Angela Burdick

September 1999
Real Estate Update

Copyrightę1999 Realty Times
All Rights Reserved.

Winning the Bidding Wars

     H ot real estate markets bring out the worst in everyone. Sellers become greedy and demanding. Buyers become desperate, frustrated and disillusioned. And real estate agents get caught in the middle as they try to negotiate purchase contracts that are acceptable to both sides of the transaction.
     Along with frayed nerves, hot markets mean multiple offers will be received for just about every for-sale home. These bidding wars are great for sellers, but they add to the "freaked out" factor for buyers. How can you buy the home of your dreams when several other people are also bidding on it? Here are six tips:
     1. Make your best offer. Let's face it, the bottom line is the most important consideration for most sellers.

Mortgage Rates

Source: Bank Rate Monitor

National averages as of August 31, 1999:

30 yr. fixed:  7.73%        Averages Defined
15 yr. fixed:  7.35%        Compare the Cost
1 yr. adj:       6.22%           State Averages

Get today's rates from E-LOAN

They're naturally looking to sell their home for the highest possible price. If you want to win a bidding war, offering the highest price - something attractively above the asking amount--is a sure way to get the seller's attention. Most sellers who receive multiple offers only seriously consider those at the top of the price


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Rising Balloons Can Be Financially Deflating
     A fter 90 days of rapidly rising mortgage rates ''balloon'' mortgages are in vogue again. Beware of the hot air.
     Lenders and brokers hawk balloons because typically they are cheaper than 30-year fixed rates. Even though balloons aren't as cheap as one-year adjustable rate mortgage's (ARM) first year rate, they are often a better deal during the second year when the ARM jumps.
     When rates rise quickly, as they have recently, a balloon mortgage's savings, well, balloons. Typically requiring 10 percent down, balloon mortgages are conforming mortgages ($240,000 or less) that are often called ''30-due-in-5'' or ''30-due-in-7'' loans. They are amortized over a 30-year schedule, but after five or seven years of payments, the loan matures and a big fat balloon of a balance is due, hence the name ''balloon'' mortgage.
      At maturity, you can pay off the mortgage, refinance, or in some cases, convert or reset the loan's interest rate for the balance of the 30-year fixed-rate loan.       Unlike ARMS which reset or adjust repeatedly over the life of the loan, resulting in multiple changes to the monthly payments, convertible or reset balloons come with only adjustment, Freddie Mac says.


When Can We Move In?

     M any buyers wonder when they actually can move into their new home. They wonder when possession actually takes place. Most buyers take possession of their home the day of closing. The keys and other security devices are handed from the seller to the buyer at the closing and the house has officially changed ownership. In some areas the seller retains possession at no cost for three to five days after closing, but the customary day of possession is the day of closing. You do not need to wait to move in until you receive the deed, which will usually be mailed to you from the recorder's office after it has been properly placed in the public records.
      Sometimes possession is given to the buyer before the closing and other times the seller may need to stay on in the property after closing, and possession is given at a later date. Sometimes the day which is set for the closing and the day the buyer is scheduled to take possession is used as a negotiating tool. The buyer may allow the seller to stay on after the close of escrow, for example, in exchange for some reduction in the purchase price. Or, if the buyer needs to move in before closing, the seller will often let him take possession early. The seller may prepare an occupancy agreement, which is a form of a lease for the property. This lease agreement would cover the time which the buyer intends to occupy the property prior to the closing date. This type of lease is normally on a


Setting The Stage Sells
Your Home

     T he age-old observation that "you never get a second chance to make a first impression" certainly applies when it comes to attracting buyers to a home for-sale. Making a good first impression can mean the difference between receiving serious offers for your home or being subjected to months of lookie-loos dropping by but never buying.
      How can you ensure that your home will make the best impression possible? Here are six tips for savvy home sellers:
      1. Focus on curb appeal. The outside of your house can be the source of a very good first impression. Keep the grass well-watered and mowed. Have your trees trimmed. Cut back overgrowth. Plant some blooming flowers. Store toys, bicycles, roller-skates, gardening equipment and the like out of sight. Have at least the front of your house and the trim painted, if necessary. Sweep the porch and the front walkway. After dark, turn on your front porch light and any other exterior lighting.
      2. Clear out the clutter. Real estate agents say buyers won't purchase a home they can't see. If your home has too much furniture, overflowing closets, crowded kitchen and bathroom countertops or lots of family photos or collectibles on display, potential buyers


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Angela Burdick combines many years' experience, a thorough understanding of the real estate market, and cutting-edge technology to provide buyers and sellers with competent advice and proven results.

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