no longer would homeowners insurance include earthquake insurance….why? Because we live in the #1 high danger area for earthquakes. Because of that earthquake insurance must now be purchased separately. So, AFTER you buy your home, call your insurance company and add on earthquake insurance. Cost isn’t too much, but it is important….just in case.

Toilet Seats
Yeah, I know you probably didn’t think of that, but really….if it were me, I would change out the toilet seats when you buy your new home. Why? Well, since now you are thinking about it….I’m sure you can see why. LOL Toilet seats are not expensive, and really…having new seats just makes you feel better! 😀

As we’ve talked about, once you hire a Realtor to help you with your home adventure, you are ready for the ‘fun’ part…..LOOKING AT HOMES! 🙂 This is always an exciting time for buyers, and it should be! Every home you pull up to has the possibility to be ‘the one’….The one you make an offer on, the one that you buy, the ONE that becomes YOUR HOME…and it is very exciting. For the sellers though, it is very stressful because currently it is THEIR home, and they’re leaving so that strangers can come in. As a Realtor, we are trying to make this as easy as possible for both the buyer and seller, but we need help… especially right now…

We are in the world of COVID, and it has changed how we look at homes.

For the homeowners (sellers), we are asking that the home be available to show, that the home be clean, nothing of value is being left out, all medicines are put away and out of sight (not left in bathrooms or kitchen cabinets), anything that a seller wants excluded from the sale is noted, that sweet pups are either removed or kenneled, that sweet kitties are noted as inside only or inside/outside ok, and that please, please… homeowners (sellers) be gone for showings. Selling your home means opening up your home to strangers. Please note that anytime a Realtor shows your home, that Realtor is responsible for the buyers they bring into your home. If you have any COVID concerns, please bring them up with, and talk about them with your Realtor. As always, there is more to it than this, but that is a different class….and email. You can always call me for more information when you are selling your home.

For the buyers….it gets a bit more complicated… before we go house shopping, we are asking that you have a pre-approval letter with a solid lender, we are asking that you do not look at homes above your price range, we are asking that you have thought about the Top Three things you want in a home (so we can show you homes that have those items you value most), and that you help us help you…. We are currently in Phase 2 which means that we can’t have more than 3 people (including the Realtor) in the house at a time, and yes, masks are currently required when we are showing homes. Many homes will request that we take off shoes so be sure to wear easy on/off shoes.

When a Realtor opens the lockbox to show you the home, we are taking responsibility for everything that happens from that moment on….until we lock up the house and put the key back into the lockbox. As I say all the time… Real Estate is NOT like HGTV… you don’t just get to wander the home while your Realtor sits outside… we must be with you at all times when touring your potential new home. Sometimes this can be like herding cats, but we understand your excitement… just please, please as you are touring the home, and we know you have your family with you, please…we must all stay together. Don’t make me sing to you here…..
As cool as those toys look, I’m sorry but the kiddos can’t play with them, and sorry…but you can’t jump on the beds either. It’s ok to open cupboards, and closets, but we can’t open dressers, or go through someone else’s personal items. Touring a home is a VISUAL thing….sorry. However, yes, you can use the bathroom….usually.. sometimes we do have requests from sellers that bathrooms are NOT used. I showed a home last week where the sellers literally taped the toilets shut on days they were showing. I thought it was funny…
When we are looking at homes, often we have more than one home to look at, and many homes are owner occupied so your Realtor makes appointments. We do the best we can to make sure we have enough time to look at the homes, but we need to stay within our timeframes as the sellers are waiting to come home after we leave, or there are other Realtors waiting to show the home. I promise we are not trying to ‘rush’ you through the home…we are just trying to stay within the timeframes so that you can see the other homes on your list.
Looking at homes is exciting, and many of you will send your Realtor a long list of homes to go see, but what you don’t know…..yet…that looking at homes is exhausting, and they quickly starts to blend together. Don’t look at more than 6-8 in one appointment. I’ve had clients look at up to 10 at once, and that is a lot. We can do it….just be prepared. Your Realtor should give you a print out for each home we see, so be sure to take notes on each of the houses because they will blend together and you will not remember what you liked, or didn’t like, about the first couple of homes by the time we get to the last couple of homes. 🙂
With the real estate market being so crazy right now, it’s important that if a home comes up that you like, that you let your Realtor know as soon as possible so we can make an appointment for you to see it. Many homes are receiving multiple offers and go pending within a few days. Your Realtor should be sending you a list of homes as they come on the market for you to check….drive by the homes…check out those neighborhoods….and let’s make an appointment to go see the inside of the home.

Do not trust Internet photos! Realtors hire professional photographers for our listings for a reason. Smile Internet photos are a lot like internet dating…you don’t know what you’re going to get when you get there
Like the neighborhood, but not sure about the house? Let’s at least go check out the inside! You never know as you can’t judge a book (or a house) by its cover.

ASK QUESTIONS!! For heavens sake…this is a home you are thinking about buying… ask questions! As your Realtor, we are here to help! If we can’t answer your questions, we can at least set up in the right direction to get those answers.

Buying a home is a very emotional experience. Your Realtor is here to point out pros/cons, and to help you…. Trust your heart, but use your head… or your Realtor. 🙂 Remember that we work FOR you.

As always….this is just a quick overview…. again…and I can’t say this enough…please remember that your agent is NOT a salesperson, and should not be acting like one. Real Estate is not really about houses, it is about relationships. Your agent, and your lender work for YOU. You drive the bus…we are merely GPS to help you get to your goals. Like the classes, this weekly blog email is to help you with your home adventure. The goal is to be informative and non-promotional. 🙂 We are, however, hoping you will call and want us to help with your adventure.

If you have any questions about this, or something you have heard…or if you would like me to help you with your home adventure, please call, email, text, or facebook me anytime. I am, as always, happy to help!
Thank you again for your business and your referrals!! …and thank you for referring these classes to your friends, family, and co-workers.

. ..disclaimer…if you have already purchased a home, or would no longer like to receive these emails, please let me know and I will be happy to remove you from any further mailings…

Information is power, and as always…May the odds be ever in your favor out there…. If you are looking for a real estate agent, I would love to be able to help you.

If you have any questions, or comments please get a hold of me anytime. You can call, text, email, or even facebook me. Please remember that while I mean these emails/blogs to be helpful, and educational, I am still hoping that you will call, or email me as I would be honored to help you with your home buying, or home selling adventure.

Upcoming Topics:
What if I don’t have a Down Payment?
How do I hire a Realtor, & do I have to sign anything?
Heating Types (but I want AC)

Last Week: Can you buy a home with ZERO out of pocket?

Have a great day, and I will talk to you soon,

Tracie DeMars / Realtor

ReMax Equity Group
License# 81289
Vancouver, WA

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