1. How long have you been working in the industry? Look for a credible track record and successful work experience.
2. Are you licensed, insured and bonded? Ensure your contractor is licensed and carries workers’ comp and liability insurance. Although bonding isn’t a universal requirement, it could protect you if a job isn’t completed.
3. Do you guarantee your work in writing? While a verbal guarantee is nice, draft a written guarantee stating exactly what’s covered to ensure the contractor will have to stand behind the work.
4. Can you provide references? Ratings and reviews are great, but beware contractors who won’t offer customer references.
5. Do you pull all the required permits? Failing to pull the required permits can cost you big time. If your contractor is hesitant to get the necessary paperwork, find a new one.
6. Who will be managing the project? If your contractor isn’t in charge of your job, insist on meeting the project manager to ensure he or she
measures up to your standards.
7. What’s the project timeline and daily work schedule? Construction scheduling is never perfect—workers get sick, orders get delayed and weather causes interruptions. But an organized contractor will provide you with a work schedule that clearly outlines a start and end date.
8. Will you need bathroom facilities? Unless your job is a major remodel that necessitates bringing in a portable bathroom, there’s a good chance workers will need to use your facilities. Dedicate a bathroom to workers before you start the project.
9. Will you need my garage code or keys, and who will have access? Many homeowners feel uncomfortable handing over the keys to their home. Unless you plan on staying home during the construction, you’ll likely need to give a contractor access to your house. Knowing who has the keys will give you better peace of mind.
10. Will you sign a contract? All worthwhile contractors will write out a clear contract that defines the work to be performed, as well as the material, costs and completion timeframes of the project. The agreement should also include a termination clause that spells out the circumstances in which both parties can terminate the contract.
After a buyer has agreed to purchase a home from a seller, the escrow process begins. This is designed to make sure that all the necessary conditions and obligations are met so the transaction can proceed smoothly.
Purpose of Escrow
Escrow is designed to protect all the parties involved in a real estate transaction from risk and to ensure that everyone is acting in good faith. The seller will need to prove that he or she owns the house and that it’s not subject to any liens from third parties that could prevent or complicate the sale. The buyer will need to prove that he or she has the funds necessary to buy the house or the financial means to obtain a mortgage.
What Happens During the Escrow Process
Escrow is generally a mandatory part of a real estate transaction that starts after the seller accepts the buyer’s offer to purchase the house. The law related to the escrow process varies by state, but in general an escrow agent, who is a neutral third party with no vested interest in the transaction, is assigned to handle the process and to protect each involved party from risk. The escrow agent is paid a fee that represents a small percentage of the sale price. This fee can be paid by the buyer, the seller or both.
Earnest money is a small percentage of the sale price that the buyer provides to demonstrate that he or she is serious about buying the house. In exchange, the seller takes the house off the market. After the sale is completed, the earnest money is applied to the buyer’s down payment. Until the sale is finalized, the earnest money and the house are both considered to be in escrow.
The escrow agent collects the sales contract, earnest money and contingencies related to insurance, inspections, repairs and any other requirements that must be met to finalize the sale. These items are placed in an account and stay there until the buyer and seller have fulfilled all their duties required by the terms of the contract.
Once all parties have met their obligations and all the necessary documents have been signed, the mortgage lender pays the money due to the seller. Then the deed is recorded in the name of the new owner, escrow closes and the buyer can move into the house.
Understand How Escrow Works
The escrow process is designed to protect both the buyer and the seller in a real estate transaction. It allows each party to be confident that the other is acting in good faith and meeting the requirements set forth in the contract. Escrow also allows each party that is due payment to receive the appropriate amount in a timely manner. If you have any questions about the escrow process as it relates to your specific situation, talk to your real estate agent.
3 BR / 2.5 Bath / under 2,000 sf / Whitewater and sand views / 2 blocks from Riviera Village
Just lowered to $2,400,000 (Last sale in the complex with 20% of the view was $2.6)
If you’re planning to move, and especially if you have time constraints, you’re probably eager to list your house and find a buyer as quickly as possible. But the last thing you want to do is rush the process and make costly mistakes along the way. Instead, take a step back and put a plan in places before listing your home so that you can attract a buyer and get the best possible price.
Find the Right Real Estate Agent (Check… Jack McSweeney – 310 346-0391 – DRE#01027223
Once you’ve found an agent, discuss when the house will be available for showings and how much notice you’ll need. Put together a list of places your family can go, as well as things you can do, while the house is being shown. If you have pets, make arrangements to bring them somewhere so that they can be looked after during the showing.
Improve Your Home’s Curb Appeal
Prospective buyers make snap judgments within seconds of seeing a house. If the outside doesn’t look neat and attractive, some people won’t even bother getting out of the car. Therefore, it’s important to mow the lawn, weed the garden, plant some flowers, prune the trees, get rid of any damaged lawn furniture or toys, clean the siding, paint the front door and make any other necessary changes so that people who come to look at your home will have a positive first impression.
Clean Up the Inside
Once you entice potential buyers to come into your house, you need to make sure they like what they see. A cluttered and dirty space are instant turnoffs, so sell, donate, store or throw away any items you don’t need—or that take up too much space. Once the space has been decluttered, clean the house from top to bottom. If necessary, hire professionals to come in and make the space shine. The expense will be worth it if it helps you sell your house quickly. You’ll also want to make repairs throughout the home. Little things, such as scuff marks and broken handles, don’t cost much to fix, but they can cause buyers to think that there must be other problems with the house that are less obvious.
The home should be a blank canvas so that prospective buyers can envision themselves living in the space. Remove photos and other personal items and cover any bold paint colors with neutral ones. Stage the house in a way that highlights its best features. Make sure it’s clean, decluttered, and well-lit. Professional stagers can help you achieve the desired goal.
Get Ready for a Flurry of Activity
After you list your home, you’ll likely have many potential buyers come by in the first few weeks. Take some steps to prepare for the flurry of activity before putting your home on the market so that you can impress prospective buyers, which will hopefully pave the way to a quick sale.