Angela Sells DFW

Journey with me through my real estate, motherhood and Texas adventures

Archive for the month “December, 2013”

Renting Your Home

Renting Your Home

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In a real estate market that has an enormous cash flow opportunity for rentals, we see more and more homeowners choosing to lease their homes out as they purchase their “move up” home.  With record low interest rates over the past several years, especially on 15 year notes, this creates a wealth building opportunity for homeowners.

As this trend has gained traction, it has created an obvious vacancy for tenant procurement in our marketplace.  You can find property management companies that will put it in the MLS for you but are they willing to answer their phones or drive out to show the home?  Often times these companies are located far away from the property which means two things. First, the property manager could quite possibly have no clue about the rental market where your home is.  Second, they’re not going to be very motivated to show your home to potential tenants.  That leaves potential tenants with trying to find an agent to show rental properties.  The problem with this is that often times, it’s new agents that are willing to show rental properties due simply to the fact that based on pay per hour on rentals, the revenue to the showing agent is very low.  What this means for you is that your home could be shown to unqualified tenants because their “new-by” agent didn’t know enough to pre-qualify them before taking them out.

I would say that 90% of our lease showings on our tenant procurement homes come from Trulia.com, Realtor.com and Zillow.com.  These are consumer inquiries that come in for free of people requesting to view your home.  We pre-screen each and everyone prior to showing them your home to ensure that this home could be a great fit for them.

Once the property is shown and they’re interested, we have them complete a Texas Association of Realtors Residential Lease Application as well as submit their last 30 days of paystubs and copies of their current driver’s license.  With the information from that, we perform a background, eviction and criminal check that’s cross referenced with the National Terror List.  Once this information is back, we decide whether or not to move on with the approval process.  The next steps are that we verify their employment, last two year’s of rental or ownership history and check personal references.  Once all of this information has been gathered, we will put together a package of information to you with our recommendation of the tenant but you will have the ultimate decision on whether or not to allow them to lease your home. We are a fair housing advocate and we do not discriminate against any applicant or tenant based on race, creed, color, religion, national origin, handicap or family status.

Once they’re approved, we have them in to our office to sign the lease and put down their security deposit.  The security deposit is at least equal to one month’s rent.   This is to ensure that they act in good faith during the term of their tenancy and also that they leave the property in the same condition that it was received. If they have a pet, their non-refundable pet deposit will also be collected at this time.

The majority of families and singles have pets. We prefer to advertise that pets are negotiable, so that they will tell us about the pets when they apply instead of trying to sneak them in later. Each pet will require an additional non-refundable pet fee. These costs are negotiable by you, the homeowner. If damage exceeding the pet deposit occurs, you may withhold funds from security deposits. You are in no way required to accept pets, this is completely your decision.

On the day that they take tenancy, we meet them at the property at 9 a.m. to perform a walk through of the property where they will complete an Inventory and Condition Checklist.  This checklist will allow them to notate any current flaws, damage or issues prior to move-in.  While they complete the checklist, we accompany that list with photos of the entire property.  Both the homeowner and the tenant will be given access to these photos as well as the checklist to reference upon move out.  Normal wear and tear is expected in a property so long as it is not from neglect or damaging to the property.

Once the tenant moves in to the home, you are now their point of contact.  We do not manage homes on a monthly basis.  However, if this is something you’re interested in, we do work hand-in-hand with a local property management company that handles day to day operations of managing tenants, repairs and maintenance for you.  They generally charge 10% of each month’s rent for their service.

If you choose to manage your home yourself, we do recommend purchasing a home warranty.  A home warranty covers all of the major mechanical appliances and issues in a home for the cost of around $400/ year.  Should you need to utilize the warranty, they typically charge a $69 call fee to repair/ complete the work.   We also have a list of vendors that we refer out and we’re happy to provide you with that list or contacts as you may need them.

If you’re looking for a company with a proven track record of finding well-qualified and quality tenants, give us a call.  We’ll be happy to discuss this program in detail with you as well as let you know what your home will bring in monthly rent in today’s market.  Visit us at www.HomesbyHornburg.com for more information or call us anytime at (817) 771-0998.

Tips for Building Credit

Tips for Building Credit

Knowledge is Power. -Francis Bacon

Credit cards

I get a lot of calls from potential home buyers who would really love to purchase a home and thought that they would be good to go but unfortunately, they were misinformed about credit issues or not informed at all.  I have compiled some helpful information that will help align your credit with your home purchasing goals.

  1. Open a Checking AND Savings account- Try to make sure you get it for FREE!  Most banks are competing hard for your business so negotiate fees (if any) with them.
  1. Get at least 2-3 Major Credit Cards- I recommend the following companies based on their approval rate.  Please bear in mind that you are essentially “paying for your credit” by getting your first credit cards.  These cards will come fees and that should be expected because right now you are considered a “high risk” case. Don’t over do it though.  If you’re denied by the first 3 companies below, don’t try the 4th.  Too many “hard inquiries” on your report will drop your score lower.

http://www.OrchardBank.com

http://www.CreditOne.com

http://www.MyPremierCreditCard.com

http://www.Discover.com

  1. Use your credit cards- The key to building your credit is using it and using it correctly.  Buy something small on your credit card each month.  Pay that bill off completely each month.  This will help boost your credit worthiness.  Keep your monthly balances at $0 or as low as possible.  The amount of available credit vs. total credit you have affects your credit score.  The more available credit you have, the better off you are…yet you still need to use the credit cards to help boost your scores so don’t let them sit unused.
  1. Monitor Your Credit Report- Yes, this too will cost you a fee.  I recommend http://www.FreeCreditReport.com ($14.95/ month) because it is extremely user friendly and offers helpful tools to understanding what affects your score.  You will receive monthly credit score reports on how your score changed and what caused it.  You can also see all of your open credit accounts, past and present.  Sometimes you may find that a company may have mistakenly identified you as someone else.  The credit monitoring websites make it easy to dispute claims online.  If you have items on your credit report that are incorrect or are old, try disputing them and having them from being seen on your report.
  1. If you are Renting an apartment or home, ask your Landlord to report your good paying habits.  Websites like http://www.tenantverification.com allow Landlords to do so for free.  You can suggest this to them as a great way to attract responsible adults as tenants because renting their home helps the tenant build credit.

I recommend using your credit cards responsibly as mentioned above for 6 months.  Within 3-6 months it should help boost your score.  If you’re watching your score on a credit monitoring website, notify your real estate agent when you’re at or near 640.  This is a great number and you can often secure prime interest rates with this score!

These tips are based on personal experience and tools that have helped prior real estate clients.  They are not guaranteed and each person’s credit report varies because of everyone’s unique financial history.

 

 

Please feel free to ask if you have any questions or concerns regarding this information!

How to Choose a Realtor

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How to Choose a Realtor

Most times, purchasing a home, is the biggest investment we make.  So, how do you choose your agent, the person who will guide, advise you and lead you through the biggest investment of your life? That’s a great question with an often misinformed answer.  Particular aspects are going to have varying importance to different home buyers & sellers but there are always the infallible “go to” qualities that you’re going to want in your agent.

In a world where real estate agents were once ranked very low along side used-car salesmen in honesty, the integrity and ethics of which an agent conducts their business is of highest priority.  What does an agent’s integrity and ethics mean to you as a home buyer or a home seller?  It means that they will not disclose your purchasing position in a way that compromises your negotiation standpoint.  It means that they will properly ensure that your rights and options are protected in the contract that they negotiate for you.  It also means that they will prepare you each and every step of the way for a successful & easy home purchase.  This is important for obvious reasons but you may find yourself surprised by visiting an open house where a listing agent tells you that they know the Sellers will accept less than the asking price.  As a Buyer, you feel like you have the inside scoop but the reality of it is that the listing agent hosting the open house represents the Seller and works exclusively for the Seller so why would they compromise their client’s negotiating position?  Too many agents toss their ethics and integrity out the window to simply close a sale, at your expense.  This is why it’s of utmost importance to choose a Realtor with an impeccable reputation, client references and a proven track record.

That brings us to the next important criteria for choosing an agent.  Ask your agent for a list of homes that they’ve recently sold.  This is a great way to ensure that your agent is familiar with your area.  Real estate is local in every sense of the word.  It is imperative to choose an agent who knows your market like the back of their hand.  This is important because you’re depending on their knowledge of the market and their understanding of what’s happening locally in that market in terms of property condition, price, competition, inventory and absorption rate to guide you through your real estate sale or purchase.

With that being a key factor in choosing your agent, their knowledge is the next critical element.  You are trusting this person with the soundness of your investment of not only the initial investment but an opportunity to build equity in your investment.  So how critical is their knowledge? Well, the first question to contemplate is to ask them how often they study the market. By the time real estate trends are founded enough to print in the main stream media, savvy agents have already noted these trends and alerted their clients to maximize their selling or purchasing position.  The other aspect of studying the market weekly is that, much like the stock market, the real estate market is ever-changing.  The rules that allow home buyers to obtain financing change several times a year for each lending product.  The requirements on homes change to qualify for financing also.  Were you aware that no matter how well-qualified a home buyer may be, there may be attributes on a home that prevent the house from qualifying for financing?  These are important things to know up front so that you’re not spending $350 on a home inspection and $400 on an appraisal only for the lender to come back and say the home cannot be financed in it’s current condition.

There are a lot of other great components to skilled Realtors like, special designations that can highlight their experience in a niche market like working with senior citizens, being green certified, accredited to work with home buyers only, specialized training in working with banks, asset managers for foreclosures as well as many others.

Hearing about great experiences with Realtors through friends and family can be a great resource to finding a great agent, too.  Often times, there is comfort in knowing that someone you love or trust has entrusted that agent to guide them through their real estate transaction and the outcome was positive.

The bottom line is that you need to feel 100% comfortable with your Realtor.  Different people will place a higher value on the various elements of what makes an agent great.  These guidelines will help serve as a basis to create some questions when you meet with agents to choose the right one for you.  Remember, they work for you and your best interests so you should be interviewing them to find out how they can best represent you.

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