Read on for the latest news in real estate in Wayne Nebraska and the surrounding communities as well as useful tips for buying and selling your home. Bonus features include a look into the good, the bad, and the ugly of homeownership as shared by blog author, homeowner, property manager, and real estate broker, Trisha Peters.
Welcome Home.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Baby Steps

As we roll into the summer buying and selling season, anxieties are running high.  Severe storms have threatened the area, homes need to get sold so others can be purchased, and a new batch of professionals are moving into town seeking quality rental housing that is in short supply.  As the area battened down the hatches on Tuesday in anticipation of powerful thunderstorms, two home sellers were biting their nails in other parts of the country as the storms raced towards Wayne.  Time moved in slow motion for those sellers.  They were waiting for word that the closings on their homes had officially happened before any storm damage occurred.  On the flip side, two very nervous buyers were accepting the keys to properties that were now their sole responsibility just hours and minutes before the storm hit.  Every other property owner in town was holding his/her breath and hoping the reports of golf ball sized hail were mere exaggerations.  Luckily, Wayne was spared the brunt of the damage.  Our homes, businesses, and personal property are all intact and we are thankful.  Baby steps.

I say baby steps because everything we go through in life, whether it's a storm, buying or selling a home or, quite literally, having a baby, needs a little perspective some days.  In an age of instant answers, we expect fast and accurate results in everything we do, see, and hear.  We expect the weatherman to predict the storm pattern.  We expect to be able to move in to a home or move on from it within our planned timeline. And, we expect past results to predict future performance.  The thing of it is that sometimes the things that don't go as expected are destined to help us experience something else we would have otherwise missed.  Baby steps.

Baby steps.  Had it not been for the storm, I would have missed my son's first steps.  My husband would have missed them, too.  And those would have been some big steps to miss.  The storm brought my husband and me home quite a bit earlier than usual on Tuesday.  We ate supper earlier than usual, and we were glued to the television watching storm coverage at a time of the evening when we are both usually still working on a project.  And then it happened...baby steps.  Right there between storm coverage and an evening treat of caramel popcorn.  Right there between the recliner where dad was sitting and the couch where mom was sitting.  Baby steps.  The storm that brought grumbles from both of us for bringing unexpected changes to our typically well planned day had also given us this wonderful opportunity.  Baby steps.

That very important moment in our lives opened my eyes to how and why things happen the way they do.  Just like the other events in our lives, home buying and selling is a step by step process that is often carefully planned and calculated just like two tiny feet plodding a three foot distance between living room furniture.  Some homes sell quickly, others take months and even years to sell.  Often times, there is little or no explanation as to why a perfectly sound home takes so long to sell with the exception that the right buyer has not seen the potential that home holds.  And maybe the reason is that the time just isn't right yet for it to happen.  Perhaps you might miss out on something else wonderful that would have otherwise been missed if it had sold immediately.  The baby steps we take to buy or sell a home are for a reason.  We don't always know it at the time, but eventually the reason becomes clear. 

If you feel like you are taking baby steps at this time, don't be alarmed and don't get too anxious.  The spring and summer months are an exceptional time to buy or sell a home, and if you move too quickly, you might just miss out on something wonderful.  Welcome Home.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Inspection vs. Appraisal

If you are in the market to buy a home, you are probably being bombarded with words like "inspection," "appraisal," "prequalification," "assessed value," or "contingency."  But what do they all mean?  People keep spouting them off at you like you buy a home every other day, so just keep nodding your head like you understand what's going on, right?  Buying a home can be very confusing!  Today, I want to focus on two terms that often get misunderstood by buyers when purchasing a home:  home inspection and appraisal.

I have heard the terms "inspection" and "appraisal" used synonymously on numerous occasions.  These two items are very different things.  As discussed in my last post entitled Home Inspections, an inspection is designed to find major defects associated with a home.  A certified home inspector or trusted contractor will perform this task (no license required).  An inspection is also a voluntary part of a home purchase.  Contrary to popular belief, home inspections are not mandatory in the State of Nebraska.  If a buyer elects to purchase a home "as is" (in its current condition) without an inspection, that decision is perfectly acceptable.

In contrast, an appraisal is performed by a licensed appraiser for purposes of securing a loan.  The appraiser is hired by your lender to review the property and determine a fair market value.  The purpose of the appraisal is to support or reject the sales price of the property to guarantee that your lender is making a safe investment in lending you money.  The appraised value is a reliable tool for determining the true market value of your property.  An appraisal is typically a mandatory part of a home purchase, especially if the buyer is securing a loan through a bank or similar financial institution.  Although an appraiser will visually examine the property, he/she is typically not qualified to make a determination about the structural soundness of the property.  An appraiser may comment on specific items of concern in the appraisal report because of the influence they have on the value of the property.  However, he/she will also note that a qualified inspection should be performed for items in question.

One important characteristic that a home inspector and an appraiser should have in common is that neither one should be affiliated with the property or the sale of the real estate in any way.  Appraisers and inspectors should always provide you with an independent, unbiased opinion of the real estate condition or value.



The main differences between inspections and appraisals are as follows:

Inspections...
1.  Do not require a licensed inspector
2.  Are a voluntary part of the transaction
3.  Determine the structural or mechanical soundness of components in the home
4.  Are ordered or arranged for by the home buyer

Appraisals...
1.  Require a State licensed appraiser
2.  Are typically mandatory for all transactions requiring a loan
3.  Determine the fair market value of real estate
4.  Are ordered or arranged for by the lending institution

For additional information on inspections, appraisals, and everything else in between, contact me, Trisha Peters, at tpeters@1strealtysales.com or (402) 375-1477.  I can help you find the answers and the home you have been seeking!  Welcome Home.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Home Inspections

As we approach the busy spring buying and selling season, it is necessary to touch on an important topic. Most of us have heard or found out first hand that the purchase of a home will be the most expensive purchase we make in our entire lifetime.  According to the National Association of Home Builders (2014), the average buyer will stay in a home for 13 years.  With so much at stake, why do we tend to leave so much to chance?  Many buyers are now opting for a standard home inspection as part of their purchase to ensure that the home they are purchasing is structurally and mechanically sound.  The average home inspector will look for a variety of issues ranging from water leaks and burned out light bulbs to foundation cracks and other structural issues.

There are certain things to look for when selecting a home inspector.  As with any profession, an inspector with years of experience is a plus.  You might want to ask for a resume highlighting his/her experience level, education, training, and references from past customers to determine the inspector's qualifications.  Many states do not require home inspectors to be licensed.  This means that they are not governed by any laws or regulations in regard to the performance of their duties, and they have little or no training in their field.  And, you're going to let this person look at the biggest investment of your life?  Scary, right?

Here's what you can do to ensure your inspector is qualified:

1.  Locate an inspector who is a member of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) or the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI).  Members of those organizations are subject to a code of ethics for certified home inspectors.  ASHI's guidelines have been established as the industry standard and include the following areas of inspection:  structure, extriors, roofing, plumbing, electrical, heating, air conditioning, interiors, ventilation, and fireplaces (you can visit www.ashi.org or www.nachi.org for additional details or to locate a certified home inspector).

2.  Sometimes a certified home inspector is hard to come by in a small community or maybe you are only looking for certain areas of the home to be inspected (i.e. plumbing or HVAC).  If you're options are limited, try contacting local contractors with a reputation for being fair and honest about repairs that need to be done.  Friends and family can often point you in the direction of a reliable contractor who can provide feedback on the integrity of a structure and its components.

3.  Ask your real estate agent for a list of local experts in the area.  He/she can recommend a variety of inspectors or contractors to get you started.  You should always take the time to contact the people on the list to make sure you are comfortable with them and their level of experience before hiring them to do an inspection.  

4.  Make sure your inspector is bonded and insured.  An inspector who has taken these measures has already taken steps to ensure the buyer and seller are better protected.

Homebuyers are typically encouraged to accompany their inspectors during an inspection so you can ask questions and ensure the inspector is taking the time to look over the components of the home carefully.  Try not to be distracting to the home inspector as he/she may miss items if you try to engage in friendly banter throughout the inspection.  However, don't be afraid to question certain comments or items that are brought to your attention.  Be aware that home inspectors are simply required to "observe" certain items according to the accepted industry standards.  This might mean that your inspector "observes" the roof on the home you are buying from the ground.  Without climbing on the roof, they might not be able to see certain areas of damage that an up close inspection would uncover (Scherzer & Andrews, 2014). 

Although home inspections are designed to find most of the major defects associated with a home purchase, they are often delivered with a disclaimer that the property is inspected to the best of the inspector's ability under the conditions of the inspection.  Keep in mind that purchasing a home in the winter might not allow for a thorough exterior inspection since snow and ice can prevent inspectors from seeing certain defects.  Likewise, if large amounts of personal property are blocking an inspector's view of certain components of a home, the inspector may note that items were blocking his/her view, therefore it was impossible to inspect that portion of the home.  There are certain remedies to help you achieve better results, however, every circumstance is different. 

Inspections are most often performed once a home is under a purchase agreement.  So, what happens if the inspector finds serious defects with a home and you have already agreed to a price?  Most generally, the contract is contingent on a "satisfactory" home inspection.  This means that the contract can be amended to accommodate for repairs or improvements as deemed necessary by the home inspector.  Often times, a buyer and seller might also seek a second opinion on items of specific concern.  The results of every inspection are handled on a case by case basis once the inspection is received.

As you can see, a home inspection can be a very involved process.  It can be difficult to dive into these issues on your own, so trust the advice of a real estate professional to help guide you through the process.  Feel free to contact me at (402) 375-1477 with any questions you might have regarding a home inspection for your next home purchase.  Welcome Home.


 Sources

Emrath, P.  March 4, 2014.  "Latest Calculations Show Average Buyer Expected to Stay in a Home 13 Years."  National Association of Home Builders.  
https://www.nahb.org/generic.aspx?sectionID=734&genericContentID=194717&channelID=311

March 4, 2014.  American Society of Home Inspectors.  https://www.ashi.org

March 4, 2014.  International Association of Certified Home Inspectors.  https://www.nachi.org

Scherzer, L. & Andrews, M.  March 4, 2014. "Ten Things Home Inspectors Won't Say." http://realestate.msn.com/article.aspx?cp-documentid=24197463

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Attitude Adjustment

Raise your hand if you've been in a winter funk.  We are well into the long stretch of winter that remains before a sustained spring thaw, and all I can say is thank goodness for the warmer temps this week!  A day like today can really work wonders one's attitude and outlook.  I was getting to a point where I didn't know how much more subzero weather I could tolerate. It's depressing.  However, I am thankful that we haven't been getting the snow and ice our counterparts in the eastern part of the country are experiencing. Things could be worse.

Like me, most of you are probably getting spring fever.  It's that itch to hop in the car and go somewhere or at least to get outside and breathe the fresh air.  If showing houses doesn't give me an excuse for getting out of the office on days like today, I make my own.  You might see me at Dollar General with both arms full of office supplies because I've been procrastinating a trip to the west edge of town since they moved the store from its convenient location across the street.  Maybe I'll to run into you at the post office, or you just might catch me at the car wash polishing my wheels.  Anything for a few brief moments outside!  So, I'm begging you. Let's go look at some houses before the frigid cold settles in again!

We do have quite a few homes to see right now.  All kinds, shapes, colors and sizes are currently available from cozy ranches to 2-story cottages and low-maintenance townhouses.  If you can't find something that fits your needs today, just wait as we enter into March and April when listings typically sprout up overnight.  Remember, we are still in the throes of winter for another month or so (and I'm counting down the days until spring!)  In the meantime, check out these recent listings to see if there is something on the market that might tickle your fancy during this February thaw:

311 East 9th Street - Beautiful hardwood floors, remodeled bath, main level laundry


302 East 7th Street - 3-stories of living space, remodeled in 2000

1011 Sunnyview Drive - Cute home, 3-bedrooms, appliances included

212 East 8th Street - beautiful archways, sunroom, and remodeled kitchen

1226 5th Road, Wisner - private acreage with house, grove, and many outbuildings

819 Lincoln Street - Adorable cottage-style home, 3-bedrooms, Bressler Park view!



























If you are buying or selling, contact me at 1st Realty to for help with your housing needs this spring.  Or, if you see me out and about playing hooky on these nice days, don't hesitate to stop and visit about the local housing market.  Getting into a new home or out of your existing one can do as much good for your attitude as the weather!  Welcome Home!

tpeters@1strealtysales.com                     
Office:  (402) 375-1477                     
Cell:  (402) 518-0675     

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Remodeling...Again.

It's official. My husband and I have not celebrated a New Year yet without having some sort of major home remodeling project in the works.  We ended 2013 with the joy of replacing our 13 month old water heater which unexpectedly started leaking right after Christmas.  If you remember, in November of 2012, we switched out the old-as-the-house-gas-hog for a more efficient electric model.  Guess they just don't make 'em like they used to!  We rang in the New Year in style by prepping for new windows and doors which were installed last week.  No more draft coming in under the front door (and judging by the amount of dust coating our living room furnishings, the saws-all must have let that door know who's boss), no more frozen midnight toilet seat from the draft in the bathroom, and no more curtains blowing in the south wind.  At least we didn't end up replacing windows on the coldest day of the year thus far!  Our new energy efficient, argon filled, double paned windows were certainly put to the test this week.  So far so good.  This year's resolution is to not have any more projects in the works by 2015 (yeah, right)!

Many of you have also probably made some resolutions of your own.  I'm hoping a few of you have set a goal to buy or sell a home this year.  Even though it is cold outside, now is a great time to buy and/or sell.  Sellers are  motivated to get their homes sold this time of year.  As mentioned in a previous post, fewer buyers are in the market for homes during the long winter stretch from January to March.  This motivates sellers to strongly consider any and all offers.  However, you have probably noticed that housing inventory is low as we start out the new year.  This means that those of you on the fence about listing your home until the weather warms up also have less competition right now.  This increases your odds of selling in a shorter period of time and commanding a higher price for your home.  We have buyers waiting anxiously for new listings, and now is the time to get your house in front of them while those resolutions are still fresh in their minds.

Let me help you keep your New Year's resolution to buy or sell a home in 2014.  Contact me at 1st Realty by calling (402) 375-1477 or e-mailing tpeters@1strealtysales.com to get the inside track to our new listings.  Cheers to a wonderful year ahead!  Welcome Home.