How does an escalation clause work?

What is an escalation clause?

An escalation clause is something in real estate that can come in handy at times. Especially when we are dealing with multiple offers and offers that are above asking price. These are used when you offer on a home for example at $100,000 but you’re willing to go up to $115,000. We put in the contract that we are offering $100,000 but are willing to pay $1000 over the highest offer up to $115,000. The listing agent will have to provide us with the highest offer to show us that, in fact, our escalation clause will come into play.

But what do I do if the agent/seller won’t accept an escalation clause? Well, at that point we have to bring our highest and best offer for what we can do. We have multiple tricks we can do to make our offers more appealing. We can help and make it happen!

Thank you,

L+ H Homes, ERA Great American Realty

“Your Realtors That Care!”

Should You Buy the “Less Than Perfect” Home?

When you’re shopping for a new home, you want to find a property that has all the features and characteristics you want. Perhaps you’re looking for a large deck surrounded by picturesque landscaping, a beautiful kitchen with gleaming marble countertops, or a cozy living room with a fireplace.

You should be looking for the ideal home. You deserve it! But some home buyers become fixated on finding the “perfect” property, and pass too quickly on those homes that don’t quite measure up.

That can be a mistake, because some of those less-than-perfect properties have the potential to become your next dream home.

First, a home that is lacking some desirable features will probably cost less. Those savings may be more than enough to cover any needed appliance upgrades or bathroom renovations.

Secondly, if you look at a home in terms of its potential, rather than the features it happens to have now, there will be more properties available on the market for you to consider.
If you’re determined to have a large wrap-around deck for entertaining, for example, don’t cross homes off your list that don’t have this feature. At least not yet. Instead, view these properties with an eye on potential. Is the backyard big enough to accommodate a large deck? How would that look that deck look if it were added to this particular property? How much would such a renovation cost?

There’s no doubt about it. You want to find a home that has the features and characteristics you want. If you work with me, there is a good chance you’ll find a property that has most, if not all of them.

But, keep an open mind. Sometimes a “diamond in the rough” can – with an upgrade or renovation – become a home you’ll treasure for years.

What Can Smart Switches and Light Plugs Do For Your Home?

“Siri, how much water did I drink today?”

“Alexa, what’s on TV tonight?”

“Google, turn off the lights!”

You know the drill. We’re all starting to talk to ourselves under the guise of speaking to our smart speakers and voice assistants. There’s nothing at all wrong with this, but it’s a future no one could have conceived even a decade ago. Smart speakers were cool for creating grocery lists, but that’s just a fraction of what they’re capable of now.

Your computer friends can control your lights and outlets from anywhere now. How cool is that?

The Power of Smart Switches and Plugs

Smart switches and plugs are among the most underrated components of a smart home. In fact, they’re a cheap way to get into the smart home world if your home wasn’t built with this type of equipment in mind.

They’re simple to install and essentially disappear after a few days. After all, they’re just boring plugs and switches, right?

Well… that’s one way to look at it. But, then again, how long do you go in a day without interacting with an outlet or a switch? Are you using either right now?

Behold the Handy, Hidden Household Helpers

If you really think about it, you use outlets and switches all the time for a wide range of reasons. Smart switches and smart plugs are no different, they’re a frequent touch item in your home. But they’re so much more than power regulators. Smart switches and plugs can do things for your household like:

  • Making mornings tolerable. Most people have heard of the coffee pot that’s powered using a smart outlet. You fill it up at night, then your programmed smart outlet switches on in the morning and starts the coffee cycle. It’s a popular trope, but it’s also a real thing… so you have that to look forward to.
  • Proving peace of mind. Whether you’re across town or across the state, it’s not a great idea to advertise that you’re not home at night. Your smart switches and plugs can be programmed to flip on and off at different times to make it appear that you’re just hanging around the house.
  • Conserving resources. Believe it or not, a lot of homeowners find that they save a lot of energy with smart plugs. The better units have use reporting built in, all you have to do is check your app to see which ones are using up the most juice. Create a schedule for those plugs, then check your usage again in a few months. Adjust the whole thing as necessary.
  • Creating a safer indoor environment. Are you the kind of person who doesn’t like to walk into a dark house, even when it’s yours? Then smart switches and outlets should definitely be on your shopping list. You can turn all the lights in the house on when you pull into your subdivision or driveway, making it clear that you’re home, in case any ghouls (or burglars) happen to be lurking.
  • Assisting people with handicaps. You may not need the help now, but even a debilitating sports injury can be enough to make you want to scream when you forget to turn a light on or off and are already across the room. For people who are permanently disabled, that’s an every day event. Today with the help of Siri, Alexa and Google Home Assistant, all anyone needs to do is shout, “Siri, turn off the kitchen lights!” and it’s a done deal.

Those little almost-invisible switches and outlets are pretty busy, looks like. They’re also an inexpensive way to jumpstart your smart home transformation. For example, if you wanted a way to turn your bedroom’s ceiling fan light off at night, you would save a bundle to install a smart switch versus using smart light bulbs and the switch won’t burn out any time soon, so bonus!

Ready to Make a Move Toward a Smarter Home?

Even if you have an older home, you can start transforming it into a smart home with switches and outlets. Every home and family will have different needs that a smart home can service, but due to the dizzying array of equipment out there, it can help to speak to a home pro about your plans. Not sure where to find one? Start in your own backyard with HomeKeepr. Your real estate agent can recommend a smart home consultant or installer to help you pick the right bits and pieces to build the perfect, smartest home on the block.

Homeowners Associations

For everyone out there looking at homes right now, there are three little letters that could make or break your purchase decision. They are “H,” “O” and “A.” Three of the most frightening letters of the alphabet, imposed over the largest purchase you’ll ever make — it’s a recipe for high anxiety.

But not every Homeowners Association is the nightmare that many home buyers imagine. As long as you do your homework and know exactly what you’re getting into, your HOA may be the best decision you ever made.

Homeowners Associations, Maintenance and Uniformity

HOAs are often part of life for condo, townhouse and some single family homeowners. They’re not all good and they’re not all bad. Their purpose in this modern world is to maintain a sort of uniformity and authority that can not only help neighbors deal with disputes, but help the neighborhood as a whole keep a nice, shiny reputation.

When it comes to attached homes, like condos and townhouses, the HOAs also maintain the exteriors of buildings, including roofing, and common areas, like lawns. Single family HOAs often provide amenities like pools and common buildings that can be used for parties. The more the HOA does, the more the fees will be. And sometimes there will be fees even if they don’t do much.

Homeowners Associations Versus Neighborhood Associations

Another point to clarify is that there is a difference between a neighborhood association and a homeowners association. Neighborhood associations are voluntary, generally have very low fees for membership and do not run with the land. That means that you can buy a house where the former owner was part of the neighborhood association, but decline to be a member yourself.

On the other hand, if you buy a home that’s part of a homeowners association, the covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs) run with the land itself. So, you buy the land (usually with a house on it) and at closing sign that you agree to the HOA’s rules. You can only change those by being an active part of the association itself and going through the process it takes to allow RV parking in the front yard or whatever it is that you really want to do.

Is an HOA For You?

It’s really hard to know if you’re going to get along in an HOA-controlled neighborhood without taking a long hard look at those CC&Rs. They vary widely, just like the people who live in different neighborhoods. Even if you find a home that you absolutely love, don’t sign a thing until you’ve seen the CC&Rs and gone over them with your real estate agent. You will be living under those rules for a while, make sure you can accept that.

While it would be fun to have a pool you don’t have to clean, sometimes you have to be realistic and say, “These rules just aren’t for me or my lifestyle.”

But, sometimes those rules are really practical and make a lot of sense. For example, some might state that your grass has to be kept under six inches high. Great rule, this practice reduces animal and insect problems by removing cover.

Others might say you can’t have a clothesline or a fence, which might be a total deal-breaker for you. There is often an appeal process, but if that clothesline is a big enough issue, don’t risk it. There are plenty of houses in the sea.

Don’t Forget, HOA Fees Are Included in Your DTI

Last, but not least, remember that HOA fees will be included in your debt to income calculation. So, if you are just barely able to afford that lovely home, the monthly fees may make your lender give you the red light. This is an important item to check when you’re investigating the other terms of the HOA.

You can expect them to run anywhere from a few hundred to over a thousand dollars a month. Definitely something you want to be sure about before committing. Would you rather have that much more in home, or in amenities?

Already in Love With the Idea of a Home In an HOA?

If you and your real estate agent have taken the time to investigate the HOA and the CC&Rs and you’re still good to go, write that contract! Make that home yours and know that the rules will help to maintain home standards, even if they can be a bit draconian at times.

Making “Neighborhood Targeting” Work for You

Imagine if you dreamed of owning a special limited-edition vehicle. What would you do to ensure that your dream vehicle would someday be parked in your driveway – with your name on the ownership papers?

You would probably start by doing some research. You’d find out how much that vehicle would cost, what features are available, and so forth. You would likely visit a local dealership and take a test drive if a model is available on site. You would keep an eye on the market for any that come up and let the dealer know you’re looking for just that car. If you did, then, someday, you’d probably be the proud owner of the limited-edition car of your dreams.

What does this have to do with real estate?

Well, you can take the same approach when there’s a neighborhood you’d love to live in someday. You can target it, learn what homes typically cost in that area, and keep your eye on that market in case a property becomes available that meets your criteria.

By focusing on a specific neighborhood, you increase your chances of someday living there, simply because you’re focusing on it.

Of course, neighborhood targeting isn’t as simple as aiming to own a specific car someday. That’s why you need someone like me who can keep an eye on that neighborhood on your behalf, and alert you to opportunities that become available.

Then, if a listing that’s a good fit comes on the market, you can decide whether or not to make a move.

Is there a dream neighborhood you’d like to live in some day? Call today to start making it happen.

Photo by Artur Matosyan on Unsplash

Light Your Way to a Faster Sale

Remember the last time you visited an upscale furniture showroom? The furniture and fixtures on display probably looked great. The colors and textures jumped out at you. It was a feast for the eyes!

There is a good reason why: Lighting.

Of course, the quality of the products has a lot to do with how appealing they look when on display. But smart retailers know that proper lighting is key to making those products look their best. In fact, some retailers even hire lighting consultants!

What does this have to do with selling your home quickly, and for the best price?

Obviously, when showing your property to potential buyers, you want your home to look its very best. Proper lighting can be a big help.

When preparing your home for sale, review the lighting in each room and make sure the space is sufficiently well lit. You want the lighting to be strong enough to prevent dark or shadowy areas, yet not so strong that it’s uncomfortable for the eyes.

Pay particular attention to traditionally dark areas, such as the garage and closets. Make sure those areas are bright too.

If you have a viewing scheduled during the day, take advantage of natural light through windows. Open the curtains!

Finally, one of the most important areas is the foyer. Always make sure the entrance has sufficient lighting.

Want more ideas for preparing your home for sale? Call today.

Photo by Pierre Châtel-Innocenti on Unsplash

4 Ways to Make the Home Hunting Process Easier

Shopping for a new home can be intimidating. With so many things to do and think about, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are some good tips for making the home hunting process a lot easier and much less stressful.

1. Get your mortgage arranged in advance.

You don’t want to find the ideal home on the market, only to face problems arranging a suitable mortgage. You might end up losing the opportunity. So, make mortgage arrangements in advance by getting “pre-approved”. With that pre-approval, you can shop for a new home with confidence.

2. Clearly define the kind of home you want, and the neighborhood you want to live in.

You can’t view every home that’s on the market. If you try, you’ll burn yourself out! So, write down a clear description of the kind of home you want. How many bedrooms? Big kitchen? Pool?

Don’t forget to include the neighborhood. Upscale? Close to downtown? Lots of trees and parks? Urban and close to shopping and theaters?

With this information, we can quickly create a shortlist of properties that meet your criteria.

3. Take good notes.

After viewing a few homes, you may easily start to forget the details. Was it the first property that had the large elm tree in the backyard or was that the fourth property you saw? If you take good notes, you’ll be better able to make decisions later on about which homes to shortlist.

4. Take care of yourself, and your family.

Eat right. Pace yourself. Don’t try to view too many homes in one evening or on one Saturday afternoon.

Want more ideas for finding the perfect home? Call today!