Real Estate Information Archive


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Why You Should List Your House Today!

by Susan Johnson and Associates

The #1 Reason to List Your House Today!

The #1 Reason to List Your House Today! | MyKCM

Many people believe that selling their house during “the spring buyers’ market” is the best thing to do. Their reasoning is that there will be more buyers than there are during the winter months and, therefore, their house will sell quicker and for a higher price.

Historically, this made sense. However, today’s real estate market is not following the rules of the past.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) measures buyer “foot traffic” each month. It receives data on the number of properties shown to a prospective purchaser by a Realtor® (based on the number of lockboxes used). The data reveals the number of buyers out actively looking for a home, not just window shopping on the internet. NAR explains:

“Foot traffic has a strong correlation with future contracts and home sales, so it can be viewed as a peek ahead at sales trends two to three months into the future.”

According to the latest Foot Traffic Report, buyer traffic is greater now than it was during this year’s spring market and there are more buyers out now than at any other time in the last five years (March of 2012).

The chart below shows that buyer activity over the last three months (blue bars) was greater than it was during this past spring market (green bars).

The #1 Reason to List Your House Today! | MyKCM

Bottom Line

If you are waiting for next spring to list your home because you think that’s when the buyers will be out in force, perhaps you should reconsider. Buyers are out right now!

What You Need To Know About Property Disclosures

by Susan Johnson and Associates

Understanding Property Disclosures

Property disclosures are key details in the selling and buying of real estate and so it is important that we understand these before we enter the market.

Seller’s Disclosure

If a seller of a property knows of any defect to the condition of their property, they are required to disclose this information to a buyer. This is a formal document called the “Seller’s Disclosure”. A seller of a residence needs to make sure that every known defect to their property is included in this disclosure. A buyer has the right to make the seller take back a property if any defect is not disclosed to the buyer. Therefore a seller needs to take this document seriously.

Once a Seller’s Disclosure has been drawn up by realtor together with the seller, the buyer will have time to read through and query any information. The buyer will then initial each page as proof that they have acknowledged these defects. As a seller of a property, it is therefore also wise to make sure that you have a copy of this disclosure with the initials of the buyer prior to the purchase of your property.

A Seller’s Disclosure is a formal way of both the seller and the buyer having agreed to the condition of the residence before agreement to purchase.

Square Foot Disclosures

The area of a house or the “square footage” of a house is a very important detail to consider when selling or buying a property. The square footage of a house must be disclosed by the seller on an MLS. However, the measurement and presentation of square footage is not an exact science.  The space for the Square Foot Disclosure on an MLS might have an annotation next to it to indicate whether the square footage was determined by the “owner” or by the “appraisal district”.

Unfortunately, neither of these sources can be 100% trustworthy. The owner might simply be repeating what they were presented when buying the property and the appraisal district might have pulled the figure from various older sources. Therefore, a disclosure of the square footage of a house is not always accurate and a buyer should think about this detail when considering a property. As a buyer, if you are not happy with the square foot disclosure, you may ask the seller to make an appointment to measure the floor space yourself. It is not inappropriate to do this. However, a knowledgeable realtor should have a good idea whether the Square Foot Disclosure seems accurate or not and this might not be necessary.

In summary, do not take the Square Foot Disclosure of a property lightly. Have the discussion about the accuracy of this figure with your agent prior to purchasing a property.

Year Built Disclosure

Like the Square Foot Disclosure, the Year Built Disclosure is not always accurate. It can be surprisingly difficult to determine exactly in which year a home was built. There are also no requirements that a seller provide a buyer with a documented disclosure about the exact year the residence was built. The year of construction can usually be found on the MLS but this might be another detail a buyer would want to check.

You could determine the year of construction by checking local government records. You could also chat to neighbors or talk to local housing or zoning officials about the year of construction. A Year Built Disclosure is therefore not a formal requirement by a seller. It is definitely information that a buyer would want to consider before purchasing a property and it may be worthwhile looking into this detail.

Lead Paint Disclosures

For the safety of occupants, the government requires the disclosure of lead based paint and potential lead paint hazards for sales and leases of older residences. If you are considering purchasing an older property, it is very important that the seller discloses information about lead paint or lead paint hazards to you.

A seller is required to give an EPA approved pamphlet with information that discloses the identification and control of lead based paint hazard. The seller must also provide a separate attachment with a warning statement that states that the seller has complied with government requirements. The attachment also discloses information about the condition of paint surfaces and includes records or reports of lead based paint. This document must be signed by the seller, buyer and realtors.

If you are considering buying an older home, it is very imperative that you and your realtor carefully consider the Lead Paint Disclosure. Set aside time to work through this as it is important to your wellbeing and the future investment you are about to make.

School Disclaimer

The quality of schools in an area could undoubtedly impact the value of your home. Therefore, school disclaimers on a property are key details to consider. As a buyer, you need to know to which potential schools your home is zoned to. There are no requirements that a seller need disclose this information to you, but it may be well worth the time to do this research. Initially you could check what the MLS document discloses. Often this is only a school district and not school names. The best information about school names comes from the school district itself and simply enough their websites should have all the information you need. You can download a current district map or see the future rezoning plans. Even if you do not have children, a home is an investment and the resale value of your home can be impacted by the quality of schools. If the seller discloses information to you about specific schools to which the house is zoned, rather do your own homework to confirm this information. Disclosing information about school zones is not the seller’s responsibility but could be an important factor for a potential buyer.

Deed Restrictions

A buyer may not be the only party with legal rights to a property. Deed Restrictions are important property disclosures that a buyer must consider. Deed Restrictions are using imposed by developers of an area which limit specific design elements to a home or certain activities in an area. These could range from the limited color of walls to the specification of trees that may be planted. Normally these restrictions are beneficial in the way that they ensure the high standard of quality in an area. This information must be disclosed in the Seller’s Disclosure and must be carefully considered when buying a home.

Zoning Restriction

Zoning restrictions are limitations put in place by government to protect consumers. These restrictions may include what land may be used for, what activities may or may not be performed in specific areas, or how land may be developed. For example, industrial development may be prohibited in a suburban neighborhood.

Sellers are not required to disclose this information to buyers. Buyers need to check with zoning officials about current restrictions and future restriction plans for the buyer’s target area. There might even be no restrictions in certain areas which could be problematic for an investment in a home.

Now that you understand more about property disclosures, you can enter the buying and selling of real estate more knowledgeably and confidently.

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Susan Johnson & Associates
Lake Norman | Real Estate | Susan Johnson Team
19721 Bethel Church Road
Cornelius NC 28031
Susan Johnson 704-651-9023
Fax: 704-439-2602

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