Rich Realty Rochester NY

Real Estate Reference Library

If you want to buy real estate, it only makes sense that you first find out how much you can borrow. Then once you become qualified or apply for a loan you will:

  • know how much you can afford
  • strengthen your position as a buyer
  • have a basis to compare different loans so you can make the best choice for you.

All of this can add up to tremendous savings over the life span of the loan. In addition to learning how much you can borrow, it is a good idea to secure a lender's commitment as soon as you know that you want to buy - particularly in a hot market, where houses are selling fast.

Don't underestimate the advantage you have as a qualified buyer. As a qualified buyer, the seller knows you can get the loan and close the deal. Because of this, they will consider your offer more seriously. Getting prequalified makes you a stronger buyer.

Professional appraisers sum up their entire body of knowledge in three words: "Buyers Make Value"

Pricing Your Property

This may seem like a daunting process at first, but with the qualified and experienced experts of Rich Realty at your side, you'll be certain to maximize the selling price of your home.

Our professionals are authorities in our marketplace, and consistently reward sellers with exceptional pricing.

We begin by using the latest market information and state-of-the-art calculating software in order to determine the most reasonable asking price of your property. As your real estate agent - your Representation - we will give you the most up-to-date information with regards to your unique spot in the marketplace, to discover the most accurate price, financing, terms, and conditions of real properties just like yours, so that they can be applied to your asking price.

It is these factors which are key to maximizing your selling price, and getting it done quickly, with as little hassle as possible.

Our professional team at Rich Realty ensures that you will be listing your property for sale with expertise, experience, and market knowledge behind you. Your agent will be candid and direct with you, so that there are no surprises. You'll know exactly what to expect: your home's true value. This is far superior to circumstances where you do not discover the true value of the home until months have passed without any luck, and it is too late to get the most from the sale when you finally find out what your home is really worth.

Our agents will be completely honest with you, saving you time and money. Take the opportunity to sit down with your agent and discuss the Market Analysis so that all of the numbers make perfect sense to you and you understand all the details.

Remember: Your home is worth as much as someone is willing to pay for it! Sometimes the seller sees more value in the home than potential buyers do. If your property has been on the market for a month or more, your buying public is sending you a clear message that your property may not be worth what you're asking for it. This is especially true if very few, or no prospects at all, have come to see it. Your actions at this point are absolutely vital. Proper Representation will help you to determine whether or not it is the right time for you to sell, and what your time limit may be. If you aren't motivated to move right away, you can always wait - years if needed - to hope that inflation will catch up and get you the price you want. However, keep in mind that at that time, your home will begin feeling that something may be wrong with your home, or that it does not hold the value that you'd thought. Buyers will become suspicious of a house that has been on the market for an extended period of time.

Even if you don't necessarily need to sell right away, you still want an agent who understands the marketplace well enough to give it the right price. We don't believe in the common statement "We simply cannot sell our house." Of course you can sell your house - as long as the price is right.

Marketing your home isn't simply a matter of putting its picture in the paper. Rich Realty will work with you to create your own custom marketing strategy.

This will frequently include recommendations for repairs or cosmetic improvements that will make a significant enhancement to the "Curb Appeal", which is the real estate term for a home with an atmosphere of being neat, clean, and well maintained. Most of it has to do with the exterior of the home since first impressions are the ones that last. Remember, buyers will make their first judgment of your home within the first ten seconds of arriving. There are many small details that you should keep in mind while you look over your house. You can benefit greatly from the tips and techniques our professionals will share with you. These small efforts can truly make the difference for a quick and easy sale by establishing a good first impression.

The marketing plan we'll build for you will include exposure of your property to other real estate agents, as well as the public. In many markets across the country, over 50% of real estate sales are cooperative sales; that is, a real estate agent other than yours may bring in the buyer. The Rich Realty agent acts as the marketing coordinator, disbursing information about your property to other real estate agents through a Multiple Listing Service and other cooperative marketing networks.

Advertising is part of the Rich Realty marketing strategy. We will target the market that is most interested in your precise type of property and make the best choices for the kind of media, and the frequency of advertising that is performed for your house. For example, in some areas, newspaper advertising generates phone calls to the real estate office but statistically has minimum effectiveness in selling a specific property.

Remember, overexposure of a property in any media may give a buyer the impression the property is distressed or the seller is desperate. Your Rich Realty real estate agent will know precisely when, where and how to advertise your property.

There is a misconception that advertising sells real estate. The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS studies show that the majority of real estate sales are the result of an agents contacts with previous clients, referrals, friends, family and personal contacts. Rich Realty takes this fact very seriously, and will apply it to your own marketing strategy.

First impressions are lasting impressions! The importance of making a good first impression cannot be overstated.

Most people buy a home on their first impressions - like it or not. Amazingly, a potential buyer visiting your home makes a first emotional impression within the first 5 to 10 seconds of seeing it and this impression is solidified within the first 5 minutes. And when selling a home, it's the first impression that counts. The emotional impact they receive in the first few moments can be critical to the way they enter into contract negotiations, or make an offer for your property.

No matter how long a buyer spends in the home and no matter how many wonderful qualities the home may have, if your house has left a poor first impression, the odds of your home selling to that person drops to almost zero. Remember, a potential buyer starts forming their opinion as they pull into the driveway and has pretty much make up their mind after ten seconds inside the front door. This doesn't leave much room for errors and faults! Let Rich Realty prepare you so that you can make your very best impression.

To prepare your home for viewing, try these suggestions:

  • Pull the drapes back, make it as light and cheerful and serene as possible.
  • Light lamps.
  • There are three important smells to know about: fresh bread, cinnamon and coffee: choose one, and leave that smell in your house.
  • Light your fireplace, be sure it is safely secure during showings.
  • Set the dining room or kitchen table if you have particularly nice linen or china.
  • Put fresh towels in the bathroom.
  • Leave the house so your agent is free to deal with prospective buyers in a professional manner and the buyer is comfortable asking questions as they go through your home. It goes without saying that your children and pets should not be on the premises either.

If you have a bit of extra time before the first showing, you may want to look into some additional little "touch ups" that can lead to a better first impression. It's incredible how much of a difference the little things can make.

Outside your home:

  • Look at the trim, the downspout, the gutters, the doors and anywhere else that has paint. None of these should be cracked or peeling. If they are, re-paint.
  • Make sure that your mailbox and other accessories are in good condition. Replace, remove or re-paint anything damaged or falling apart.
  • If your siding is made of wood, aluminum or vinyl, have it cleaned, or clean it yourself. It will do wonders for the building's exterior appearance.
  • Check gutters and roof. Make sure they are clean and in good condition.
  • Polish the hardware on your doors. Make sure your doorbell works. Make sure all of the exterior locks are clean and functional.
  • Rake up leaves and other rubbish littering your yard and sweep your walk and hose down your driveway. Wash oil stains from the driveway. This will give the yard a much neater look.
  • Keep your lawn cut.
  • Trim your bushes and put fresh mulch or peat moss around the planting areas. Remove any dead plants or shrubs. Keep plants and bushes from blocking windows.
  • If the season allows, plant fresh flowers. They don't have to be expensive or showy, just something pretty and colourful. A few hastily planted flowering shrubs can also make a big difference and a nice looking garden shed or greenhouse can be the clincher.
  • Clear patio or deck of all small items, such as small planters, flower pots, barbecues, charcoal, bicycles, toys, etc. Put them in the garage or shed. (Don't worry about garages and sheds being too full, people expect that!)
  • If you have a shed or garage, get them looking organized. They can be as full as they have to be, as long as they don't look messy or too cluttered. Even if it means putting many things into boxes (you're moving and you'll have to do it eventually anyway!). Make sure any oil, rust or any other stains have been washed away.
  • If you have a pool, the water in it must be perfect. Buy a bottle of water polish from your pool shop - it gives the pool a wonderful, sparkling, translucent look.

Inside your home:

In general, you're seeking to have a bright, uncluttered and clean home.

  • If you have a fireplace, always ready the fireplace with fresh logs and pine cones - no matter if its summer or winter - as though it's ready to be lit at the touch of a match. If it is cool enough, you may wish to light it. Make sure the rest of the fireplace and surrounding area is very clean. A house with a fireplace or two is a deeply warming experience for most people.
  • Smell is a crucial factor. Homes that smell of animals (particularly cats), can cost you thousands of dollars. Just as important as taking the smell out though, is putting better smell back in. There are three important smells to know about: fresh bread, cinnamon and coffee.
  • Flowers are always a wonderful touch, but don't over-do it. They should only be where flowers are normally expected.
  • Turn off stereos, TVs and other noisemaking devices. Try to make your home seem as soothing and calm as possible.
  • Clear out any non-essential furniture. Don't over-do it, but less furniture means the appearance of a brighter, larger, more "open" room.
  • Objects such as paintings, knick-knacks, photos and other objects that are technically clutter or that are very personal to you and only you should be removed. Remember, you're trying to give the buyer the feeling that this is a house that they belong in. They won't get that feeling if they feel different, awkward or distracted. This applies not only to rooms, but to halls, stairways and other areas that should appear open and welcoming.
  • Make your house sparkle. Shampoo any carpets, wash and polish and wax floors, wash the windows (and their shades and blinds), dust all surfaces, and clean the furnace.
  • Walk around the house looking for anything that looks messy or dirty. Glue down any flooring that is coming up, glue loose wallpaper and remove it altogether if it's dirty. Replace any burnt out or missing light bulbs. Replace or at least touch up any cracked or peeling paint.
  • Walk around the house to make sure everything is functional. Be sure that all doors and windows work smoothly and squeak-free. Also, tighten any door knobs and fasteners. Repair any leaky taps, pipes or toilets.
  • Put anything that doesn't need to be out, into the closet and make sure the closets are organized.

One of the biggest concerns for buyers when making an offer is the fear of paying too much money for a house - or worse - purchasing a house that has "hidden" defects. It can be easy for you to avoid these problems, but first you must prepare yourself for each step of the buying process. This is where Rich Realty can help.

When you buy a home there is always some form of negotiation involved. Even if the seller doesn't haggle over the offering price, you still need to negotiate whether to include appliances and other household items in the sale, as well as what contingencies to include in the sale agreement.

That being the case, there may be a few questions lingering in your mind. The following are a few tips that should help to put your mind at ease.

Should I start low and negotiate?

Although it doesn't sound like a bad idea, keep in mind that every potential transaction will be different. Sometimes a seller will overprice a property with the assumption that a buyer will start with a low offer. On the other hand, often when a seller chooses an experienced agent to list their home, the asking price will already be right on target. In either case, you will want to keep emotional distance so you can negotiate well, and refer to your comparative market analysis (CMA, provided by Buyers Agent) frequently, so you don't pay more than "fair market value".

Is Time of the Essence?

How quickly you will need to act when buying, really depends on the seller's market. For example, time would be of the essence if you were interested in buying in a hot market. Therefore, you will need to consider your decision carefully, and prioritize your tasks so you don't become overwhelmed. You need to make sure that you meet the deadlines imposed by the sales contract. Thus, many of the other things that could be lingering in your mind, such as planning a remodel, should be discussed with your agent - That's what we are here for.

Due Diligence

Once you have negotiated and settled on an agreement, it is time to complete the evaluation of the property. Depending on the area and property, this could include inspections for:

  • termites
  • dry rot
  • asbestos
  • faulty structure
  • roof condition
  • septic tank
  • well tests
  • etc.

As your agent, Rich Realty can assist you in finding qualified responsible professional to do most of these investigations, as well as provide you with written reports.

In addition, it is imperative that you see a preliminary report on the title of the property purchased. The title indicates ownership of the property, and can be mired in confusing status of past owners or right of access. Be advised that the title to most properties will have some limitations: for example, easements (access rights) for utilities. Therefore, it is your agent, title company or attorney who can help you resolve any issues that might cause problems at a later date.

Be Prepared for Unexpected Problems

Every transaction has its problems, but most of them can be solved or worked around. Take the time to rationally think through some common problems, and how they can be resolved.

After your offer has been accepted, and we move toward closing, there are certain things that must be addressed before everything is final. In this helpful resource we will provide you with different tips, as well as what you can expect when it comes time for closing.

Escrow / Broker

They are neutral third parties that hold documents and money for a real estate transaction, and work to ensure that all conditions of a sale are met. The Escrow/Broker also refers to a special account that a lender will use to hold a borrower's monthly payments on property taxes and insurance.

It is no secret that much has to happen before you close, and that is why it is imperative that you stay on top of the details, so you can close on time, keep costs down, and understand everything you sign.

Control Closing Costs

Did you know that most closing costs will usually equal about 2 - 7 percent of your home's sales price? Normally these costs will need to be paid by you in cash, on top of the money you have already earmarked for a down payment. In some cases, your lender may come to an agreement with you, and will add the fees to the total loan amount that you owe. This would be a benefit to you, as you would then be able to pay them off in monthly installments.

Federal Law States that your lender must provide a detailed estimate of your closing costs, within three days after your loan application is received by them. You need to start planning for these costs as soon as possible, and ask your lender to include those costs as part or your loan amount, if you want to make the most out of minimizing the total value of cash you will need in order to close the sale.

Develop a Schedule to Create a Closing Plan that completes tasks on time.

Everyone involved in your transaction is required to perform multiple tasks before you will be able to close on your home. To help you create a "closing plan" use our provided checklist to make the process more organized and easier. You will find with the checklist that you can manage the work better, and keep the closing process on track.

Your Closing Plan

By keeping yourself organized, you will be able to get ahead so you can prepare yourself for the tasks required for closing. Make sure that you complete any remaining tasks, and make all final arrangements. Prepare yourself for the closing, by familiarizing yourself with the right papers, and knowing where to sign. And don't forget to bring the right papers with you to the closing!

Know the Paperwork

When you know what paperwork to expect, you will be better prepared when it comes time to close. The following is a list of the most important closing-related documents to give you an idea of what you can expect when the time comes to make the closing:

  • Form 1003 - This is a standard loan application that is approximately 3-6 pages long, and it is used by most US lenders.
  • Inspection Report - This is a special report of approximately 5-20 pages that is on the condition of the house, which includes an examination of appliances, plumbing, electrical systems, roof and structure.
  • Closing Cost Estimate - This approximate 1- 2 page form is a disclosure form the lender will provide in order to estimate the cost of various transaction-related expenses, which covers from loan points to pest-control reports.
  • Deed of Trust - This is usually a 2 page document that in some states is often substituted for a mortgage. This document is what helps to establish both yours and the lender's interest in the property, and its purpose is to define each party's obligations.
  • Warranty Deed - This is a deed that is used in the State of New York to show that the owner (grantor) has a good and merchantable title to the property that he is conveying (to the grantee). This warranty deed is about 2 pages in length.
  • Bond and Mortgage - This paperwork is about 2-4 pages in length, and is used in the State of New York to evidence of the debt (Bond), and to pledge the described property as the collateral for that debt (mortgage).

There is a lot for you to think about when it comes to home inspection, and that is why we have provided you with a few basic tips, and a chart, to give you a better idea of what you can expect with different inspections.

Inspection Types

There are different inspections available, but a standard pre-purchase inspection covers a home's major mechanical systems - electrical, plumping, heating and cooling. It also covers the home's construction - this includes roof to foundation, and exterior to interior. It is what we at Rich Realty recommend to buyers and sellers.

Overall, inspections generally do not cover: soil, pools, wells, septic systems, building code violations or environmental hazards such as lead. However, the inspection contingency in your purchase contract should allow you up to 7-10 days to conduct an overall inspection, in addition to any specialized inspections you (or your lender) require. Most inspections cost several hundred dollars, and specialized inspections usually involve an expert and can cost more. Do keep in mind that repairs or remedies are negotiable.

Following is a table of different inspections, and the basis of what each entails:

Type of Inspection What it Covers Cost/Who Pays Remedies
Standard Pre-Purchase Overall home construction and condition, including major mechanical systems $200-500/Buyer Conduct further specialized inspections; repair
Wood damage. Required by many lenders; check with yours All wood portions of home (interior & exterior) $75-200/Negotiable Repair or replace damaged wood; treat for wood-destroying insects or organisms
Lead. Disclosure required on all homes built before 1978 Presence of lead in paint, plumbing, or other areas $400 basic survey/Negotiable Repair or replace affected areas
Radon. Disclosure of known elevated levels required Presence of naturally occurring radioactive gas $150 basic survey/Negotiable Seal foundation cracks, install a sump pump; ventilate basement or crawl space
Environmental Hazards Asbestos, formaldehyde, petroleum, toxic chemicals Presence of any substance in building material, soil, water, or air that poses a health risk Price varies/Negotiable Remove hazardous material such as asbestos, or source of danger, such as a buried oil tank
Soil Condition of soil under and around foundation and retaining walls $300-2,000/Negotiable Repair or treat problem

Prices are estimates only.

Are you familiar with the appraisal process? If not, we can help you gain that understanding with this resource. Here you will obtain a basic understanding of how real estate appraisals and appraisers work.

The Appraisal Process

The first thing you need to know is that an appraisal is a third-party estimate of the value of a piece of property at a particular point in time. An appraisal can do one of two things. It can either affirm your offer price or contradict it and become a point for further negotiation.

All appraisals must conform to guidelines that are set by the Federal Reserve. That being said, however, you should know that every appraisal is ultimately a subjective analysis of a property's current market value.

A true market value can be difficult to ascertain in markets where prices are volatile, and where property varies widely. Therefore, to determine current market value, an appraiser will compare the price of your home with that of at least three comparable homes that are in the area, and have sold within the past six months, they will then proceed to adjust for differences in the properties (For example, we at Rich Realty provide our clients with regular updates, and will make recommendations based on activity results).

An appraiser will physically measure and inspect the home to make comparisons, and may also take photographs to include in the report with floor plans, and a site map.

Be advised that an inspection by an appraiser is not a home inspection. To learn more about home inspections and what is involved, please refer to our Home Inspection resource, or contact us.

Potential Problems

Although appraisers are certified by the individual states under federal guidelines, only half the states require actual licenses. Thankfully, the vast majority of states do, in fact, require appraisers to pass a written examination and have at least 75 hours of continuing education, as well as 2000 hours of direct experience through an apprenticeship to be certified. Furthermore, most appraisers also must abide by professional and ethical standards that are set by industry and organizations.

However, due to poor training, not every appraiser is effective at his or her job. Those who are inexperienced appraisers can create problems for their clients, and this is something you should be aware of. You need an appraiser you can trust, and that is why at Rich Realty we have a certified team of individuals who can ensure that any potential problems you may be worried about, can be left in the past.

Here at Rich Realty, we make the effort to ensure that our client's best interests are always first in mind. Therefore, we feel that under certain circumstances a home warranty may be in order so that in the event of a mechanical breakdown of a covered component, you will have coverage for a full year starting from the day of closing. With a home warranty you will pay only a standard deductible for each claim.

A home warranty is extremely beneficial to you as the following key points will illustrate:

  • A standard deductible limits your cost for repairing a covered system, appliance or component.
  • Provides coverage generally not offered by a homeowner's insurance policy.
  • A network of qualified contractors are only a phone call away, ready to assist you (usually 24 hours a day, 365 days a year).
  • Optional coverage's are available for additional protection.
  • The home warranty may be renewed for subsequent years, so that you can enjoy the protection for as long as you own your home (keep in mind that eligibility is subject to underwriting criteria.)

As you are probably already aware, there are different types of insurance that you can obtain to protect you from various problems, faults or losses that may occur in the future, such as:

  • Health insurance
  • Auto insurance
  • Life insurance

What is Title Insurance?

Title insurance is a specific type of insurance that protects the insured - that's you- from losses which may occur, due to matters or faults from the past. Unlike the insurances listed above, title insurance will not protect you against any future problems.

Furthermore, with a title insurance policy, you pay a one-time premium that works to protect you from "risks" or undiscovered interests.

There are two principal forms of title insurance:

  • The lender's policy
  • The homeowner's policy

What is a Lender's Policy?

The purpose of a lender's policy is to provide protection to the mortgage holder. If for any reason there is a fault in title, which results in a loss, the mortgage holder will be reimbursed.

What is a Homeowner's Policy?

Contrary to that of a lender's policy, a homeowner's policy is designed to protect you - the buyer. A homeowner's policy will cover you against a loss that may result from a fault in your interest, or ownership that you have in the property. For these reasons it is a good idea that you should obtain a title policy, so that you can protect the equity in your new home.

What does a Homeowner's Policy Provide?

If you are protected by a homeowner's policy, you are given protection from all financial loss, up to the cost of the title policy, which may be a result of demands that have been charged against the title to your home.

This also includes:

  • Payment of legal costs if the title insurer has to defend your title against a covered claim.
  • Payment of successful claims against the title to your home covered by the policy, up to the cost of policy.

You will find that there are a variety of title insurance companies that you can choose from. And it is a good idea for you to first consult your attorney, escrow company, or real estate agent before you make any final decisions, as they can help you make the best choice.

When you're ready to think about buying or selling your property, you need to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you have the time, energy, sources of information, expertise and know-how, and contacts to do the job yourself?
  • If you are one of the 'do-it-yourself' people, will the results be as good or better than they would be if you had professional assistance?
  • Will it go smoother? Will you need to give more of your personal time?
  • Are you able to purchase for less, or sell for more, as a professional real estate agent would?

Read the following information and learn how a Rich Group real estate agent can help you understand everything you need to know about a real estate transaction.

Finding your next home

Once you know how much you can and want to invest, the next step is to find the properties that most nearly fit your needs. This is the time to choose a professional real estate licensee. Sometimes the property you are seeking is available but not actively advertised in the market, and it will take some investigation by your agent to find all available properties.

Due Diligence

With a negotiated agreement in hand, it is time to complete the evaluation of the property. Depending on the area and property, this could include inspections for termites, dry rot, asbestos, faulty structure, roof condition, septic tank and well tests, just to name a few. As your agent, we can assist you in finding qualified responsible professionals to do most of these investigations and provide you with written reports. You will also want to see a preliminary report on the title of the property. Title indicates ownership of property and can be mired in confusing status of past owners or rights of access. The title to most properties will have some limitations; for example, easements (access rights) for utilities.

Your Rich Realty agent, title company, or attorney can help you resolve issues that might cause problems at a later date.

Closing or Settlement

Finally, there is the closing, or settlement, as it is known in different parts of the country. Every area has its own unique customs. In some areas, the title or escrow company will handle this process. In other parts of the country, an attorney does it all. Again, your Rich Realty real estate agent can guide you through this process and make sure everything flows together smoothly.

How Do Real Estate Agents Get Paid?

Real estate agents or brokers are generally paid through the sales commission paid by the seller when a transaction closes. Agents have expenses and financial obligations just like you, so it will be to your mutual benefit if you choose a real estate agent and stick with that person. The Rich Realty agent will respect your loyalty and respond with a sincere commitment to you.

You Be the Judge!

Real Estate transactions involve one of the biggest financial investments most people experience in their lifetime. Transactions today usually exceed $100,000. If you had a $100,000 income tax problem, would you attempt to deal with it without the help of a CPA? If you had a $100,000 legal question, would you deal with it without the help of an attorney? Considering the small upside cost and the large downside risk, it would be foolish to consider a deal in real estate without professional representation.