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Things You Should Consider When Changing Zip Codes

Thinking about moving? A lot of people do every day, but what a lot of people don’t consider is what happens when you move to a new zip code. Normally you would call it trivial, just another number to remember at the end of your address, right? Wrong actually. There are plenty of things to consider when you move simply to a new zip code, this post will discuss some of them.

So what should you do first? Well, you should really look at tax differences, as local income tax and property taxes can shift dramatically, even in just a zip code over. Weird right? You do not have to go far for a crazy tax increase or decrease. Which could either be a serious help or harm. So what should you do? Talk to your real estate agent of course! Even if they do not know off the top of their head, they’ll know exactly who to ask to find out.

Secondly, you should look at utility costs. Sewer, water, garbage disposal and even internet cost and quality can change dramatically from neighborhood to neighborhood! Talk to your potential neighbors, or call the utilities you wish to have provided to find out what the rates are.

Another thing to look at would be the activity level and noise level in the street your potential home is on. Obviously if you live on a major street that could be an issue, but even if you don’t it still to be considered. Just because it was quiet the day you visited does not mean it is consistently. Your potential street could be a short cut for biker gangs or the occasional big rig. Some neighborhoods even like to throw events for the area. These events can cause issues with traffic and noise levels. So what should you do? Well talk to your future neighbors of course! No one is going to know the street better than the people that live on it.

Lastly but still very important is that local governments, community bylaws, HOAs, even condo associates can have an incredible amount of power to impose useless or bizarre requirements for homeowners in the area. This can greatly affect your lifestyle and quality of living. Granted it can be for better or for worse, but it’s not commonly positive. So what should you do? Just make sure you know what you’re getting into. Meaning what may cost you a fee, what rules are forced, and if broken, what may cause a knock on your door. Do research! Asking your agent, reviews online, and always talking to potential neighbors will help a great deal in deciding if this move is actually worth it.

Have any questions about moving? Don’t hesitate to stop by or call National Realty Group! We’ll be able to help you move in and even out of your zip code!


Easy Fixes to Common Deal Breakers

So let me guess, you were ready to sell your home, everything was going perfectly, you thought you were about to shake on it with your buyer when suddenly, it hit the fan! Everything fell apart much faster than it was put together, all the hand cramps from signing so many papers was instantly a waste of time. Oddly enough this scenario is not all the uncommon, and what’s worse the common culprits could have been easily avoided. So today we will talk about quick fixes to deal breakers.

Probably the most common deal killer has got to be bad appraisals. So here’s the scenario, you list your house for 400K, your buyer offers 350k but with some haggling you two agree to 375k. The deal is done and you sign the contract, but a week before closing the appraisal comes in at 340k, which is the max the bank is willing to loan. So who’s going to pay the missing 35k? So what can you do to avoid a situation like this? Probably the easiest would be to get an appraisal before you list your home, it will give you a realistic idea of what to list your house at, and when your buyer’s appraiser shows up, give them a copy of your prelisted appraisal. Another would be to meet with your appraiser before the appraisal. Give them as much helpful information about your house as you can give them. Otherwise they’re probably going to pull any information they need off the MLS, and that does not help your chances for a good appraisal. Finally if the appraisal does not feel right, question it. An appraiser or a bank is likely to reconsider an appraisal with new or overlooked information.

Another common problem is a bad home inspection. After your home inspection comes in a few issues are bound to come up. More than likely your buyer is going to ask you to fix them, if you just say no, that’s going to kill your deal. So what should you do? Get bids and Negotiate. Sometimes all the fixes your buyer wants will not be that expensive. So talk to your buyer about it, be kind, and there’s a chance you won’t have to pay for 100% of the repairs. Another solution would be to fix the issues with your vendors. You may know people who can do what needs to be done, which will give you brownie points with them, and probably save you money.

Finally we have probably the easiest problem to fix, tense negotiations. So here’s the hypothetical situation, you have a buyer, and you guys are negotiating the price. However no one is getting anywhere because you two obviously do not see eye to eye. Frustrated, your buyer backs out. So what should you do? Listen to your agent. Your agent is the person to tell you if the buyer is low balling you, or if the buyer is actually making a reasonable offer.  I mean you are paying the guy to know as much if not more about your house than you do, and he or she probably has a lot more experience selling homes than you do.

So with that in mind, if you’re ready to sell your home and you need an agent, stop by or call National Realty Group to find an agent, we have plenty of them. They won’t be able to keep your hand cramps from coming, but they will do their best to keep it from happening twice.

Why You Should Just Buy The Nicer Home.


When buying a home a lot of factors are put in such as location and size, but the most important factor is whether or not you can afford it. We’re told “be cautious”, “be smart”, even to “be practical”, but what if the smartest, the most practical option, is the one that puts you in the home you actually want, not the one you’re going to settle for because it’s a safer gamble financially?

Now I’m not saying go buy a mansion that is three times what you can afford, let’s be real here, you won’t get past your bank,  at least not without a down payment that looks like Bill Gates’ electric bill. However, what I am saying is upping your budget a bit for maybe a larger floorplan, or a better location, you know, the kind of comforts that appeal to your classier tastes without totally destroying your budget and leaving you in financial ruin.

But that’s all talk right? It’s hard to make an argument without numbers, so look at it this way. Principal and Interest (P&I) on a 200k house at four percent is about $955 dollars a month. If you were to raise the budget to say 250k the P&I goes up to only $1,193. Now that 50k won’t bring you from a starter home to a smoking hot pad in Beverly Hills, but in a first time buyer market it greatly improves space and location for a measly $238 a month.

The concept works similarly on houses that are twice the value. P&I on a 400k house (still at 4%) is $1906 a month. Opt to buy a 500k house instead, you will be paying $2387 per month. The increase of $477 can make a world of difference in the house you buy and how you feel about it.

So don’t go house poor! If you can’t afford that extra $238 or $477 maybe it’s time to cut back a little. Don’t eat out so much, or see a matinee instead of a night showing. Maybe even trade in your expensive car for the model below it! These are small prices to pay for heavy savings. Little sacrifices that can make where you live something you love, instead of what you settled for.

To find out what your options are, call National One Mortgage, and we’ll help you get where you want to go.



First, are you approved for a mortgage in the amount of $155,000 or for a home purchase in that amount. If you have been approved for a $155,000 mortgage, that means that you can probably buy a house worth at least 10 percent more. Most lenders will lend you up to 90 percent of the purchase price; check this out with your lender to make sure you understand exactly what you have been qualified to purchase.

Second, you used the words “my RELTOR.” Is the real estate agent or broker really your agent? Have you signed a “buyer broker” arrangement with him or her? If not, it is important you keep in mind that the broker really represents the seller. If the broker knows your mortgage limit, he/she is duty bound to disclose that information to the seller.

Thus, whether or not he is your agent, I strongly suggest that you keep silent on your mortgage availability. You should also not divulge to anyone (other than your family or your lawyer) what your top price will be.

In answer to your question, as this column has suggested on many occasions, everything in real estate is negotiable. Don’t be afraid of making a low offer. The real estate agent is obligated to transmit your offer — regardless of amount — to the seller.

The seller has three choices:

  1. your offer can be accepted, in which case you have a contract;
  2. your offer can be rejected in its entirety. In this case, you can either make a new — higher — offer or walk away from this house; or
  3. your offer can be counter-offered. This means that the seller is rejecting your proposal, but is putting a new offer on the table. Keep in mind that if you receive a counter-offer, you then have the same three alternatives just described.

Let’s look at the following example: the seller is asking $159,000 for the house. You prepare a written offer in the amount of $147,500. The real estate agent submits it to the seller, who in turn counters for $154,750. The ball then goes back to your court.

How much do you really want to pay for your new home? Is this property really worth $154,750? Should you try to make another — lower — offer or should you accept the seller’s proposal? These are questions only you can answer.

However, by reducing the price, the seller has sent you a signal. The price is negotiable. If this is the house you really must have, accept the counteroffer. But, as you know, there are many other houses out there, and if you are prepared to continue shopping around if you lose this house, I recommend you make yet another counter-offer — this time in the amount of $151,750.

The negotiations will continue until someone takes a hard-line position and “draws a line in the sand.” One of you will ultimately say “this is my final offer; take it or leave it.”

It should also be noted that price is but one of the many items of negotiation in a real estate transaction. Often, a seller may be more interested in the timing of the settlement than in the price. For example, does the seller have to sell immediately and are you prepared to settle quickly. I have negotiated many a deal whereby purchasers received a very favorable sales price because they were prepared to go to settlement just 10 days after the contract was signed. Of course, we all know that lenders cannot approve a loan in such a short time, but it you are able to come up with all cash, that’s one possibility.

On the other hand, some sellers may want to stay in the house for several more months. Are you prepared to wait? Are you prepared to purchase the house now — so as to preserve a favorable mortgage interest rate and begin to get the tax benefits of homeownership — but allow the seller to stay in your new house on a “post occupancy agreement” arrangement? In effect, you purchase the house and the sellers pay you rent until they move out.

Another important factor to consider is whether the seller is willing to take back financing — either for the full amount of the purchase price or a small second trust. This is an issue which should be explored with the seller before you make an offer; once a sales contract is entered into, it may be too late to try to renegotiate that contract.

In the final analysis, once you have decided to purchase your new home — and have zeroed in on the neighborhood you want — don’t be pressured into buying a home. Shop around, check prices, and negotiate everything.



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