Home Inspections

It seems the subject of home inspections, who does home inspections, why, what is inspected, are all questions both Buyers and Sellers have. Are those questions properly addressed? Although Real Estate Agents are not licensed to give opinions on the condition of the home and property, they should be able to explain the highlights of each inspection, or at least point homeowners and buyers in the right direction for answers about home inspections.

The state of Wisconsin has released a new set of forms Sellers should be filling out when it comes time to sell their homes and property. The new Wisconsin Residential Condition Report asks the homeowner questions about the home including roof, foundation, electrical and plumbing systems, and other aspects of the home. Let’s look at the roof. Most homeowners have not been on their roofs. Unless the roof has a leak, or is obviously in need of repair, the average homeowner has no idea what condition the roof is actually in. How does the homeowner answer the question on the state condition report? The best answer may be, to the best of their ability. It is not an answer from a trained professional, but an answer based on experience the seller had with the roof. The same goes for other questions on the state form.

I have to tell you, the state of Wisconsin does not allow Real Estate Agents to guess at the condition of the property nor tell sellers what or how to fill in the Residential Condition Report. What Real Estate Agents can do is point people in the right direction for answers. In this case a pre-listing home inspection by a state licensed home Inspector may be the right ticket.

It may be a scary feeling for some people to call in an inspector to look over their home. The home inspector may uncover something the homeowner didn’t know about that may cost money to repair. On the other hand, what happens after the Seller accepts an Offer to Purchase and the Buyer decides to hire a home inspector? Now the home inspector is working for the Buyer. Does that make a difference? It shouldn’t. But there can be difference down the road as the sale of the house goes through the process.

If the sale of the property is contingent on a loan, the lender sends out an appraiser that may uncover defects. In most cases those defects have to be corrected before the loan is approved and the sale can close.

Certain loans require some sort of verification that the work is complete and the issues corrected. The easiest, most reliable, and quickest way to provide verification the defects have been cured is to have the state licensed home inspector look over the repairs and write an amendment to the inspection report. In many cases the underwriter working on the loan is looking for verification from the licensed home inspector. The problem is, many home inspectors change fees to reinspect and write amendments. If the Buyer chooses not to send their home inspector back to the properly to reinspect, that can leave the seller in a difficult situation.

The Real Estate Agent working for the seller should monitor the repairs and request lien waivers from all the contractors involved. In some cases the underwriter may accept lien waivers as proof the repairs have been made. If that is not enough, the seller may have to provide pictures, a letter from each contractor, or other proof. The list could go one forever and take weeks to solve an issue that should have been solved with a simple amendment from the home inspector.

When the home inspector is hired by the Buyer, problems may come up. The Seller has little or no control. But if the Seller hires a home inspector to perform a pre-listing home inspection, the inspector, verification, and amendments are only a phone call away.

A pre-lising home inspection paid for by the seller could in fact save a lot of time, money, and aggravation on certain houses. A pre-listing home inspection is something every seller should consider.

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Working with short sale properties has become an art. I have written offers to purchase dozens of homes, contingent upon lender approval, in other words, a short sale. Less than one out of twelve has successfully closed.

I have witnessed a lot of blame pointed at the banks, rather the agencies, who process short sales for the banks. They claim it takes a long time, or the agency never responds. These are the deals that will never be completed.

I have also listed a number of short sales. I have been in the position of supplying, what seems like a never ending stream of paperwork to bank affiliates. I know the process takes a large amount of time, patience, and attention to detail. This is why I know short sales require a highly dedicated and motivated agent.

Following is a brief list of the information required to initiate the process of a short sale.

Comparable Market Assessment (CMA) to estimate value
Search and Hold / Title Report
Listing Questionnaire Regarding Title Issues
Net Sheet to project Seller’s Proceeds / Deficits
Mortgage terms and conditions

Forbearance agreements to temporarily suspend loan payments
Repayment plans with the Seller’s Lender(s)
Loan Modification
Refinancing with the Seller’s lender

Listing Contract and Addendum SSL
Seller authorization to negotiate with Seller’s Lender(s)

Pay Studs and W-2 forms
Bank statements
Financial Statements
Cash Flow Analysis
Hardship Letter

As you can see by the above list, short sales require a large amount of paperwork. The main reason most short sales fail is due to incomplete or missing forms. Unless the Lender has a complete file, there is no chance of proceeding to the next level.

Be aware, entering into a short sale requires disclosure of sensitive financial documents. For this reason it is important to deal only with local, state licensed individuals with fiduciary duties. This means, they have license agreements with the state, agreeing to safeguard your personal information. Many Internet web sites will do nothing more than gather your personal information and sell it to anyone willing to pay.

Before considering a short sale, talk to a local HUD authorized agency. These agencies are experts in the field. These services are often free. More than 80% of their clients have lost money on Internet scams before contacting them.

I have no problem admitting my limitations. I do not list homes for short sales. I have worked with a number of agents specializing in short sales in Milwaukee, Menomonee Falls, Brown Deer, Greenfield, West Allis, Franklin, Oak Creek, Hales Corners, Germantown and other parts of Milwaukee, Waukesha, and Washington Counties. I would be happy to talk with you about your situation, and begin the initial process. Once we have gathered all the facts, and exhausted possible options, I will make a recommendation for the agent whom I feel is best equipped to handle your particular situation.

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Wisconsin Property Listings in Sheboygan, Fond du Lac, Washington Counties, and all points in between.

1. Tour your property.

2. Review the outstanding features of your property.

3. Review current market conditions in your area. Determine a sale price.

4. Review suggestions on how to prepare your property for all future showings.

5. Identify your motivation. Explain to you your marketing options. Agree on showing arrangements.

6. Answer your questions concerning marketing, advertising, commissions, contracts and any other issues.

7. Review all tax and special assessment information, loan information utility cost and history.

8. Supply you with a detailed estimate of selling cost and proceeds.

9. Complete Listing paperwork. Sign the Contract.

10. Take photographs and room measurements.

All Property Listings are available on a variable listing commission rate based on the services required and marketing options chosen by you, the Seller.

For more information on listing your home, call me 414-426-1784

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FC Factor

What is the FC Factor in Real Estate? It is the knowledge, people receive from two major motivational factors. Those are either FEAR or CONFIDENCE. Most Real Estate sales people work on one of two those factors.

Confidence is what great sales agents learn to hone. How do Real Estate Agents build confidence with a Buyer looking for a home, lot, investment, or business? It is far more difficult to master the Confidence Factor, because each has its own learning process.

Homes are the most common and easiest to work with. It all begins with proper training. Not all training is equal. Some Brokers pride themselves on the level of training the provide to Sales Agents. Others provided either the minimum, or nothing beyond state requirements to obtain a license. And of course there is always shades of gray between. There are too many aspects of proper training to cover here. The main aspect of this article is to familiarize readers with signs of the two basic factors.

Another major step in the Confidence Factor is working with a group of great Inspectors. Those are people who show us what to watch out for. Good Inspectors are also great at explaining maintenance issues. A good Real Estate Agent will accompany Buyers during the inspection and learn from the experience so they can help pass that knowledge along to future Buyers.

Inspections

In most cases, Real Estate Agents are not licensed home Inspectors, and are not allowed to provide a complete assessment of a property. But we are allowed to point out obvious defects. In many cases, defects may not be obvious, but fall into a questionable category. Issues like foundations, electrical, plumbing, and roofing are some examples. A Real Estate Agent may see cracks in basement walls, but is neither qualified, or licensed to provide a valid assessment of the issue. But a good Real Estate Agent will point out the possible problem and explain how a license professional can properly assess the situation. The same is true for electrical, plumbing, and roofing issues. If a roof looks bad, let a licensed expert made a recommendation. If electrical wiring doesn’t look right, most Real Estate Agents don’t know electrical codes, but may be able to point out wiring that appears to be added after the house was built. A good Real Estate Agent will point out issues for a licensed Inspector to look at.

Major Defects

By law, licensed Real Estate Agents are required to disclose major defects in writing to both parties. The trick is, those defects have to be known and verified. Real Estate Agents have to know how to balance that law with another law telling us to be fair to both parties. That means Buyers and Sellers.

As an example. A roof may look bad to a Real Estate Agent standing on the side walk 50 feet away. But that roof may have an issue the Real Estate Agent is not trained to properly assess. The defect may be a fungus, dirt, or debris collecting on the roof. It would be inadvisable for any Real Estate Agent to offer an opinion that would drastically effect the value of that home in the eyes of potential Buyers. That would not be fair to the seller.

State licensed Inspectors are trained to inspect roofs, as well as other areas of homes. A good Inspector will determine the type of roofing, expected age, and remaining life period. A good Inspector will also look at other areas on the roof to determine quality of the materials used and installation. Inspectors will also be able to determine if the roofing materials faced recall notices, or other issues. Those are details Real Estate Agents are not trained to observe, nor share opinions on.

Having sold my own properties, I’ve seen a number of Real Estate Agents in action. Some, a few, but not many, walk through the door attacking the property. They point out every flaw trying to impress Buyers with their knowledge. They are trying to win Buyer’s confidence by convincing them, they will find every issue in an effort to obtain the lowest price. Is that being fair to the seller? Agents like that are trying to feed on the fear factor, getting Buyers to think, they will never find another Agent who is willing to do battle for them.

Disclosing Defects

There is a process Real Estate Agents must follow to disclose major defects. They must be disclosed in writing. In most cases, this involves a series of steps from third party licensed professionals involved in the transaction. An Inspector most likely will be one of them. Because Real Estate Agents are not trained or licensed in many of those areas of expertise, Buyers have to rely on other licensed experts. Once the proper inspections are completed, that can trigger a chain of events every good Real Estate Agent should be able to explain. It can be a little different from case to case, and the procedure may be a little different from Real Estate Agent to Agent.

Major defects to watch out for relate to safety in and around the home. In most cases here is Wisconsin, safety issues must be addressed and fixed before the properly can be sold. This is especially true in transactions involving a loan. In some cases involving cash purchases, the Buyer may choose to correct the issues themselves. But defects should always be disclosed in writing to protect the interest of all parties involved.

Major Fear Factors

It took me years to figure this racket out and how it works. I lost count on the number of sales I’ve lost to this type of, what I consider, Real Estate scam.

I’ve worked with dozens of Buyers for months, then one day, find out they purchased a property from another Agent. In some cases it turned out to be an Agent holding an open house. The Buyers walk in, like the house, and the Agent turns up the fear factors on high. Buyers are often told the house has an offer the Seller is considering, or someone is about to submit an offer. The Agent at the open house offers to help the Buyers I’ve been working with by getting them the best deal or out bidding another party. That Agent just happens to have a contract ready for the Buyer to sign. Notice the fear factor?

Another issue I’ve seen repeated is where a Buyer gets a phone call out of the blue from an Agent who happens to know how much the Buyer is qualified for, and what type of house they are looking for. Those Agents follow their script to make the Buyer sign a contract and purchase a home out of fear. In many cases I’ve received phone calls months down the road asking me what to do. The Buyers either didn’t get the property inspected or used the inspector suggested by the Agent and the property has a number of major defects.

In both cases, those Agents chose to ignore ethics codes. In the later example, Agents choose to purchase information stolen from computer hard drives. Both cases rely on the fear factor to force people into making rash decisions.

Investments

There are certain procedures Investors need to follow to be successful. I am not going through all those steps, but I will list a few factors Agents may use to force a quick decision. The major factor they dwell on is using information spread through the Internet. Most investment sites are in business to make money for themselves, not you the customer. I’ve seen dozens of people ripped off form Internet investment sites. I’ve posted what I’ve been able to piece together for what I believe is a script sold on the internet. That script is designed to drain potential investors of funds.

How Online Real Estate Scams Work. 
http://ez1realty.net/2018/04/19/how-online-real-estate-scams-work/ Link to the detailed story. 

There is a process to follow and each Real Estate Agent has their own procedure. I have a set procedure and like to follow a particular order. First find out what if the Buyer watched any online videos. Many Buyers watch a half hour video and think they know it all. This makes working with them difficult. They are filled with false expectations and some of the online methods are either impossible or illegal.

The next step is to find out the Buyer’s experience level. I like to send new investors information on landlord training if they are starting out, or buying their first duplex. I use this to gauge enthusiasm. Of course I check to find out if they are a cash buyer or if financing is in place.

Buyers have to be familiar with the area they plan to invest in. We go over prices in a few areas. Then assess price and condition. When a Buyer makes a decision, I send them a market report with active and sold prices over the past 6 months within a half mile of the property they are interested in. We also look at the number of foreclosed properties in the area to help estimate future prices or problems.

Looking at market data in the immediate area is the most important step. But some agents use the confidence factor to lock up another sale. In this situation, a Real Estate Agent will use information they know is prominent on Real Estate investment websites. They encourage the Buyer to purchase the property by saying something like, “all you need to do is paint, put in new carpeting, and resell this property for $100,000.” Some Real Estate Agents work on hopes and dreams build up on the Internet.

Listings

Some Real Estate Agents use the confidence factor to talk Sellers into listing their homes for sale. It is a simple process I’ve seen used, and although it may be technically legal, I do not consider it ethical. If you look on the standard Listing Contract in Wisconsin, you’ll see the contract is between the Seller and Broker. Not the Real Estate Agent, but the Broker. Some Real Estate Agents are instructed by their Brokers to use that loop hole to their advantage. What do they do?

Some Real Estate Agents use office sales figures to impress Sellers. Since the contract is between the Seller and Broker, the individual Real Estate Agent uses office sales figures to impress the Seller by presenting office listing and selling figures as their own. But the office nor Broker have anything to do with most of the tasks involved in listing a house. The individual Real Estate Agent fills in the contract, gets it signed, takes measurements, pictures, collects data, and writes up the ad for the property. The individual Real Estate Agent also handles any offers to purchase and negotiations. The Broker has very little to do with the property listed for sale, and hopefully sold, other than collecting the sales commission and filing paperwork.

So you can see, most Real Estate Agents will work with a combination of fear and confidence factors. How they use those factors is important. Do good agents use that fear factor? Can the fear factor be used in a good way? Only when it is used within the restraints of the law. Real Estate Agents are also required to disclose what is called adverse defects. What is an adverse defect? It usually concerns conditions around the property. That can include legislation, certain improvements, and other factors that could drastically effect the value of the property. The Real Estate Agent has to know about those conditions to reveal the source, most often news, or updates on local issues. A few examples may be plans for a new expressway, zoning changes, and other factors involving major improvements in the general area. That is not a fear factor, but providing vital information.

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Why Select me to Help You Sell Your Real Estate

Contact Now

Selling your home can be a complex process. As a seasoned listing agent, I will help you with the entire home selling process. As your listing agent, I will help you get the best price for your home and help sell it in the fastest possible time frame.

Selling a home here in Sheboygan, Fond du Lac, Cedar Grove, Elkhart Lake, Plymouth, West Bend, or any other area means a comprehensive plan must be in place. If you select me as your listing agent, I will:

 
  • Provide you with a free home valuation to help determine your home’s current market value.
  • Review comps in the area to show you what is happening in Sheboygan, Fond du Lac, Cedar Grove, Elkhart Lake, Plymouth, Menomonee Falls, Sussex, Lannon, Milwaukee,  Germantown, Brown Deer, and surrounding Sheboygan County, WI areas.
  • Point out obvious or potential issues with your property that may be a concern with inspectors, appraisers, and lenders. Prepare for possible questions and delays. 
  • Negotiate on your behalf to receive the most money for your property and home.
  • Network with other real estate professionals here in Sheboygan, Fond du Lac, Cedar Grove, Elkhart Lake, Plymouth, Menomonee Falls, Milwaukee, Brookfield, Germantown, Brown Deer, and surrounding Sheboygan County, WI areas as well as throughout other relevant areas to find the perfect buyer for your home.
  • Arrange showings of your home that work in conjunction with your schedule.
  • Advise you how to best prepare your property for potential buyers to view.
  • Engage in a comprehensive advertising campaign to give your home the ideal amount of exposure.
  • Utilize technology including my personal web site to showcase your property to other real estate agents along with potential home buyers.
  • Work with you through the complex paperwork and legal issues that can impact the sale of your home.
  • Represent you in a manner that is both professional and a little old fashion for this day and age.
  • Tailor the sale of your home according to its unique features.
  • Make certain you get all the paperwork required to sell your property on time, in the correct order, and you understand every step in the process.
  • Provide you copies of all the paperwork and forms.
  • Answer every question, or refer you to the correct professional source.
  • Answer my phone when you call, or call you back as soon as I am able to. 

I’m a little surprised I have to list some of those features today. But good, reliable service seems to be a thing of the past. I may be a little old fashion in some areas, but I’ve been using and designing uses for computers back when they were the size of a room. Computers are a tool, not a replacement for a personality. 

  

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If I show up with a cell phone to take pictures of your house, just fire me.

Cell phones do not take great listing pictures!

Many people overlook one of the major aspects of selling a home, great listing pictures. Sure the Internet helps to sell a lot of homes, but like everything else with a computer, garbage in, garbage out.

What does it take to present a house on the Internet in a fashion it deserves? Which may in fact effect the actual selling price.

Cameras come in all shapes, sizes, and qualities. Some are in fact better than others. Reviews are still written on cameras by professionals who make a living in the world of photography. You don’t need a $1000 camera to take great listing pictures of a home, nor do you need an 18 MP camera. As a matter of fact, you don’t want to make your picture files too large. You never know how the Internet site they are displayed on will compress them. Compression causes a lot of distortion on pictures, and can ruin a really good shot. I shoot for picture files of about 100,000 bytes, which is rather small, and often difficult to find on a quality, modern camera. I often use files on the 150,000 to 200,000 byte range. Compression is minimal, they load much quicker, and if you check the websites, the standard seems to be about 100,000 bytes on the pictures displayed on most websites. Avoiding too drastic of a compression ratio is rule number one. Smaller files also upload much quicker.

Is flash or natural light better? Well I make enough money from selling a house to go through all the rooms two or three times. I take pictures with and without a flash, then look at them on my computer screen to decide which to upload to the Internet. I may take as many as 100 pictures, then choose 25 to add to the websites.

The camera lens is another major factor. I use cameras with 25 and 24mm lenses. Don’t ask me what the other standard is, I’m and old 35mm guy. The new digital zoom cameras are great. I choose to use a bridge camera. Not as high of quality as the big money models, but great optics, and a lot of features. I can tell the difference between my 24 and 25mm camera. The 24mm is what to shoot for, and gives about the best wide angle picture you need inside a house. Especially small rooms. Getting a wider angle, like a 20-22mm would be a plus, but try and find one.

The 25mm camera does a great job, is simple to use, and has great optics. I prefer Fuji cameras based on their optics, that is lenses, and the fact they use standard AA batteries. Getting quality, name brand rechargeable batteries is another plus. Good batteries last ears, and take over 300 pictures in a single charge.

Looking for the right angle to take a picture of each room is no problem. I take pictures from all 4 corners. There is a little trade secret I use to make rooms appear much larger than they really are. The 24mm wide angle lens in only the beginning.

I also take a series of pictures I don’t put on the Internet. The basement, walls, the electrical box, water heater, furnace, and if appliances are included, I take pictures of those. I use those as back ups, just to avoid any possible issues. It’s called, working smarter.

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What do I do to put my house on the market?

I do a lot of Buyer counseling, telling Buyers the step by step process to purchase their first home. Not many people ask me what to do when they want to sell a home. After conducting a number of searches I found a number of active listings with no pictures, some with no description and a few with the same copied and pasted description. I don’t know why people don’t ask what it takes to List a home for sale. Maybe they think they already know. Maybe people think it’s an easy process. Maybe people think it doesn’t matter who they List their home with — they may think all Real Estate Agents know what to do and are all the same. Well not all Agents are as dedicated or professional as others when it comes to Listing a house for sale. Here is a list of a few qualifications to consider.
How to List a Home for Sale
Experience:
Experience is a factor. It takes more than a combination of over 12 years or Real Estate Experience and a Broker’s License to get the Best Price for your home. It takes imagination, dedication, and communication. Figure it out yourself. Details have to be more than a hand written system of procedures to showcase the best features of your home. It takes listening skills as well as a great eye for detail
Pictures:
Photography is an art. Pictures not only show pride of ownership, but pride in the work of the Agent. This is the one that really irritates me. I see so many Listings with few, no, or poor pictures.
Write Up:
Description should be designed to capture the attention of Buyers, as well as inform them of the outstanding features they are buying.
Communication:
When it comes to selling your greatest asset in life, good communication is the most important factor. You have to know how many views your house had on major websites, how many people viewed your home. You need a call when a showing is set You need to be updated on what the market is doing, and other major details. Good communication brings peace of mind.
How to list a home for sale.
Listing a home for sale is more than placing an on-line ad. Selling a home is understanding the importance of providing the following services.
  • Great Communication

  • Great Pictures

  • Great Write Up

  • Market Reports

  • Showing Set Up

  • Showing Reports

  • Explaining the details of an Offer to Purchase

  • Explain closing costs and estimated proceeds

  • Follow up with scheduled tasks

  • Communicate with the Selling Agent

  • Schedule the closing

  • Final Closing

        

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Serving these Cities, towns, and villages

Adell, Cascade, Cedar Grove, Elkhart Lake, Fond du Lac, Grafton, Kiel Ootsburg, Plymouth, Port Washington, Sheboygan, Sheboygan Falls, Random Lake, Waldo, West Bend

Also
Fox Point, Franklin, Glendale, Greendale, Greenfield, Hales Corners, Shorewood, Wawautosa, West Allis, Whitefish Bay, Cedar Grove, Butler, Elm Grove, Lannon, Menomonee Falls, Sussex and other local areas.

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How do I find out what my home or property is worth?

I hear that question a lot. What we want to do is look at similar properties in the same area. Simple right. It may sound simple, but don’t be fooled by computer generated reports concentrating on zip codes. Properties on the other side of a zip code, or city could have a far different value. Computers are great, but they have not seen your house, and only know what people put into them. Some things still need the human touch. In technical terms the report is called a CMA. The computer helps arrange the report, but the properties should not be chosen by a computer. That is where I come in, and often times separate myself from the pack.

The easiest way to receive free marketing information for your neighborhood. To receive a free Comprehensive Marketing Analysis (CMA) for your property simply call me and answer a few simple questions about your house. All I need is an address, number of bedrooms, baths, garage spaces, and I can look up the rest of the information. You should receive your information via E-mail within 48 hours. There is no obligation and your information will not be shared with any other parties. Free, quick, confidential and reliable information from your locally licensed Real Estate Broker.

The information you will receive compares properties within a 4 to 6 block radius from your home and will include active and sold listings available on the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS). The details you provide and actual market conditions will determine how closely the comparable units are to your home.

In addition to single family homes, this free service is also available for duplexes, condos, multi family apartment buildings, and commercial property.

Serving these Cities, towns, and villages

Adell, Cascade, Cedar Grove, Elkhart Lake, Fond du Lac, Grafton, Kiel Ootsburg, Plymouth, Port Washington, Sheboygan, Sheboygan Falls, Random Lake, Waldo, West Bend

Also
Fox Point, Franklin, Glendale, Greendale, Greenfield, Hales Corners, Shorewood, Wawautosa, West Allis, Whitefish Bay, Cedar Grove, Butler, Elm Grove, Lannon, Menomonee Falls, Sussex and other local areas.

 

 

 

 

 

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