Tag Archives: buying a home

What Is A Real Estate Appraisal?

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If your home is under contract that means it is sold, right?

That’s not always the case.  When selling a home, there are three main stages during the transaction where contracts can fall out.  Those are:

  1. The Inspection
  2. The Appraisal
  3. Final underwriting for the buyer’s loan

The Inspection Process:

The buyer pays the seller an amount that “buys” him days to inspect the home and the ability to cancel the contract. This is called the “Option Period.” During this time, the buyer can terminate the contract for ANY reason. The highest percent of contract terminations occur here.

The Appraisal Process:

The buyer’s lender orders an appraisal of the property to protect their loan investment.  If the appraised value is lower than the agreed purchase price, there are 3 options:

  1. Seller can lower the price to the appraised value
  2. Buyer can bring more cash to closing to compensate for the price difference
  3. Seller and buyer can share the cost of the difference between the purchase price and appraisal value
  4. Buyer can terminate the contract and receive their earnest money refund

Final Underwriting for the Loan

This is where cash is KING – there is no underwriting required for a cash purchase.  A prequalification letter from the buyer does not mean the buyer is totally approved for the loan.  Typically, the lender has not reviewed tax documents, divorce decrees, overtime information, and many other items that could disqualify a buyer’s loan.  This is done in the final underwriting process and at this point in the process, there is a small risk of contract fall out.

Of course, using a great realtor team like The Christenberry Group for your home sale and purchase keeps you in the know about your closing process, and helps you “fail proof” your move.  Give us a call – 817-504-4338 or check out Jean Team Homes.

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You’ll Never Believe!

Week 34_You'll Never Believe

You’ll Never Believe!

That Real Estate is a lot like delivering a baby!

It’s relatively easy to deliver a baby or close a real estate transaction when everything goes according to plan.  However, when things get challenging and life throws you that curve ball, that’s when the true professionals and specialists really show up.  Here are some examples of recent curve balls in real estate and what my amazing affiliates and vendors were able to do to help:

*Closing a home in 1 week (cash deal) and inspector finds foundation problems – Thomas Engineering was able to get us an evaluation with 1 day notice and this saved the sale for my client.

*AC went out on a listing 1 day before final closing walk thru and Golden Air was able to get AC serviced and repaired the same day we called.

*Buyer’s documents were late arriving at title, and our title rep at Old Republic Title stayed after hours to get our seller who was leaving town to sign closing paperwork.

*3 days before closing, the lender for our buyer told us that the trees had to be trimmed away from the house they were buying or they couldn’t close.  Dennis Elmore, my buyer’s agent personally trimmed the trees so buyers could close.

We love our affiliates, vendors and agents – and of course babies!

Does A Home Loan Scare You?

Does a Home Loan Scare You?

Does a Home Loan Scare You?

Well, it doesn’t need to…  I talk to lots of buyers every day that procrastinate when it comes to speaking with a lender about a mortgage.  Some are nervous about their credit scores, but others simply have heard myths like ”pulling your credit lowers your credit score”.  The bottom line is that when it comes to buying a home, information is power and the more you know and understand about your loan process the more confident and worry free you can be when you buy that new wonderful home.

Granted, some lenders are not worth a grain of salt and they arrogantly talk circles around clients instead of taking the time to explain, educate and inform clients about the process.  However, there are also some really great, service friendly lenders who will spend as much time as needed explaining the process and helping a buyer feel more secure with their home purchase.

A great lender will email the client a fees worksheet that clearly outlines various types of loans that the client qualifies for, discloses loan origination fees, down payment requirements and the buyer’s closing costs – basically all monies needed at the closing.  They will also provide information about monthly payment amounts and estimated taxes and insurance amounts.

There are a number of items that the lender needs from the buyer such as a loan application, tax records, W2’s, verification of employment forms, copies of bank accounts – just to name a few.  Our favorite lenders ask for these documents the day of application so they can verify that the buyer fully qualifies for the loan.  This avoids so many pitfalls that can happen in the loan process – especially since the buyer sometimes may have a situation that he doesn’t know will cause problems with the loan – and through analysis of these documents, the lender can confirm the qualification.

Working with a lender before you start looking at homes is the best way to go!  It allows you to know what price range home you want to look for and begins the education process that is so crucial to owning a home.  Give us a call if you want the information for our preferred lenders.  We love them and they take great care of our clients!!

Surviving Hurricane Odile…from a Realtor’s Perspective (part one)

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After Hurricane Odile

After a very busy summer season in Real Estate, I decided to take a week vacation with my sister in law, friend, mother and my mom’s two friends. Six ladies ranging from ages 41-73. Don’t get me wrong, the real estate market has been wonderful this year – homes were selling within days and working with sellers had been a delight. Working with buyers on the other hand had been like being in an abusive relationship – offers being picked apart, rejected, competing with up to 20 other buyers for a house, and remaining hyper vigilant to find that home that is just about to go on the market to be the first one in the door with an offer. Needless to say, a rest was welcome. I spent the 7 days before leaving for the trip working deals/offers and updating my staff with all the contracts that were in process, and the new listings that were being marketed. As most people know, getting ready to take a vacation and then catching up when you get back is rather a beast. However, I was happy to do all this in the hopes that I would have a heavenly break from reality in a wonderful place called Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. This was not my first rodeo to Cabo – my mom has a timeshare there, and this was our 5th year traveling to Cabo in September. Typically we were there for the Mexican Independence Day celebration – and only experiencing rains once or twice previously while on vacation there.

When we heard there was a storm brewing in the ocean by Cabo– and weather people believed it would stay at sea and not make land fall – we did not hesitate in our trip plans. Little did we know, Hurricane Odile was headed right through the middle of our lives.

We landed on Friday afternoon, checked in , laid by the pool, went to dinner, and dancing at “The Pink Kitty” in downtown Cabo. Saturday we repeated this and then woke up on Sunday morning to clouds. We decided to go to Walmart for some water and sandwich items just in case we needed to make do for a day or so during the storm. It was then that we learned the storm had begun to transform into a Category 4 Hurricane named Odile. The lines at the Walmart were out the door, and they began denying entrance into the store as they were running out of food on the shelves. We spoke with many of the natives who began to tell us they were worried and would recommend that we get ready for one of the worst hurricanes they have ever seen. We got back to our hotel with our provisions, were told by staff to close/lock doors, stay away from windows, put towels under the door to keep water out, and hide in the bathroom if it got bad.

It soon got bad! The wind began blowing and the waves began cresting over the sea wall. Sea spray was rising above the famous Cabo Rock formation which stands about 60 feet high. We stuffed towels under our door while the wind howled and the door threatened to crash in. Leaves began blowing between the cracks in the door and water began seeping into the room. We took off the two comforters on the beds and used those along with all the towels to stop the water from continuing into the room. The wind sounded like a train for several hours – then it became quiet for about 30 minutes – we later learned that was the eye of the storm. Then the wind began blowing from the other side of the room – threatening to crash in the large balcony windows – we heard things slamming around and blowing against the door and window and began making plans for how we would handle cuts from the glass if the window broke. Thankfully, the window stayed in place and after several more hours, the wind calmed down. We fell asleep for a few hours, and woke Monday morning to wrench open the door (it had warped with all the wind) and look at the severe devastation of the storm. There were 6-8 inches of water in many of the hotel guest rooms, light poles were down, AC units had blown off buildings, windows had caved in, thatch roof hotels were topless, there were 8-10 inches of sand at the bottom of the pools, many of the outdoor eating areas were caved in or blown away, and the beach was full of debris. We got dressed with no electricity/water (they were moving the electrical in the hotel to a generator and without electricity there was no water) and walked the beach and went into downtown. All the places we had visited the day before were caved in, blown away, or flooded. Owners began boarding up the windows, but the looting had not begun. Everyone we met had a different story about the hurricane and all seemed in shock. This was when I noticed how vastly different the various buildings and structures were built in Cabo. The locals seemed to have built buildings that easily gave way and suffered complete destruction from the Hurricane. The larger chain resorts and hotels were mostly in tact – having been built with cement, blocks, stone and metal. Many times I thought during this experience that the people who were closest to the edge of having financial problems were the ones most likely to suffer greatly at the hand of a disaster.

Though the devastation after the hurricane was immense, the town still felt safe and we were not afraid to walk around and talk to people. However, on Monday afternoon, our cell phone coverage and internet was gone and remained gone until Wednesday. This began to get creepy, especially since there was no local media coverage and no one seemed to know what the next plan was for recovery, food, water, fuel, or evacuation. At this point, everyone thought the Cabo Airport was still intact and flights would just be moved to later in the week. It wasn’t until Tuesday that we learned that there was no Cabo Airport, and all flights were cancelled and the only way to get out from there was via an evacuation plan that was being managed by the Mexican Military. We learned there were around 30k tourists in the Cabo area that needed to get home and there were very minimal plans for getting that process completed. We began to notice some degree of desperation in the local workers, and in the tourists. Trucks full of natives from the surrounding areas began to arrive and park outside the City Club, Walmart, Ace Hardware, Sam’s club, and Coca Cola plant. It was like being at a stoning –the mob waiting for someone to throw the first stone – but the crowd was waiting for someone to bust open doors and gates to allow everyone to have access to looting the companies. People were loading up TV’s, mattresses, food, beverages, electronics – anything that they could carry.

(Stay tuned for Part 2 to come)

Nearby Great Escapes

Nearby Great Escapes

Nearby Great Escapes

Helping our clients buy and sell property is our passion. We love what we do and work hard to do it well. At this time of year, many hard working people start to dream about vacations and exciting “escapes” from the steadiness of our schedules. What is so great about our area is that there are so many nearby Great Escapes that it doesn’t require a lot of money to get away from it all.

Check out these fun “daycations”

  1. In Ft. Worth – Visit the FW Zoo, Hip Pocket Theatre, Catch the train at the T&P Building, Sundance Square for music, Art at the Modern and Kimbell Museums, Movies at the Coyote Drive In, Drama at The Hip Pocket Theater, Nature at the Botanic Garden and Cowboy culture at the Stockyards.
  2. In Granbury – Visit the Granbury Opera House, Brazos Drive in, Granbury Marina for canoes, kayaks, fishing and food and the Granbury Town Square for food, wine, music, art and clothes
  3. In Arlington – Visit the Levitt Pavillion for outdoor music, Theatre Arlington for fun kid plays, Friday Food Truck night at River Legacy, Six Flags and Hurricane Harbor, the Planetarium at UTA and The Rangers Ballpark
  4. In Benbrook – Ride horses at the Benbrook Stables, rent boats and sail or fish at Benbrook Lake, visit the Lost Oak Winery in Burleson – a stone’s throw from Benbrook, and on your way back to Fort Worth, eat dinner at the Edelweiss German Restaurant.
  5. In Dallas – Visit the Sixth Floor Museum, Dallas Zoo, Arboretum, Dallas World Aquarium, Highland Park Villages for high end shopping, The Science Place Museum, Dallas Arts District and don’t forget Dallas Top Golf for a different kind of fun.

Make your summer a great one!

Home Insurance

This type of insurance, also known as Homeowner Insurance or Hazard Insurance is required by any mortgage company when you purchase a home.  It is designed to protect a private residence and covers various losses including loss to the home (fire, slab leak, hot water heater bursting, etc), contents (theft, etc), loss of use of the home, other personal possessions (tools, lawnmowers, etc), and liability insurance including accidents that may happen at the home or on the property (injuries from trampolines, pools, falls, etc.)

The cost for a home insurance policy is figured based on what it would cost to replace the home, and any additional riders (coverages) that you add to the policy.  Of course, the safer your home is (fire detection equipment, security system, proximity to fire station, police, crime statistics in the area, etc) the more deductions from your rate the insurance company will allow.

Most companies require payment of the policy prior to the year it will cover.  Some companies allow monthly charges to your credit card or bank account for the policy.  If you set up an escrow account with your mortgage company when you purchase the home, the mortgage company will be responsible for paying your insurance policy out of your escrow account once a year for you.

It is important to have an insurance agent that you trust, that is accessible for information and that can provide you with good coverage at a good value.  There are many insurance providers and we always recommend that you shop insurance carriers – making sure to compare apples to apples and that the different quotes include the exact same coverage.

We have recommended the Shane Ferrell Insurance Agency (agentshane.com) to many of our clients (and I use this company personally) with good results.  If you haven’t compared insurance companies in a while, I would recommend setting up an “insurance check up” with your agent and getting quotes from other providers for comparison.

As the Richest People on the Planet say – protecting your assets is one road to wealth…

Preparing Your Yard for the Spring Growing Season

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The temperatures have been quite cool lately so most of us aren’t thinking about our yards, but when the sun peaks out and we have those warmer days there are a few things you can do to get your yard ready for performing its best.

1. Clean out gutters and clean out drainage/runoff areas – get ready for those April Showers
2. Trim dead limbs on trees and shrubs
3. Trim to the ground all dead perennial foliage
4. Cut back at least by a third all perennials with foliage (ie. Sage, Salvia)
5. Repair edging around beds and trellises
6. Feel free to pull any young weeds that are growing – if you see bare spots in beds, cover with 3-4 inches of mulch to help prevent upcoming weed growth
7. Rake the yard and mix grass seed with soil and spread in bare spots
8. Apply pre-emergent herbicides like corn gluten meal or generic brands with these chemicals – Bensulide, pendimethalin, oxadiazon and DCPA.
9. Transplant shrubs you want to move before they leaf out
10. Plant bulbs that are sprouting (daffodils, tulips, etc)

So, take advantage of those warmer Texas days that are woven in with the 20 degree ones and get out there and get your Vitamin D. Enjoy!