Newsletter: November 2019

Newsletter: November 2019

Fair Housing… Not Really

A recent 3-year study by Newsday uncovered discrimination by realtors who showed properties to testers who were posed as buyers. Paired testing occurs when the same realtor met first with a white buyer and then with a non-white buyer with the same financial profile and were shown different properties. Based on race testers/buyers were “steered” to different communities. It is illegal to steer the minority testers to the minority area and white testers to the white communities as well as requesting different financial conditions in order to show properties. This is in violation of the Fair Housing Act which is part of the 1968 Civil Rights Act. It is illegal to discriminate based on the basis of race, religion, creed, age, gender, ethnicity, national origin, age, source of income, disability, marriage status, being a family with children under 18 years of age, familial status, sexual orientation, citizenship or alienage status, victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse or stalking, partnership status and gender/gender identity/expression. It is illegal for realtors, advertisers, appraisers, bankers, home inspectors and anybody involved in the home buying process to discriminate. They must treat all buyers equally. This also applies to rentals, co-ops and condominiums.

A real estate professional is expected to treat everyone fairly and the same without bringing in their own biases. This means that we do not suggest that one community is more appropriate for a client over another or that they would be more “comfortable” in a particular part of a community. We have to allow our clients to choose where they want to live, not us. Furthermore discrimination is evident, although less obvious, with coops. Coop boards do not have to state why a prospectus buyer has been denied. Purchasing a coop is a function of economics and financial qualifications. It should not be whether a buyer ‘fits’ into their building. Recent changes suggest more transparency on part of the coop board. If a buyer or realtor suspects discrimination, then a report can be filed with the appropriate agency.

 

Getting Your Home Ready Before Winter!

Getting Your Home Ready Before Winter!

Here are 10 helpful tips to get your home ready for winter.

  1. Check your HVAC system and schedule a maintenance appointment. Make sure your air filter(s) have been cleaned and/or replaced.
  2. If you have wood trim or a wood deck make sure that it is treated & protected.
  3. Do you have a concrete patio? If so, please make the necessary mason re-repairs.
  4. Check your rain gutter downspouts. Any clogging and/or pooling water, you may want to add an extender piece so that the water pulls away from the home.
  5. Clean your gutters. Any sort of pile up of debris may cause problems during the winter months.
  6. If you have a chimney, have it cleaned and inspected before using your fireplace. Store your wood in a dry area.
  7. October is Fire Prevention Month. Test all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. If you have an alarm system, and it is hooked into your alarm system, ask your alarm company to run a test to make sure it is in working order. Each bedroom should have a smoke and carbon monoxide detector as well as on each floor.
  8. Turn off all outdoor water spouts. If you have a sprinkler system, make sure it’s winterized.
  9. Check your trees to confirm they are healthy. If you are unsure if a tree is healthy, call out a licensed arborist. Trim back limbs away from the house specially the roof. During winter storms falling trees and heavy limbs can cause power outages to your property and to your neighbors’ property.
  10. Bring in or cover outdoor patio furniture. If you have a glass top table, you may want to bring it in and not take a chance of leaving it out all winter.
  11. Check the air quality of the house for air pollutants, dust mites, mold etc. Consult with an expert about an air purification system.

Silversons Realty is here to assist you. If you are thinking about selling your home or buying a new home, give our office a call 914-725-9344 or email us info@silversons.com.

Selling Your Property- Prep Tips

Selling Your Property- Prep Tips

Thinking of selling your home whether it’s vacant, occupied or one that has been rented?  Consider the following tips. Before starting any project, speak to a realtor about what needs to be done verses what you think needs to be done. First de-clutter and set up piles that are will be donated or discarded. focus on organizing paper work and interior space. Designate an area of the house as storage for things that one is keeping. Make obvious repairs is also important.  Deep cleaning is a last step before marketing the property. If furniture is old and dated or if the house is vacant consider staging it with contemporary furniture. Today’s buyer prefers a modern contemporary flair.

The exterior of the house is as important as the interior. Having an appealing, well maintained exterior is important. Painting the exterior, power washing, repairing the deck/patio, and cleaning up the lawn are important. Pruning trees, shrubs and planting flowers all add curb appeal.

A pre-inspection is being proactive to identify possible issues/problems with the house prior to selling it. The inspection report will detail all areas inside and outside the home.

Before listing your home, your realtor should check with the local municipality to find out if there are any open permits, violations, certificate of occupancy, additions, decks, patios, pools etc.  Knowing up front and dealing with any municipal and environmental issues such as legalizing a deck, addition or removing an underground oil tank prevents delays in closing.

Silversons Realty is here to assist you in selling or buying. Please call for a free consultation.

How to Avoid Issues Prior to Closing

How to Avoid Issues Prior to Closing

Whether one is  buying or selling, the realtor  has to be concerned with many aspects of the process. The goal is to have a smooth transaction and  avoid any issues prior to closing. The realtor should do due diligence when listing a property or representing the buyer.  This includes but is not limited to, checking assessment cards, building department files, requesting updated surveys, checking for environmental issues, confirming taxes and square footage. One should also check for any violations and open permits. The realtor should also request HOA and coop/condo rules and bylaws. However, even after doing one’s due diligence the following are some problems that can arise during the transaction. These issues can either delay or prevent closing.

  1. Co-Ops– Lenders prefer not to lend in co-ops that have more than 50% investors or if the property is a land lease. Too many investors make lenders uncomfortable; if one person defaults it can destabilize the building’s finances. Confirm that your lender will lend in a particular coop.
  2. Inspection issues– Termites or infestations have to be dealt with prior to closing. Most banks require a termite inspection. Other inspection issues can be defects in electrical and other systems, underground oil tanks, water in basement, roof damage, old furnaces and compressors. Buyers usually ask for underground tanks to be removed which means testing the soil. Many objections can be handled  with a reduction in price, a credit or if the seller will make the repair. Other environmental issues involve high levels of radon gas and asbestos and remediation is typically paid for by the seller. 
  3. Walk through concerns – Some examples of problems at a walk-through include: broken appliances,  cracked windows, water in the basement, or fixtures removed that were to remain.
  4. Title issues – A defective title can result in problems establishing ownership; a title search will uncover any issues prior to closing involving  ownership, liens, violations, surveys.
  5. Liens – liens are placed on a property to force an owner to pay a debt. Any liens on the property must be  paid before the property is sold or paid at the closing through the proceeds.
  6. Covenants and restrictions (C&R) – These are the promises that the original owner made to someone else; for instance an owner may give permission for his neighbor to access his property or limit the use of the land. This runs with the land and the attorney usually checks for this when reading the  Covenants and Restrictions (C&R).  
  7. Boundary or survey problems – Encroachments, easements, fences, illegal decks or shared driveways must be resolved before a title company can insure the property. At the start of the transaction have an updated survey done  to avoid any issues.
  8. Fraud with previous owners
  9. Estate issues: a relative could falsely claim ownership to the property.
  10. Change in credit history – It’s not prudent to make any large purchases or change employment prior to obtaining a mortgage. This could change one’s credit profile and prevent one from obtaining a mortgage.
  11. Buyer fraud – if the mortgage is filled out incorrectly or fraudulently by the buyer, the bank will not lend
  12. Difficulty obtaining homeowners insurance – if a major claim was made against the property a company may deem the property high risk or uninsurable
  13. Seller backs out – they receive a better offer (price or terms) or changed their mind. A buyer may collect damages from the seller. A buyer can also change their mind but may lose their deposit.
  14. Buyers mortgage commitment expires and could cost more money to extend the rate.  One may also have to pay a penalty or get a higher interest rate 

Consider an Inspection for your Rental

Consider an Inspection for your Rental

When Considering a rental an inspection is a useful tool to help pinpoint repairs that may be needed and not easily visible. Rental inspections are not typically done by a tenant but can inform you about possible problems before signing a lease.

 

Checking for radon, asbestos, lead paint, lead in the water and mold can help a renter be assured that the space they will be renting is safe. It is also a good idea to check the roof for leaks and damage.

 

Often rental properties require a large deposit and doing an inspection prior to moving in puts both the tenant and landlord on notice as to what repairs are needed and helps avoid any disputes later on.

Calling all Millenials – Think about Buying Now!!

Calling all Millenials – Think about Buying Now!!

If you are a millennial and you are thinking of buying a home, now may be a good time to invest in a home. Your local real estate agent will be able to help you understand the market and find homes that fit your specific needs and wants. This is a huge financial decision so prepare yourself and your wallet!

 

Interests rates have hit a 14 month low in March. If you have good credit you may be pleasantly surprised regarding how much you are pre-approved for regarding a mortgage. Millennials who have a good job have a leg up in the home buying process.

 

Investing in a home versus renting gives you greater benefits. Think about buying a home that you can be in for 5 or more years. If you enjoy renovating and putting your fingerprint on a home, then consider buying a home that needs updating. You may also find homes that are outside your price range but have been sitting on the market for a  considerable period of time. Your real estate agent will guide you about the value and recent comparable sales in the area.

 

Make sure that you are comfortable in the neighborhood that you have chosen and that it meets your needs. Drive through the community during the day and also get a feel of what it is like a night when people may be commuting home from trains, buses and cars. It may worth scoping out the following: grocery store, parks, school, recreation center, transportation, shops, etc.

 

You need to speak to you real estate agent about hidden costs or costs that can occur once you purchase a home. You will need to save up for property taxes, insurance, closing costs and anything that your inspection report found that you either need to replace or know that it needs replacement down the road. You may have a water heater that needs replacement and you don’t want to wait until it leaks or that you’re A/C or heat fails when you need it the most.

 

Silversons Realty is here to assist you in your home buying needs. Give us a call at 914-725-9344, email us at info@silversons.com and check out of our website at www.silversons.com.

Selling: Small things to attract buyers!

Selling: Small things to attract buyers!

Spring has sprung and if you are looking to sell and attract first time home buyers or millennials, you may want to consider these ideas. These minor changes may help your home sell compared to other homes that are outdated.

 

Make sure your front  front door is inviting and has curb appeal. Replacing or painting your door if necessary. Ask your local nursery what plants, shrubs, and flowers will spruce up your homes.

 

It’s 2019 and technology is key! Consider transitioning from an old thermostat to a thermostat that you can control from a smart device. This gives one the ability to regulate the temperature on the go no matter where life takes you. Think about upgrading the generic doorbell and go with something interactive.  This allows anyone to answer the door whether one is home or on the go. Plus, one can see who’s at the door via any smart device. You can find these tech savvy products at your local hardware store, online or a retail chain.

 

Check out the lighting in the home. Walk around and take an inventory of what bulbs need to be replaced and what fixtures may need updating. Update fixtures to make them more modern and contemporary.

 

Telecommuting has become big. Many buyers may be looking for a dedicated office or an alcove area that they can use.

 

Make sure the closets are clean and there aren’t clothes on the floor. Take out any clothes that no longer wear and donate them. You may also want to think about adding bins and/or add shelving to create more space. This may make the closet feel bigger and more inviting to a buyer.

 

Many buyers enjoy the look and feel of hardwood floors. If you have carpet in certain areas of the house, consider pulling it up if the floors underneath are in good condition.

 

Re-paint rooms with neutral colors. The bright purple that you love may be an eye sore to some buyers. The idea is create a warm space that a buyer can envision living there.

 

Silversons Realty is ready to assist you in the selling process. Please call us at 914-725-9344 or email us at info@silversons.com. You may also visit our website at www.silversons.com

Before Selling: The Exterior is as important as the Interior!

Before Selling: The Exterior is as important as the Interior!

Many buyers are taking advantage of the real estate market and are already looking to find their dream home. Despite the winter weather, focus on curb appeal, as this first thing that a buyer sees online and/or in person. Creating a peaceful, organized and inviting welcome is important.

 

The front door can act as a welcoming tool for energy and opportunity. If your front door is visible from the street  it is move inviting compared to a door that his hidden by bushes or trees. Have it freshly painted in a bright color or varnished if wood. Also the house number should be readable from the home.

 

Consider adding plant life to your walkway and speak to a local landscaping company to see this is possible during the winter.

 

Also one should check your roof and make any replacements to cracked or missing tiles if it’s a slate or tile roof.

 

Walkways should also be maintained. Any loose mortar or joints should be repaired to avoid tripping hazards.

 

If the outside of your home has chipping or peeling paint, get an estimate on how much it would cost to paint. Power washing will also help.

 

Clean up any debris around the lawn. During the winter time, tree branches may fall due to ice or snow.  Keeping your lawn clean adds great curb appeal to the buyer’s eye.

 

Take a good look around your garage and figure out what you need to keep, trash or donate. An open and clean space adds good Feng Shui. Buyers are able to see the space and figure out their storage needs.

 

Silversons Realty is here to assist you in all your real estate needs.