When filling out a rental application, you’re expected to provide the landlord with all kinds of personal information, including references, pay stubs and a credit check. In most cases, however, renters sign a lease without knowing much about the person they’re entering into a contract with.
Before committing to a lease, you should find out everything you can about your future landlord. Otherwise, you could end up with someone who doesn’t respond to urgent maintenance requests or who doesn’t treat tenants with fairness and respect.
Here are some precautions to take:
• Look for information online. Search the landlord’s name and the property address with words like “complaints,” “review,” “bedbugs” and “eviction.” With notorious landlords, you’ll often find numerous complaints about similar issues.
• Check public records. Public records of property ownership and court proceedings will reveal if a landlord has been linked to code violations, evictions, foreclosures or small claims court settlements. Most public registries can be accessed online.
• Talk to the neighbors. Ask other tenants about their experiences living in the area and whether they’ve had problems with the landlord. They may be willing to tell you things about the property the landlord doesn’t want you to know.
Above all, trust your instincts. If the price seems far too low or the landlord tries to rush you through the rental application process, it’s a good idea to keep looking.
Ask the Expert: Should I co-sign my kid’s mortgage?
As a parent, you would do anything for your child. But co-signing a mortgage is a major business decision, not just a family plan. I recommend you take the child out of the equation and think of the child as a borrower.
There are advantages for the borrower if you co-sign the mortgage. With you as co-signer, the borrower may qualify for a loan he or she wouldn’t otherwise get, whether it’s a larger amount or a better rate. Many people have legitimate reasons to seek out a co-signer, including those with the cash to pay the monthly payment but not much credit history. Many self-employed folks also can’t prove a steady source of income.
Ideally, the borrower would refinance to a loan in their own name in the not-too-distant future. In the meantime, if you are confident that the borrower has the ability to pay and can be counted on to pay on time, this could be a good option. You should make a written agreement with the borrower as to when he or she will refinance, what happens if the borrower doesn’t refinance, and what happens if the mortgage payment is not made. Then, you should stick to the agreement. Remember, that as a business decision, nothing is in this for you.
Risks – Beware the pitfalls. They include:
* You are a joint applicant for the loan with all the implications of taking a mortgage. A late payment is a penalty against you, not just the other borrower.
* Remember signing on a new mortgage affects your own debt-to-income ratio. If you need to refinance, you might not be able to do that.
* Ask yourself what would happen in the worst case scenario. If your risk is too high in the worst case, you might think again. If you’re aware of and comfortable with the risks, make sure you know the details and have read the fine print before getting yourself involved in this serious transaction.
* Consider whether the borrower can actually afford the home he or she wants to buy. If they had to use their own money and their own credit, could they qualify for this home? Using your name to buy bigger could be a bad start to this venture and a sign that things may not go well in the future. The ideal situation is that the borrower is realistic about his or her own circumstances.
Back to thinking of the borrower as a child for a second: Young people usually start out with a higher-interest mortgage and their credit standing improves over time. It’s a life thing. Nonetheless, there is nothing wrong with helping out the kids. Just don’t do it at the cost of your own financial well-being.
Warren County Market Report – June 2019
Watch this video for a quick summary of Warren County real estate for June 2019. Charts demonstrate the changes in the market, so be sure to click play!
In general summary:
- Pending Sales LARGE increase compared to this time last year. UP 31.7%
- Average Median Sold $249,900.
- Average Days on Market 76.
*If you would like a copy of this report emailed to you, please send request to Jennifer@nexthomerealtyselect.com.
Resource: 2019 Market Stats by ShowingTime
MRIS: Statistics calculated June 2019
Jennifer Avery, Realtor for NextHome Realty Select
“Your Happy Home Expert”
BPOR, SRS, CNE, E-Pro Certified | Licensed in VA
email@example.com | 540-683-0790
210 E Main Street, Front Royal VA
3 tips for winning a bidding war
Do you have your sights set on a particular home but aren’t the only one? If so, you may find yourself in a bidding war. Here are three tips for coming out on top.
1. Write a personal letter. Consider including a cover letter when you submit an offer. In it you can talk about why you’re attached to the home, what makes you a good buyer and why the seller should choose you.
This may tilt the odds in your favor, especially in circumstances where the home has sentimental value to the seller. It’s likely that they want to sell it to someone who’ll take good care of it.
2. Keep your offer clean. The highest offer doesn’t always win out in a multi-bid scenario. Sellers will often settle for a lower offer if it’s the “cleanest.” A clean offer is one that has preapproved financing and isn’t a conditional sale.
In the same vein, don’t be stingy with your deposit. A substantial payment shows that you mean business. Note that this money goes toward the down payment if you get the home and that you’ll be reimbursed if you don’t get it.
3. Be flexible about conditions. Making life easier for the seller will give you the advantage in a bidding war. Specifically, you may want to relax some of the conditions you’ve set.
For instance, you could consider dropping conditions such as cleaning up the yard, retiling a room or leaving certain appliances behind.
However, don’t waive conditions that protect you as a buyer, such as your home inspection contingency.
Finally, turn to your real estate agent for additional tips and strategies. You can bet that they’re battle-hardened when it comes to bidding wars. Good luck!
Agent etiquette: 3 rules for homebuyers
Your real estate agent is a key collaborator in finding a home. However, a good collaboration presupposes a good relationship. This is why maintaining correct etiquette in your dealings with your agent is essential. Here are three rules to stick to.
1. Be upfront with your agent
Be honest with your agent about what you’re looking for and what you can afford to pay. While it may be tempting to visit the more luxurious homes on offer, only do so if they’re within your price range and you’re truly interested. While such visits may be enjoyable for you, they represent time wasted for your agent.
2. Be selective with your visits
3. Be on time for showings
Preparing a showing requires a good deal of planning on the part of both the seller and your agent. Always be on time, and if you’re going to be late or need to reschedule, let your agent know as soon as possible.
While maintaining proper etiquette with your agent is worthwhile, it’s equally important to choose a real estate professional who’s courteous, respectful and honest. A harmonious relationship between agent and buyer requires both parties to be considerate.
Supply of housing sees increase
Good news for buyers who have been watching and waiting: the market is showing signs of increased supply and a potential cooling of prices. In other words, you may have more to choose from and better deals.
National inventory grew 4 percent year-over-year in April, while inventory in large markets grew 10 percent, according to a Realtor.com report. Much of that appears to be existing homes, as new construction figures were down this spring as compared to 2018.
In fact, the supply trend started in 2018 and carried over into 2019. The reasons are varied but could be due in part to a series of interest rate hikes that in turn affected mortgage rates (which are hovering near 4.5 percent) as well as factors like tariffs (which affect construction).
One caveat to the recent stories about increased supply and a cooling on bidding wars: it relates mainly to houses in the median ranges to higher price points. Realtor.com also reported that the number of homes $200,000 and under declined by 8 percent, continuing a year-over-year decline in starter homes. So buyers looking for something a bit more affordable may still be battling some competition.
Make sure your short-term rental unit is legal
These days, many people rent out their homes through companies like Airbnb and VRBO. While this can be a good way to make some extra money, it’s essential to make sure you don’t violate any laws or regulations.
If you’re a renter, you’ll need to check with your landlord before renting out your home on a short-term basis. Your lease may prohibit you from subletting. If you violate the terms of your lease, your landlord will have grounds to evict you. If your landlord agrees to let you provide short-term rentals, be sure to get this agreement in writing.
If you’re a homeowner who belongs to a homeowners’ association (HOA), it may be against the HOA’s rules to use your home for short-term rentals.
You also need to carefully research zone and land-use laws in your area before renting out your home. In many cities and towns, short-term rental hosting is restricted or prohibited. Violating these laws could result in exorbitant fines. You may also need to pay certain fees and taxes to your municipal government to ensure that your short-term rental unit is legal.