Tina McManus' Blog
Once you sign a purchase agreement, whether you are the buyer or seller, it is very difficult to back out of it. However, as a buyer, you are able to back out if your real estate agent drafts the contract properly. Real estate agents use a standard contract. That does not mean that you have to accept the contract as it is written. You, as a buyer or seller, may make amendments to the contract. If you do make amendments, don’t get so crazy that the other party will file it in the round file.
Almost every real estate contract you see will have exceptions. In most cases, the buyer or seller has to add the exceptions. An exception is a condition that the buyer or seller has to meet. If the buyer or seller cannot meet that condition, the contract gets canceled and the buyer gets their earnest money back. Some examples of exceptions include:
Pending the buyer’s ability to obtain financing;
Pending a termite inspection;
Pending a home inspection; or
Pending clear title.
These are the most common exceptions, though buyers and sellers are not limited to only these. As for home inspections, buyers and sellers often negotiate repairs. If the repairs are significant, the buyer may ask the seller to grant a credit or to make the repair to keep the contract. If the seller refuses and the home inspection is listed as an exception, the buyer may back out and get their earnest money back.
Natural Disasters and Accidents
If Mother Nature rips down the house with a tornado or does extensive damage with a hurricane, the buyer may choose to back out of the contract without forfeiting their earnest money. If a fire burns the house down, whether it’s a forest fire or arson, the buyer may back out, as long as the buyer had no hand in the arson crime.
Other reasons a buyer may back out without forfeiting their earnest money include:
Extensive damage by trespassers;
If the buyer finds that the house is full of mold;
If the buyer finds that the seller did not disclose that the house had lead paint or asbestos.
Some contracts are written so that the buyer cannot back out because the seller did not disclose lead paint or asbestos. It is up to the buyer to ensure the clause in the contract is written so that they may back out of the contract. In fact, if asbestos or lead paint is a major concern for the buyer and the house is older, they may want to add that as an exception.
Always read real estate contracts carefully, including disclosures made by the seller. Amend the contract with exceptions if you are concerned about anything that may devalue the property.
Housing design has undergone significant changes in the past few decades, with open concepts and flexible living arrangements quickly taking over. Such designs reflect, in part, the increased prevalence of multi-generational families, in which family members of all ages live together.
Why Today's Residents Love Multi-Generational Arrangements
During the Great Recession, the rise of multi-generational living largely stemmed from financial concerns. For years, young adults simply couldn't afford to move out. That has since changed, with low unemployment rates and a fast-paced housing market encouraging young buyers to invest in condominiums, townhouses, and single-family homes.
Despite recent housing developments, many young people still prefer to reside with close family members for purposes of convenience or family togetherness. This is particularly prominent in communities in which cultural norms dictate that young adults will continue to live with their elders long after they have completed their schooling, secured jobs, and even established long-term relationships or had children of their own. The close connections fostered by multi-generational arrangements are not nearly as easy to replicate elsewhere.
What to Look For in Multi-Generational Homes
There's a lot to love about multi-generational living, but such arrangements can feel stifling in the wrong setting. Some houses simply aren't designed to accommodate anything beyond the nuclear family. Thankfully, creative construction is on the rise, with flexible solutions available to help families make the most of once unconventional setups. Key features worth seeking include:
The Opportunity for Privacy
Young adults often venture out on their own simply because they lack privacy. The right structures, however, can resolve this issue by emphasizing private spaces. For example, instead of including one master bedroom and several smaller rooms, such homes may feature multiple master bedrooms. Suites that resemble mini-apartments are even better, as they allow residents to spend entire days in private spaces if desired.
Plenty of Communal Spaces
While privacy is critical in multi-generational homes, communal spaces are just as important. Families should enjoy the opportunity to regularly spend time together. Communal dining spaces, in particular, make it easy to build close connections in a festive atmosphere. Open concept communal spaces are especially popular, as they provide an open feel while also offering flexible space that can be adapted to accommodate evolving needs.
Addressing the Concerns of Several Age Groups
Today, the very homes that require extensive baby-proofing may also need accessible features that enhance mobility for seniors. While not necessarily incompatible, these considerations can be difficult to incorporate in the same space. Universal design principles such as level-entry showers and single-story homes make life easier for residents of all ages.
Today's diverse families and housing preferences call for a broader range of housing options. Cleverly designed multi-generational homes provide an excellent opportunity to accommodate a close-knit and valuable living arrangement that will only continue to grow in prevalence in years to come.
It's easy to believe you don't have much leverage if you're getting ready to buy in a seller's market. Unfortunately, that sense of frustration can result in desperation, which can ultimately lead to overpaying on a home. Before you accept your fate, consider how you may have more power than you think.
Being an early bird in a seller's market is a must, and this is especially true if you run up against a unique situation. For example, let's say a homeowner gets a particularly lucrative job offer. The only catch is that they need to move overseas in just a few weeks. In this case, a seller is going to be motivated by more than just the best offer. They want to see a buyer who can be flexible with their move-in date. If you can speed up the process, you can get the leverage in a seller's market.
Prove Your Reliability
The seller will always look for someone with extremely reliable funding sources because no one wants to deal with the hassle of a lender pulling out at the last minute. When you're negotiating, it doesn't hurt to point out that you're a sure bet in more ways than one. This can encourage a seller to accept less than what they would have received if they'd accepted an offer from someone with a weaker financial history.
Anticipate the Worst
While you do have some degree of control here, you should also be ready for equally prepared competition. Study the terms of the seller to ensure that your offer is made on time and your conditions are stated upfront. Make sure all your supplemental paperwork is airtight and ready to be processed. You can also consider limiting the number of contingencies you have. In a buyer's market, you can ask for the seller to update the plumbing or dismantle the shed. But in a seller's market, you might want to hold back some of your requests.
Watch Your Back
Buyers may need to be more accommodating to sellers if they want to secure a home in a certain neighborhood, but there needs to be boundaries on bending too far backward. There are still money pits out there, even in prime seller's markets. Unsafe structures, dangerous grounds, and changing zoning laws can all be overlooked by an eager buyer in the heat of the moment. That's why it's so important to strike the right balance.
When it comes to negotiating in any market, a real estate agent is usually the best place to start to hone in on the right tactics. They make it easier to spot the properties and sellers who deserve the effort.
The homebuying process can be stressful, particularly for those who are purchasing a house for the first time. From the time it takes to find your "dream" home to the final closing, there may be many hurdles that you'll need to overcome to secure your ideal home. As such, it sometimes can be difficult for a first-time homebuyer to maintain a positive outlook during the most challenging times.
Lucky for you, we're here to help you remain calm, cool and collected throughout the entire homebuying cycle.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help first-time homebuyers maintain a positive outlook at each stage of the homebuying journey:
1. Establish Realistic Expectations
Although first-time homebuyers would like to believe the property buying journey will be quick and seamless, it is important to realize that problems can arise without notice. However, homebuyers who understand the ins and outs of purchasing a house should have no trouble identifying potential issues and minimizing their impact.
For example, a homebuyer who defines his or her ideal residence can narrow a home search accordingly. This homebuyer also will be able to check out a variety of houses based on assorted property buying criteria and boost his or her chances of discovering the perfect residence without delay.
A homebuyer who establishes realistic expectations will be ready for the worst-case scenarios too. And if this homebuyer submits an offer to purchase a home that ultimately gets rejected, he or she will remain confident and be ready to restart the homebuying cycle from stage one.
2. Become an Informed Homebuyer
A first-time homebuyer who learns about the housing market can improve his or her chances of getting the best possible results.
Allocating the necessary time and resources to understand the differences between a buyer's market and a seller's market, for instance, can make a world of difference for any homebuyer, at any time.
Furthermore, an informed homebuyer may be more likely than others to get pre-approved for a mortgage. With a mortgage in hand, this property buyer can set a budget for his or her home search and increase the likelihood of securing a terrific house at an affordable price.
3. Work with a Real Estate Agent
When it comes to purchasing a home for the first time, why should a homebuyer leave anything to chance? Instead, a homebuyer can work with a real estate agent to reduce the risk of potential pitfalls throughout the homebuying cycle.
A real estate agent is happy to respond to a homebuyer's concerns and questions as the property buying journey progresses. This housing market professional will even help a homebuyer maintain a positive outlook, regardless of what happens. That way, a real estate agent can assist a homebuyer through both good times and bad and ensure a property buyer can purchase a first-rate house that matches or exceeds his or her expectations.
Take advantage of these tips, and any first-time homebuyer can keep things positive at each stage of the homebuying cycle.
Baby Boomers remain the single largest demographic, and their transition into retirement age continues to change the senior living landscape. At more than 74 million strong, this generation will completely cross the retirement age threshold in the next decade, and 52 million Americans are already enjoying their golden years. That being said, the quality of life needs impacting our valued elders are likely to shake up the status quo going forward. These are senior living trends that are expected to unfold in 2020.
1: Location Matters
Today’s health and wellness conscious seniors are living more energetic lifestyles. With that in mind, retirement communities are increasingly being developed in close proximity to robust shopping, dining, and cultural arts facilities. Gated communities that offer amenities such as health and fitness centers, recreational spaces, and public transportation for day trips are enticing places for seniors seeking improved quality of life.
2: Embracing Technology
It wasn’t many years ago that the complexities of emerging technologies limited their usefulness to Baby Boomers and older generations. But innovation has all but eliminated the user unfriendliness of those early desktops and hand-held devices. Seniors are increasingly pleased with Smart-home technologies that are voice operated, such as the friendly Alexa. Beyond controlling lights, televisions, and other home items via voice command, tech gadgets are topping lifestyle wish lists.
3: Fifty-Five & Older Communities Prove Desirable in 2020
The 2019 housing market saw modestly inflated single-family listing prices. That was largely due to low inventory and fierce competition between downsizing Baby Boomers and upstart Millennials. The latter struggled through some economic adversity, such as student loan debt, that caused them to buy starter homes a tad later than previous generations. A log jam between the two groups over smaller homes has developers creating more 55-and-older communities that eliminate competition of younger homebuyers.
4: Aging in Place is a Thing
While some aging parents and grandparents opt to downsize, buy into communities with other seniors, or move into assisted living facilities, many are determined to remain in their family home. The priceless memories of holiday gatherings and children’s first steps are not worth trading. Aging in place continues to trend among independent-minded seniors, and family members may want to consider augmenting this lifestyle rather than try to persuade mom or dad to relocate.
Support systems such as community groups, volunteerism, and having a visiting nurse check-in on parents and grandparents are more likely to enhance the quality of daily living. It may seem logical to children and grandchildren to have your elders come live with you. However, it’s essential to respect their independence.
5: Isolation Issues
It would be something of an understatement to say that our valued elders enjoy an independent spirit. As admirable as that sense of self-determination may be, the loss of a spouse or community members tend to reduce the human interactions our elders have on a daily basis. Isolation can be the downside to independence, and it’s up to friends and family members to maintain the communication channels open.
It’s worthwhile to set up group texts and emails to make sure loved ones consistently visit. Getting involved with pastimes such as going to sporting events and impromptu family get-togethers can go a long way to reduce feelings of isolation.